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Local News

Joliet stadium deal approved, details kept under wraps

The Joliet City Council voted, 5-3, to approve a contract with a stadium sponsor who will not let them see the details.

The vote authorizes a naming rights deal that renames the city-owned stadium DuPage Medical Group Field.

The agreement has not been made public even though it involves revenues that must go to the city.

Council member Sherri Reardon asked before the vote whether the council could even vote on the agreement without seeing it and did not get an answer from the city attorney.

“Do we know legally yes or no whether we can approve this without us being privy to the agreement?” Reardon asked City Attorney Martin Shanahan

“I don’t understand your question,” Shanahan said. “We’re just following what the lease says. The city has to approve it.”

The naming rights for the stadium are negotiated by the Slammers, who, according to the team lease with Joliet, serve as the city’s agent in the deal.

Shanahan, who was interim city manager when the deal was negotiated, has said the city is not a party to the agreement. A Slammers executive has said that Shanahan gave his OK on the deal before it was approved by the team and DuPage Medical Group.

The lease requires that the city get half the revenues from the naming rights deal.

The Slammers and DuPage Medical Group have not disclosed what those revenues are.

Interim City Manager Steve Jones told the Stadium Committee on Monday that he read the contract after signing a nondisclosure agreement. The city will receive more than $30,000 in the first year of the agreement and more than $40,000 annually in subsequent years, he said.

Jones did not say how many years because the length of the agreement is one of the things he was prohibited from disclosing.

The only other naming rights agreement for the stadium, which was made with Silver Cross Hospital in 2002, is a 23-page document spelling out how much the hospital would pay for 15 seasons as the sponsor.

The agreement that went to the council for a vote on Tuesday is a partial version of the DuPage Medical Group contract listing some of the perks the company gets as sponsor.

Council members Michael Turk and Larry Hug also voted against the agreement.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk did not vote, but has urged approval of the deal. O’Dekirk has refused to answer whether he had previously seen the agreement and signed it.

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