Share the article: Pritzker Deflects on Whether Madigan Should Resign Immediately

Criticism of Governor JB Pritzker is growing after his failure on Friday to demand Speaker Michael Madigan’s immediate resignation.  In its editorial calling for Madigan to resign, the Daily Herald slammed Pritzker for saying Madigan should resign only “if” the allegations are true.  “With respect, Governor, that if is neither necessary nor relevant. The speaker’s effectiveness is too deeply compromised,” the Daily Herald wrote.  Pritzker is also facing questions of why he appointed the daughter-in-law of a close Madigan ally (referred to as “Associate 3” in Friday’s court documents) to be ComEd’s chief regulator and why he would retain her after the US Attorney’s announcement.

Meanwhile, Pritzker’s own legal problems are growing.  The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times reported Friday about the US Attorney’s expanding investigation into Governor JB Pritzker’s potential property tax fraud schemes.  Here are two important things we learned: 1) the US Attorney’s Office is investigating the matter; and 2) the probe has already moved beyond the Governor’s Gold Coast estate to include additional properties.

From the Sun-Times on Friday:

Federal prosecutors have made a series of requests to the Cook County assessor’s office over the past five months for records regarding the $330,000 property tax break that Gov. J.B. Pritzker got on a Gold Coast mansion — a break he got in part because the toilets were disconnected during a stalled remodeling job.

From the Tribune late Friday night:

In addition to seeking records on the assessments of Pritzker’s side-by-side mansions on Astor Street in the Gold Coast, the U.S. attorney’s office also requested information related to assessments and appeals filed by the Schmidt, Salzman & Moran law firm “on behalf of entities affiliated with the Pritzkers, including (the) Hyatt (hotel chain), Astor Street and Pritzker Group, from Jan. 1, 2016 to present,” according to documents provided to the Tribune through an open records request.

The revelations that federal prosecutors are widening their Pritzker property tax fraud probe alongside criticism of Pritzker’s refusal to demand Madigan’s resignation prompts a few obvious questions:

1.     Did the Governor refuse to call for Speaker Madigan to step down immediately because of the expanding investigations into his own potential fraud?

2.     What did the Governor mean that the Speaker should resign if the allegations are true?  When would that be – this week, when he’s indicted, only after he’s convicted?

3.     Will the Governor discuss why he appointed Carrie Zalewski to chair the Illinois Commerce Commission, which oversees ComEd, at Madigan’s direction – and whether he is concerned that the appointment may be connected to the US Attorney’s investigation?

4.     Why would the Governor retain Zalewski as ComEd’s chief regulator after the US Attorney revealed Friday that her father-in-law – a close Madigan ally – may have been involved in the bribery scheme?

5.     At what point does the Governor believe he would have to resign based on the expanding federal probe of his property tax issues?


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