Reinsdorf, Thompson sued over termination
April 19, 2013 4:48AM
Updated: May 19, 2013 7:54AM
A former head of the public agency overseeing U.S. Cellular Field is suing White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and former Gov. Jim Thompson, alleging they conspired to fire her after she tried to end long-standing practices that boosted White Sox revenue at the expense of the public.
Perri Irmer, former executive director of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, said she was fired in April 2011 after warning public officials of “problems” at the authority, according to the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago. It alleges that Reinsdorf and Thompson “sought to silence Perri Irmer and to stifle her efforts to protect Illinois taxpayers from Reinsdorf’s greed.”
The lawsuit says Irmer angered Reinsdorf in 2008 by leading an effort to get the White Sox to pay $1.2 million per year in rent for U.S. Cellular Field after years of the team paying no rent. Thompson and Reinsdorf also were upset that Irmer trimmed a renovation project by several million dollars, funding that was restored once she was fired, according to the suit.
Irmer claims her dismissal damaged her personal and professional reputation and resulted in a loss of income, according to the suit. The White Sox organization is not named as a defendant.
The authority was created by the General Assembly in 1987 with then-Gov. Thompson’s backing after Reinsdorf threatened to move the Sox to Florida unless a publicly financed stadium was built. Thompson became chairman of the authority’s board in 2005 and filled other leadership roles after his tenure on the board.