News & Politics

Chicago Aldermen Banned from Buying World Series Tickets

The Chicago city ethics board has issued a ruling banning city officials from purchasing Chicago Cubs World Series tickets at face value. With the average ticket price for the three World Series games in Chicago topping $3,600, the board said that the Cubs’ offer to sell city officials tickets at face value could violate a ban on elected officials accepting gifts worth more than $50.  The team subsequently withdrew the offer.

Chicago Tribune:

“This whole thing is a circus,” said Ald. Ameya Pawar, 47th, whose North Side ward includes part of Wrigleyville, the area that’s home to the team’s iconic ballpark. “Rather than celebrate the Cubs, the Cubs now are going to have to comment on something when we as a city should be celebrating going to a World Series.

“Taking attention away from the Cubs and what they have achieved is bizarre,” Pawar added. “I just think from the Cubs’ perspective it just doesn’t make sense to try to figure out how to navigate that opinion. They are trying to plan for a World Series.”

Cubs spokesman Julian Green said aldermen who asked about World Series tickets were directed to the ethics board’s guidance memo, which he said “prevents members of the City Council from purchasing tickets.”

In the memo, the ethics panel explained that if city officials, including Emanuel, buy the tickets at face value they would have to perform some sort of “ceremonial duty or action,” such as throwing out the first pitch or standing on the field with other elected officials. That’s because the tickets are worth far more on the secondary market.

Friday’s memo also stated there must be “a clear and direct connection between the official’s attendance and the performance of such ceremonial duty or action and the nature and location of the event itself.” It goes on to cite as examples the mayor or alderman whose ward includes the venue — which in the case of Wrigley Field is Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th.

Emanuel spokesman Adam Collins said the mayor “hasn’t finalized” his plans for the World Series games at Wrigley Field. Tunney spokeswoman Kim Shepherd said the alderman has yet to discuss the issue with the Cubs.

Green, meanwhile, declined to answer whether the team had made a ticket offer to Emanuel or Tunney.

“We haven’t spent much time thinking about the exceptions,” Green said. “We’ve been too busy celebrating. … Our focus should be on baseball, and this issue has become a complete distraction during one of the most historic runs in Cubs history.”

Face-value tickets to a Cubs game in 2016 were $30-$85. It’s apparently too much to ask officials in the most crooked city government in the United States to restrain themselves from trying to make a huge profit on what amounts to a gift.

Will Rahm Emanuel dare show his face at Wrigley Field when the series comes to Chicago this Friday? No doubt he would dearly love to soak up the electric atmosphere and be a part of history. But there has never been a more unpopular mayor in Chicago’s modern era than Emanuel, who has been under fire for police shootings of unarmed young men and a startling rise in the homicide rate.

Rahm will probably tolerate the abuse in order to see the game.