McCormick Place bled to death by Mayor Daley and his Goons.

mccormick place chicago.jpg The City of Chicago needs the convention business to not only promote our city, but to provide much needed income to support Mayor Daley and some of the leeches he employs. For over a decade money was flowing into Chicago and no one seemed to care about the waste. I complained about the top-heavy management and the lack of proper certifications to oversee Chicago’s departments. Mayor Daley loaded departments up with political hacks, clowns, and incompetent freaks. To get a promotion, you just needed to understand the political games, understand common sense was secondary, and work extra around the political season. Many of Daley hires are still milking the workman’s compensation claims despite the many inroads we have made for worker safety. The situation at the McCormick Place is paving the way to how Chicago is seen to the rest of the United States and the World, especially China. You cannot keep milking the convention business in Chicago anymore. Let’s review the factors that are sending convention business to other states and cities. The major players in the convention business are high rollers, wealthy, smart, and are business savvy. When they roll into Chicago, they wanted Meigs Field to handle their private planes. These are high class people that are not going to put up with the herds at O’Hare Field. They need to get in and out. Why waste your time on the Kennedy Expressway? The Chicago convention business is run by political hacks that think they are special and above the law. It is run by amateurs and immature morons, period. When businesses go to other cities, they are treated with kid gloves, entertained, wined and dined. When convention executives are in Chicago, they notice the citizens are ticketed and circled like vultures. The red light cameras, the array of high taxes and fees other cities do not experience are a detriment. Taxes for rental cars, taxies, hotels, dining, parking and travel never seem to end in Chicago. Companies attending conventions see no reason to relocate to Chicago. Businesses are like herds, they will continue move in packs away from Chicago. We need to offer some strong incentives to keep conventions in Chicago, hiring Mayor Daley’s friends and family is not the answer. Daley’s has family employed at McCormick Place. Unions such as Journeyman’s Plumbers Local 130 decide which workers work at the convention center instead of a proper application process which could provide better employees. Safeguard the conventioneers by giving management more power to enforce work rules. I think major conventions like the boat show and the car show will stay, but Daley needs to give them incentives like United Airlines tax breaks. I suggest all conventioneers threaten to boycott now for better contacts, Daley will cave in. As I said before and I will say again, keep your eyes open and expose corruption now, before it is too late. Switching subjects, I also hope the incident involving a laborer assaulted by a plumber yesterday at the Department of Water Management is not going to be covered up. I also hope the rise to power by Lemuel Austin from a Department of Water Management laborer to a superintendent’s position at Transportation is just a rumor. I know Daley is an idiot, but does he need another black eye to learn his lesson? Keep in touch; I have another gem on Daley’s son Patrick! Patrick McDonough.

9 Replies to “McCormick Place bled to death by Mayor Daley and his Goons.”

    Juan Ochoa, McPier CEO
    Another trade show says “no” to Chicago. This time, the International Dairy Food Association doesn’t even give Chicago a chance to bid on next year’s convention. That’s four cancellations in two weeks. CBS 2 Chief correspondent Jay Levine sat down with the man in charge at McCormick Place.

    A man who has been feeling the heat lately. For two weeks, he’s declined our offers to respond to complaints of departing exhibitors. But on Wednesday night, 24 hours after Mayor Daley joined the chorus of critics, Juan Ochoa finally sat down with us to give his side of the story.

    In response to the mayor’s statement that it’s a management problem, Ochoa said, “I agree with him. We need to essentially come back and take a look at ourselves, and reinvent ourselves in a way that will make us competitive moving forward.”

    When asked if he should have thought of this before the signs were there, Ochoa said, “Absolutely not. I can tell you the things that I have been doing, myself, as CEO, over the last three years.”

    Things like eliminating pensions for new employees and cutting hundreds of workers. Too little, too late, some argue. Juan Ochoa came to McPier with no convention industry experience, but he doesn’t apologize for that.

    “If there was a professional as the CEO of this authority, I’m sorry to tell you, but I think they would have to carry that person out on a stretcher in probably a couple of months, just because of all of the potential landmines, in not understanding the background,” Ochoa said.

    Ochoa now heads the task force of business and labor leaders who, in their own words, are starting from scratch to make Chicago more competitive; to prevent the losses of any more conventions, tax dollars and real income from working men and women.

    “I have done things that take political courage to do,” Ochoa said. “I have a responsibility, as you mentioned, to those bus boys, to those waiters, to those dishwashers, because I have been there. So I take a tremendous responsibility knowing I’m here fighting for them.”

    He knows he has to cut the overhead in McPier’s $300 million annual budget. And promises for the first time tonight to start with his own compensation.

    His salary is $195,000 a year, according to public record and his own admission. When questioned about bonuses, Ochoa said, “The CEO, traditionally, because you’re not a part of the pension fund, does get a bonus.”

    He received the $35,000 bonus last year. But this year, Ochoa tells CBS 2 he is going to recommend to the board that he not get his bonus.

    “I’m not even looking for it,” Ochoa said. “We all have to share in the pain.”

    The question is, who will join him? We may not know for a couple of weeks when Ochoa promises to unveil a new business model now being hammered out by that task force. To prevent what used to be the convention capital of America from becoming a trade show ghost town.

  2. What did his crooked son do now? What new theft did Patrick do that once again will be overlooked by the US Attorney. Give us the juicy morsels so we can be dissapointed once again because he won’t be indicted. Give it to us, we can dream, can’t we?

  3. Why in the world, or who in the world would want to move from Chicago to live in Russia? The kid is young, Patrick Daley’s whole life is here in the Shitty city, I mean windy city. The kid truly is in hiding. I just thought he was laying low and did not want to talk to the press.But he truly is hiding where there is no extradition treaty. He’s on the lam see! He is afraid of the dirty stinkin coppers.

  4. Chicago loses out to Dallas for new 2010 trade show
    By: Lorene Yue Nov. 25, 2009 (Crain’s) — Chicago has been shut out of a chance to host a new trade show next year after a group that was part of a decade-long event at McCormick Place decided to strike out on its own.

    The International Dairy Foods Assn. recently announced that it will meet every year instead of every other year and that its 2010 show will be held in Dallas instead of Chicago’s McCormick Place.

    The Washington, D.C.-based association had been holding biennial shows in conjunction with the American Meat Institute. They had jointly hosted the Worldwide Food Expo at McCormick Place since its inception in 1999.

    Cost was among the factors in leaving Chicago, said a spokeswoman for the International Dairy Foods Assn., which represents the makers and marketers of milk products.

    “Chicago is not inexpensive,” she said.

    The convention drew 22,000 attendees to McCormick Place this year.

    Though the city didn’t technically lose a show, since the dairy group was not slated to come here in 2010, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau said the city was not given an opportunity to bid on next year’s event.

    The International Dairy Foods Assn. “made a business decision based on the buying cycles of its members,” said a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA), which oversees McCormick Place and Navy Pier.

    The American Meat Institute plans to stay put and will continue to meet every other year. The Washington, D.C.-based group represents meat processors and packagers.

    “We are committed to staying in Chicago for the future,” said Anne Halal, vice-president of conventions and expositions for the group. “We have a letter of intent that extends to 2019. (Chicago) is a great location for us.”

    The site for the 2011 International Dairy Foods Assn. exposition, which would have been scheduled to return to Chicago as part of the Worldwide Food Expo, is up for grabs.

    “We’re getting (host cities) to compete (on pricing),” said the spokeswoman for the group, “If Chicago wants to sharpen their pencils…”

    Chicago’s convention business has taken repeated blows as several major trade shows ditched the city over high labor costs.

    The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society is taking its 2012 show to Las Vegas and the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., which held its annual show in Chicago for nearly 40 years, is going to Orlando.

    The defections were enough to prompt the formation of a task force of city officials, union leaders and representatives from Chicago’s hotel and restaurant industry. Mayor Richard M. Daley on Tuesday held a closed-door meeting with union leaders and MPEA officials to discuss the issue.

    The International Dairy Foods Assn. decided to hold a separate convention after its members felt a “loss of identity.” While the dairy group and the American Meat Institute started out at a relatively similar size, the American Meat Institute utilized twice as much exhibition space this year as the 100,000-square-feet set aside for the dairy association

  5. Pat, the bullshit that we are coming out of recession is hogwash. The states have been borrowing huge amounts of money to stay afloat 1 more year. 43 states that is. Once the next elections are over then layoffs will be massive in these states. The feds juggled the economy through TARP and its bailout and we averted a crisis the last year and a half, but the taxpayers are fed up and will not allow another bailout. There are more huge bank losses to come and I could get into massive detail here but, I will sum it up quickly. Swatzinegger in Kalifornia is not running for another term. He does not want to deal with the hell that is yet to come. Its coming buddy, its coming and it will hit with a fury. The feds are doctoring all the numbers so they will never tell us what is really going on. But if they do not let the correction occur, ie lower food prices and prices in general would be the result of a crash. But with the feds tinkering with the economy it will not let prices come down. They print money to supply government jobs and the result is inflation. We will have inflation during a depression. That is not possible according to the science of economic natural forces. But with the government toying with the economy it is gonna happen. Imagine what the Great Depression of the 1930’s would have been like had there been massive inflation too. That depression was what depressions are supposed to be, and that is with deflation. We are fu(ked! Hunker down and shop at Aldi’s pal. And stock up while you still have a job.

    Hotel owners, like home owners, behind on payments
    Return to lender: US hotel owners, like home owners, going delinquent on debt

    * By Travis Reed

    MIAMI (AP) — Like many home owners, hotels are starting to drown in debt.

    They have been enticing travelers all year with sweet deals: credits for in-house spas and restaurants, up to 50 percent off five-star rooms, even free nights.

    But all that discounting hasn’t stopped occupancy from dropping an average of 10 percent. The result? Hotel loans have begun falling into delinquency faster than any other kind of commercial real estate debt.

    The rising defaults paint a grim picture for an industry with increasingly more rooms than guests, and more hotels still opening every day. It’s a problem that could get worse before it gets better, with demand expected to remain weak and ambitious new projects planned before the meltdown worsening the room glut.

    The oversupply means room rates should stay low for at least another year, good news for consumers but not so great for hotel owners and the banks that lent them the cash to build or buy.

    The rise in delinquencies is sharp. Five times more hotel loans are behind on payments this year than in 2008, according to mortgage data firm Trepp LLC, which tracks those traded by investors. In October, 8.7 percent were distressed, compared with 1.5 percent last year.

    That’s almost double the 4.8 percent rate for commercial property and the 4.5 percent rate for stores.

  7. Experts have beef with Daley on TIF
    Mayor misstated several program facts in recent radio interview, critics say

    November 28, 2009

    BY ABDON M. PALLASCH Political Reporter
    Mayor Daley is going on the offense in arguing for his beloved Tax Increment Financing program — but experts say he is being less than truthful about what critics dub a “shadow budget.”

    Daley has held news conferences and conducted radio interviews about “TIF”s in recent weeks. But in just 2 1/2 minutes during one radio interview, experts say Mayor Daley told a number of falsehoods about the controversial economic development tool.

    According to the city’s own figures, nearly $500 million a year is diverted from the regular pool of property tax money heading toward Chicago schools, libraries parks, police, etc., into the obscure TIF funds, which are designed to promote development in “blighted” areas.

    Daley’s TIF program is controversial because in addition to “blighted” areas on the West Side and other economically challenged areas, the mayor has used a novel definition of “blighted” to include parts of booming downtown. Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) is fighting an effort to start a TIF around Grant Park which would claim the AON Center and other thriving high-rises are “blighted.”

    Here is what Daley told interviewer Alison Cuddy on WBEZ:

    1. “Most TIF Funds don’t generate any money,” Daley said.

    Wrong. Figures from the Cook County Clerk’s office show the funds brought in $495 million in 2008, the last latest year for which figures are available. “They generate a lot of property tax revenue — a substantial number of dollars in total,” said Woods Bowman, professor of public service management at DePaul University.

    2. “Most TIF funds are used for schools, parks, libraries, ex-offender programs, job training, economic development to keep jobs here,” Daley said.

    Wrong on everything but economic development.

    In recent years, Daley’s administration has started using parts of the burgeoning TIF funds to fund improvements in some schools and parks, but those remain the exceptions to the rule as the lion’s share of TIF money goes — as intended — toward economic development. TIFs were not designed to capture money that would otherwise have gone to school and park districts only to return smaller portions of it to them. They were designed for providing funding for sewers, curbs, lighting and other improvements to spur redevelopment in blighted areas

    “This is not operating cash — these are capital funds that are pledged generally for infrastructure improvement,” said Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation. The biggest TIF payouts go not to schools or parks but businesses such as $15 million to the Board of Trade; $10 million to Republic Windows, and multi-million-dollar packages to lure Boeing, United and Willis to Chicago.

    3. Daley disagreed when the radio interviewer said the city generates “about half a billion dollars per year in TIF funds.” Daley responded, “No, I don’t think so. I don’t think it’s that high.”

    Daley is technically right for last year, when the figure was $495 million (only 99 percent of half a billion). Wrong for the previous year, when it was $555 million.

    4. Daley repeatedly interrupted the interviewer when she suggested that TIFS divert money from parks and schools by freezing property taxes in the TIF districts for a number of years and then putting the increases into development funds.

    “No. No. No. No, it doesn’t,” the mayor said.

    Actually, yes yes yes. “That’s true. They used to deny that, but [Daley] needs to get a better briefing from his financial people. He’s wrong,” Bowman said.

    TIFs by their very definition divert money from other taxing districts into TIF funds used to improve the TIF area. In a truly blighted area, school and park districts suffer no loss because any additional tax revenues being raised in the 20-plus-year lifetime of the TIF might not have happened but for the improvements there.

    But in booming areas such as downtown where development likely would have happened anyway, that means hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes is off-limits to school and park districts which instead must reach deeper into the pockets of homeowners and and businesses in areas without TIFs.

    Msall, says it might be more accurate to say that TIFs divert “equalized assessed value” from school and park districts to development. The schools and parks still collect just as much money, just from different pockets.

    5. “They don’t really create a lot of money in TIFs,” Daley said.

  8. So Obama is Moses. But I don’t see Lake Michigan parting. All I see is Newsweek telling us the recession is over, the New York Times telling us today that 1 in 8 people are on food stamps and that food stamps are now the “chic” thing to do. The L.A. Times today tell us that rents are plummeting in California and also foreclosures are soaring still all accross the country. And how is Obama dealing with all of this? By telling us we need to jam through health care reform and cap and trade (both of which 2 out of 3 Americans DON’T want!). But when George Bush was in office and unemployment hit 6% the NY Times and all other Main Stream media was telling us that we are in a depression and this is horrible. Now with unemployment higher than 10 1/2 % we are told that this is normal, don’t worry. “were doomed” Remember that cartoon character? The worst is hitting. The tarp bailout was for 1 trillion dollars. But the fed really spent another 2 trillion more which was kept hidden away from the public cause the government just printed the 2 trillion and does not want the other countries to know for fear of massive inflation and the total collapse of our economy. No bailout will cure our economic ills. Because when you ad up all the losses from collapsing real estate and bank loses, the number is about 25 trillion. We only spent 3 trillion (with 2 trillion kept off of the books)There is no way we will be able to bailout another 22 trillion. This is getting real real deep. And our almighty president is doing nothing to address this other than lying and saying “we are getting out of this, the ression is over, just look the other way” Maureen Dowd, the big liberal journalist and Obama lover has just come out and called Obama an “amatuer president” That his advisers are all Chicago know nothings and that he desperately needs advisers who know how to handle this mess. When Obamas term is done, he will make Jimmy Carter look like the true Moses. Thank you, and I’m Len O’conner….. (remember Len, from channel 9 news? The old fuddy duddy who was actually pretty brilliant)

  9. January 5, 2010

    BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter
    Mayor Daley today denied that McCormick Place has become a political dumping ground, but nevertheless demanded that the financially-strapped agency pare down the number of six-figure executives or order them to take furlough days.

    “I’ve taken a nine percent cut in salary — almost 20 days off without pay. Ask my wife. She’ll tell you that,” Daley said of the across-the-board sacrifices he has ordered at City Hall.

    “When the economy is very, very challenging, it is time that government look within itself and understand that people are really suffering and they have to react. John Gates, the new chairman [of the McPier board] is looking at that very carefully, and I think he’ll do something about it.”

    The Chicago Sun-Times reported this week that there has been a 17 percent increase in the number of McCormick Place and Navy Pier employees paid more than $100,000 a year since 2006 despite a trade show exodus that threatens Chicago’s standing as a convention center.

    The 54-member club of employees with six-figure salaries includes the mayor’s former special events director, the son of Daley’s former political enforcer, and the brother of a former chief-of-staff to Daley and indicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

    Although eight of the highest-paid executives made state and city lists of clout hiring, Daley denied that McPier has become a political dumping ground.

    “They have good, qualified people. They have good people over there. Yes, they’re good people. They work very hard,” the mayor said.

    “There’s a serious economic crisis we have. It affects all conventions and tourism, and they’ll look at it. … They have to look at it. John Gates has taken over and they’ll look at it very carefully… But, don’t throw everybody out.”

    Daley also shot down the idea of merging the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority with the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority to reduce administrative costs and tap hotel tax revenue currently earmarked for U.S. Cellular Field to lure conventions.

    “You can’t take McCormick Place, which is not doing that well, and merge it with the Illinois Sports Authority, which is doing well. You’re saddling the Illinois Sports Authority. You couldn’t do that. No. It would be unfair,” he said.

    McPier CEO Juan Ochoa agreed with Daley that “people are suffering and we need to make sacrifices.” But, Ochoa said he already has — and so have his employees.

    Ochoa, whose annual salary is $195,000, said he agreed to forfeit the $35,000 in deferred compensation that his predecessors have traditionally received as a lump sum at year’s end because the CEO is not part of the McPier pension fund.

    “That equates to 16.5 percent of my overall compensation. And I once had a company car, which I no longer have,” Ochoa said.

    “In addition, everyone is taking 12 furlough days and two unpaid holidays. We’ve frozen salaries for the next three years. New employees hired after July 1 will no longer be part of the pension fund, but in a traditional 401k. When we’re finished with this latest reduction, we’ll be down to 400 employees [compared to 700 five years ago] even though we now have four buildings. From a cost-cutting standpoint, I don’t know any entity that has done more than we have. We’re past the bone at this point.”

    Last year, McCormick Place was forced to dip into the state sales tax for the first time — to the tune of nearly $19 million — to cover its debt obligations after tourism taxes fell short. This year’s shortfall is $34 million.

    In recent months, the triennial plastics industry trade show announced that it was moving its 2012 and 2015 shows to Orlando after nearly 40 years in Chicago.

    The plastics show bombshell was dropped one week after a marquee medical trade show announced plans to move from Chicago to Las Vegas, where electrical costs for one booth for one exhibitor were $4,000, compared to $40,000 here.

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