Hyatt Responds to Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign’s TIF Allegations

Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Officials from Hyatt were quick to respond to statements made by the Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign (CTSC) alleging that Hyatt is receiving TIF funds to build a new hotel in the city.

CTSC alleged the following:

According to CTSC, by law, 62% of Chicago’s property taxes must go to public schools. But TIFs (Tax Increment Financing) schemes, allow the Mayor Emanuel to take tax money from schools to use for political favors for the 1%. Seven Chicago neighborhood schools, (Dyett, Kenwood, Canter, Reavis, Burke, Ray and Kozminski) are targeted for over $3.375 million in cuts losing 27 positions in the Chicago Public School Board’s proposed 2013 budget. Mayor Emanuel appointed Hyatt hotel mogul and personal billionaire Penny Pritzker to the unelected Chicago Board of Education, and now her family appears to be benefiting from a free new hotel paid for by the public. Interestingly, 62% of the $5.2 million TIF project is almost exactly what’s needed to fill this funding hole in the 7 neighborhood schools.

In a separate release, CTSC stated the following:

As the city of Chicago struggles to pay its teachers and provide quality education to its students, Hyatt Hotels Corporation should not be benefiting from $5.2 million in Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) funds used to build a new hotel. TIF districts divert local property taxes away from funding education and social services to instead subsidize corporate growth. The Hyatt Place Chicago will be the centerpiece of the Harper Court commercial development project, which in total will receive $20 million from the 53rdStreet TIF District.

Hyatt was quick to respond. The following is from Katie Rackoff, Director, Corporate Communications, Hyatt:

Despite what might have been said in the Opinion press release posted today, neither Hyatt Hotels Corporation, nor any of its affiliates has received TIF funds to subsidize the construction of a Hyatt Place hotel at the University of Chicago near Hyde Park. The hotel, which is part of the Hyde Park Harper Court redevelopment project, is owned by affiliates of Smart Hotels LLC and The Olympia Companies and will be operated by the Olympia Companies as a Hyatt Place hotel under a franchise agreement. Hyatt does not own any stake in the hotel or the project.

TIF funds ($5.2 million) were awarded to the hotel’s developer to offset certain costs associated with the construction of the $28.6 million hotel.

Therefore, it is incorrect to assert that TIF funds for this project were awarded to Hyatt or to Penny Pritzker, one of Hyatt’s board members.

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