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How To Sell Off a City
By Rick Perlstein
Posted February 25, 2015

bankers profit from privatizationFor over a decade now, Chicago has been the epicenter of the fashionable trend of “privatization”—the transfer of the ownership or operation of resources that belong to all of us, like schools, roads and government services, to companies that use them to turn a profit. Chicago’s privatization mania began during Mayor Richard M. Daley’s administration, which ran from 1989 to 2011. Under his successor, Rahm Emanuel, the trend has continued apace. For Rahm’s investment banker buddies, the trend has been a boon. For citizens? Not so much.

And as mayor, Emanuel has proven himself practically an addict when it comes to brokering deals with his former investment banker comrades and the other business interests he keeps on speed dial. As the Chicago Reader’s Ben Joravsky and Mick Dumke discovered when they filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the mayor’s private schedule, Emanuel almost never met with community leaders during his first year in office, but he met constantly with rich bankers like Rauner, BMO CEO William Downe and Larry Fink, chairman and CEO of BlackRock, the world’s biggest money management firm. These are his people. More…