Calls are growing for the Chicago city government to release a series of “secret emails” between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a top campaign donor, just days before Chicago’s mayoral runoff election on April 7. Three elected city officials and a public school teacher held a conference outside City Hall Friday to demand the emails be released, following an International Business Times investigation on the issue this week.
“There’s no room for secrecy in our local government,” Scott Waguespack, a member of Chicago’s city council who attended the conference Friday, told IBTimes. He and city council member Ricardo Muñoz, Cook County Clerk David Orr and public school teacher Froylan Jimenez all participated in Friday’s call for the mayor to make the emails public.
IBTimes reported Thursday that the Emanuel administration had been blocking the release of more than 1,500 emails between the mayor and Michael Sacks, the CEO of private equity firm Grosvenor and a top contributor to Emanuel’s political campaign. Sacks, also the vice chairman of World Business Chicago, a private-public partnership between the city government and Chicago’s business community, led renegotiations on with the private company that runs the city's parking meter concession.
Waguespack, who called the parking meter deal the city’s “worst privatization deal ever,” said he and other officials had requested data and details on the scheme at the time, but that they were told the information was subject to attorney-client privilege, given that Sacks was working with the city corporation counsel on the deal.
“This really boils down to the approach that Rahm has taken, as the person who’s directing the traffic and committing the emails and details and data to complete secrecy,” he said.
Chicago is heading toward a mayoral runoff election Tuesday, and Emanuel has a significant lead over his challenger, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. A Chicago Tribune survey released on March 31 showed the mayor with a 28-point lead with 58 percent of the vote, compared with 30 percent for Garcia.