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Jenner & Block transactional attorneys played an important role in the actualization of a project of significant importance in Chicago. On September 19, 2014, area dignitaries participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Jesse White Community Center and Field House on the city’s near north side. The building was designed and constructed by the Jesse White Foundation, a nonprofit that supports the activities of the internationally known Jesse White Tumblers. The Chicago Park District will own and operate the facility that will serve as a home base for the tumbling team, which has never before had its own practice venue, and will also house numerous athletic and other after-school programs for the surrounding neighborhood.
The firm began providing the necessary legal work and business consulting to the Foundation on a pro bono basis in 2011. The representation included helping the park district acquire the property from the City of Chicago in a complicated exchange; retaining a project manager; handling all of the design and construction contracts; and negotiating a complex donation agreement with the city and park district, loan documents for interim financing secured by donation pledges, and an Occupancy and Use Agreement between the Jesse White Foundation and the park district.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel attended and spoke at the ceremony. During his speech, Secretary White publicly thanked Jenner & Block and noted that “they really do a lot of pro bono work.” He also acknowledged the specific attorneys on the firm’s team, which was led by Partner Donald I. Resnick, Chair of the firm’s Real Estate Practice, and included Partner Donald S. Horvath and Associate Penelope P. Campbell (a Jesse White Tumbler from 1986 to 1990, Penelope served as Secretary White’s press secretary from 2002 through 2009, including while she attended law school at night).