The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

April 15, 2013

City, Cubs push $500 million Wrigley renovation

(Continued)

Getting to an agreement hasn't been easy. After failing to reach an agreement when Mayor Richard Daley was in office, the family kept talking after Emanuel took office in 2011. Emanuel the next year said city officials and the Ricketts family were in the "final stages" of talks on a renovation plan that could include public help.

But even presidential politics presented an obstacle for the plans at one point.

During the 2012 election, the patriarch of the Ricketts family, which created the TD Ameritrade brokerage firm, was considering a $10 million campaign against Obama that would refer to the racially incendiary sermons delivered by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright at a Chicago church the president once attended. J. Joseph Ricketts dropped the proposal, but the episode brought a huge dose of unwanted bad press.

The news especially angered Emanuel, Obama's former White House chief of staff. Emanuel, staffers said, was so livid he refused to take phone calls from Tom Ricketts.

In recent weeks, fans also had to deal with the unlikely specter of the Cubs leaving Chicago. With the talks bogged down, the mayor of nearby Rosemont piped up, saying the village located near O'Hare International Airport would be willing to let the Cubs have 25 acres free of charge to build a replica of Wrigley Field.

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