Share the article: In Final Debate, J.B. Pritzker Called “Liar” and “Fraud” By Chris Kennedy, Daniel Biss

Pritzker uses offshore shell company to dodge taxes while advocating for tax hikes on Illinois families

Last night, J.B. Pritzker, Chris Kennedy and Daniel Biss squared off in what was their final debate before the March 20th Primary Election, and Pritzker played defense against Kennedy’s and Biss’ attacks.

Yesterday morning, the Chicago Tribune published yet another bombshell report detailing J.B. Pritzker’s use of offshore shell companies to avoid taxes on a for-profit business venture Pritzker owns in Illinois. Pritzker doubled down on previous false claims that all profits from any offshore entities he owns go directly to charity.

Unsurprisingly, that report became the focus of the debate and it dominated news coverage everywhere.

Chicago Tribune: Pritzker called ‘liar,’ ‘fraud’ during final Democratic governor debate

Leading Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker was called a “liar” and a “fraud” by two rivals as the billionaire businessman’s ties to secret offshore shell companies became the focus of the final forum of the campaign Wednesday night.

For his part, Pritzker avoided getting into specifics of his financial holdings, and claimed the offshore companies were investment instruments of family trusts established long ago and that charity was the beneficiary, not himself.

Chicago Sun-Times: In final gov debate, Dems haggle over Madigan, Berrios, taxes and integrity

…Pritzker was forced to defend himself against a Chicago Tribune report that claimed Pritzker and his brother control several offshore companies created between 2008 and 2011 — suggesting that Pritzker may be avoiding paying taxes. The story claims one of Pritzker’s offshore companies is part of a venture that plans to buy land along the Chicago River to launch boat tours downtown.

CBS 2 Chicago: Pritzker, Biss, Kennedy Face Off In Final Democratic Debate

For the final time before next Tuesday’s primary, the three leading Democrats running for governor met Wednesday evening in a televised debate.

And the major topic was whether billionaire J.B. Pritzker has stashed much of his wealth offshore to avoid taxes.

For this entire campaign, Pritzker has maintained overseas trusts were established long ago by his family and any proceeds go straight to charity. But, he was on the defense about whether some of the companies were set up more recently, and whether he’s benefiting.

NBC 5 Chicago: Final Dem Debate For Illinois Governor Gets Heated

…JB Pritzker seemed uncomfortable while Chris Kennedy and Daniel Biss were ready to strike on the WTTW-hosted gubernatorial forum.

Kennedy was critical of Pritzker’s explanation after a new Chicago Tribune report disclosed Pritzker’s off-shore companies, investments kept secret and untaxed.

ABC 7 Chicago: Top 3 Democratic candidates for governor square off in final debate

…Pritzker found himself repeatedly on the defensive over a Chicago Tribune report suggesting he was being dishonest about his offshore holdings and trusts that provide tax shelters.

“Remember, those trusts are focused on charitable donations so any distributions that are made go entirely to charity,” he said.

“We just heard this unbelievable mess of word salad in an effort to distract us from what we learned from the Trib this morning,” Biss replied.

“If they’ll lie to you to get the job, they’ll lie to you to keep the job and you do not want a liar as the governor of the state of Illinois,” Kennedy said.

WGN 9 Chicago: Pritzker defends finances; Top 3 Democrats running for governor face off in debate

…The debate started with questions about Pritzker’s offshore trusts and companies.

A new report claimed that Pritzker had a secret offshore bank account to avoid taxes. The Chicago Tribune reported the existence of offshore shell companies created over the last decade wholly owned by J.B. Pritzker, his brother and his business partner or other close associates.

WTTW: Pritzker’s Offshore Holdings Under Fire in Final Governor’s Race Forum

Pritzker has maintained throughout his campaign that all offshore holdings tied to his name were created by his grandfather and used for charitable disbursements. But a Chicago Tribune investigation published Wednesday revealed several shell companies created in the last 10 years owned by Pritzker and funded through offshore accounts. Pritzker insisted during Wednesday’s forum that he had no control over those accounts, but dodged a question about their ownership and claimed they pose no conflicts of interest.

Chicago Tribune Column: J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire with offshore accounts, really isn’t like us

…According to a Chicago Tribune investigation, several offshore shell companies created between 2008 and 2011 — decades after Pritzker’s grandfather died — are either wholly owned by Pritzker or his brother and business partner Anthony Pritzker, or they list other close associates as controlling executives.

Pritzker explained in December that the only money he took out of the offshore trusts went to charitable organizations. He certainly isn’t the only rich politician to keep money offshore, but he’s the only one so far to claim that it helped him become a modern-day Robin Hood. It’s insulting that he would think Illinoisans are stupid enough to believe he has offshore holdings so that he can help the less fortunate.


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