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Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
8:25pm
Thu Oct 23, 2014

McKinney, Clout & The Freedom Of The Press: Where Would Illinois Be Headed Under Rauner's Reign? (UPDATED)

Former Chicago Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief Dave McKinney's resignation from the paper is fueling players in both the political and media worlds to speculate about not only the future of the Windy City's oldest news publication, but also what it means for journalism in the state in a greater sense -- and what a Rauner-ruled Illinois could look like.

After 19 years at the newspaper, McKinney issued his immediate resignation Wednesday, stating in an open letter that, essentially, he had no choice but to make the "difficult decision due to the disturbing developments I've experienced in the last two weeks that cannot be reconciled with this newspaper's storied commitment to journalism."

The "disturbing developments" stem from the newspaper's response to the "multiple tactics" GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner's campaign deployed in an attempt to stop the publication of a story co-written by McKinney, Carol Marin and Don Moseley. The article detailed allegations that Rauner threatened a former employee, ex-LeapSource CEO Christine Kirk, as well as her family when it became clear that she planned to sue Rauner and his then-investment firm GTCR. Despite threats from the Republican's campaign stating they would "go over" the heads of those working on the story, according to McKinney, the piece ran.

And that's when the Rauner camp reportedly pounced even more viciously, penning an "opposition-research hit piece-rife with errors-about" McKinney's wife Ann Liston, a Democratic consultant. Although Sun-Times Publisher and Editor Jim Kirk responded to the Rauner camp's allegations of a conflict of interest, saying the "'assault' on my integrity 'border[ed] on defamation' and represented 'a low point in the campaign,'" according to the political reporter, actions were allegedly taken days later to silence and demote him.

Enter Sun-Times Chairman Michael Ferro.

Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
10:26pm
Sun Oct 19, 2014

Republicans Crow As Questions Swirl Surrounding Sun-Times' Rauner Endorsement

The Illinois Republican Party and Rauner campaign sent out manic messages to the media and supporters this weekend crowing about the Chicago Sun-Times' endorsement of the Republican gubernatorial candidate as questions swirl about the motivation behind the decision. 

After sitting out of the endorsement game for the last three years, the newspaper switched gears and enthusiastically endorsed Bruce Rauner for governor, announcing their sole endorsement in the upcoming election. The endorsement states that the catalyst behind the about face is due to the race being "simply too important to the future of Illinois for us to stay silent."

"It may well be the most important election in our state's modern history," reads the endorsement, which was posted online Saturday and published in the Sunday paper.

And although that may very well be true, there is much speculation that the endorsement had little to do with the high stakes of the race and much more to do with Rauner's relationship with the media company and Michael Ferro Jr., chairman of Wrapports LLC, the parent company of Sun-Times Media. Rauner previously owned 10 percent of Wrapports, selling his share to Ferro for $5 million shortly before announcing his gubernatorial run. 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:52pm
Mon Mar 17, 2014

Election Preview: Tensions Boil Over In The 26th District Legislative Race

Jhatayn “Jay” Travis, who is challenging incumbent State Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-Chicago) in the 26th District Democratic race, blasted her opponent Monday for "questionable election tactics." Mitchell's campaign called Travis' comments "desperate and superfluous." Progress Illinois details the latest scuffle kicking up dirt in the race on the eve of the primary election.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:58pm
Wed Mar 12, 2014

Election Preview: A Look At The 39th District State Representative Race

With less than a week until the March primary election, eyes are peeled on the 39th District state representative race that pits politically-connected incumbent State Rep. Maria "Toni" Berrios (D-Chicago) against community organizer and former Huffington Post reporter Will Guzzardi. Progress Illinois takes a look at the contest, which has been called possibly the "most important state legislative race in Illinois in the primary."

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:15pm
Wed Mar 12, 2014

Housing Activists Call For Better Living Conditions: ‘Building Owner Is A Slumlord’ (VIDEO)

St. Edmund's Village Apartments, a South Side housing complex subsidized by the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund, is infested with bed bugs, rodents, and mold, according to one tenant and a group of housing activists who protested outside of the nonprofit’s board meeting in the Loop on Tuesday.

The building’s owner, Rev. Richard Tolliver, is a slumlord, the activists allege. He is president and CEO of St. Edmund’s Redevelopment Corporation, which purchased the complex in 1999. He was also appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to serve on the Low-Income Housing Trust Fund’s board of directors.

“The building is crawling with bed bugs, roaches, rats ... it has leaky windows, mold, busted pipes and the management is no good,” said Janet Wilson, 43, a resident at St. Edmund's for more than 13 years. “The mayor has a slumlord on his team.”

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