Relationship Between Daley, C3 Presents Continues To Be Mutually Beneficial

By Chuck Sudo in News on Sep 24, 2014 1:45PM

The rich do indeed get richer. The Sun-Times looks at the mutually beneficial relationship between former Mayor Richard M. Daley and C3 Presents, the group that produces Lollapalooza, and finds it to still be rewarding for both parties.

C3 has retained TUR Partners, the firm Daley established with his son Patrick after he left office to bring global investors to Chicago, to develop a plan to better utilize Tower Lake Metropolitan Park in Austin, Texas. TUR has been working with the Austin Parks foundation to develop the plan, which will be presented to Austin’s City Council next month. C3, coincidentally, has completely bankrolled the study and has an event planned in the 74-acre park. A couple notable aspects of the $100 million plan include underground parking and pedestrian bridges.

C3 and TUR are banking that Daley’s reputation as an environmentally conscious mayor will sell Austin on the plan, but critics contend the study favors money-making ventures over green space. Lori Healey, TUR’s CEO, said the opposite holds true. C3, which is in the curious position of having conflicts of interests here, said it had no role in Austin Parks Foundation hiring TUR.

So far, C3 has paid the Austin Parks Foundation $1.5 million to cover its payments to TUR.

The relationship between Daley and C3 goes back to when C3 decided to reboot Lollapalooza as a weekend destination festival in Grant Park over a decade ago, another project where it could be argued money-making ventures take precedence over green space. C3’s original contract called for the company to not pay any amusement taxes to the city. That loophole was closed shortly after Daley left office, although the Emanuel administration also gave C3 a new 10-year contract to hold Lollapalooza at Grant Park and expanded the festival’s overall footprint there.

C3’s tax exemption, by the way, was brokered by Mark Vanecko, a nephew of Daley. Vanecko also represents Kevin Killerman of Lollapalooza Festival Services, which handles liquor sales for the festival. Bars owned by Killerman have a litany of underage drinking complaints filed against them. TUR Partners is only one of many streams of revenue Daley has established since leaving office.