Tom Ricketts to be patient with mayor

Updated: May 23, 2012, 8:10 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts remains determined to work with Mayor Rahm Emanuel on renovations to Wrigley Field despite a controversy involving Ricketts' father that drew the ire of Emanuel last week.

"I'm not too worried about that right now," Ricketts said Wednesday on "Roe & Roeper" on WLS-AM 890. "The key for us is to make sure that people that know us and know the Ricketts family know that we weren't trying to do anything that was insensitive in any way and that the people that don't know us don't jump to any conclusions.

"The mayor has got a lot on his plate. Whenever we get around to talking about that, that's fine with me. I'm cool with whatever timing works. It's just a matter of we've just got to kind of get through this and get it behind us."

The New York Times reported last week that Joe Ricketts, the billionaire founder of TD Ameritrade who gave his children more than $400 million to buy the Cubs and Wrigley Field, was funding a $10 million political action committee aimed at challenging President Barack Obama in the presidential election this fall.

One of the proposals presented to the Super PAC called for highlighting the president's relationship with his former South Side pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, which was a story in the 2008 election. After some of Wright's controversial statements on race and government came out, Obama denounced the reverend and ended their association.

Emanuel, who was Obama's chief of staff, denounced the proposal, which the Super PAC decided not to pursue.

Tom Ricketts issued a statement last week distancing himself from the Super PAC and phoned Emanuel, who refused to speak with him, an aide told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Asked Wednesday why he hasn't returned Ricketts' call, Emanuel, who dealt with the NATO Summit in Chicago over the weekend, smiled and walked out of his news conference, the Sun-Times reported.

The Cubs need the support of Emanuel for a proposed $300 million renovation to Wrigley Field. Ricketts is advocating a public-private partnership that calls for the Cubs paying $150 million and the city forfeiting 35 years worth of amusement taxes, among other public revenue streams, to cover the remaining $150 million.

Tom Ricketts said the controversial political campaign was never an option for the Super PAC, known as the Ending Spending Action Fund.

"The team is owned by myself and my siblings, and the Super PAC is kind of managed and funded by my dad," Tom Ricketts said on WLS-AM 890. "First of all, my dad is a great guy. I love him a ton. In this case, kind of what happened was they took some presentations from a handful of consultants for a campaign that he was going to consider doing in the fall. One of them was very, very controversial and maybe that particular consultant thought that was what the PAC was looking for. It was never one of the options for them, but that presentation got leaked and that's when all the speculation started flying."