Madigan says Cubs deal off, but Cubs say it's still on

November 16, 2010

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Tom Ricketts (WBEZ/Tony Arnold)
Tom Ricketts (WBEZ/Tony Arnold)

The owners of the Chicago Cubs are trying to gain public support for their plan to get government-issued bonds to renovate Wrigley Field.

Cubs' Chairman Tom Ricketts addressed the media Tuesday morning in a room full of business and labor leaders. Ricketts thanked a number of them that showed up at the media conference, including Teamsters Local, Chicago and Cook County Building Trade, Chicago Bricklayers Local 21, Plumber Local 130.

Ricketts wants to take $200 million in bonds from the state and repay the money over time with taxes on Cubs tickets. He has so far failed to get support for his plan from Chicago Mayor Richard Daley or Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.

"This public-private partnership would, in the long-run, create a significantly larger economic base in Wrigleyville and higher tax revenue for all levels of government," Ricketts said.

Ricketts says he's not certain what would happen structurally to the 96-year-old Wrigley Field if legislators don't approve his bond plan. The framework has been patched over for years. Ricketts said one thing that's not an option is moving the Cubs out of Wrigley Field.

Tuesday afternoon in Springfield, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan told reporters the Chicago Cubs were pulling their financial plan. A Ricketts' family spokesman responded by saying their plan stands and nothing has changed.

"As we discussed in our press conference this morning with the state's labor leaders, creating jobs and economic development is a top priority and we are working with elected officials to draft legislation and determine the best way to move forward as expeditiously as possible," Dennis Culloton, a spokesperson for the Ricketts family, said in a written statement. "Nothing has changed and we are hard at work."