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Wilson lashes out after AG requests more info about his charity

Wednesday, Aug 8, 2018

* I told you a couple of weeks ago that mayoral candidate Willie Wilson’s charity hadn’t filed its required annual state report. A Wilson spokesperson said at the time that the form would be filed within the week. That didn’t happen.

Willie Wilson campaign press release…

At the request of Rahm Emanuel, Four Alderman
looking for Class 4 Felony Charges against Wilson for helping the needy

WHO: Humanitarian Dr. Willie Wilson and The Willie Wilson Foundation

WHAT: Responding to the recent audit handed down by Attorney General Lisa Madigan that calls for the examination of foundation files and records for donation disbursements and for giving away his own money for property tax relief last week. This coming as the result of four aldermen generating a politically motivated City Council Resolution R2018-834 (attached). On Rahm’s behalf, the four aldermen are pursuing the Class 4 Felony charges.

* Tribune

“What we’re doing is asking for more information,” said Maura Possley, the attorney general’s office spokeswoman. “We’re not investigating anything at this point.”

Possley said Wilson’s controversial cash giveaways prompted questions, which led to the discovery that Wilson’s foundation had not filed a necessary financial form, required by the state for charitable organizations operating in Illinois, for 2017. It was not immediately clear how long the documents had been outstanding.

At a South Side church event in late July, Wilson handed out more than $200,000 in cash and checks. Gov. Bruce Rauner was at the event and later criticized the giveaway, but the state election boards said Wilson apparently did not violate any election laws. Last week, Wilson handed out more than $100,000 to Cook County residents to help pay their property taxes.

* And the man running Wilson’s campaign wants him to hold off for a while

“I don’t think of it as an audit. But they need to be fully compliant with our process. We have some questions. If he is giving money from his foundation, that is a perfectly legal thing to do. We just have to make sure everything is accounted for,” Possley said. […]

“I’m going to support Dr. Wilson all the way, but we need to hold up on the giving because of the audit,” said Ricky Hendon, a former Illinois legislator turned political consultant. […]

Wilson met with the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR) on Monday and defended his philanthropy.

The watchdog group had filed a complaint against Wilson with the state elections board, arguing that Wilson should have reported the $200,000 giveaway as an “in-kind” contribution.

After the meeting, Hendon suggested the ICPR didn’t have a problem with what Wilson did as long as the money came from the foundation and Wilson’s “personal pockets”—and not his campaign funds.

A State Board of Elections hearing next week instigated by ICPR will be held as planned, however.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Aug 8, 18 @ 10:00 am:

    Assuming calendar year accounting, the annual report form 990 to the AG’s office would have been due at the end of June like most charitable organizations.

    I’ll leave it to the authorities to determine the legality given the various issues re the sources of the funds and the complicating factor of his current candidacy, but it seems to me a cleaner way to distribute funds for property tax relief, which is what he claims they were for, would be to collect people’s information and provide a lump sum to the Cook County Treasurer to be applied to those people’s home tax bills. Would certainly help with the allegation that this is cash for votes.

  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 8, 18 @ 10:02 am:

    Is Ricky behind that wild press release from the Wilson campaign?

    Those are some pretty serious charges — no doubt intended to distract from the fact that the foundation is not in compliance with state law.

    –WHAT: Responding to the recent audit handed down by Attorney General Lisa Madigan….–

    That doesn’t make any sense.

  3. - Northsider - Wednesday, Aug 8, 18 @ 10:51 am:

    Seems like a rather hyperbolic response to an inquiry. And if he can’t stand this degree or two of warmth, then he ain’t ready for the heat that comes with occupying the Fifth Floor.

  4. - Lane Tech Guy - Wednesday, Aug 8, 18 @ 11:12 am:

    I like me some Willie Wilson but he is on the wrong side of this one.

    He did with almost every charity does—forgot/neglected to file the requisite forms with the Illinois Attorney General’s office. I’ve come across dozens of clients who are charities and don’t register with the AG primarily out of ignorance.

    Charities “think” they are in compliance because they file taxes and renew their corporation with the Secretary of State.

    But the law is the law, and it is pretty clear that every charity has to file with the AG.

    I don’t see how Wilson can be mad at the AG. This is like not buying your license plate sticker, then calling out Jesse White when you get a ticket. Wilson needs to file the form and let this story go away.

    I hope Wilson doesn’t use the term “Witch Hunt”.

  5. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Aug 8, 18 @ 11:45 am:

    Willie, hire an accountant.

  6. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Aug 8, 18 @ 11:59 am:

    The other potential wrinkle is that, when filing that form, you have to attach a federal return and if your year-end balance is over like $300K you have to attach audited financials. I bet there is some scrambling going on with those two issues.

  7. - Shytown - Wednesday, Aug 8, 18 @ 3:33 pm:

    At the request of Rahm Emanuel and four aldermen? When did Rahm and aldermen take over ICPR or the AG’s office? Did I miss the press release?

  8. - Greater Rockwell - Wednesday, Aug 8, 18 @ 4:37 pm:

    Rich not sure if you heard it but Willie, Rauner, and the SBE all got a call out on Johnny Knoxville’s Sirius show on Outlaw Country this past week. They are mentioned towards the end of the hour. The show is always entertaining and followed by Steve Earle’s equally entertaining show.

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