Writing about Sears Holdings Corp.’s bankruptcy is a bit like dusting off a corporate obituary that’s been in the works for years: Sears Holdings, the former Sears, Roebuck & Co. that once dominated retailing in the United States, succumbed to a long illness Monday.

Sure, a bankruptcy filing is not quite a death knell. Sears can still reorganize in bankruptcy court and could even have a chance at survival. Hundreds of stores could stay open, and thousands of jobs could be saved. Or it could wind up in liquidation. Too soon to tell.

But, the story of Sears’ failure is one of corporate hubris, failed financial engineering, an inability to respond to competitors — and even a waste of public money. Well before Sears filed for bankruptcy, it was clear Illinois taxpayers would not see a full return on the $250 million in tax breaks and incentives the company got for moving into the Prairie Stone complex in Hoffman Estates.

The bankruptcy is the latest corporate catastrophe in a line of once-powerful Chicagoland businesses that dates back to at least the early 1980s.

Read the rest at chicagotribune.com.

David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative journalism and policy advocacy.

Greising’s career started at the City News Bureau of Chicago, with stops at the Chicago Sun-Times, Business Week magazine, the Chicago Tribune and Reuters. He was a co-founder of the Chicago News Cooperative and worked briefly as a consultant to World Business Chicago. Today, Greising writes on government issues in regular columns for the Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business.

Under Greising’s leadership, the BGA has played a key role in uncovering public corruption amidst the wide-ranging federal probe, starting with an in-depth report about Ald. Ed Burke’s conflicts of interest before the federal charges against Burke. The BGA also has exposed waste and fraud at O’Hare and the proliferation of corruption and poverty into Dolton, Lyons and other Chicago suburbs. The BGA’s policy team has led calls for ethics reform in Chicago’s City Council and in state government.