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Aldermen Meet With Olympic Bid Team in "Secret"

By Kevin Robinson in News on Jun 25, 2009 2:00PM

2009_6_secret_sports.jpg Amid the growing controversy over Mayor Daley's signature on a financial guarantee for the 2016 Summer Games, the city's bid team met yesterday with aldermen behind closed doors. Mayor Daley's Intergovernmental Affairs Office informed aldermen of the meetings, which started at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall. Mayoral spokeswoman Jacquelyn Heard denied that the meeting were secret. "The 2016 team walked into a public building in broad daylight right past a crowd of reporters that the team knew was waiting there and proceeded to brief aldermen as part of the same process that had been in place for decades," Heard told the Tribune. "First, aldermen are given the opportunity to ask questions and hear the facts in private. This allows them to develop a well-informed opinion before they air them publicly." Chicago 2016 spokeswoman Mica Matsoff echoed that sentiment, saying that the meetings were a decision the bid team made "as we're going through this in in real time and hearing things and responding to them."

"I think the citizens have seen what they did when they went to Switzerland, and as far as I can tell, people are making a lot of calls to their aldermen," 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack said. "We've already seen the story from 2016 change one too many times." 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas was more upbeat, however. "I think one of the things that came out of it that was informative is the fact that the mayor did not sign any agreement," he told NBC5. "I think he committed that the city would have full guarantees in his financial scheme, and it's very important for people to understand that that's what happened." 2nd Ward Bob Fioretti agreed with Cardenas. "The overwhelming, overwhelming majority of the people in my ward, and just as I think the people in the 12th ward, feel that we want to have the Olympics here, but we want full disclosure. We want transparency. We want to know how much we're responsible for here," he said. In the meantime, 1st Ward Alderman Manny Flores has said he plans to propose an ordinance capping the city's liability at the already agreed upon $500 million.