Monday, November 30, 2009

GOP comptroller candidate Kelly calls for resignation of McPier CEO

I went running after I wrote my latest story on the troubles--mainly self-inflicted--of Chicago's once massive convention industry, and during that effort, I wondered, "When is a 2010 candidate for office going to take on this problem?"

A few hours later I got my answer. William J. Kelly, a Republican candidate for state comptroller, has stepped up to the plate. As comptroller, I don't believe he'll have any input in the decision process, but as a concerned citizen, he has as much input as I do.

And I second his notion. Oh, McPier is the nickname for Chicago's convention apparatus, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority.

From a Kelly campaign press release:

William J. Kelly, Republican candidate for Illinois comptroller has issued this statement calling for the resignation of McPier CEO Juan Ochoa:

After the loss of four major conventions and counting, it is clear that McPier CEO and Blagojevich crony, Juan Ochoa needs to resign immediately. As is well-known, Ochoa won his $195,000 post after raising campaign cash for our disgraced former governor. Especially after the loss of the 2016 Olympics, what we need now are major conventions to help stimulate Illinois' economy and create much needed jobs. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported recently, I had the opportunity to speak with RNC Chairman Michael Steele about bringing the Republican National Convention to Chicago in 2012. But in order to bring the RNC and restore our lost convention business from Florida, Nevada, and Texas to Chicago, it is time for Juan Ochoa to go.

Thanks to the mismanagement of the long-line of political hacks like Ochoa & Co., the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority will soon be yet another wasteland and a new drain on Illinois taxpayers. As has been reported, McPier's projected operating losses will grow eightfold to $28.8 million in the fiscal year that started July and the State of Illinois will be on the hook for millions more to cover shortfalls in tourism taxes. To counter McPier's shortfall, Chicago Tribune reports that the state’s general sales tax fund was tapped for $18.8 million this year and will be tapped $34 million in 2010. Reports indicate that McPier's cumulative funding gap is expected to exceed $500 million by 2020.

Illinois and Chicago's economic climate are collapsing under its long-standing culture of corruption, nepotism, and cronyism and McPier is the latest example of this. This kind of backroom double-dealing, price-gouging, greed, and incompetence cannot be allowed to continue – not when Illinois businesses and families are stuck with the tab and not when more Illinois jobs will continue to be lost. Today, I am calling on Governor Pat Quinn and Mayor Richard Daley to demand the immediate resignation McPier CEO Juan Ochoa.

William J. Kelly is running on a platform to be Illinois' first "activist" comptroller. He is the former executive director of the National Taxpayers United of Illinois. He is also an entrepreneur with an Emmy award-winning TV production company and currently hosts the multi-state sports TV series, "Sportsaholic." For information, visit

In short, Ochoa must go-a.

We lost the Olympics, but let's bring the 2012 Republican National Convention to Chicago, and stop exodus of conventions from Chicago. Unless of course McPier wants Chicago to be the city of empty hotel rooms, unemployed waiters, idled cabdrivers, and boarded up souvenir shops.

And deserted exhibit halls.

Related posts:

Electrical services costs at Chicago trade show "four to eight times" what they were in Orlando
Dallas wins out over Chicago for new trade show
Chicago's mounting trade show woes
Chicago Tribune: A third major trade show may bail on Chicago
Union "tyranny of the few" drives Plastics Show from Chicago
Marathon Pundit on CBS 2 Chicago
Agency that runs Chicago's convention centers "in deep financial hole"
Union extortionists may drive another trade show from Chicago

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