CHICAGO - The Museum of Broadcast Communications reached an agreement Friday to contract out use of its space to Blue Plate Catering Ltd. for special events, securing new income that will help pay down debt on its mortgage with Pepper Construction Co, Crain's reports Monday.
While that may seem as a rather mundane, unimportant story to the casual observer, the story behind the financial woes of WLS AM talk show host Bruce DuMont's quest to preserve broadcast historical treasures is a sordid one, tying to a former governor now sitting in prison.
On DuMont's Beyond the Beltway website is a timeline of events, lies and broken promises involving the conniving Chicago Way starting back in 2005 when DuMont was approached by Rod Blagojevich -
January 28, 2005
Governor Blagojevich tells Bruce DuMont that the state has money to help the MBC.
March 2, 2005
The governor tells DuMont that he'll support an $8 million grant to the museum.
May 31, 2005
The state confirms that $8 million in support has been approved.
June 15 and 17, 2005
DuMont confirms the state support with a senior Blagojevich official.
June 21, 2005
The MBC board votes to start construction.
July 22, 2005
November 6, 2005
DuMont prepares to announce that construction must stop due to a lack of funds. Budget Director John Filan says the MBC will get the money, and he pleads with DuMont not to announce a stoppage in construction.
December 21, 2005
John Filan, Blagojevich Chief of Staff John Harris and Deputy Governor Bradley Tusk meet with DuMont to discuss state support.
January 27, 2006
Budget Director Filan calls DuMont and tells him that $6 million is the best the state can do - a $3 million DCEO grant and a $3 million loan.
February 7, 2006
Construction company warns the MBC that financing must be in place by May 1 or construction will stop.
February 23, 2006
DCEO $3 million grant arrives and is signed by the MBC.
April 27, 2006
Deputy Governor Tusk sends a letter announcing a new condition for support: all additional funds must be raised BEFORE the state will release any money.
May 9, 2006
Construction stops - and fundraising slows down.
May 12, 2006
A wealthy individual offers a $6 million low-interest loan to keep the project going, but he wants a confidentiality agreement signed.
July 28, 2006
The state finally signs the confidentiality agreement.
July 31, 2006
The identity of the wealthy lender is revealed to the state. He is one of the richest men in Illinois and a Republican. Bob Greenlee as well as Kevin Connor of the Budget office and Lois Scott, an independent fiscal advisor to John Filan, are present. Scott says "we'll check everybody's political stripes and get back to you."
August 9, 2006
Kevin Connor of the budget office calls to say that the state will not accept the confidential lender as a partner - but offers no further explanation.
DuMont asks Connor: "What about the signed $3-million signed DCEO agreement?"
April 25, 2007
Mayor Daley's former Press Secretary Carolyn Grisko speaks to Chief of Staff John Harris on the MBC's behalf and is told that the museum grant money was spent.
May 4, 2007
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky has a similar conversation with Chief of Staff Harris - and is told that the MBC money has been spent elsewhere, with no notification ever sent to the museum.
Spring and Summer, 2007
Blagojevich Chief of Staff John Harris directly and indirectly (through important third party warnings) tells DuMont to "shut up" about the Blagojevich promise of money - and adds, "Bruce DuMont can twist in the wind".
December 10, 2008
Despite raising $10 million, the MBC board votes to sell the half-finshed museum property at 360 N. State due to the broken Blagojevich promise and the trail of fiscal roadblocks that followed.
and to update -
Barack Obama was elected to the Presidency in November 2008. Rod Blagojevich is arrested in December 2008, after wiretaps showed him open to a "f#uckin' golden" opportunity to illegally sell Obama's vacant US Senate seat. After his arrest, Blagojevich was impeached and LT. Governor Pat Quinn took office. Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2011, and DuMont was left holding an empty bag.