* From the Tribune’s “Pritzker called ‘liar,’ ‘fraud’ during final Democratic governor debate”…
Rival Daniel Biss called Pritzker’s explanation an “unbelievable mess of word salad” in contending the Hyatt Hotel fortune heir was trying to “avoid taxes” through the offshore companies “and spent the last year lying about it.”
“This is just exposing the fraud that is the J.B. campaign for governor,” said Biss, a state senator from Evanston.
And another contender, Kenilworth developer Chris Kennedy, said voters should consider Pritzker’s words as if they were conducting a job interview for governor.
“I’ve hired a lot of people and I can tell you just one piece of advice to the voters of this state: You should never hire someone who lies to you during a job interview. If they’ll lie to you to get the job, they’ll lie to you to keep the job. And you do not want a liar as the governor of the state of Illinois,” said Kennedy, a member of the iconic Massachusetts political family.
* CBS 2…
“There’s nothing new in that story in the Tribune,” [Pritzker] said, commenting on a story that claims Pritzker has an interest in 11 offshore companies that were set up within the last decade.
“J.B. Pritzker set up these companies offshore probably to avoid taxes and spent the entire last year lying about it,” said Daniel Biss, candidate for governor.
Candidate Chris Kennedy also chimed in, saying, “What he’s done is he’s avoid paying taxes in the U.S. Every taxpayer in the U.S. now pays more in income tax because he paid less.”
“You’re not who you say you are,” Pritzker told Biss.
“I’m not going to sit here and be lectured about who’s a progressive by the guy who’s storing money offshore to avoid taxes and profiting off the Dakota Access Pipeline,” Biss responded. […]
Biss sought to link Pritzker and Kennedy, who he called “two guys that are experts in helping the wealthy evade taxes” to President Donald Trump and Gov. Bruce Rauner – elected executives who parlayed their wealthy backgrounds into elected office promising to reform a broken system.
“Throughout all of 2016, all Democrats were saying, ‘Dude, Donald Trump should release his tax returns.’ And now here we are in 2018, and two of the three leading candidates for governor won’t do it. It’s just not OK.”
Pritzker also attacked Kennedy for raising tuition five times when he was chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Pritzker said that led to a drop in minority enrollment at the state’s flagship university.
Kennedy responded that the decrease was due to the 2008-2009 financial crisis, and questioned whether Pritzker — whose net worth Forbes puts at $3.5 billion — was aware that the economic crisis had happened.
* ABC 7…
“When you can’t win by telling the truth about yourself, sometimes you have to tell lies about competitors in order to win. That’s what he’s doing,” Kennedy countered.
Biss blasted both Kennedy and Pritzker for tax breaks the two received. His campaign has been running a digital campaign called “The Billionaire Playbook” that targets Pritzker, Rauner, Kennedy and President Trump for allegedly “putting profits over people.”
“We should let these two guys keep arguing until 8 o’clock about who is scamming the tax system worse,” Biss said about halfway through the hour-long debate.
* NBC 5…
“What we don’t know is what Mr. Pritzker is hiding,” [Kennedy] said. […]
Clearly it was not Pritzker’s best night, especially when peppered with questions by reporters after the debate on his off shore investments. He walked away without answering.
At a press conference after the forum, Pritzker left reporters scratching their heads even more when he insisted that offshore trusts were founded generations ago by family members, even though the Tribune reports the trusts helped finance companies that were set up by Pritzker in the last 10 years.
Video of that press conference is here.