Andy Shaw, President & CEO of the Better Government Association files lawsuit to compel Navy Pier Inc to open its books and provide transparency to taxpayers under the $1 Per Year Lease Agreement executed with MPEA.
"McPier is taking you for a ride"
See Chicago Sun Times article here....
Here is a refresher on how we arrived at this point.
In December, 2010 Renee Benjamin, General Counsel, hired Shefsky & Froehlich, a politically connected law firm with millions in billings to MPEA, City of Chicago and the sister agencies, was handed a sole source contract to "research if a not for profit is subject to FOIA and OMA". Benjamin approved payment for $17,000 to an outside firm fully knowing the answer in advance.
It took 4 attorneys billing at $295 per hour and 2 attorneys billing at $195 to conclude that a 501C3 non-profit is not subject to FOIA and OMA.
Again, this is amusing as Benjamin was the FOIA Officer for MPEA, with training from the Illinois Attorney's Office. She could have simply referred to Lisa Madigan's handbook on FOIA (see Page 9) or called her office for an answer without spending taxpayer dollars.
Any Chicago student studying civics could easily find the answer by simply looking for it!
Pay to Play, the Chicago Way!
But, this was actually an orchestrated effort by Jim Reilly to immediately incorporate Navy Pier Inc. in anticipation of splitting it out from MPEA effective July 1, 2011 and move all the Navy Pier patronage workers out of public scrutiny.
Benjamin received an immediate reward from Riley after she "retired" from MPEA effective 12/31/2010 and then obtained a sole source wired deal to act as Riley's "consultant" to supplement her monthly $8,000 pension with annual billings of between $65,000 and $70,000.
Never did these folks imagine that Tim Novak at the Chicago Sun Times would obtain direct evidence of improprieties, fraud and waste of taxpayer funds via their filed and signed IRS990 tax returns!
The BGA has filed suit to shed light on this corruption and we applaud Andy Shaw and his team for their efforts on behalf of the taxpayers of Illinois.