Ford gets a lesson in Chicago muscle

If you wonder why this jobs-hungry city has a reputation as a hard place to do business, read on. Looks to us like developers of a big Ford dealership planned for the North Side got tutored in Chicago-style political muscle.

It’s a familiar story in a city and state where elected officials, in the words of Illinois Chamber of Commerce chief Doug Whitley, treat potential investments as opportunities for “threat, coercion, a union squeeze, a minority holdup, a double-dip, a no-show job, a kickback and a sweetheart deal.”

The proposed $57 million Fox Motors project got off to a promising start. The city Plan Commission unanimously approved it in June. Chicago Ald. Scott Waguespack had done extensive groundwork for the development, which would create dozens of temporary and permanent jobs in his 32nd Ward, contribute millions of dollars in tax revenue to City Hall and replace an obsolete building with an attractive new showcase. Then Waguespack and the Fox folks ran into an unexpected roadblock…Keep reading

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