STUMP » Articles » Illinois Politics: Spread the Wealth of Corrupt Connections! » 17 June 2014, 03:52

Where Stu & MP spout off about everything.

Illinois Politics: Spread the Wealth of Corrupt Connections!  


17 June 2014, 03:52

Let’s start out with the clearly illegal and already convicted politicians:=

Well, another state legislator is heading to prison.

You won’t hear much outrage in Springfield.

Or dismay for that matter.

In the grand scheme of things, the conviction of state Rep. Derrick Smith, D-Chicago, on bribery charges is picayune.

You’ll hear it whispered around the Statehouse: “He ‘only’ took $7,000.”

That is picayune. I do wonder sometimes about black politicians getting nabbed for bribery. Often it’s for piddly amounts. I think it’s because in Illinois Democrat circles, the white crooks have been on the take for so long, you’ve got to drag a goodly amount across their path to make them jump.

Here are a few other cases from the same story:

That’s right. He took seven grand in exchange for writing a letter in support of a business receiving a state grant.

Another legislator, LaShawn Ford, D-Chicago, is facing bank fraud charges. And last year, former state Rep. Connie Howard pled out on a felony charge that she was siphoning money that was supposed to go for college scholarships. Instead she spent it on herself.

LaShawn Ford’s case sounds like it involves about $500K, which is not rinkydink and Connie Howard took about $28K (and is getting more than that in pensions, but we’ll ignore that for now).

This is a regulator from Illinois as opposed to a legislator:

The former No. 2 person in Secretary of State Jesse White’s securities-regulation unit has agreed to plead guilty to federal health-fraud charges.

Marlene Liss, the former $75,000-a-year deputy director of the Office of Securities, signed a plea deal with federal prosecutors in Springfield saying she will confess to being part of a scheme in which she billed the Medicaid program for work as a home-health aide for hours when she was on Mr. White’s clock.

The matter falls under federal jurisdiction because Medicaid is partially funded by the federal government.

The plea agreement does not specify how much money Ms. Liss wrongly billed Medicaid, but it says she submitted false time sheets for a more than three-year period that ended on Aug. 26. The time sheets claimed she worked five hours a day, seven days a week.

Ms. Liss was charged and agreed to plead guilty on May 30. But the case drew little attention because she was one of 15 people accused of Medicaid fraud by the U.S. attorney for the Central District of Illinois.

But even so, these guys are small-time compared to the really really connected. How about the head of the Illinois legislature?

When Mesirow Financial Services — a Chicago company that manages* millions of dollars in pension funds for the state of Illinois* — and its partners wanted to fight the property taxes on their new skyscraper, they called the law offices of Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan.

Madigan’s law firm saved the Mesirow group more than $1.7 million in real estate taxes by persuading Cook County officials to slash the value of the River North building by 60 percent soon after it opened nearly five years ago.

Mesirow no longer owns the building at 353 N. Clark that still serves as its headquarters. But the law firm of Madigan & Getzendanner has continued to save Mesirow money by getting the tax bills lowered for the building’s owner.

Madigan’s firm has gotten Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios — chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party and a political ally of Madigan, the chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party — to slash the skyscraper’s value, arguing it hasn’t been particularly profitable, in part because of “generous rent abatements” Mesirow agreed to give its tenants, including Mesirow itself.

Madigan says it wasn’t a conflict of interest for his law firm to win the tax breaks for Mesirow — which has been paid more than $9 million over the past five years to manage state pension funds that now total more than $300 million and another $5.2 million for financial and insurance services to the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority and other state agencies.

The speaker also says he’s done nothing to help Mesirow — where his son Andrew Madigan is a company vice president — get state business. The speaker’s son started at Mesirow as an intern in 2008. Mesirow says he now works in “business development for all lines of insurance,” often involving suburbs including Blue Island, Burbank and Cicero.

Let us look at all the links above. Madigan is speaker of the Illinois House. Madigan’s son is a VP at a company that manages Illinois pension funds. Madigan’s law firm does business for that company, getting their real estate taxes lowered. The main decision-maker for lowering said taxes is chairman of the local Democratic Party and connected with Madigan.

All of these dealings are worth millions of dollars, many of which deals are on an annual basis.

And it’s all legal.

I bet the guy going to jail for being paid $7K to write a letter is kicking himself. Somebody really ought to put a movement together to redistribute the connections from the highly-placed rich, white Democrat politicians to those who have to settle for thousand-dollar bribes.

It’s only fair.

Btw, if you have a hankering to follow regular updates of Illinois corruption, might I suggest following Brian Costin at the Illinois Policy Institute? He has a regular Illinois Corruption Watch. Here is his Twitter feed.

Of course, he’s got a wealth of material to work with, as it were.

Compilation of Illinois posts

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