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Emanuel Praised For Transparency In O’Hare Concession Contract

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that former Mayor Richard M. Daley was keeping his full police security detail for now, but the situation would be re-evaluated at the end of the summer. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel won praise from aldermen Thursday for the way he handled the hotly contested contract to run concessions at the O’Hare International Terminal.

As WBBM Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, even Ald. Joe Moore (49th), who is usually the first to speak out against stonewalling on the fifth floor of City Hall, says aldermen were well-informed and the contracting process was open.

The City Council on Thursday approved an ordinance that leases the concessions in the Terminal 5 at O’Hare to Westfield Concessions Management LLC, the airport retail arm of the company that operates the North Bridge, Old Orchard, Hawthorn and Chicago Ridge shopping malls.

Under the agreement, all the concessions in the international terminal will be redeveloped with new food and beverage operations, news and gift shops, specialty retail, and duty-free shops, according to a news release.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

The mayor said the move would bring 280 new jobs to the city.

When it comes to the contract process, is Mayor Emanuel gratified that he is being complimented for “transparency,” one of his favorite words?

“I put it on tape so I can hear it and go to sleep as a lullaby,” Emanuel quipped. “Look, you can have a moment of appreciation, but the real thing is what got accomplished for the City of Chicago and the taxpayers?” he said.

Westfield will pay the city a minimum of $5 million in rent per year, and promise a $26 million makeover to a concession area some aldermen call an embarrassment.

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