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Quinn: Emanuel 'assassinating' character of nominee

Monday, October 08, 2012

Gov. Pat Quinn accuses Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel of character assassination in connection with Quinn's choice to run the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority.

Quinn and Emanuel have had their share of disagreements, but both Democratic politicians have managed to keep their disputes private. That is -- until Monday, as their fight went public over the governor's choice to run the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority (ISFA).

Kelly Kraft is a former television news reporter hired by Quinn in 2009 as an assistant director and spokesperson for the Illinois Budget Office.

"She's done a very good job of reducing costs in state government as assistant director of the budget," said Quinn. "[She] knows how to work with people and I think that's what's important."

In July, Quinn promoted Kraft, 39, to be his administration's director of communications.

Two weeks ago, he nominated her to be director of the ISFA, which owns and maintains U.S. Cellular Field and issued bonds that helped build Soldier Field.

"The taxpayers of the City of Chicago are on the hook for the bonds at the Illinois Sports [Facilities] Authority," said Emanuel.

Emanuel, who appoints three of the seven ISFA board members, has questioned Kraft's qualifications.

"I have nothing against Ms. Kraft -- nothing individually. I just want to protect the taxpayers of the City of Chicago," said Emanuel.

The ISFA could be called on to finance the rehabilitation of Wrigley Field, and sources tell ABC7 that Quinn, who appoints four of the ISFA board members, is trying to protect state taxpayers from an all-Chicago inside deal.

Finally, the governor's office confirmed that shortly before she joined the Quinn administration, Kraft filed a personal bankruptcy in 2009, with $102,500 in debts mainly from credit cards.

The governor says his appointee's financial problems stemming from a "personal situation" are resolved, as he blamed the mayor's people for trying to smear Kraft's reputation.

"I wish the mayor would stop doing this. This is a very good person. Stop assassinating her character. He has his operatives doing that. That's not the right way to go," said Quinn.

The ISFA board has agreed to interview several candidates whose names were submitted by the mayor. However, the governor controls four of the seven board members and Quinn has submitted only one name: Kelly Kraft.

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