Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Maggie Daley charity got $6.5-mil. city contract 4 days before Mayor Daley left office - good ol' Chicago coincidence -

Maggie Daley charity got $6.5-mil. city contract 4 days before Mayor Daley left office - good ol' Chicago coincidence - 

   There's nothing like a good ol' Chicago coincidence.

   I mean, those marvelous situations in which connected people and groups always seem to have a lucky shamrock in their pocket at just the right time are a distinctive part of what makes Chicago, well, Chicago.

   Which leads to a tale of one particularly wonderful coincidence. It involves After School Matters, a charity that provides programs for teenagers; Chicago mayors current and past, and a $6.5-million city grant 

    As I reported last week, ex-mayoral Chief of Staff Ray Orozco and former Department of Cultural Affairs Acting Commissioner Katherine LaMantia began new jobs on July 25 as the CEO and chief financial officer, respectively, of After School Matters.

   The agency — chaired by Maggie Daley, wife of former Mayor Richard M. Daley — for years has been known informally as the unofficial City Hall charity.

   In further researching the Orozco matter, I was pointed to records listed on a city's website. (Type in "after" and hit "search" to reach the records.)

  The city's vendor, contract and payment information site indicates the group was awarded a new, $6.5-million city grant on May 12 -- four days before Mr. Orozco's former boss Mr. Daley left office.

   The contract actually was signed on May 2 by then-Budget Director Eugene Munin in what must have been among his last official acts.

  A wonderful coincidence, no? After School Matters gets a grant agreement worth up to $6,480,000  "to support ongoing summer jobs and after-school programs for youth" just four days before Rahm Emanuel is sworn into office, vowing to search high and low for potential cuts to balance a budget that's $635 million in the red.

   After School Matters and two different spokesmen for Mr. Emanuel say the timing of the grant was, um, a coincidence.

  The charity since 2007 regularly has received $6.5 million about a year from the city, they say. The money was included in the budget, they add, and it just so happens that the contract guaranteeing this year's funding went into effect in the final days of Mr. Daley's tenure.

Read more: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/section/blogs?blogID=greg-hinz&plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&uid=1daca073-2eab-468e-9f19-ec177090a35c&plckPostId=Blog:1daca073-2eab-468e-9f19-ec177090a35cPost:eb77893c-c97f-432a-9e10-e1a34923d106&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest#ixzz1U4ayktG1

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