Chocolatier finds sweet spot in Belize

According to Alvarez, he is registered as a lobbyist with seven companies, including Saint Anthony Hospital and American Traffic Solutions, a competitor to the city's red-light camera company, Redflex Traffic Systems.

Among Culloton's clients are the Chicago Cubs and the team's owners, the Ricketts family, who are trying to get government assistance to help pay for Wrigley Field renovations.

"The reason why I wanted Mike to join the team is that he was the director of outreach for President Obama when he was Sen. Obama," Culloton Strategies founder Dennis Culloton said. "He was the first and only Hispanic elected official to endorse Mayor (Rahm) Emanuel during his run for mayor … and he's a strong ally of a great number of other important policymakers and political figures in Chicago and across the state."

Alvarez will continue his state agency and lobbying work on books separate from those of Culloton Strategies, Culloton said. However, Alvarez said he expects his lobbying work to wane over time, and he'll instead be advising clients on how best to do it themselves, he said.

Rahals team up

Veteran race car driver and team owner Bobby Rahal announced last week that his 23-year-old son, Graham, would finally join Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing as its 2013 IndyCar Series driver.

Bobby Rahal, who lives in Lincoln Park and grew up in Glen Ellyn, said that the pairing would make race day easier. He would no longer need "one eye" on his team's car and "one eye" on his son's.

"I really wanted him to drive for other teams so that no one even accused him of being where he was because of me," Rahal said Thursday during a presentation at Cooper Technica, a vintage car restoration company in the West Loop. "I also thought, for him to earn the respect of his peers, he needed to be somewhere else" first.

The younger Rahal, who won his IndyCar Series debut in 2008, lives in Indianapolis, his father said.

Melissa Harris can be reached at or 312-222-4582. Twitter @chiconfidential or