Why shouldn’t Ariel Investments get a free museum on our Lakefront?


Juanita Irizarry and the public service organization she heads, Friends of the Parks, threw a monkey wrench into the plans of George Lucas, Mellody Hobson and the Mayor. The Mayor wanted to hand over, at no charge, our public lakefront so that Lucas and Hobson could build their Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

It should have been called the Ariel Investments Museum of pictures from Star Wars and the Saturday Evening Post.

Listen. Hobson and Lucas can collect any stuff they want. I have a friend who collects matchbook covers. But I don’t think we should hand over prime lakefront real estate at no charge to him so that he can build some ugly-ass building and get a tax break as part of the deal.

Hobson is President of Ariel Investments which manages billions of dollars of the city’s pension funds and was a major contributor to Rahm’s campaigns.

Hobson also sits on the board of the Chicago Public Education Fund.

Sarah Karp wrote about the relationship of the Chicago Public Education Fund and the Barbara Byrd-Bennett  SUPES scandal.

The federal investigation into SUPES Academy is shining a light on a quiet though influential player in the city’s education arena: The Chicago Public Education Fund.

SUPES, of course, is the for-profit leadership training firm at the center of an FBI probe that has targeted CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett (who is now on leave). Before SUPES got its now-infamous $20.5 million no-bid contract from CPS, The Public Education Fund had given SUPES a $380,000 contract to train area network chiefs and their deputies.

The arrogance of Hobson to the courageous decision of Friends of the Parks to refuse to go along with the lakefront theft was breathtaking.

The Chicago businesswoman who chairs After School Matters said she and Lucas had worked for two years with “every relevant city agency, community leader, and policy maker” to finalize “what would be the largest philanthropic gift to an American city in the 21st century.”

How dare the people of Chicago not appreciate their philanthropy.

God save our city from any more philanthropic gifts.

I have an alternate plan.

Perhaps Rahm wouldn’t mind giving me free land across the street from his house on north Hermitage for my Fred Klonsky Museum of Narrative Art.

I have copies of some important work:



10 Replies to “Why shouldn’t Ariel Investments get a free museum on our Lakefront?”

  1. Free AND tax breaks? Who knew? Thanks Fred for lifting the veil on the ongoing corruption and cronyism in Rahms reign, err, regime, err, administration.

  2. Holy Crap!!!
    I actually agree with Fred on something.
    The museum would actually be a good thing for the city, just not on the lakefront.
    There must be a lot of $ sloshing around for rahmie to make such a herculean effort to get it done, including getting rid of McCormick Place on the lake.


  3. Arrogance of the rich. The perfect description for rahm and his cronies. If they were so determined to build this museum for the good of the people of Chicago, they could easily have chosen the Michael Reese site or any other site suggested west of LSD. But their philanthropic gift only was to be built as a monument, I mean museum, next to the lake.

    If the lake is so important to the obscenely rich, wouldn’t it be even more important to the rest of us common folks? God Bless the Friends of the Park. Is anyone else getting tired of the tantrums of the rich?

  4. The Friends of the Park are one of the few groups in this city who perform their duties with integrity. Thank you to them. Hobson is now blaming them for depriving minorities of jobs. If she really wants to help with jobs, why not build the museum in Lawndale or Englewood and revitalize those areas as well? Why is the lakefront the only acceptable place? Shame on her.

    1. I agree. What is so darn important about having this ugly museum on the lakefront? Put it inland where parking won’t be a problem.

  5. Indeed, bless the Friends Of The Parks..

    It’s a precedent issue (bad) and a ‘what the hell are they thinking?’ issue..you can’t get through this area mornings and afternoons in a car. Plus, There is already so much crap there.Burnham is trying to scratch his way out of his tomb on this.

    Bewildered by the comments sections where these morons try to paint Friends of the Parks as some sort of radical extremist group. Without our Lakefront? We are Gary, Indiana..period. The whole deal would have been commercialized and industrialized by now without groups like Friends of the Parks. People just can’t seem to wrap their boneheads around this fact. Our Lakefront is THE number one reason why we have a tourist industry..it sets the tone for the entire city and Is the only remaining attribute that keeps our ‘quality of life’ (rating) out of the sludge bucket.

    As for Ariel ‘s Melody Hobson..She can go jump in the lake along with John Rogers, Rahm, and George..another of example of -just because you figured out how to make scads of cash doesn’t mean you are qualified to influence what’s best for a city or an educational system..or anything. Mind your damn business and stop trying to influence ‘policy makers’ with the end game of cementing your’s and your Husband’s legacy…Thousands of miles away from California just so you can have your “required view of water” from the museum.

    What a crock..

  6. First our quiet northwest side neighborhood airspace and now the lakefront…what next Rahm? In 100 years which of the two will be the more important-the lakefront or Star Wars? Hooray for the Friends of the Park!

  7. First our quiet northwest side neighborhood airspace and now our beautiful lakefront Rahm…
    In 100 years which of the two will be the more important to our city-Star Wars Memorabilia or the Lake?
    Hooray for the Friends of the Parks for standing up for the people of Chicago and for the enjoyment of future generations, and not for those who only want their legacy to be remembered for the short term.

  8. There’s a similar issue in Peoria, Il. The City Council wants to give part of Riverfront Park to developers led by Glen Barton, former Caterpillar Inc. CEO. They want to build luxury apartments there. Friends of Riverfront Park, a not for profit group, is fighting this. No lawsuit yet, but it may come to that if the IDNR and National Park Service approves the city’s plan. The park was purchased in the 1980s with federal funds, and taxpayers have spent $$$$ developing it. Over 130 mature trees will be cut down for these apartments if we can’t stop it.

  9. I am quite disappointed by Hobson’s statements and of those by some of the “relevant” community leaders being called on to support the plan.

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