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Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has never been on board with the idea that the state would use public funds for a renovation of Wrigley Field. When the Ricketts Family first floated the idea that the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois could help chip in on a renovation project in 2010, Quinn wasn’t interested:

“We have top priorities in Illinois right now that must be dealt with,” Quinn said, adding that the Ricketts family’s proposal “would not be a top priority for me.”

The governor also has his nose out of joint that the Cubs shared their plan with House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago) and Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) but left Quinn out of the loop.

“Apparently, they don’t think I’m as important as some others,” Quinn said. “I am important in this matter because I’m goalie for the people of Illinois to make sure they get their top priorities addressed.”

Let’s set aside the fact that the state of Illinois, on Quinn’s watch, helped fund construction of the multimillion “Bacardi at the Park” restaurant at U.S. Cellular Field for the White Sox just a couple years ago, and pretend this isn’t the height of hypocrisy. Then we can accept as credible Quinn’s renewed indignation at recent reports that the Cubs and the city of Chicago are close to working out an agreement that would lead to a shared funding approach for a Wrigley Field renovation.

The renewed indignation, from Crain’s:

“I’m not excited about that at all,” Mr. Quinn said on the “Don Wade & Roma Show” on WLS-AM/890. “Our state has severe fiscal challenges, so the very idea of the state of Illinois spending millions and millions of dollars on Wrigley Field, I don’t think that’s in the cards at all.”

Added the guv: The Ricketts family “bought the team, and they should make the lion’s share of the investment to fix up the park.”

It’s not clear at this time what level of involvement – in terms of cash, man-power, political will, etc. – the state would have in the renovation plan under consideration, so it’s possible this is just political bloviating. Even if it isn’t, it’s not clear what Quinn means by “spending millions and millions of dollars on Wrigley Field.” That leaves open the possibility of spending a little on Wrigley Field, and then “millions and millions” on surrounding projects (for example, the Triangle Building project, which will not only help the Cubs, but will provide multi-use facilities to the community).

That explanation is consistent with a follow-up statement, issued on behalf of the Ricketts Family. The statement also emphasizes that the Ricketts are more than willing to share the load:

The Ricketts family agrees with the governor and is working with city, county and state government leaders to invest significant levels of private and family dollars to preserve and improve Wrigley Field and create thousands of jobs.

As usual, we’ll just have to be patient, and see where this goes.

  • Brian

    So, he’s a Sox fan. O Well!!

    • JB88

      Pretty sure that Quinn is a Cubs’ fan. I’m fairly confident I remember him singing the 7th Inning stretch when he was Lt. Gov.

      • Spencer

        Yeah, well, I would sing the seventh inning stretch for any team if it could possibly help me get elected as governor.

        • JB88

          I’m fairly certain that in the interview with Len & Bob he said he was a Cubs’ fan. It was a number of years ago and I’m willing to admit my memory might be hazy on this point.

      • hansman1982

        No, that just means he is a politician and would sign the 7th inning stretch at Busch Stadium if it meant getting reelected.

  • Wilbur

    Obviously the Ricketts did not make an adequate donation to the political war chest of the “illinois’ goalie”! Does he have any interest in helping the Blackhawks?

  • King Jeff

    Quinn, like Emanuel, must think that the excessive taxes that they collect from the Cubs, is “his” money too.

    • ty

      I had to work with Quinn when we were both young and he was a stubborn lying asshole even then.

      • Well if we are guessing

        Yet he became……. and you do what, collect unemployment ?

  • Michael O’Connor

    State and city should have thought of that before making it a historical landmark. Only fair that they should have to foot some of the bill now.

  • BD

    I don’t like this guy. Not just because of this kind of thing, but it’s just another log on the fire. What a hypocrite.

    Anybody put odds on when he will end up in jail?

  • http://castorrated.wordpress.com CastorRated

    No money for Wrigley, no free CTA/RTA rides for seniors, companies jumping ship to other states unless there is a “deal” made, roads look like crap…what HAS Quinn done? Alas, this is a discussion for a different site. More Cubs related: I think it is odd that the organization can’t use the additional “ticket tax” money they bring in. That’s not really public money. That is money the teams bring in because of the service/product/entertainment they provide their patrons. I think they should be able to use that money. Where does that money actually go?

    • Mike

      Into the same tax pot as every other dollar that’s collected. The source isn’t really relevant – UNLESS you’re worried that the source is in danger of drying up.

    • hansman1982

      no free CTA/RTA rides for seniors, companies jumping ship to other states unless there is a “deal” made, roads look like crap

      that is where the money goes.

    • Jeff Wilson

      Exactly, how many companies will have to relocate to WI, Indy, and other states, and how many millinaires will “move” to FL (on paper) to escape Illinois’ suffocating tax policy before this idiot realizes his work is killing his state. Look in the mirror for crying out loud, you can’t outsmart millionaires.

  • Cys_av8r

    Apparently he has been unable to find a way to line his pockets with the project…hence the attitude. Politics in Chicago and/or IL is a for profit venture.

  • Cub Style

    Thanks, a lot Illinois people. You couldn’t just elect Bill Brady.

    • Brian

      98% of the State counties did, but it took only one Cook county to elect Quinn!

      • Cub Style

        :Wags finger at Cook County:

    • hardtop

      funding renovations at wrigley would have fit right in with brady’s plan to cut the state budget by 10% across the board.

  • Mrp

    Time to threaten to move the franchise? Would that even do anything? How plausible would it be?

  • Eric S

    Not all of us in cook county were on the Quinn bandwagon. Just throwing that out there. Cook (CROOK) County….EPIC FAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Doug

    The not so Mighty Might Quinn can go F himself!

  • clark addison

    The governor alumni club is reserving a spot for him.

  • PeterG

    I like Blago. He would of cut a deal with Ricketts on the side. Problem solved!!!

  • Chuck

    Brady makes cook county politicians look like amateur criminals.he has used plenty of state tax money for his company’s benefit.

  • DJL

    This is just the opening salvo in a battle that ends with higher ticket prices.

    “Unfortunately we couldn’t come to a financial agreement with the governor, so we will be forced to raise our ticket prices x% in each of the next three years. The increased revenue will enable us to pay for blah blah blah…”

    • TWC

      Oh, thank goodness… I was worried that we were going to make it all the way through an acrimonious day in the comments without someone bitching about ticket prices.  *phew!*

      • Dave H

        Next thing you’ll hear is that they’ll raise beer prices also.

    • Kyle

      They had better be very, very careful with that. Attendance is already slipping and fans are being asked to put up with a team that is making no effort to win. No need to accelerate the process.

  • BeyondFukudome

    Somebody please send the governor a new bottle of Midol…

  • Kevin

    Go Cubs!

  • Kevin

    The Cubs will surprise everyone this year!

    • BeyondFukudome

      The Cubs could generate revenue if you’d let them use the empty space between your ears for advertising.

  • Kevin

    [Ed. - Racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, etc. type comments aren't ok around here.]

    • Roughriider

      Brett

      I’m amazed that a statement like that has found it’s way here. This is disgustingly innappropriate.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I’m not sure if you’re blaming me, but I took care of it as soon as I saw it. There are no automatic filters for anti-Semitic comments…

        • hansman1982

          Its always your fault…

        • Roughriider

          No Brett, I wasn’t blaming you. No way no how. Just trying to bring it to your attention. I know that you don’t condone that.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Right on. Thanks, RR.

    • MichiganGoat

      Hate and ignorance what a combo there Kevin

      • Katie

        Damn! I missed more buffoonery. And what’s this I hear about us not being allowed to cuss?!

        • hansman1982

          I hear ya, I ALWAYS miss the good ones…

  • ReiCow

    Brett,

    Do you know how much the taxes on Cubs tickets vs. other organizations are? Would make for an interesting discussion, especially in light of funding for Wrigley renovations.

    Moo.

  • Michael Caldwell

    I’m so glad I no longer live in the People’s Republic of Illinois. You all really should read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” because you are living it out, not that the rest of the nation isn’t, but as John Galt itterated, why are you all crying? You got what you wanted when you voted for it.

    • Cyranojoe

      You lost me at “you should read Ayn”. Sorry, bud.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    What happens if Dempster can’t stop this early season slide today? If we make another turn through the rotation with Dempster and Garza losing well pitched games what changes can be expected? At least the offense is scoring some runs, not a lot but enough to win games. This bullpen must be addressed very soon. We can’t go way below .500 and ever expect to get back to that mark. It’s been cold in Chicago for this opening series and fan turnout hasn’t been very good. On TV it looks like only half the stadium is full. I understand that most of the seats are sold. Will Ricketts sit back and watch actual attendance drop so drastically. Theo needs to take a look at building his bullpen differently. Camp must go! Bring Wells up and put him the pen along with anybody else who can get the ball over the plate. I don’t see how the Cubs have the luxury of carrying Castillo in the BP at this point. He might be a good prospect but he probably should have never been taken in the Rule 5 draft. Marlon Byrd should just go away. He looks pathetic at the plate. Urghh… DeJesus is a 4th outfielder. His bat is no good. His plate discipline is not as advertised. We already have a bunch of 4th and 5th outfielders.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Dempster and Garza could pitch well and still lose, with the Cubs facing Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    I personally can’t wait for June to see Jackson and Rizzo. I don’t really care about the financial implications of bringing them up early at this point. The fans should not have to watch an inferior product on the field. Move LaHair to RF. The Cubs need the offense and a rejuvenated fan base. Get T. Wood a couple more solid starts at AAA and get him and Wells up in the BP. I think if K. Wood continues to struggle he has to be moved deeper into the pen and out of a set up role. Dolis has looked pretty good give him the job. I can’t afford to buy a bottle of Patron 3 days a week watching this bullpen. I have my fingers and toes crossed believing Volstad and Maholm will settle down and improve quickly. We simply need better pedigree’s in the bullpen. Camp and Castillo have to go and I would have a leash so short on Marmol and K. Wood their necks would already be sore. I hope that Maine is ready soon. He seems to have the ability to get people out. Maybe Theo needs to look at the best BP arms we have at AA and AAA i.e. the closers and bring them up. The problem has to be solved immediately. Getting another pitcher like Camp off the scrap pile is not a solution.

  • Johnny E

    The taxes on Cubs tickets is sick! It has to be one of the reasons tickets sales are suffering (alone with the incredibly poor performing team).

    • Crazyhorse

      Yes the taxes are high. But with a good product on the field those prices will not prevent people from buying tickets from secondary markets to attend Cub games. Its only when the Cubs field a terrible team that those issues seem to be more noticeable.

  • Johnny E

    Ricketts,

    Move the team out of Chicago to the burbs where the taxes are not 15%+ the price of the tickets, cut the ticket prices, built a state of the art facility, and be done with it! Let the corrupt and financial disasters of Illinois and Chicago figure out how to off set the revene loss! I am sure they will find another way to raise taxes!

  • calicubsfan007

    @Best: I sense a hint of sarcasm. lol

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