Airports and Casinos

There is already a private airport where Quinn, and Jesse Jr. want to put one

With all the budget problems in this state and other programs being cut, why is the third Chicago land airport still an issue? There is already an underutilized airport out there. Even with Governor Quinn donating part of his salary back to the state, calling a hold on funds for this airport should be first.

Governor Quinn says he lives down in Springfield, I find this hard to believe. He was double interviewed by Carol Marin and Phil Ponce on Monday. They both fired questions at him, one right after another. Governor Quinn answered all of them. I thought it was pretty brave of Quinn to have these two both interview you at the same time. But Quinn was right Chicago tonight is a fair and balanced news show and that's why he was there.

It seems like at least two if not three times a week Quinn is in Chicago. I find it hard to believe he is spending a whole lot of time in Springfield living in the mansion, as he says he had to do some dusting when he moved in. Pat Quinn said they also cook for him in the mansion, and that was a perk.

On Casino's: It's no wonder everyone wants one, when the Empress in Joliet burned down there went 875 jobs for the area along with $1 trillion in sales tax revenue for Joliet. Casino's are definitely big money makers. It's nice to know that the employees will be paid their tips and salaries for the first 90 days. But what happens after 90 days?

Then there was the guilty verdict of Al Sanchez, all while Chicago fell to the last place for consideration for the Olympics. We had protesters come out against the Olympics this week, and they had many valid reasons why we don't need it in Chicago. It is a cost we will be paying for years to come.

We had people in Chicago wait hours,in the rain, and stand in lines that were many blocks long for a few low paying positions. I find it hard to believe that there are any unfilled positions anywhere in this town.

People came from all over for the few available jobs
The Wit Hotel, which will open in about two months, has 300 positions to fill. The line stretched out of the Oriental Theater, down State Street and into a nearby alley, there's no shortage of applicants.
And, the competition is steep. The nation's unemployment rate is about 8-percent, which means more and more people are looking for jobs.

Three years ago, Bult bought Sanger Field, a little country airport near his Monee home that had seen better days. That the old general aviation airport was among the approximately 5,000 acres IDOT had marked for purchase for the state's airport didn't stop him.

Bult expanded the runway to 5,000 feet - making it capable of accommodating corporate jets. Hangars with 132 slots for planes were added.

The old farmhouse that acted as Sanger Field's terminal will be replaced this spring by a hulking stone-and-timber building with a pilots lounge, a workout area and a wing of conference rooms. It stands out as the one building that resembles a ski lodge among the corn and soybean fields of eastern Will County.

Bult likes the location so much he's moving in. His family will live in an adjoining house with seven bedrooms, each with their own bathroom.
The total investment in Bult Field: $37 million.

He's not stopping, either. In the next few weeks, Bult will break ground on two new hangars that will cater to his business clientele. He wouldn't share, but Bult indicated the biggest companies in Chicago are interested in Bult Field as their new home airport.

"It's all about convenience," Bult said. "When you want to fly somewhere, the first thing you look for is what is the most convenient way to get there."

But dealing with Bult won't be convenient for Quinn.
The governor is vowing to spend $100 million to buy the remaining 3,275 acres needed for the state's airport. That's on top of the $24 million spent so far to buy 1,951 acres.
Bult's investment means the price for buying out his property and the surrounding landowners is going up dramatically.

If the state's airport ever is built, co-existing could be a problem. There would be inevitable airspace conflicts between the two airports.
One would think Bult is standing on his runway, sticking his tongue out and waving his fingers at IDOT, but he insists that's not the case.

He said the only time he got ticked off was last year, when IDOT submitted an airport layout plan to the Federal Aviation Administration that showed Bult Field connected to the state's airport. Bult Field would handle the smaller aircraft, with the state taking care of the commercial side.

Bult viewed it as a hostile takeover.
"It was extremely presumptuous," he said. "How do you hook up to somebody else's private property without a letter or a piece of paper or something?"

The attitude has made Bult a folk hero to his neighbors and other opponents of the project - a distinction he could do without.

"If the state bought Bult Field, bulldozed it and built a viable runway and a hangar for me, I wouldn't care," Bult said. "My beginning goal and my end goal was to have a quality airport here."

Bult pulled it off.
No governor has shown he can do the same, but the promises keep coming.

Empress fire
Frank Quigley, general manager of Empress Casino, said owner Penn National Gaming also has agreed to pay half of the tips some employees would have made during that time.
"I do not believe it will take 90 days for our operations to get up and running," Quigley said during a Monday afternoon news conference.

In the meantime, workers will be encouraged to spend their time volunteering in their communities, Quigley said. Empress and Penn National are working out plans for the employees to help several organizations.

The complex's 875 workers were able to collect paychecks Monday morning. An office in the casino complex has been transformed into a makeshift office for the company's human resources department.
It's believed that work on a $50 million renovation project may have caused the fire, which was spotted by a Joliet paramedic moonlighting at the casino about 10 a.m. Friday.

The Empress Casino was opened in 1992 by a group of local investors. They sold to Horseshoe Gaming in 1999. Later, the Illinois Gaming Board forced a sale to Argosy Gaming, which merged with Penn National in 2004.

The Empress is the second-largest taxpayer in Joliet, second only to Harrah's Casino. Last year, Empress reported $184 million in gambling revenue, paying taxes of $10.9 million to Joliet and

$52.6 million to the state. City officials said Joliet will lose $25,000 each day the casino's doors are closed.

Al Sanchez, former Streets and Sanitation Chief found guilty

Former city Streets and Sanitation chief Al Sanchez, 61, was convicted on four of seven mail fraud counts that accused him of helping reward political campaign workers with city jobs and promotions.

Sanchez, who acted as a coordinator in Daley's once powerful Hispanic Democratic Organization, is among the most powerful Daley aides to be felled by prosecutors in a probe that grew out of the Hired Truck investigation. A former top aide to Sanchez, Aaron DelValle, also was convicted of lying to the grand jury about his role in the scheme.

As the verdict was read, Sanchez, whose department controlled about 4,000 jobs, stared at the judge without expression, hands folded before him. He later stood by his testimony in which he denied calling the shots when it came to personnel.

"Today is not a fair day," Sanchez told reporters. "I did my job as I was supposed to do. I don't think I should


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