“From what I’m hearing, there’s lots more to come out on the speaker.”
In a bombshell report from the Chicago Sun-Times, a court affidavit revealed Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan was the subject of a secret FBI recording.
In 2014, Chicago Alderman Danny Solis arranged a meeting between Madigan and a real estate developer concerning legal business with Madigan’s property tax appeals law firm, Madigan and Getzendanner. Solis is alleged to have told an associate of the developer that “if [the developer] works with the speaker, [the developer] will get anything he needs for that hotel… [the developer]’s going to benefit from being with the speaker . . . okay?”
Speaker Madigan has denied any wrongdoing, but one reporter is saying that he’s heard “there’s lots more to come out on the speaker.” The revelation dominated yesterday’s news:
The FBI secretly recorded Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan trying to get business for his private law firm from a developer brought to him by Ald. Danny Solis, who was weighing the developer’s request to build a hotel in Chinatown, according to a federal court affidavit obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.
…Madigan’s law firm’s legal fees were discussed during the meeting — and the Southwest Side Democrat made it clear he wanted more than a short-term deal with the developer.
“We’re not interested in a quick killing here,” Madigan said during the meeting. “We’re interested in a long-term relationship.”
Chicago Sun-Times Editorial: Corruption in Chicago — and what nobody has to say
…A developer in 2014 wanted to build a hotel in Chinatown, but he needed a zoning change. So he asked Ald. Danny Solis (25th) for a letter of support.
Solis hemmed and hawed through the summer. Then he invited the developer and an associate of the developer to a meeting with Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, who runs a law firm that does property tax work.
At some point in the meeting, according to the affidavit, Madigan said his law firm would like to do tax work for the developer. Solis chimed in to say there was “no better firm” to do such work.
Three days later, the developer’s associate called Solis to tell him the developer had agreed to hire Madigan’s law firm.
Chicago Sun-Times: Pritzker has little to say about Madigan being recorded by feds
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday that public officials should avoid outside occupations that conflict with their public responsibilities — but he said he did not know whether House Speaker Mike Madigan had done so.
And the newly seated Democratic governor declined to offer any opinions on a report by the Chicago Sun-Times that revealed Madigan was recorded by authorities in his private law office as they investigated Ald. Danny Solis.
Chicago Tribune Editorial: ‘Operation Illinois Politics’: The FBI is on the prowl
The investigation has reached blockbuster status: The FBI has surreptitiously recorded the speaker of the Illinois House as well as Chicago’s two most influential aldermen — City Council committee chairmen who’ve overseen zoning and finances.
…Some of those federally-enshrined chats were with the second alderman, Edward Burke, whom the U.S. Department of Justice has accused of attempted extortion. Prosecutors have released only fragments from a few of the thousands of Burke telephone conversations they wiretapped with judicial permission.
Then there’s that other pol who spoke into a little microphone. The opening of a news story that reverberated Tuesday through this city’s, this state’s, corridors of power: The FBI secretly recorded Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan trying to get business for his private law firm from a developer brought to him by Ald. Danny Solis, who was weighing the developer’s request to build a hotel in Chinatown, according to a federal court affidavit obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.
…Madigan has faced several probes over his decades in office, including into allegations of government staffers doing political work, patronage hiring at Metra, and a university union contract dispute involving a top campaign donor. While critics have raised questions about Madigan’s ethics, he has never been charged.
But it’s Madigan’s public career as House speaker and private career as founder and rainmaker of one of Chicago’s top property tax appeals law firms that has come under the most consistent scrutiny over the years. The Tribune’s 2010 “The Madigan Rules” series showed that in some cases, Madigan took public actions that benefited his private clients, and he and the firm have faced criticism over the years for representing clients that also have business before the state.
…Some of Madigan’s decisions as speaker have the potential to affect someone who has hired Madigan’s firm in hopes of having a tax bill lowered. The Tribune has reported that as a public official, Madigan got a private road behind a shopping mall repaved, helped secure state funding for an expanded tollway interchange and intervened for a developer looking for state cash. In each case, Madigan was a private lawyer for businesspeople who stood to benefit.
Crain’s Chicago Business: Mike Madigan shocker rocks state, city politics
Mike Madigan says he did nothing wrong. But the news that he was taped by Ald. Danny Solis, 25th, as part of a federal corruption probe is providing another stunning shock to Illinois politics and further roiling an already unpredictable race for mayor.
In separate statements, both Madigan and his longtime private attorney, Heather Wier Vaught, dismissed allegations in a Chicago Sun-Times report that Solis arranged a meeting with a zoning applicant who needed Solis’ backing for a Chinatown hotel project. Solis reportedly told the developer that hiring Madigan’s law firm to handle property tax appeals would clear the way for the zoning approval, but though the zoning was secured, Madigan’s firm was not retained and the hotel never was built.
Illinois News Network: After news of Madigan’s secret FBI tape, Pritzker wants to ‘see the investigation play out’
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he wants to “see the investigation play out” after news that a federal investigation into the Chicago City Council included a secretly recorded conversation between House Speaker Michael Madigan and a developer who wanted to build a hotel in Chinatown.
Chicago Ald. Danny Solis, who spent two years cooperating with investigators arranged the meeting between Madigan and the developer at Madigan’s law office 2014. Madigan was recorded pitching his legal services and seeking a longterm relationship with the developer, according to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times. Madigan denied wrongdoing through his attorney.
Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan was secretly recorded by the FBI trying to secure a developer’s business for Madigan’s private law firm, according to a published report.
…Madigan denies any wrongdoing.
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