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If you’re Dick Lockhart’s friend, please get in touch with him ASAP

Saturday, Oct 12, 2019

* Legendary Statehouse lobbyist Dick Lockhart is at Mercy Hospital with congestive heart failure. He’ll most likely be there until Monday, but then he’s going home for hospice care, according to his caregiver.

Dick retired after almost 60 years as a lobbyist and his friends threw him more parties than I could count. But now he needs those friends once again.

“He really perks up when people visit,” his caregiver said. “Talking to him on the phone is difficult due to his hearing, but FaceTime could work if coordinated in advance,” she said.

If you can’t make it, send him a text or even an email. Tell him you’re thinking about him. But do it soon. We all know he’s one tough old bird, but don’t wait too long.

If you can visit him in the next couple of days, make sure to call the hospital first to make sure he’s still there.

“He’s such a special man it would be nice for him to feel appreciated during this difficult time,” his caregiver said.

I agree.

Big hugs, Mr. Lockhart! You’re one special man.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Reader comments closed for the holiday weekend

Friday, Oct 11, 2019

* Time to unwind and relax

It ain’t so hard to do if you know how

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*** UPDATED x2 - “Agreed to step down” *** Pritzker withdraws nomination of Cesar Santoy to Tollway board

Friday, Oct 11, 2019

* From the Secretary of State’s Index Division…

Santoy’s name and company are listed in the federal search warrant of Sen. Martin Sandoval’s Statehouse office. Santoy’s attorney claimed his client is not a target. The governor called on Santoy to step aside earlier today.

*** UPDATE 1 *** From the Pritzker administration…

Cesar Santoy has agreed to step down. His appointment has not been confirmed by the Senate, so our administration has withdrawn the appointment.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Hmm. Well, this is interesting. Santoy’s campaign committee has received $4,250 in two contributions from Sen. Martin Sandoval.

Also, there’s this

Six intersections will be studied and additional red-light cameras are on the way for Berwyn after the City Council approved the contract with SafeSpeed, LLC Tuesday.

The discussion became heated at times as Third Ward Alderman Marge Paul initiated the conversation, discussing the tie of Michael Del Galdo to SafeSpeed. Del Galdo, a Berwyn attorney, had done work for the city earlier this year. […]

Fifth Ward Alderman Cesar Santoy voted to approve the contract after reading the submission from Deputy Police Chief Joseph Drury earlier this month.

“I was impressed he did some research and was able to find an alternative to save the city some money and increase the revenue, and at the end of the day improve public safety,” Santoy said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      


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Friday, Oct 11, 2019

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Question of the day

Friday, Oct 11, 2019

* Your one-word react to today’s revelations? One word only, please. Thanks.

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Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraiser list

Friday, Oct 11, 2019

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*** UPDATED x2 *** Sanguinetti bows out of congressional race

Friday, Oct 11, 2019

* From Evelyn Sanguinetti via a campaign spokesperson…

It is with deep regret that I must announce that I have officially decided to end my campaign for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Congress for the 6th Congressional District of Illinois. I want to thank everyone that supported me through volunteering, financial contributions, and words of encouragement and support. I am sorry if this announcement lets you down.

Although I firmly believe that I can and will win the nomination if I stayed in the race, the question in my mind is at what cost. There has been enough destruction in the Republican Party from past election cycles, and I choose not to contribute further to it by engaging in a costly and negative campaign against my opponents. I wish the remaining candidates all the best, and I encourage all Republicans to unite behind the eventual nominee for the good of the Party and more importantly the Nation as we continue the fight to stop socialism and to protect the American Dream for future generations.

That pretty much clears the deck for Jeanne Ives, who reported raising $340,298.13 during her first quarter in the race.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Greg Hinz

A source who would know tells me she raised only about $50,000 in the third quarter—a paltry figure by any measure, and certainly well under the $340,000 Ives garnered.

Yeesh.

*** UPDATE 1 *** DCCC…

DCCC spokesperson Andy Orellana released the following statement after NRCC touted recruit Evelyn Sanguinetti announced she was dropping out of the Republican primary in Illinois 6th Congressional District:

“Today’s announcement that Evelyn Sanguinetti will be dropping out of the Republican primary in Illinois’s 6th Congressional District underscores just how toxic the Trump agenda is in communities across the country. While firebrand conservative Jeanne Ives campaigns on her promise to be a rubber stamp for the Trump agenda of sowing division between neighbors, higher taxes for homeowners, and skyrocketing health care costs for families, Sean Casten is focused on delivering for Illinois families.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   60 Comments      


Open Letter: The University Of Illinois Must Protect First Amendment Rights

Friday, Oct 11, 2019

* Reprinted in its entirety with permission

Dear President Timothy Killeen and Chancellor Susan Koch:

In August, NPR Illinois in partnership with ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network published articles about the University of Illinois’ handling of sexual misconduct cases. Our reporting documented that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has helped several professors retain seemingly unblemished records even though they were found to have violated school policies, including its sexual misconduct policies. Following these stories, NPR Illinois and ProPublica published a questionnaire for other victims of sexual harassment at Illinois colleges and universities to help our reporting by sharing their experiences. In the requests published on our website, we extended offers of confidentiality, as is common practice for journalists dealing with people who may be traumatized.

Within days, the University of Illinois Springfield, where NPR Illinois is based, raised an objection to this practice. Specifically, the Title IX coordinator told station leadership (in person and in writing) that virtually all university employees – referred to in policy as “responsible employees” – including journalists, are required to report alleged sexual misconduct that we are told about to the Title IX office. The ethics officer later reached out with a similar message to the journalists and leadership at NPR Illinois.

NPR Illinois leadership then requested an exemption to the Title IX policy, for journalists employed by the university engaged in newsgathering activities.

On Tuesday, that request was denied. In an email to NPR Illinois leadership, the ethics officer explained, in part: “maintaining the need for such employees to report [to the university] would appropriately support the interests of campus safety.” Although the officer offered assurance that the university values “journalistic integrity, freedom of the press, and the legal protections that exist to advance those interests,” the email concludes: “[Journalists] remain free to pursue information about the topic at issue but should avoid promising confidentiality to anyone about allegations of sexual misconduct.”

Keeping source information confidential is a common practice for investigative journalists. Asking journalists to reveal sources or prohibiting them from receiving confidential information is antithetical to freedom of the press and editorial independence.

Therefore, we are calling on you, as leaders of the university, to recognize the First Amendment protections of journalists and the editorial independence of our news organization by reconsidering our request for an exemption.

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees holds the license for NPR Illinois/WUIS. We also follow the Public Media Code of Integrity, which states: “The freedom of public media professionals to make editorial decisions without undue influence is essential. It is rooted in America’s commitment to free speech and a free press.”

Those editorial decisions include promising confidentiality to people who take great personal risks to share their stories with us.

We have adopted extra measures, described in an editor’s note from ProPublica, to ensure we can continue reporting on this important topic for now, while protecting those who want to confidentially share their stories with our news organization.

However, routing tips through our partner organization does not address the fact that this policy impedes our ability to report on misconduct at our license holder – the University of Illinois.

We understand and appreciate that the goal of the Title IX policy is to address claims of misconduct and discrimination, to fairly investigate them and recommend ways to resolve complaints. Our goal as a journalism organization is not to interfere with the Title IX process, but to ethically and responsibly report on it – to tell the stories of the people who have experienced misconduct and the process by which the university handles these claims.

We know that victims are often fearful or hesitant to report claims. According to a June 2016 report from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, on average between 87% and 94% of individuals who experience sexual harassment at work never make a formal complaint. Another study referenced in the EEOC report found that 75% of victims who do report face some form of retaliation as a result.

To best continue this work, we need to allow anyone who is critical or wary of the Title IX reporting system to talk with us openly and freely.

We hope our reporting spotlights the problems in order to make potential solutions more clear to the university and the general public. For now, the enforcement of the Title IX policy prevents us from doing this important work, and does a disservice to victims and our broader audience.

Currently, the University of Illinois Springfield’s Title IX policy exempts Counseling Center employees from being mandated reporters. We request that newsgathering activities carried out by professional journalists employed by the University of Illinois be likewise exempted from mandated reporting. This policy modification was suggested to us by attorney Don Craven, who represents the Illinois News Broadcasters Association in cases pertaining to freedom of the press.

Hundreds of public radio stations are licensed through universities and colleges across the United States. Some schools have similar Title IX policies that could make journalists “responsible employees.” The University of Illinois has the opportunity to be a leader in standing up for the First Amendment rights of university-affiliated news organizations, while balancing its goal of building a campus free of sexual harassment, misconduct and discrimination.

Sincerely,

NPR Illinois Leadership and News Staff

Randy Eccles, General Manager

Sean Crawford, News Director

Rachel Otwell, Local Reporting Network Reporter

Mary Hansen, Local Reporting Network Editor

Daisy Contreras, Reporter

Sam Dunklau, Reporter

Maureen Foertsch McKinney, Reporter

Brian Mackey, Statehouse Reporter

Dusty Rhodes, Education Reporter

Charles N. Wheeler, III, Contributor, Retired Director of the University of Illinois Springfield’s Public Affairs Reporting Program

Sent to: The University of Illinois Board of Trustees

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   4 Comments      


*** UPDATED x2 - Sandoval submitted chairmanship resignation letter *** Sandoval’s chairmanship appears to have been yanked

Friday, Oct 11, 2019

* A commenter mentioned this earlier and I checked with the Senate Democrats a few times and haven’t yet heard back. Here’s Hannah…


However, Sen. Tom Cullerton, who was indicted on over 40 federal counts, still has his chairmanship, according to the ILGA website.

*** UPDATE 1 *** From John Patterson with the Senate Democrats: “We received a resignation letter from Sen. Sandoval” regarding the chairmanship.

I’ll post that when I get it.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Here’s the letter dated today…

>

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      


*** UPDATED x19 *** Senate Democrats release unredacted Sandoval search warrant

Friday, Oct 11, 2019

* You’ll recall that the original release of the federal search warrant served on Sen. Martin Sandoval’s (D-Chicago) Statehouse office was heavily redacted. This version isn’t.

A lawsuit was filed by WBEZ to force the release of an unredacted search warrant. I’m told the Senate Democrats have been in contact with the feds since names and locations in the warrant have appeared in public about ongoing investigations, including some folks who were raided a couple of days after Sandoval and Exelon’s disclosure this week that it had received a federal grand jury subpoena related to Sandoval.

* Anyway, click here to read it

Yikes.

*** UPDATE 1 *** So, apparently, this dragnet includes a video gaming company. From Gold Rush Gaming’s website

For over 40 years, Rick and Alisa Heidner have served the Chicago-land area as experienced and proven business owners. Their first endeavor together was Heidner Properties, a commercial real estate development group that owns and self-manages over 200 properties across the country. After the successful launch of the real estate firm, they began focusing on their new dream involving slots and video poker. In 2012 Gold Rush Gaming was founded and quickly became the Gold Standard in the Illinois video gaming industry. Gold Rush believes in the values of honesty and integrity, both of which are embodied by Rick and Alisa.

*** UPDATE 2 *** You may recognize John Harris’ name. He is Rod Blagojevich’s former chief of staff who now works for Mike Vondra. Tammie Zumwalt is Sen. Sandoval’s legislative assistant in Springfield and is also Sandoval’s campaign treasurer.

Also, four Exelon officials? Woof.

*** UPDATE 3 *** I think the reference above to HB 173 is actually a bill from the 99th General Assembly sponsored by Rep. David McSweeney to ban red light cameras. The measure passed the House but stalled out in the Senate.

*** UPDATE 4 *** Rick Heidner isn’t just involved in video gaming, he’s trying to own a new racino

A new horse racing track and casino proposed for Tinley Park has made it out of the starting gate. […]

The southwest suburban harness racing venture is headed by Hawthorne Race Course general manager Tim Carey and real estate developer Rick Heidner, who also runs one of the state’s largest video gambling machine companies.

Also, if it’s the same Cesar Santoy, he’s a Berwyn alderman and an architect.

Sebastian Jachymiak owns a towing company and the Technicraft Collision Repair listed in the warrant. Technicraft has contributed over $100,000 to various candidates, many of whom have been raided or otherwise connected to this.

Sergio Rodriguez is the mayor of Summit.

*** UPDATE 5 *** Cesar Santoy was appointed by Gov. Pritzker to the Illinois Toll Highway Authority in February.

The governor’s people say they’ll be issuing a statement about this.

*** UPDATE 6 *** Sebastian Jachymiak appears to be very politically connected, and at one time, at least, had ties to Speaker Madigan. Click here for some 2010 background.

*** UPDATE 7 *** Under the bus he goes…


*** UPDATE 8 *** John Kosmowski is the Summit police chief. Safespeed operates Summit’s red light cams.

Vahooman “Shadow” Mirkhaef owns Cub Terminal LLC. His companies, including Cub Terminal, have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to political campaigns, with Sandoval being a beneficiary.

And here’s some info on Bill Helm

Their federal lawsuit charges Deputy Airport Commissioner Bill Helm is the enforcer, pushing employees to do political work, often on city time, with backup from Airport Manager Kevin Martin.

*** UPDATE 9 *** If you notice on the “receipt” page, you’ll see documents were seized from the Burke Burns law firm. Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) is a partner at that firm. I’ve asked Harmon for comment and will let you know what he says.

Kristi Bloom is listed on LinkedIn as the Executive Admin., Operations for one of Vondra’s companies, Bluff City Materials. I’m told she also helps run Sandoval’s annual golf outing.

*** UPDATE 10 *** The feds also seized documents referencing Marina Sandoval. Marina is Sen. Sandoval’s spouse.

*** UPDATE 11 *** From Sen. Don Harmon…

I have absolutely no idea to what that refers, and I’d be happy to talk to you again if something comes to light.

This is a bit weird because Sandoval is an avowed Harmon enemy.

*** UPDATE 12 *** More on Burke Burns…


*** UPDATE 13 *** I probably should’ve mentioned earlier that I wrote a column on Mike Vondra and his companies. Click here to refresh your memory.

*** UPDATE 14 *** Brian Lansu is an attorney for a Mike Vondra company named Reliable Materials and is also in-house counsel for Buona Beef. His law license was suspended for five months in 2009.

*** UPDATE 15 *** Tribune

[Illinois Toll Highway Commissioner Cesar] Santoy’s attorney, Brendan Shiller, said in a statement to the Tribune that he’s “been informed that neither Cesar nor Studio Arq is a target” of the probe.

“The government wanted some records and they were provided,” Shiller said.

*** UPDATE 16 *** Sun-Times

When reached by phone by the Chicago Sun-Times, [Rick Heidner] said he had not yet learned his name appeared on the document. He said no one had contacted him about it, and he said he had “zero clue” why his name would be there.

“Maybe it’s because, you know, I donate money politically and charitably,” Heidner said. “But I have no clue why my name would be on it at all.”

*** UPDATE 17 *** Good info from WBEZ

Records obtained by WBEZ show Sandoval’s private company, Puentes, Inc., is paid $4,200 a month by the Town of Cicero and $2,000 a month by the North Berwyn Park District, both of which lie in Sandoval’s legislative district that straddles Chicago and southwest suburbs.

The FBI reported taking “invoices and correspondence with [Monarca], agreements between [Monarca] + other entities” in addition to “documents ref. Monarca Inc. and Marina Sandoval.” […]

The feds sought information about a litany of Vondra-related business ventures and a foundation set up by Vondra and his wife, Dorothy. Also included was a request for records related to a west suburban golf course, Klein Creek Golf Club, where Sandoval has hosted numerous campaign fundraising events. […]

Also named in the search warrant was Jeff Tobolski, the Democratic Cook County commissioner and mayor of McCook. Tobolski’s office at the McCook village hall was the target of another FBI raid, two days after the search warrants were served at Sandoval’s offices.

*** UPDATE 18 *** You’ll notice that on the receipt list of item seized is this: “Flash drive with Landek written on it.”

There is a theory developing that Sandoval was creating opposition research files on both Sen. Don Harmon and Sen. Steve Landek. As mentioned above, Sandoval despises Harmon and he may have been plotting to back a certain someone against Landek in a Democratic primary. Again, it’s just a theory so far, but it would fit the Sandoval profile. Stay tuned.

*** UPDATE 19 *** ILGOP Chairman Tim Schneider…

The unredacted warrant provides another glimpse into the vast network of background players involved in the corrupt Chicago Democrat machine that runs this state. From another close Madigan ally to Pritzker’s Tollway appointee, there is virtually no level of state and local government in Cook County that is not teeming with self dealing Democrats looking to screw over taxpayers. The Illinois Democratic Party is a crime ring masquerading as a political party.

- Posted by Rich Miller   78 Comments      


Take it easy

Friday, Oct 11, 2019

* Sun-Times

With newly legalized sports betting stuck behind the starting gate in Illinois, sportsbooks across the border in Indiana have sprinted to a lucrative launch, Hoosier gambling regulators announced Thursday.

Bettors in Indiana plunked down more than $35.2 million on sports contests in September, which marked that state’s first month of legal sports wagering, according to the Indiana Gaming Commission. […]

Gaming Board administrator Marcus Fruchter has said his agency is performing its due diligence in “making sure we have the right approach for the state, which deserves integrity and adequate safeguards.”

But state Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, another longtime Springfield gambling proponent, said now’s not the time to “overthink” regulations.

“That’s revenue we’re not getting,” Syverson said. “The state is losing dollars every day we don’t have these rules done so we can start to move forward. We’re months behind now on revenue.”

The Gaming Board has a history in this state of dragging its feet on things like video gaming, which took forever to get off the ground. I don’t yet believe that’s the case with sports betting. Rules have to be promulgated and that takes some time.

- Posted by Rich Miller   5 Comments      


Forbes: Gov. Pritzker is 6th wealthiest Illinoisan

Friday, Oct 11, 2019

* Tina…


According to Forbes, Gov. Pritzker’s wealth ranks 4th out of 9 family members on the list.

* The governor is the 6th wealthiest Illinoisan. Ken Griffin tops the list at $12.7 billion followed by Sam Zell at $5.5 billion, then Tom Pritzker at $4 billion, power broker Neil Bluhm at $3.9 billion and former Morningstar CEO Joe Mansueto at $3.9 billion.

Rounding out the Illinois list are insurance magnate Patrick Ryan at $3.3 billion, Guggenheim Partners CEO Mark Walter at $3.3 billion, Beanie Babies creator Ty Warner at $2.9 billion, Groupon founder Eric Lefkofsky at $2.8 billion, Penny Pritzker at $2.8 billion and Koch Foods’ Joseph Grendys at $2.5 billion.

- Posted by Rich Miller   59 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Friday, Oct 11, 2019

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*** LIVE COVERAGE ***

Friday, Oct 11, 2019

* Follow along with ScribbleLive


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PREVIOUS POSTS »
* If you're Dick Lockhart's friend, please get in touch with him ASAP
* Reader comments closed for the holiday weekend
* *** UPDATED x2 - "Agreed to step down" *** Pritzker withdraws nomination of Cesar Santoy to Tollway board
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Afternoon update
* Question of the day
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraiser list
* *** UPDATED x2 *** Sanguinetti bows out of congressional race
* Open Letter: The University Of Illinois Must Protect First Amendment Rights
* *** UPDATED x2 - Sandoval submitted chairmanship resignation letter *** Sandoval's chairmanship appears to have been yanked
* *** UPDATED x19 *** Senate Democrats release unredacted Sandoval search warrant
* Take it easy
* Forbes: Gov. Pritzker is 6th wealthiest Illinoisan
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Yesterday's stories

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