Chicago Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel has selected the head of an advisory firm specialising in public-private partnerships and an infrastructure lawyer to help manage the city's finances.
Emanuel, a Democrat, appointed Lois Scott, co-founder of Scott Balice Strategies, as chief financial officer, and infrastructure privatisation lawyer Alexandra Holt to be the city’s budget director, according to a statement.
Holt advised one of the consortia that bid to acquire Midway Airport, according to the Baker & McKenzie website. A spokesperson for Baker & McKenzie declined to specify which consortium Holt advised. The deal fell apart in April 2009 because the winning consortium, led by Citi Infrastructure Investors, was not able to secure $2.5 billion needed to finance the 99-year lease on Midway.
In previous remarks, Emanuel has indicated that he would not continue to pursue privatisation of the airport.
Chicago, in contrast, has consistently been able to close on such transactions. Dana Levenson, the city's chief financial officer from 2004 to 2007, helped usher in several large infrastructure deals, including the $563 million lease of the city’s underground parking garages and the $1.83 billion lease of the Chicago Skyway. A third deal, a $1.16 billion lease of the city's parking meters, closed in February 2009.
Both Holt and Scott will serve on Emanuel’s newly created Council on Budget, Business Development and Economic Issues. The council will be chaired by Deputy Mayor Mark Angelson, a former executive at publishing company RR Donnelly.