Activists Bring Golden Toilet To City Hall, Protest Grant To CME

CHICAGO (CBS) — Protesters gathered outside the Mayor’s Office with a golden toilet Wednesday, demanding that Mayor Rahm Emanuel create jobs with $33 million in taxpayer funds that had gone in part to the CME Group so the company could renovate its restrooms.

Members of the group Action Now brought the golden toilet to the CME Headquarters last month, after the company accepted the Tax Increment Financing funds. The CME Group deciding not to accept the $15 million it had received.

Two other corporations – the CNA Group and Bank of America — also returned TIF money in the amounts of $13 million and $5.4 million, respectively, Crain’s Chicago Business reported last month.

“We petitioned them, and we went there to them, and we had a (bake sale) right beside there and we went to their places, and we begged them, and we sent them letters to refund our money, and up above all things – something that they’ve never done – they refunded it, and that was a good thing. This has never been done before and we appreciate it,” said Action Now board member Charles Brown.

But now, Action Now is calling on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to spend the money on job creation – particularly in the public libraries and schools.

Brown also called for an end to the use of TIF money to benefit large and successful corporations.

In a TIF district, property tax dollars for schools, parks, and other taxing districts are frozen for at least 23 years, so that all property tax increases afterward to go into a fund to neighborhood improvements. But critics such as the Chicago Reader’s Ben Joravsky have complained that while TIF funds are supposed to be used to improve blighted neighborhoods, they are actually used as slush funds.

“We’re also ready to draw a line in the sand,” Brown said. “Our taxpayer dollars should never have gone to these corporate giants.”

Protesters added that the TIF funds could have created many jobs and rescued people in need.

“Let’s put a moratorium in that TIF money going to extras for whomever, and put that money into jobs. Put that money into the mental institutions. Where are those people going? They’re going on the streets, and we don’t need them on the streets,” said retired Chicago Public Schools teacher Lois Nelson.

The group asked Mayor Emanuel to come out of his office and meet with them personally. Mayor’s assistant press secretary Caroline Weisser came out and offered to hand the group’s documents to the mayor, but Emanuel himself did not speak to the group.

The CME Group had been threatening to leave Illinois after state lawmakers approved a 45 percent hike in the corporate income tax at the beginning of last year. But in December, lawmakers approved a substantial tax break for CME, the Chicago Board Options Exchange, and Sears Holdings Corp., which also had been threatening to leave.

  • 38Special

    What needs to be done is legislation by the governed (the people) to make sure the Government don’t have the authority to do stupid stuff like this.

  • Jim

    Maybe they can hire the protesters to scrub the new restrooms after they are completed!!!

  • tom sharp

    TIF money is proven waste and has done little but increase the City’s budget deficit while benefiting only a bunch of political pals and patronage insiders.

  • juju

    Another NWA is just like the rest of yokels, fat, alone, no friends, hides behind words she can spell, lives in his mother’s basement, etc. Just your typical true-blooded pedophile waiting to hatch some off-spring.

  • #occupymybutt

    Van Jones lost his job because he installed new efficient toilets in the White House, you can read it at

  • juju

    Anglo-Saxon, same old tired words. Please, need new insults. Something that says, you are smart, good looking, with a pith of intelligence. Or you can stay the same old tired, lonely, moronic girly girl you have become. Hope you daddy is proud.

    • dad

      whose yo daddy

  • tony s

    they all get it in the end

  • Victory! CME Returns TIF Money After Protests! | Action Now

    […] News, “Activists Bring Golden Toilet To City Hall, Protest Grant To CME” (Charles Brown quoted and Action Now […]

  • Activists in Illinois push to tip the scales in favor of civil society | Chicago Muckrakers

    […] money would have been for bathroom and café improvements and, to protest the plan, delivered a golden toilet to the Chicago Mercantile […]

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