Chicago Cubs Senior VP Michael R. Lufrano

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Michael R. Lufrano
Michael R. Lufrano
This month we introduce our community to Michael R. Lufrano, senior vice president, community affairs and general counsel for the Chicago Cubs. Lufrano joined the team in July 2004 and is responsible for Cubs’ community affairs endeavors, government relations efforts, neighborhood relations and charitable activities. He also serves as chief legal counsel for the team. Is there a better career opportunity, especially for sports/baseball fans?

In his time with the Cubs, Lufrano has led efforts to develop and maintain positive relations with the community around Wrigley Field, including neighborhood elected officials, residents and businesses. These relationships have helped gain City Council and Landmarks Commission approval of new bleacher renovations for Wrigley Field, a new night game/neighborhood protection ordinance resulting in additional night games, authorization for musical concerts in Wrigley Field, new seating behind home plate and new LED scoreboards and behind home plate signage. Those who have worked with Mike in these endeavors always come away recognizing two of his main strengths — intelligence and integrity, not to mention his genuine charisma.

Lufrano is actively involved in community service and has initiated efforts that generate significant revenue to Cubs Care and Chicago Cubs Charities. He initiated the annual Race to Wrigley and events such as Catch in the Confines, which have generated hundreds of thousands of dollars and helped promote neighborhood outreach and support. Investments in projects such as Little Cubs Field at Humboldt Park, Cubs Care Legends Field at Hamlin Park and renovations to Thillens Stadium are a lasting Cubs legacy to the community and have garnered praise throughout the city. Since Lufrano joined the team, Cubs charitable efforts have supported donations of nearly $10 million to help organizations serving Chicago and its communities.

Lufrano, as a competent lawyer and community activist, has also assisted in successful resolution of disputes with rooftop owners and in recent years has managed media-related issues and inquiries regarding the neighborhood and ballpark. As general counsel, Lufrano has also overseen positive results in litigation matters, including two successful results in the Illinois Supreme Court.

From 1993-95, Lufrano served in the White House as special assistant to the President and deputy director of advance. He helped coordinate and implement daily and long-term schedules for the President and First Lady and helped produce and design White House trips and events, including President Clinton’s trip to Normandy in 1994 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of D-Day and a G-8 summit in Naples. Lufrano has worked on national presidential campaigns in 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000. In 1996, he served as Convention Hall Director for the Democratic National Convention at the United Center, where he was responsible for oversight of Convention Hall operations, supervision of construction and coordination of activity inside the Convention Hall. Pretty impressive – but not to those who have come to know Mike’s competency and talents over the years.

Lufrano is also an active participant in community activities. He serves as past chair of the Board of Trustees of the Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School in Lakeview. He is a member of the American Bar Association and is an adjunct professor of law at John Marshall Law School in Chicago. He serves on the board of directors of the East Lakeview Neighbors Association, the Lakeview Citizens Council, the Central Lakeview Merchants Association and is past-president of the Wrightwood Neighbors community association.

He has worked as an attorney in the Chicago office of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal where his practice focused on intellectual property, media and First Amendment law, Internet law and commercial litigation. He has also worked in the office of the corporation counsel for Atlanta, Georgia.

Prominent Illinois lawyer and Illinois State Representative Franco A. Coladipietro says of his friend Mike Lufrano: “I had the pleasure of meeting Mike Lufrano shortly after he joined the Cubs organization and over the past few years Mike and I have worked together on numerous legislative issues before the Illinois legislature. Mike is an extremely intelligent, talented and politically savvy professional whose background working in the Clinton White House has prepared him for the complex and delicate negotiations he deals with on a day to day basis. I’m also so proud to see the many accomplished members of our Italian-American community and in the case of Mike Lufrano, I’m even more honored to have had the opportunity to personally work with him and call him a friend. I wish everyone could get to know Mike personally because he is such a positive role model and influence for our community. I’m counting on my friend to be a big part of bringing a World Series back to Wrigley Field!”

When asked about his Italian ancestry, Mike replied: “The family of my grandfather, Anthony Lufrano, emigrated just after the turn of the last century from a town just northwest of Naples, apparently called Lufrano. When I travelled to Naples with President Clinton in 1994, I tried to find the town but was never able to locate it. We have searched our records at Ellis Island as well. There is a small intersection in the area and a major highway known as Via Lufrano, but I would love to learn more.”

Lufrano is a longtime resident of Chicago and a graduate of Lane Technical High School. He graduated magna cum laude with a BA in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and cum laude from Harvard Law School. He and his wife, Lyz Bodner, have two children, Drew (age 4) and Evan (age 3) and currently reside in Andersonville.

About Leonard F. Amari

Leonard F. Amari is a founding, co-managing partner of Amari & Locallo, a law firm that focuses exclusively on real estate tax assessment issues. He is a J.D. recipient from The John Marshall Law School, with honors. Amari has been a John Marshall trustee since 2000 and was elected president of the board in 2007. He is past president of the Illinois State Bar Association, a member of the Chicago Bar Association’s State and Local Taxation Committee, and a member and past president of the Justinian Society of Lawyers. He has received numerous honors from many organizations recognizing his service.

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