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A big Wednesday oppo dump

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014

* Uh-oh

A campaign committee formed last week to support the Libertarian Party candidate for governor is headed by a convicted felon.

The Liberty for Illinois committee has sent out direct mail pieces in support of gubernatorial candidate Chad Grimm’s third party bid against Republican Bruce Rauner and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.

The committee, which has received all of its $200,000 in funding from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, is headed by Michael Bonivel, of Chicago, who spent at least two years in prison on two separate drug-related convictions.

Bonivel’s involvement in the race for governor is the latest twist in a push by the Operating Engineers to dilute support for Rauner among conservative voters. The Joliet-based labor organization already gave Grimm $30,000 to help tilt a hotly contested race in Quinn’s favor.

* Yikes

Court documents reveal that Bruce Rauner personally authorized a transaction which appears to have involved the flushing away of state pension money as part of a plan designed to allow Rauner and his fellow GTCR principals to escape liability in nursing home lawsuits.

* Hmm

I recently briefly examined GTCR’s SEC filings. Below are my observations about the industry generally and Rauner’s firm specifically. […]

The litany of permissible conflict of interest scenarios (many of which are commonplace throughout private equity) detailed in Bruce Rauner’s firm SEC filings, should be disturbing to any so-called sophisticated investor. Unfortunately, public pensions routinely consent to such potentially harmful conflicts either because they don’t read, don’t fully comprehend the oblique disclosures, or simply don’t care that politically-connected insiders may be profiting at the expense of stakeholders.

…Adding… One more

But this story of how someone appeared to get a job with political pull and then ended up on the payroll of the state’s Executive Ethics Commission does have a certain only-in-Illinois quality to it.

The story involves a woman named Gretchen Tucka. She was referenced several times as “Employee 218″ in a report by Illinois Executive Inspector General Ricardo Meza that absolutely excoriated IDOT, charging that hundreds of people had been improperly hired by the department under Govs. Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn.

…Adding… I know I said “one more,” but here’s another one

Before entrusting anti-crime program funds in North Lawndale, the Quinn administration acted on the advice of then-Ald. Sharon Denise Dixon (24th), picking the non-profit Better Boys Foundation as the “lead agency” for NRI in North Lawndale.

In February, the Illinois auditor general’s office reviewed about $388,000 that the Better Boys Foundation oversaw and concluded that 46 percent of the money went for what “appeared to be unallowable” expenses or there was no documentation to back up what was done with those dollars.

On Tuesday — more than eight months since the auditor general’s report was completed — a state spokeswoman said the foundation provided it with documentation and “we are in the process of reviewing it to determine if any funds will need to be recovered.”

In any case, two top foundation executives are no longer in their jobs. That’s because both former executive director John Holton and LaTonya Lumpkin — whose resume notes that she directed NRI in North Lawndale for the Better Boys Foundation — have landed jobs in Quinn’s administration. They were put in positions exempt from merit-hiring, anti-patronage rules, state records show.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Concerned - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 11:44 am:

    Rauner’s use of other people’s money, including state employees’ pension money, to obtain a release for his firm and him personally for any liability for the nursing home deaths is outrageous.

    That conduct, sadly, is also fully consistent with his entire MO.

    I wouldn’t vote for Rauner for Dog Catcher.

  2. - Carroll County - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    Re: Grimm postcard mailer a “felon”, he did his time..victimless crime, etc..

    “According to Illinois Department of Corrections records, Bonivel’s first stint in prison came in 2002 when he spent a year in a state lock-up on a Cook County narcotics charge. He went back to prison in 2005 after being convicted in Cook County of possession of a controlled substance.”

    Is it illegal to be a ten-years-released felon and work a campaign sending out postcards? We have no First Amendment if that’s the case.

  3. - RNUG - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 12:01 pm:

    That pension story may cause some state employees / retirees who are fed up with Quinn and planning to vote for Rauner to rethink things if it gets enough play by the unions.

  4. - walker - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 12:01 pm:

    Rauner’s stuff looks normal for his industry.

    That’s why we have to be careful when assuming he will bring anything worthwhile to govt from his business experience.

    The last piece on how certain connected folks not only seem to get paid for doing a half-job at best, but then also end up in exempt govt positions, is equally damaging. Is there no end to these damaging practices?

    And why does it often seem an alderman is involved in the worst cases of misdirected or wasted funds?

    Maybe we should stop the practice of getting their local guidance when state money is being distributed. They have squandered whatever credibility we might have assumed.

  5. - vole - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    more from Hmmm … “For private equity managers with access to public pensions, the sky is the limit. Access, not investment acumen, is the key prerequisite. How to secure access to public monies is rarely discussed—for good reason. The investment managers in the Winner’s Circle more often than not include participants in “pay-to-play” schemes involving politicians, board members, influence-peddlers known as “placement agents” and pension adviser gatekeepers.”

    Expect the fine tooth comb treatment should Rauner “win” the election via his massive gains from Illinois pensions.

  6. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 12:08 pm:

    C’mon people, the IUOE wants Grimm to do well next week but they don’t want him to actually win.

  7. - Finally Out (formerly Ready to Get Out) - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 12:09 pm:

    RNUG….you are right. If I hadn’t decided to vote for Quinn some time ago, that story would definitely make me switch my vote. As if there wasn’t already enough on the table to make that decision!

  8. - A guy... - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 12:10 pm:

    === RNUG - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 12:01 pm:

    That pension story may cause some state employees / retirees who are fed up with Quinn and planning to vote for Rauner to rethink things if it gets enough play by the unions.===

    RNUG, from my reading here…I didn’t know there were any of these people. Hope springs eternal my friend. It’s all noise now.

    Since the Libertarian is a new face, that one might get a little well targeted traction. It’s nip and tuck, the add-on stories now are just red meat for the decided.

    Unless someone does something really stupid in real time…DUI, punch someone, steal, etc. the dots are already being filled in literally and mentally.

  9. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 12:10 pm:

    Its probably too late to impact the campaign, but that latest news out of Tampa is disturbing, to say the least.

    The financial press has been full of reports in recent months of pension funds bailing on private equity due to high fees and also laying off liabilities on them. CALPERS is the latest.

  10. - Pete - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 12:15 pm:

    In any case, two top foundation executives are no longer in their jobs. That’s because both former executive director John Holton and LaTonya Lumpkin — whose resume notes that she directed NRI in North Lawndale for the Better Boys Foundation — have landed jobs in Quinn’s administration. They were put in positions exempt from merit-hiring, anti-patronage rules, state records show.

    Does this bother anyone on this blog?
    It bothers me. We need some value to how our tax dollars are spent. The best people should be hired to give the taxpayers the best quality of service. That’s not happening.

  11. - The Dude Abides - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 12:25 pm:

    The longer this campaign goes on, the more unsettling issues come out against Rauner. What more are we going to know about him in a year from now, when he may very well be Governor. I think George Ryan is a choir boy compared to Rauner. I have a feeling of deja vu, that the citizens of this state are about to make another mistake by electing a bad apple.

  12. - Esteban - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 12:27 pm:

    Chad Grimm is looking better and better these

  13. - Amalia - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 12:28 pm:

    “Rauner’s stuff looks normal for his industry.” wow, that is a scary statement! no wonder Rauner seems palatable to the corporate power brokers. but Rauner is very scary to me!

  14. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 12:34 pm:

    ==Does this bother anyone on this blog?
    It bothers me. We need some value to how our tax dollars are spent. The best people should be hired to give the taxpayers the best quality of service. That’s not happening. ==

    Of course it bothers people…that’s what it was designed to do. However, most of the folks who comment regularly on this blog also know that this is a carefully constructed presentation and lacks the context for anyone to know if it is actually a problem. For example, it does not say when these people worked for the BBF nor does it say whether the problems with the NRI accounting occurred when Ms. Lumpkin was overseeing it. They might have done a fine job while they were there; we don’t know.

    The reader is encouraged to assume the worst, but that doesn’t make it so.

  15. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 12:37 pm:

    OK Pat and Bruce. Either you’re both responsible for what happens at your respective departments or companies, or you both are not. Which is it? I’ll give you until the end of the day to think it over.

  16. - Norseman - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:30 pm:

    Brucie, you have some splaining to do!

  17. - liberal muse - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 2:45 pm:

    Rauner’s company settled a civil case in 2006 that included civil racketeering claims and other federal and state civil claims including allegations of mail fraud, wire fraud, fraudulent transfer, unlawful conversion of assets, and intentional submission of false financial information. It’s barely been news. GTCR is still on trial in federal bankruptcy court in Florida for attempting to defraud nursing home victims’ families from court awarded settlement money. This is some really serious stuff that has been unfortunately absent from much of the campaign dialogue. Had Pat Quinn ever settled a RICO case, it would assuredly be front page news.

  18. - admin - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 3:44 pm:

    Rauner is a jerk. I’m using that word because curse words aren’t allowed.

  19. - MikeMacD - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 6:00 pm:

    One way to wealth and success at everything you do is to cover your bad bets with other people’s money.

  20. - Amalia - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 6:53 pm:

    oh Operating Engineers Local 150, how you entertain me, let me count the ways.

  21. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 7:04 pm:

    No one is forcing these pension funds into private equity or into funds with lousy terms. If GTCR hasn’t been effectively put out of business by Rauner deciding to run for Gov, the revelation that they used a legitimate partnership re: paying legal fees and judgments against the partnership to get Rauner personally off the hook is a killer when trying to raise money.
    The Forbes article-meh. The author makes his living from suing pension funds and could respectfully be known as a “gadfly.”

  22. - RNUG - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 7:36 pm:

    - A guy… - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 12:10 pm said: “… I didn’t know there were any of these people.”

    As I’ve said before, I’m a state retiree and normally GOP supporter for Gov. I’ve voted R for Gov in every election since 1968 … and I would have this time if it had been any of the other R candidates. Since I think it’s going to be a extremely close race and I don’t want Rauner in, it will be a vote for Quinn. And I’m not alone; there are quite a few former management level state retirees who usually lean R but they have serious doubts this time. The R voters i know downstate are less than thrilled with Rauner.

  23. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 8:31 pm:

    RNUG, I don’t get that line of reasoning. You know what Quinn stands for and he still believes it was the right thing. Why give him four more years to screw us over again? Rauner’s plans will never get out of the GA, so I worry less.

    Having said that, Oswego Willy is the only candidate who has earned my vote.

  24. - MIMI - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 10:14 pm:

    RNUG-You are totally correct
    I gave a downstate life long Republican a copy of the article on Rauner jacking up the price of a drug from $77 to $1500 for preemies- and that plus everything else I told him about voter intimidation and McKinney story and the plan for service taxes- He literally was steaming that this guy does these kinds of sociopathic things, and this guy is religious. He has a Quinn sign outside his house since yesterday.
    I also know other life long republicans who think Rauner is a liberal who will vote Grimm or Quinn

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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