CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs will not give Chicago aldermen a chance to buy World Series tickets at face value, after city officials ruled that accepting the tickets would violate ethics rules — and aldermen are mad.
Aldermen who had accepted the offer to buy tickets for playoff games got a call from team officials Monday morning, informing them of the change.
Several aldermen, who asked not to be named while criticizing city ethics officials, said they were angry that the rules were changed Friday by William Conlon, chairman of the Chicago Board of Ethics.
Listen to Heather Cherone describe the reaction from City Hall.
Originally, Chicago Board of Ethics Executive Director Steve Berlin ruled that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and any of the 50 aldermen who take advantage of the Cubs' offer to buy playoff tickets at face value could go in their official capacity. That meant the aldermen would have to use the tickets themselves and be acknowledged by the team by having their names announced or displayed on the digital billboard in center field.
Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) — who did not take advantage of the offer to buy tickets — acknowledged that many of his colleagues were furious.
"I'm sure the Cubs did not want the distraction as they are preparing for a World Series," Sawyer said, adding that he feels bad for his Cubs fan colleagues, who had been offered the chance for playoff tickets last year.
"They should be able to take advantage of history," Sawyer said.
The new policy would only allow aldermen to buy the tickets at face value if they performed a "ceremonial duty" such as throwing out the first pitch, marching onto the field with other officials or making a speech.
Julian Green, a spokesman for the Cubs, agreed with Sawyer that the issue had become a distraction.
“Our focus should be on baseball and this issue has become a complete distraction during one of the most historic runs in Cubs history.”
Aldermen who accepted the tickets and attended the National League Division Series and the first two games of the National League Championship Series won't be punished, according to the new policy, which is expected to be finalized Nov. 5.
The city bans public officials from accepting gifts worth more than $50. Since the tickets to the World Series are selling for thousands of dollars, accepting the tickets at face value would violate that provision of the city's ethics code.
If the Cubs had offered aldermen tickets at face value, and any aldermen accepted, it could have triggered fines between $1,000 and $5,000.
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