According to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski should “educate himself” about crime in the Windy City before commenting again on the state of the city.
Speaking at the Economic Club of Chicago, Kempczinski told of struggles the fast food company has in hiring for their corporate headquarters in the city. He is constantly asked, he told the gathering, “what’s going on in Chicago?”
Kempczinski said that, though it may hurt civic pride to admit it, there is a “general sense” that the city is in “crisis.” He noted there are fewer large companies headquartered in Chicago now than last year.
Three of those now departed are Caterpillar, Citadel and Boeing.
Not so fast, according to Lightfoot, who responded to the McDonald’s CEO at a press conference Wednesday. She retorted that it would be helpful for the businessman to “educate himself before he spoke.”
“Educate yourself” is a common response when Lightfoot faces criticism for her handling of city affairs.
By the numbers, violent crime complaints have risen 37% over the past year according to Chicago Police statistics. The crime rate has reached 67% higher than the U.S. average.
NEW: McDonald's CEO Warns Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot that soaring crime around McDonalds HQ is leaving its corporate staff too terrified to return to work
“There is a general sense out there, that our city is in crisis”
— HeadlineHunter!🚨U.S. (@HHunter_US) September 16, 2022
The mayor, however, touted her own numbers showing that 112 companies have “moved in or opened their doors” in the city in the past 18 months. This in turn created 19,000 direct or indirect positions.
Lightfoot also pointed to studies that show there are 7,400 more businesses in Chicago now than pre-COVID.
A McDonald’s spokesperson declined to comment on the mayor’s statements, but the company has since appeared to backtrack from Kempczinski’s comments. An ad was purchased in the Chicago Tribune reaffirming its commitment to the city.
There has also been an announcement that 120 more jobs are being shifted to its downtown headquarters.
Still, Kempczinski only spoke what virtually everyone knows, and that is that Chicago has a major violent crime problem. Every weekend sees a new rash of incidents followed by a fresh set the following weekend. Lightfoot is burying her head in the sand if she thinks otherwise.