Lawsuit alleges the Obama Presidential Center is a “bait and switch” to get control of public land.
Since environmental activism is behind the lawsuit against the Obama Presidential Center, I’m not sure what to think about it. The plaintiffs claim though that the project is a typical maneuver in Chicago. They say the project was initiated as the place for the full official Obama library. Once the project was approved, however, it was downgraded to the “Obama Presidential Center.” They object against public parklands being used to support a kind of Obama theme park that isn’t the official library.
Those defending the project accuse the plaintiffs of halting a source of new jobs that would have billions of dollars’ worth of “impact” in the community over the next decade. Claiming that amount of “impact”—whatever that might mean—makes me more suspicious of it rather than reassured.
The Washington Times reports, “Federal lawsuit filed to block Obama library construction.”
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Activists filed a federal lawsuit Monday to block construction of the Obama Presidential Center on Chicago’s historic public parklands.
Protect Our Parks Inc. accused organizers of an “institutional bait and switch” by initially advertising the center as the 44th president’s official library.
“In August 2016, the City and the Park District publically announced that the Obama Presidential Library, promised to include all of the former President’s official records, would be built in Jackson Park,” the lawsuit reads. “Then, in May 2017, after the Defendants’ public announcement that a true ‘Presidential Library’ would be built, the Obamas did an about face on their commitment to a Presidential Library.”
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, also claims the transfer of public parklands to a private entity violates Park District Code.
“Defendants have chosen to deal with it in a classic Chicago political way, known as a short con shell game, a corrupt scheme to deceive and seemingly legitimize an illegal land grab, one that will endure for centuries to come, regardless of future changing public park needs […],” the lawsuit reads.
Plaintiffs in the case are three Chicago residents, including the activist Charlotte Adelman. Defendants are the Chicago Park District and the City of Chicago.
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