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Cubs PR/Legal Efforts

retrieved 2-6-2004

Cubs' spending to lobby city more than doubled in '03

February 4, 2004
BY ERIC HERMAN Business Reporter
Chicago Sun Times

The Tribune Co.-owned Chicago Cubs organization ramped up its city lobbying efforts in 2003, spending $113,000 to influence City Hall on issues related to Wrigley Field, disclosure documents show.

Most of that money went to Piper Rudnick, a La Salle Street law firm that collected $100,000 in fees from the Cubs in 2003. The remaining $13,000 went to Jasculca/Terman and Associates, a politically connected public relations firm.

The Cubs' city lobbying expenditures doubled in 2003 from the previous year, records show. In 2002, the ball club paid $35,000 to the law firm Shefsky & Froelich and $17,500 to the Jasculca firm -- a $52,500 outlay.

The Cubs organization hired the firms to push four pieces of City Hall business, each designed to bring in more revenue for its Tribune Co. parent, which also owns the Chicago Tribune and WGN-Channel 9. The team sought to increase the number of Wrigley Field night games to 30 per season from the current 18; to add 2,000 seats to the outfield bleachers; to keep Wrigley Field from being designated a landmark, and to add about 200 premium seats behind home plate.

So far, the team is batting one-for-four.

The Cubs lost the landmarking fight, limiting the owner's discretion about changes to the historic structure. But the designation allows the team to build the seats behind home plate -- something contractors will do in time for the 2004 season, if possible. And though the Cubs still have not secured permission to add bleacher seats, the landmarking does not prohibit it. A deal for more night games foundered in the City Council last year, but one person involved said a deal could happen before Opening Day.

"The proof is in the pudding, and there has been some progress," said Richard Klawiter, a partner at Piper Rudnick working for the Cubs. "It's shown up in a collective attitude adjustment."

Cubs executives declined to comment.

The Cubs have a history of contentious dealings with City Hall and Wrigley Field's neighbors. But in the past year, Tribune Co. attorney Mike Lufrano and 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney have helped improve relations. The Cubs have become conciliatory, hiring a neighborhood liaison and hosting fund-raisers for the Lakeview Citizens Council.

"It's like somebody finally told them that they can't treat the neighborhood like your enemy," said Charlotte Newfield of Citizens United for Baseball in Sunshine, a neighborhood group.

In March 2003, the Cubs decided to get new help fighting the proposal to turn Wrigley Field into a landmark. The team worried that a landmark designation would prohibit making changes to the park, like adding new seats. Jack Guthman, a well-known zoning lawyer with Shefsky & Froelich, had been representing the team. But the Cubs grew dissatisfied with the lack of progress, one source said. Guthman told the Sun-Times he "resigned the account."

In March hearings before the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, Piper Rudnick's Ted Novak went to bat, with help from Klawiter. A zoning guru in his own right, Novak also represented the Trump Organization in its deal with the Chicago Sun-Times' parent company to build a 90-story tower on the site of the Sun-Times headquarters, 401 N. Wabash Ave.

With 975 lawyers, Piper Rudnick has been in a growth mode recently, acquiring four other law firms in the past year and a half, placing it among the city's biggest law firms.
The landmark designation passed the council's Landmarks Committee last week. The compromise allows the team to build three rows of seats behind home plate. The plan calls for the famous brick wall to be moved forward to the outer edge of both dugouts, creating room for three rows. Tickets for the seats will cost $200 to $250 each, bringing the team an additional $3.2 million per year.

In addition to working on the landmarking, Piper also took part in negotiations for more night games, said Klawiter, who served on Gov. Blagojevich's legal transition team. The night-game proposal would have allowed 22 night games in 2004, and 30 by 2006 in exchange for the Cubs funding "neighborhood protections" like remote parking and additional garbage pickup. The City Council delayed action on the proposal in December, leading the Cubs to table its plans for more night games in 2004.

Over the long term, the Cubs still want to add bleacher seats -- and to develop land next to Wrigley into a restaurant, parking garage and museum.

The Piper and Jasculca firms lobbied the City Council, the mayor's office, the Department of Planning, the Department of Buildings and the Department of Revenue on the Cubs' behalf, documents filed with the city's Board of Ethics show. A city ordinance requires "any person who undertakes to influence any legislative or administrative action" to register as a lobbyist. Cubs officials say the Piper and Shefsky firms simply acted as lawyers. Jasculca/Terman handled community relations, direct mail and polling, Rick Jasculca said.

The Cubs' City Hall push for expanded use of Wrigley is going better than it was. But lately, the team has found the courthouse provides a quicker path to more revenue. In November, a judge upheld the team's ticket-scalping service. And a recent settlement with 10 of 13 owners of rooftop businesses providing views of the park will bring the Cubs as much as $1.7 million a year.


retrieved 6/6/2004

Cubs name Mike Lufrano to new position

May 31st, 2004
Cubs Press Release

The Chicago Cubs also announced that Mike Lufrano has been named to the newly created position of Vice President, Community Affairs and General Counsel. Lufrano has served as senior counsel in the Tribune Company law department since 1997. He has recently been involved with the Cubs' neighborhood endeavors.

"We are very pleased to have Mike join us," stated Andy MacPhail, the club's president and CEO. "In addition to coordinating the organization's legal affairs, he will also oversee the added responsibilities that we have assumed in our community; support our substantial charitable endeavors; and act as a liason with our city government."

Lufrano served in the White House from 1993-1995 as special assistant to the President and deputy director of advance. He has also worked on national presidential campaigns in 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000. Prior to joining the Tribune Company, he was an attorney in the Chicago office of Sonnenschein Nath and Rosenthal. He also worked in the office of the corporation counsel for the city of Atlanta, Georgia.

Lufrano is a longtime Lakeview resident and a 1983 graduate of Lane Technical High School. He has a B.A. in economics from the University of Illinois and a law degree from Harvard Law School.


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