Secretive Business Group Run by Chicago Mayor Emanuel Paying for His Trip to Vatican Ceremony

rahm-emanuel Getty Joshua Lott
Getty/Joshua Lott
Chicago, IL

A secretive, private business group chaired by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is paying his expenses to fly to Rome to attend the Vatican’s ceremony to replace the Windy City’s Cardinal, according to reports.

Most of the state’s personages winging their way to Rome for the ceremony to elevate Archbishop Blase Cupich to Cardinal are paying their own expenses for the trip. However, Emanuel and his wife and staffers are having their expenses paid for by World Business Chicago (WBC).

“Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and his wife; Chicago Ald. Ed Burke and his wife; Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke; Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson; and Chicago Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago are all paying their own way to Rome,” Chicago’s CBS station reported on November 16.

CBS noted that the organization meant to foster business growth in Chicago is so secretive reporters weren’t even allowed to visit the WBC’s Chicago offices.

According to its website, the WBC proclaims it is a “unique public-private partnership” the goal of which is to “advance Chicago’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs.” The group, founded in 1999, is currently chaired by Mayor Emanuel.

In his defense, Emanuel told the CBS affiliate that the money for the trip was raised privately and isn’t a public expense. The mayor obviously feels there are no conflicts over the WBC’s gift of travel expenses despite that nearly every other public figure is paying his own expenses.

The WBC, though, has made no announcement of the expenditure nor how it might fit into its charge of drumming up business for the city.

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