Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel last week took action to put his stamp on the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority board, appointing three new members from the financial services industry who are charged with undertaking reforms and streamlining operations at the city-state agency.
The mayor appoints three of the seven members while the governor appoints four. Gov. Pat Quinn replaced state appointees earlier this year, including the board chairman. Quinn tapped former Senate President Emil Jones for that role.
Emanuel’s appointees are familiar names in public finance. They are Jim Reynolds, chief executive officer and a co-founder of Chicago-based Loop Capital Markets LLC, Norman Bobins, chairman of Norman Bobins Consulting LLC and retired president of the former LaSalle Bank Corp., and Christopher Melvin, CEO of Melvin & Co.
The authority owns and operates the ballpark where Major League Baseball’s Chicago White Sox play. It issued bonds for the makeover of Soldier Field, home of the National Football League’s Chicago Bears.
The agency also could play a role in the renovation of Wrigley Field being pursued by MLB’s Chicago Cubs, either by managing the financing or by taking over ownership of the historic ballpark.
“The ISFA plays an important role in supporting Chicago’s sports teams and fans across the city, but they should be driven by a commitment to serve taxpayers and be accountable to their best interests,” Emanuel said in a statement.
“Throughout their careers, these three appointees have established a proven track record of managing finances of large and small organizations with integrity,” he said. “I am confident they will help bring needed reform to ISFA.”
The mayor said the three will forgo the perks past members have enjoyed, including free special club memberships, discounted tickets, and private skybox access.
One of the city appointees being replaced is Alvin Boutte Jr., a local public finance banker whose securities license was temporarily suspended by state regulators over advice given to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission on an investment in a failed bank.