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Olympics Crony Watch: You can’t say that!

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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 28, 2009 09:25 AM

In our latest edition of Olympics Crony Watch…the silencing of dissent. Hey, it’s the Chicago way.

Drudge reports that WFLD-TV has been ordered not to broadcast an anti-Olympics segment again.

Meanwhile, as I noted last week, the president himself will now join cronies Valerie Jarrett and Michelle Obama to personally lobby in Copenhagen for Chicago’s bid.

On Tuesday, there will be a No Chicago Games protest reflecting the 84 percent opposition to the Olympics boondoggle.

Will they be accused of being an “angry mob,” too?

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And now for today’s Olympic Crony profiles: Patrick Ryan and Michael Scott Jr.

Ryan is the chair of the Chicago Olympics 2016 bid. He is founder of AON Insurance — a multiline insurer whose “key advantage is our broad view of the insurance industry,” according to its website.

Yet, as Chicago Crain’s Business pointed out last week, “the [Olympics] insurance policies Mr. Ryan says he’ll secure would cover only about $1.1 billion of the $3.8-billion operating budget that the mayor’s Olympic point man has drawn up for the games.”

The Chicago Tribune wrote last week:

A few days ago, a group of Chicago 2016 executives methodically answered questions about coverage put to them by a team of Tribune reporters. Terrorism? we wondered. Covered. Plague? Covered. A major boycott? Covered. Hurricane off Lake Michigan? Covered.

Try as we might, we failed to come up with a major insurable risk for which there was not some sort of coverage.

“The insurance industry is a pretty innovative industry. If we can make it better, we will make it better,” said David Bolger, chief financial officer of Chicago 2016 and a former top Aon executive.

Plenty of innovation will be necessary. Between now and 2016, new risks are bound to emerge. Chicago taxpayers will not be safe unless the Olympics organizing committee is smart and agile enough to guard against the unforeseen risks too.

A Chicago source responds: “I’m not worried about Ryan, however, I’m worried about the Chicago 2016 committee assuming they’ll be able to cover all the risks, but when the time comes not finding an insurer who’s willing to do so properly. And, of course, Daley, his cronies and family members using the Olympics to enrich themselves regardless of the cost is the greatest risk of all. I doubt there’s a ‘Chicago Corruption Policy’ any insurer is willing to write no matter how many assurances the Chicago 2016 committee wants to give us.”

Michael Scott Jr. is a Chicago Olympics bid member with a vested financial interest – via Chicago Tribune, August 2009:

Mayor Richard Daley today defended one of his Olympics bid team members who also is trying to develop a for-profit real estate project that would sit within feet of the cycling venue if Chicago wins the 2016 Summer Games.

The mayor echoed comments from Michael Scott Sr., who on Friday said he would take no fees or profits from the project near Douglas Park, which was first reported in the Tribune. Instead, Scott said, all proceeds would go to a group of West Side ministers. When asked by the Tribune earlier this week if he planned to work for free on the project, Scott had said it was too early to speculate whether the project would make money.

On Saturday, Daley sought to downplay Scott’s involvement in the project.

“He’s not a manager of a development project,” Daley said. “He’s not involved, he’s supporting the Olympics, everyone’s supporting the Olympics. You come to conclusions! He’s a volunteer basis, he has no interest in that.”

Scott, however, is listed as the project’s developer. Letters of support from Ald. Sharon Denise Dixon (24th) refer to the project as Scott’s development and made no mention of the ministers. Scott said she was mistaken in both letters, though he never asked her to change the wording. Also, in state incorporation papers, only Scott is listed as the only officer of the firm, WMC-I.

Daley attempted to dismiss that. “It doesn’t matter, he had no interest,” he said.

The mayor also accused reporters of trying to hurt Scott and the city’s bid for the 2016 Games.

Here comes the gag order…

More fodder for the Culture of Corruption paperback edition!
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Previous Olympics Crony Watches:

Olympics Crony Watch: Let the games begin

Olympic-sized boondoggle: What Valerie Jarrett and Michelle Obama are up to

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