Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Chicagoan Comes To Bat for Duke City.

Byline: Dennis Latta Journal Staff Writer

* Power broker, education reformer leading efforts to return Triple-A baseball to Albuquerque

Astride a horse or relaxing at his ranch in northern New Mexico, he's known as just plain "Mike." In Albuquerque, where hardly anyone knows him yet he could soon carry the title of Mr. Baseball. He plans to move a Triple-A franchise to Albuquerque, pending the construction of a new stadium or renovation of the Albuquerque Sports Stadium.

But in clout-packed Chicago, he's Martin "Mike" J. Koldyke owner of a multimillion-dollar investment firm and a political heavy hitter.

He started the famed Golden Apple Foundation, which presents cash awards to top educators and encourages promising students to become teachers.

And more recently, he was chairman of the powerful Chicago School Finance Authority.

The 68-year-old Koldyke mixes easily with civic and business leaders, naming CBS news anchor Dan Rather, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley among his circle of friends.

Koldyke also knows controversy. He is not popular with many teachers, and he admits many of his proposals as chairman of the Finance Authority were never implemented.

"He is a classic venture capitalist," said Donald 'Duffy' Swan, former president of the University of New Mexico Foundation, who has worked with Koldyke on public education projects in New Mexico. "He's constantly looking for ideas. He generates a lot of energy when you're around him."

Daley sums him up this way: "Mike Koldyke is one of those people who make a difference. …

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