In Uncategorized on February 16, 2010 at 2:54 pm

O-choa! To which some might say, “Godzundheitor “God bless you.” Though some may beg to differ, a sneeze isn’t a bad thing. It’s a good thing. A sneeze can help get rid you of what ails you. In this case, what ails Illinois’ convention business is Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority CEO and Blagojevich crony, Juan Ochoa.

This week, under a veil of secrecy, the Chicago Bureau of Tourism & Conventions, will meet with 40 unnamed tradeshow organizers and representatives from Ochoa’s epic managerial embarrassment and Funland of Political Hackdom known as “McPier.” The only difference between McPier and the now defunct Kiddieland is that the hacks are taking the taxpayers for a ride.  

As has been reported in Crain’s, McPier’s projected operating losses will grow eightfold to $28.8 million for fiscal year 2009. To counter McPier’s shortfall, the state’s general sales tax fund was tapped for $18.8 million in 2009 and will is now being tapped $34 million in 2010. Reports indicate that McPier’s cumulative funding gap is expected to exceed $500 million by 2020.

And what does Chicago have to show for it? In November, the Healthcare and Information Management Systems Show announced it would be moving its 2012 show from Chicago to Las Vegas. The NPE Plastics Convention, which brings 60,000 to 80,000 attendees every three years, announced its move to Orlando. In January, the SuperComm Telecommunications Convention cancelled its show for October. Last but not least, the International Home and Housewares Show, which has been held in Chicago since 1939, announced it was considering a move to Orlando. O-Choa! Godzundheit.

Ochoa won his $195,000 post after raising campaign cash for our disgraced former governor. Illinois and Chicago’s economic climate are collapsing under this long-standing culture of corruption, nepotism, and cronyism. McPier is the latest example of this supreme incompetence and greed. In the wake of these mounting convention losses and the fiscal merry-go-round at McPier, it is clear that Juan Ochoa needs to go-a and go-a quick.

Chicago is the greatest city in the world and we deserve better than to have our convention business and the jobs it provides dismantled overnight. We have everything that a great city needs to succeed. It is hard to screw this up and yet these people have.

Governor Pat Quinn needs to demand the immediate resignation of McPier CEO Juan Ochoa and they need to do it now. O-choa! Yeah, one good sneeze might just do the trick.

William J. Kelly is the executive director of the new reform group,



In Uncategorized on February 8, 2010 at 5:51 pm


Dem Lt. Governor Candidate  Cohen Resigns Amid Scandal

Statement by William J. Kelly, Executive Director of Rebuild Illinois

Scott Lee Cohen, the Democrat nominee for lieutenant governor never even got elected to a full term and Second City’s already working on the musical. The Democrats were so eager to get rid of him, they did everything but hold a knife to his throat.

Aside from the reports of Cohen’s abuse of his ex-wife and the accusations that he held a knife to his ex-girlfriend’s throat (prostitute or not), I don’t know why Governor Pat Quinn is complaining. He has proven this year that he doesn’t really want reform.

Having Cohen on the Democratic ticket could have had some positive upsides. If Quinn was really desperate for a bridge loan, he could have just had Scotty taken him down to the pawn shop on Clark Street. How much are Abe Lincoln artifacts going for these days? I mean, at Cohen’s pawn shop, you wouldn’t get market value but still. With Illinois on the brink of insolvency, these times call for creativity.

In terms of creativity though, Scott Lee Cohen also falls short. Cohen’s a betting man. He used two million of his pawn shop proceeds to buy the lieutenant governor’s seat and won the primary with no media scrutiny. However, in terms of pioneering pay-to-play politics, Blagojevich beat him to it. It is a good thing Rod Blagojevich didn’t know Scott Lee Cohen in 2008. Blago wouldn’t have sold Obama’s seat, he probably could have pawned it instead.

Illinois needs campaign finance reform now. We need to enact laws that prevent pay-to-play politics and spending caps across the board. We need full transparency and an end to all legal loop holes that circumvent campaign finance laws. In Illinois, state Republicans have proposed HB5008 to limit campaign contributions from legislative leaders and their caucus committees and political parties. Quinn’s reform bill only made House Speaker Michael Madigan and other elites even more powerful. This law puts no monetary limit on leaders and political parties during the general election. Governor Quinn, what kind of reform is that?

Unless Pat Quinn is ready to pass a real reform bill, he may want to keep Scott Lee Cohen’s pawn shop number handy for future reference.

Rebuild Illinois is a new organization for reform in Illinois and is calling for real campaign finance and an end to the legal loopholes for political insiders. A new website is in progress at  For more information, email


In Uncategorized on February 5, 2010 at 7:29 pm

(CHICAGO, IL) – Director of new reform group,, William J. Kelly, held a news conference this morning in front of Royal Pawn Shop owned by family members of Democrat candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Scott Lee Cohen. Kelly talked about the urgent need for campaign finance reform and is calling on Cohen to step aside in the lieutenant governor’s campaign due to recent media disclosures about the candidate’s checkered past. Here is Kelly’s statement:

“With comprehensive campaign finance reform, political candidates will not just be able to buy their way into an election without any track record of public service whatsoever. In Illinois, the Democrat candidate for Lieutenant Governor spent $2 million of his own money and had the support of party insiders. As usual, there was no transparency and the media was nowhere to be found when it counted: before the primary.”

“Incumbent Governor Pat Quinn will now having to suffer the consequences of this embarrassing situation. For decades, Quinn has talked about being a reformer. But once he was in office, he gave Illinois an anti-reform bill – a bill that strengthens the hands of party insiders and influential money people.” “Today, in Illinois it is easy for corrupt politicians to play the system and skirt Illinois’ election disclosure requirements. There is no real transparency. New campaign contribution “limits” are not limits at all. Quinn’s new campaign finance reform just makes legislative leaders and political parties even more powerful. Now, instead of giving the money directly to the candidate, elites and insiders just funnel it through the legislative leader or political party. And…wealthy insiders continue to buy elections. That is not reform. That is not transparency.”

“Scott Lee Cohen, the Democrat candidate for lieutenant governor is yet another example of pay to play politics in Illinois. It is a good thing that Rod Blagojevich didn’t know about this guy a few years ago. Instead of selling Barack Obama’s seat, he would have just pawned it. Scott Lee Cohen needs to step aside. We want reform and we want it now,” said Kelly.

Kelly is calling for comprehensive campaign finance reform in Illinois as part of Rebuild Illinois’ Reform Agenda.