Lester: Duchossois fights horse slaughter rule, irks Jane Byrne's daughter
A member of the Illinois Racing Board abruptly quit last week after Arlington Park Chairman Dick Duchossois didn't back her proposal placing penalties on any stable or horse racing organization that sold a horse for slaughter.
Chicago Democrat Kathy Byrne -- yes, that's the daughter of former Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne -- said she had worked on the anti-slaughter regulations for months with help from officials at Arlington Park, which, as part of Churchill Downs Inc., has a policy banning trainers or owners from having stalls at the park if they're found to have sold horses to slaughterhouses. Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association President Mike Campbell says stakeholders had "a great deal of input" on Byrne's proposed rules.
When Duchossois joined Byrne at the table as she was presenting the proposed regulations, she assumed he was there in support of the proposal. Instead, he said he hadn't read it and raised specific concerns about a provision suggesting the board may "fine, suspend, or revoke" a track's license if it violates the rules, even if it is not directly responsible for a horse being sent to a slaughterhouse.
Duchossois describes himself as "anti-horse slaughter, period," but he said the racetrack "wasn't going to back a bill that we haven't even read that contains some things that we can't control."
Byrne then pulled the rules from consideration and walked out of the meeting.
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, for whom Duchossois has been a key supporter, now will have the chance to replace Byrne on the 11-member racing board.
Though Byrne and board Chairman Jeffrey Brincat famously did not get along, I'm told administration officials were still surprised by her resignation.
Clear for takeoff
Duchossois, who years ago used to commute to work by helicopter, says he plans to take to the air again after a family business, the Duchossois Real Estate LLC, moves to an Oak Brook-based office development that it bought last year for $18 million. How's the 94-year-old billionaire feel these days? "Like a million bucks," he cracked.
Speaking of helicopters, Barrington Hills residents Mark and Deborah Lambert, who are looking to downsize from their 6,600-square-foot farmhouse, were the first participants in Jameson Sotheby's International Realty's pilot program to offer helicopter tours to any of its buyers in the $1.5 million-and-up range.
Agent Judy Gibbons, a Barrington native, tells me the Lamberts' tour last week on a day with "glorious weather" started at Schaumburg Regional Airport and included aerial views of five properties in about an hour.
"I've lived in this town my whole life and I've never seen it like this," Gibbons said.
Arlington Heights residents received enough slush in the region's first official snowfall of the year that the Weather Channel was broadcasting live from the Arlington Heights train station on the storm.
Gurnee Attorney Erin Cartwright has thrown her name in to run for Lake County circuit clerk against Keith Brin of Highland Park, who is making a bid for his second term.
Palin in Naperville
Seems like ages ago that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was introducing herself as "just a pit bull, with lipstick" to the nation in the 2008 presidential race. Fast forward seven years, and she's appearing at the Marriott Naperville Dec. 1 to sign copies of her new book: "Sweet Freedom: A devotional." Interested? Get the $26 tickets through Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, www.andersonsbookshop.com.
Fox Lake Village Administrator Anne Marrin -- she's the whistle-blower on the late Lt. Charles "Joe" Gliniewicz's theft of Police Explorer funds -- tells us her nephew Michael Schofield is an offensive tackle for the Denver Broncos. Of course, Marrin proudly admits she switched her allegiance from Bears to Broncos for this weekend's game.
I had the opportunity to speak to the League of Women Voters of Naperville last week about the upcoming 2016 presidential race and how Illinois fits into the national picture. Here's a snap of some of me with some of the participants. League Vice President Jeff Knezovich is on the left.
• Have a tip? Send them to me at to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (847) 427-4603.