Emanuel accepted gifts of sports tickets, travel perks last year – Chicago Tribune
For the sixth straight year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has reported receiving free transportation, sports tickets and houseguest stays from wealthy friends and political supporters.
Emanuel made the disclosure on his annual economic interest statement that was due Monday and requires all Cook County politicians to report gifts valued at more than $500. The mayor accepted gifts from three people last year — two regulars and a newcomer to his annual filing.
Once again, Emanuel accepted transportation and sports tickets from close friend, confidant and top campaign donor Michael Sacks, whom the mayor appointed to run World Business Chicago shortly after taking office in 2011. Sacks has appeared on the list every year since Emanuel took office, but 2016 is the first year the mayor reported staying as a houseguest of Sacks.
Sacks, his family and employees at investment firm GCM Grosvenor have contributed more than $3.6 million to funds that helped Emanuel win election, state campaign finance records show.
Also appearing on the form again was Sidney “Skip” Herman, a partner at law firm Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott. The latest filing marked the sixth time Emanuel has reported staying as a houseguest of Herman, who calls himself a close friend and fishing pal of the mayor’s. Herman told the Sun-Times this year that he and Emanuel long have vacationed together with their families at Herman’s Montana home.
Herman has contributed more than $145,000 to Emanuel’s campaign fund, including a maximum $5,600 donation recorded by the mayor March 30, records show.
New to the list is David Helfand, the CEO and president of Chicago-based real estate investment trust Equity Commonwealth and co-president of Equity Group Investments. Helfand is a longtime deputy of billionaire Chicago real estate magnate Sam Zell, who runs both firms.
Emanuel reported accepting transportation from Helfand last year, and from Zell in 2011. The disclosure form does not require Emanuel to detail the nature of the gift, but the transportation expenses typically are complimentary rides on private jets.
Helfand has contributed $185,300 to Emanuel-aligned campaign funds, records show.
The three gift-givers are half of the six individuals the mayor reported for 2015, continuing a downward trend since Emanuel took office. The mayor reported accepting gifts from three people in 2014, down from five in 2013, 12 in 2012 and 19 in 2011.