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Rahm Emanuel Lets Them Eat Cheesecake

The mayor relies on Eli’s, located in his old congressional district, to lure pols and CEOs.

Illustration: John Kenzie

In July, the Tribune reported that Mayor Emanuel has spent $51,000-plus on cheesecakes (!) over the past four years. Extra details:

He uses cheesecake as a carrot.

Back in 2005, when Rahm took over the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he began giving the desserts to potential candidates to lure them into running.

It’s Eli’s all the way.

He buys only from the Dunning-based cheesecake maker, which is in his old congressional district. “It’s a Chicago pride thing,” explains Emanuel campaign spokesman Pete Giangreco.

He’s flavor agnostic.

Rahm starts everyone off with the Original Favorites Sampler ($40 for 16 slices), which features four types.

His gift list is huge.

All his top donors get cheesecakes, of course, as do the Obamas (annually) and a wide assortment of bigwigs. For example, General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt got one before moving GE’s transportation unit to Chicago in 2012.

Karen Lewis gets frozen out.

That’s right: The outspoken Chicago Teachers Union president (and mayoral rival) has never received one. “But she hasn’t gotten a dead fish either,” says her spokesperson.


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