Mayor Rahm Emanuel, as he prepares to leave office next year, keeps proffering fabulous parting gifts to billionaires, futurists and developers. And the fanciful forays keep filling his legacy with backfires and false starts.

There were incentives exceeding $2 billion (from the city and state) if only Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos would build his so-called “second headquarters” here. There was the announcement that Emanuel had selected Elon Musk and his Boring Co. to build a high-speed underground conveyance from downtown to O’Hare International Airport.

And now, in an unfolding saga, there is Emanuel’s push to offer tax incentives and other help so Chicago-based developer Sterling Bay will move forward on a planned $6 billion project called Lincoln Yards.

The track record so far on Emanuel’s late-term temptations is spotty at best.

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David Greising

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...