Chicago says "No Games!"
No Games Chicago Update
6 Days To Decision
Daily News

September 25, 2009
The People Speak

So in a year or two we can look forward to hearing a speech from Daley saying how he is losing faith in the company that won the construction bid or how shocked he was to find out somebody on the Olympic Committee has been arrested for bribery. He will have to come up with a new speech to explain cost overruns and how the insurance doesn%u2019t cover them. The Feds could do us a favor and just start overseeing the bid process now.

Comment online reacting to this Chicago Tribune story.

Daley approval rating at 35%

Dear Member of the International Olympic Committee:

Today the Chicago Tribune continues to chronicle the conflict of interests of Michael Scott, the chairman of the 2016 Community Outreach Committee.

Mr. Scott led the 2016 Committee's efforts to negotiate a community benefits agreement with dozens of neighborhood groups to get their support for the bid. Apparently the only benefits being distributed from the bid are to insiders, such as himself.

Here is a link to an earlier story about Mr. Scott's sweetheart land deal involving a site across the street form a proposed Olympic venue.
Chicago 2016 Olympics: Bid team member has ties to prospective Olympic Village developer

Chicago 2016 member Michael Scott works out of developer Gerald Fogelson's office

David Heinzmann, Todd Lighty and Kathy Bergen
Tribune reporters - September 25, 2009

A key member of Mayor Richard Daley's Olympic committee has a long business relationship with a developer vying to build the billion-dollar Olympic Village, the grandest piece of Chicago's plans for the 2016 Summer Games.

Chicago 2016 committee member Michael Scott also served as a consultant to the developer on a condominium project near the proposed athletes village, a development that would increase in value if the city wins the Olympics.

Scott, who negotiated key components of the $1.2 billion Olympic Village plan, said his business relationship with the developer, Gerald Fogelson, does not interfere with his role with the bid team. Chicago 2016 officials declined to say whether Scott's relationship with Fogelson was a problem, with Daley's Olympic team poised to spend billions of dollars in coming years.

But Scott's multiple roles as a private developer, mayoral confidant and member of the city's Olympic committee raises anew concerns about insider dealings in a city where Daley allies have long benefited from civic projects the mayor champions. City Hall insiders for years have profited under Daley's administration in myriad deals, from minority contracting to leasing trucks to scooping up prime city-owned land.

Scott, who works out of Fogelson's office, acknowledged he did work on the ongoing Eastgate Village condominium project, but said he provided limited services -- free -- as a favor to the millionaire developer.

"I had no financial interest. I didn't do any real work," Scott said.

Fogelson also described Scott's work as a favor. "He's a longtime friend. He offices here. He's done us favors. We've done him favors," Fogelson said Thursday. "We have other business dealings with him that date back a long time."

Earlier this summer, Scott moved to sever his ties to another development after the Tribune revealed his role in plans to build a housing and retail project near the proposed Olympic cycling venue on the West Side. Fogelson was not involved in that venture. Scott said he was working for free on that project also, advising a group of ministers. Chicago 2016 officials advised him to end his involvement.

Scott said he did not disclose his ties to Fogelson to Chicago 2016 because he sees no conflict of interest. But a Chicago 2016 spokesman said officials knew of Scott's relationship with Fogelson.

In an e-mail, Patrick Sandusky said no contracts have yet been awarded for development and if the city wins the games on Oct. 2, Chicago 2016 would be dissolved and a new organizing committee would "have a public and open bidding process for the village development."

Fogelson is among a dozen developers who have formally notified Chicago 2016 of their interest in the Olympic Village project. The village would boost property values for Eastgate and other developments, Fogelson said. Scott, currently the president of the Chicago Board of Education, has served Daley and three previous mayors in a series of appointed positions. Along the way he has become a real estate developer, involved in various projects.

Public records show that in 2002 Fogelson and Scott formed a partnership -- FS Associates LLC -- to develop city-owned land in the West Side Austin neighborhood into condominiums. Fogelson withdrew from the deal before the project was built, and Scott formed a new partnership with David Doig, former superintendent of the Chicago Park District.

Scott currently has an office in Fogelson's building and his business e-mail has a Fogelson Properties address.

Fogelson acknowledged a longtime business relationship with Scott but declined to discuss their dealings.

"I don't feel that it's anybody's business to know all the various real estate and other activities we're engaged in," Fogelson said. "I don't think there's anything improper about that. We try to stay under the radar."

Scott, too, declined to discuss his relationship with Fogelson beyond their sharing of office space.

Scott, who is black, said he advised Fogelson on building the development in a predominantly African-American neighborhood just south of the McCormick Place convention center, including arranging for radio personality Herb Kent to act as master of ceremonies for a promotional event.

"I helped them get an emcee and gave them ideas for marketing to the African-American community," Scott said. "I am not the developer."

Others recall Scott's role as more active. "I know Mike Scott. I know he was part of it. He was involved," said Madeline Haithcock, the former alderman for the area.

A Web site marketing Eastgate Village identified Scott as a development partner in a July 2008 account about a street-naming ceremony.

Ald. Robert Fioretti, 2nd, said he didn't learn of Scott's involvement in Eastgate until he saw him at the street-naming ceremony in late 2007. But Fioretti said he first became aware of their business relationship earlier that year when he visited Fogelson's office soon after becoming alderman. Fioretti recalled looking over plans in the office when Scott walked into the room.

"I was like, 'Wow, OK. This explains a lot about who's who and what's what in this city,' " Fioretti said.