* The Sun-Times waded through property tax cases in Cook County and identified “hundreds” of clients of House Speaker Michael Madigan’s law firm. So far though, there isn’t much to report…
Over the past nine years, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s law firm has made $171,000 by seeking property tax breaks for developers who get state financing to build low-income housing, records show.
His firm’s payments came through the Illinois Housing Development Authority, the state agency that financed those projects.
Records also show the firm of Madigan & Getzendanner helped another state contractor save about $300,000 in property taxes on the Atrium Mall and food court it operates inside the James R. Thompson Center, the state’s main office building in Chicago.
The payments referenced in the article are processed through IHDA, but that’s because IHDA administers a developers’ escrow fund. That’s not state money. But you won’t find find that tidbit until you get to the end of the story.
The lawsuit mentioned in the piece involved a different law firm and came about after Rod Blagojevich refused to renew the company’s lease at the Thompson Center. Attorney General Madigan dropped out of the case after Blagojevich demanded a private attorney be used. The outside law firm lost the case at the trial and appellate level and is now appealing to the Illinois Supreme Court.
Speaker Madigan has come under fire from Cook County Assessor James Houlihan for mixing his political power with his law firm, but the Sun-Times article shows that Houlihan has often agreed with Madigan’s firm.
One of the more interesting pieces of the story is the sidebar, which looks at some of Madigan’s clients…
* New Frontier Management, owned by indicted Republican Party power-broker William F. Cellini
* Harlem Irving Companies, owned by Michael Marchese, a friend of Mayor Daley’s and shopping-center magnate
* The Columbian, a city-subsidized condo building built by developer Allison S. Davis
* East Lake Management Corp.,owned by developer Elzie Higginbottom
* State Rep. Monique Davis
* Ali D. Ata, a former state official who has pleaded guilty to tax charges
Everybody who is anybody. Also, it’s interesting that Madigan also does work for members. Or, at least one member.
Madigan’s law firm has been looked at several times over the years by the feds. Nothing’s ever come of it. But you can easily see why Lisa Madigan would’ve had to deal with a lot of trouble if she had decided to run for governor. Articles like today’s would be popping up all the time.
…Adding… I would say, though, that Speaker Madigan is really playing with fire with this Joe Berrios for Cook County Assessor candidacy. Berrios is HDO’s godfather, and is a Statehouse lobbyist who helped convinced Madigan to enact the new video gaming law. He’s also a member of the Board of Review, which Madigan’s firm is in front of all the time.
Madigan is just asking for big trouble with this one. And he’ll probably get it.
* Ask Blago: Blago is HILARIOUS! Listeners can call in and talk to him about anything that’s on their minds. The majority of the program is taken up with Blago’s rants about greedy politicians and how the government is corrupting society, etc. He tosses around the phrase “When I was governor” approximately once every 30 seconds, and he loves to point the finger at his enemies in Illinois politics and tell his callers why those people are to blame for absolutely everything that’s wrong with the world. Some people call in to discuss serious issues, like veterans benefits. Other people call to tell Rod how great he was during his recent performance at Second City, etc.
* Marin: Remorseless Fawell still not ready for reform : It was not unlike watching Gov. Quinn’s surreal news conference last week, when he vetoed the campaign finance reform bill he had previously hailed as “landmark legislation.” Making the event even crazier was the presence of Speaker of the House Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, who triumphantly passed that lousy, loophole-ridden legislation in hopes that the public wouldn’t see it for what it was. But the public did, forcing them all into retreat as they swore they’d do better next time.
* Kadner: You can’t get rid of Ruff: Under Illinois law, all township supervisors, trustees and clerks voted out of office in April must leave by the third Monday of the following month, which was May 18 this year. But township assessors and collectors get to remain in office until Jan. 1 of the following year. As far as I can tell, there are only five township collectors left in Illinois.
* Editorial: A good day for democracy
* Statehouse Insider: A most unusual veto ceremony
* Keep pressure on politicians; scare them a bit
* PJ Star: Veto the first step, now give campaign bill some teeth
* We need honorable public servants
* SJ-R Opinion: Redistricting reform must be a priority
* Lawmakers want say on tollway watchdog