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Wrigley Rooftop Clubs Have Been Very, Very Good To Tom Tunney

By Chuck Sudo in News on May 14, 2012 2:20PM

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The Sun-Times follows up on 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney's reservations with Mayor Emanuel's "Fenway Plan" that would allow the Chicago Cubs to generate revenue to renovate Wrigley Field by relaxing the ballpark's landmark status by taking a look at the contributions to Tunney's campaign by the rooftop owners. We wrote on May 8 that the rooftop clubs have raised some serious cash for Tunney over the years. We didn't expect it to be close to 10 percent of all the campaign cash Tunney's raised since he first became an alderman nine years ago, as the Sun-Times states.

A search of the State Board of Elections database shows that, a week before Tunney went public with his opposition to Emanuel's plan, he received a campaign contribution of $2,500 from Cubby Bear owner George Loukas (who owns rooftop clubs in the area), and $1,000 donations to Citizens for Tunney from Ivy League Baseball Club and Right Field Rooftop LLC. Tunney told the Sun-Times he earned the trust of rooftop clubs because he's an staunch advocate for business Tunney also chairs the City Council Economic Development Committee and defended his fundraising from the rooftop clubs. "I think I’m pretty modest in my fund-raising compared to other chairmen of committees."

But it isn't the amount of cash Tunney's raised as much as it is the percentage from a specific lobby that raises concern. It's the same perceived conflict of interest people perceive Tunney to have with keeping food truck legislation stalled. Tunney sits on the Illinois Restaurant Association's Government Relations Committee. Last month the Tribune obtained documents from the IRA lining out proposed guidelines for food trucks to operate.

Tunney, as the owner of Ann Sather's restaurants, has also catered city functions in the past, raising the possibility of a conflict of interest.

Tunney may say he's a strong advocate for business, but to some it may seem as though he's mainly a strong advocate for his business.