11.30.2009 0

Valerie Jarretts Underwater Demolition: Cataloging Failure

  • On: 12/08/2009 09:35:06
  • In: Corruption
  • Mayor Daley was displeased when Jarrett lost Spiegel, a catalog company which had operated warehouses in Chicago for 88 years. Daley wanted a more aggressive effort from the Department of Planning and Development. The company wanted to relocate its old warehouses. Her department proposed six sites, but Spiegel found all of them to be deficient. The best site was covered with 20 to 30 feet of water. Jarrett promised that the site could be filled-in in time to meet Spiegel’s deadline, but the company did not believe it.

    As a result, more than one thousand people lost their jobs, and Chicago lost hundreds of millions of dollars. Jarrett was far from apologetic. She claimed her department “moved heaven and earth to exceed [Spiegel’s] expectations. We didn’t drop the ball. I will sleep well.”

    Spiegel Inc. doesn’t know where it wants to relocate its South Side distribution center, but it knows it won’t be in Chicago.

    And that decision, called “gut-wrenching and emotional” by the catalog/retailing company, will rob the city’s economy of up to $510 million annually and put 2,000 jobs in jeopardy.
    . . .
    The economic impact of Spiegel’s exodus would be at least $410 million and could hit as high as $510 million, said Sam Mitchell, president of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.
    . . .
    Valerie Jarrett, the city’s commissioner of planning and development, said her staff “worked very hard” to put together a package that could keep Spiegel here. “Since our proposals met and even exceeded their criteria, we don’t understand why they are leaving the city.”

    However, sources close to Daley say he was disappointed that the Planning Department’s efforts weren’t more aggressive. The city knew last week Spiegel was lost, they say.

    It’s another black eye for Daley, who has been forced to abandon his plan for a Lake Calumet airport and has seen his dream of a casino complex become mired in controversy.

    (Chicago Sun-Times 9/10/92)

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