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It Pays to Have Friends in High Places

By Chuck Sudo on Nov 1, 2007 4:29PM

2007_11_parkgrill.jpgBy all accounts, Park Grill in Millennium Park has been doing wonderful business. It's not surprising, given its location. They also have a sweetheart deal with the Park District. Instead of leasing their digs, Park Grill has a 20-year concession contract with the Park District, with a 10-year option. They also don't have to pay for water, gas, or garbage collection. Lowers the overhead for running the restaurant just a little bit, wouldn't you agree?

The County board tried to remedy this by sending Park Grill ownership property tax bills that currently total nearly $350,000. However, an October ruling in Cook County ruled that the owners don't have to pay a single penny of the bill. In siding with the owners, who include longtime Daley ally Fred Barbara (who keeps finding ways to make money from nothing), Judge Richard J. Billik, Jr. stated that if Park Grill was supposed to pay the taxes, the Park District should have first notified the county. Park Grill's current deal with the Park District calls for it to pay $275,000 a year and up to 4 percent of gross sales. One would think that with no gas, water, garbage, and property tax bills to worry about they could lower their prices.

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