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The family had a lot of buffers

Friday, Oct 12, 2018

* WGN TV

Rauner pivoted from Quincy to questions about Pritzker’s $330,000 property tax breaks that involved removing toilets from his Gold Coast mansion. Pritzker has repaid the money, but the issue is being examined by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

“The voters cannot in anyway trust Mr. Pritzker on any issue,” Rauner said. “A bank robber that gets caught and returns the money is still a bank robber. These are serious white collar crimes. Four of my five predecessors went to jail, Mr. Pritzker has a chance to be the fifth.”

* Herald Whig

Rauner alleged Pritzker knowingly tried to commit tax fraud.

“These are serious white-collar crimes,” Rauner said. “People have gone to prison for far less than Mr. Pritzer has committed.”

Rauner said “there is a very good chance that Mr. Pritzker is indicted in the coming months.”

* Tribune

“The voters can in no way trust Mr. Pritzker on any issue. He’s demonstrated a complete lack of integrity, ethics and character. He is not worthy of elective office in the state of Illinois,” Rauner said, adding later that the Democrat faces “likely indictment in the next few months.”

When the inspector general of a solidly Democratic county calls out a “scheme to defraud” involving a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, that’s legitimately a huge story. And it will likely continue to be a story for a while longer.

But is JB Pritzker himself in any danger here, outside of politics?

* The empty mansion is owned by a trust, so there’s one legal buffer. His brother-in-law is the trust’s agent, so there’s another buffer. The brother-in-law signed the documents exposed by the IG report as the “owner,” so that’s another buffer. Pritzker never signed anything, so there’s another. Pritzker’s spouse is alleged in the IG’s report to have told a contractor to remove the toilets ahead of an inspection, but she’s alleged to have told that to somebody who then told somebody else who then told the IG. And she never signed anything, either. Also, she’s not running for governor.

Gov. Rauner is fond of making dramatic, exaggerated claims, most of which never turn out to be true. Remember this from 2014?

“Pat Quinn has been rolling the dice with taxpayer money, and after years of Quinn corruption, the U.S. District Attorney looks like he’s about to hand Pat Quinn the worst Monopoly card there is — go to jail, go directly to jail,” Rauner said.

I think it will take a very highly motivated prosecutor and a lot of stuff not yet in evidence and a bunch of luck to pin this solely on a guy who nobody has yet claimed any evidence of direct or indirect involvement in the alleged scheme. Not saying it won’t happen. The Trump administration could come in full bore against one of Hillary Clinton’s biggest supporters. Just sayin…

- Posted by Rich Miller        

39 Comments »
  1. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 10:40 am:

    Who is the beneficiary of the trust?

    Isn’t that “indirect” involvement?

    In tax cases, the taxpayer is liable not the agent or CPA that files the return


  2. - VanillaMan - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 10:41 am:

    JB is just like you and I, if we were both born billionaires, had a staff of people protecting us, and could buy any political power available. So he naturally gets what it’s like to be a Vanilla.

    LOL


  3. - JS Mill - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 10:45 am:

    =Gov. Rauner is fond of making dramatic, exaggerated claims, most of which never turn out to be true.=

    He does this more than he ever tells the truth.


  4. - wordslinger - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 10:45 am:

    I’ve tried a number of times on the google to find an example of anyone, anywhere, ever being prosecuted for property tax shenanigans. Found nothing.

    In Illinois, there have been more than a few politicians caught claiming more than one homestead exemption. You have to sign your name for that. No prosecutions, that I could find.


  5. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 10:48 am:

    It was always going to be the gross campaign malpractice of the Pritzker Crew that was going to be the damaging part of this.

    When you think about all the “buffers” and all the legal gymnastics to the property, it highlights the political negligence by the Pritzker Crew… be it the own oppo was less than satisfactory and no one knew… or the campaign had the information and chose to let this fester, infect, and lead to a “Scheme to Defraud” document.

    The property or the legal aspects to what is alleged… tough to see how jeopardy is reached given how the property exists and thd ownership and choices within this ridiculous fiasco of not fixing a fixable problem months and months ago.

    There’s lots of buffers with Pritzker, which is “fine”…. but you can’t, politically, have a labor issue that shoulda been fixed well before, a property tax issue that was left to fester, boxing in policy when you can’t chose exacting policy stances when you need ambiguity… it’s a pattern, not isolated incidents.

    If this property issue goes to court, and charges are filed, and an indictment happens… how it can be brought, given the legal way the property is held, with the buffers… you’d think with the political problems, they woulda paid “the $2”


  6. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 10:48 am:

    ===the taxpayer is liable===

    The taxpayer is the trust.


  7. - Bored Chairman - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 10:49 am:

    Once they go after Luis Guttierez for his property tax shenanigans they can go after Pritzker.


  8. - Practical Politics - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 10:52 am:

    Embattled US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has visited Illinois and singled out Chicago and attacked our policing several times in recent weeks.
    I would not be surprised if the Department of Justice becomes more active in Illinois in the months to come.


  9. - @misterjayem - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 10:54 am:

    “Gov. Rauner is fond of making dramatic, exaggerated claims, most of which never turn out to be true.”

    What is the most noteworthy big claim of Bruce’s that actually turned out to be true?

    Gotta be I am not in charge, rite?

    – MrJM


  10. - hisgirlfriday - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 10:58 am:

    “four of my five predecessors”

    um fact check please.


  11. - Anonimity - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 11:01 am:

    ==Four of my five predecessors went to jail, Mr. Pritzker has a chance to be the fifth==

    Isn’t it 3 out of 6? Quinn, Edgar and Thompson didn’t go to prison. Blago, Ryan and Walker did although Walker for stuff after he was out of office.


  12. - Juice - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 11:02 am:

    “Four of my five predecessors went to jail”

    Even this is a lie.

    PQ-no. Rod-yes. Ryan-yes. Edgar-No. Thompson-No. So there is two out of five.

    Then Walker-Yes (3/6, though had nothing to do with his time in public office), Ogilvie-No, Shapiro-No, Kerner-Yes (4/9).

    How in the heck does 4 out of 9 become 4 out of 5? I knew the Governor had issues with basic arithmetic, but apparently even the simple exercise of counting is beyond his grasp.


  13. - Langhorne - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 11:02 am:

    Toilets werent the only basis for the reduction. The central staircase was dangerous, and there was mold in the basement. That should be in every response.


  14. - wordslinger - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 11:05 am:

    –“four of my five predecessors”

    um fact check please.–

    I think he got “Illinois governors who’ve gone to prison” mashed up with “four out of five dentists recommend Dentyne.”

    Dude had a rough day.


  15. - Whatever - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 11:07 am:

    ==Who is the beneficiary of the trust?==

    The inspector general’s report says the property is owned by an LLC, not a trust.

    ==Isn’t that “indirect” involvement?==

    Regarding a beneficiary and a trust, no. If it was, the Governor’s alleged “blind trust” wouldn’t even have the appearance of avoiding a conflict of interest.

    ==In tax cases, the taxpayer is liable not the agent or CPA that files the return ==

    Nowhere in the IG report does is there an allegation or any evidence that Pritzker is the taxpayer.


  16. - Henry Francis - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 11:08 am:

    Do you think if the Guv took some Imodium he would stop saying all this ridiculous stuff?


  17. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 11:08 am:

    There is no confusion to the Rauner lie about his predecessors.

    Rauner lies… when he needs a fact that doesn’t exist.

    That’s the criteria.

    If a fact doesn’t exist, just make it up.

    The problem is… a made up fact… is also a lie.

    It’s been a long four years… chasing Rauner, Raunerites, Raunerbots… and they all chasing Raunerbucks.

    Pritzker could give the GOP back to those non-Raunerites and Proft/Uihlein/Ives folks… but can those in the GOP be willing to be more like John Kasich and less like Donald Trump.

    Once Sonny Corleone was out… Michael and Vito… they got things square, got back to a starting point, then planned their revenge.

    First, Hot-Head Santino needed to be gone.


  18. - 19th Ward guy - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 11:08 am:

    The Inspector General, appointed by a Democrat, is the person who first cited the criminal statutes—Mail Fraud, Conspiracy and Perjury. (federal offenses) Two sets of rules in Illinois–one for rich folks and one for the rest of us. So yeah, he’ll skate. But had he not sought office he would have gotten away with stealing $330,000 of taxpayer funds. That should bother people.


  19. - Huh? - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 11:13 am:

    Talking about his handling of the Quincy VA debalical, Rauner said “there is a very good chance that he will be indicted in the coming months.”


  20. - Nagidam - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 11:13 am:

    @LAanghorne
    ===Toilets weren’t the only basis for the reduction. The central staircase was dangerous, and there was mold in the basement. That should be in every response.===

    The assessed value was reduced 82.5% for 6 years. Yes there is more to it than toilets with the stairway and mold but this is a special break set up in part by way of fraud. If there is an official investigation by a prosecutor I believe collusion with JB’s people and Berrios’s office will be uncovered. Hard to get around what looks like favoritism or a special arrangement in my book.


  21. - Flapdoodle - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 11:20 am:

    ===the taxpayer is liable=== The taxpayer is the trust.

    Rich, we should all know by now that “LP” and facts have an uneasy relationship.


  22. - Stumpy's bunker - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 11:20 am:

    I sit in total amazement that tax & toilet issues appear to be given more weight in the public arena than the tragedy that unfolded, ie. human lives jettisoned for political cover, at Quincy Veteran’s Home.


  23. - 47th Ward - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 11:22 am:

    ===Hard to get around what looks like favoritism or a special arrangement in my book.===

    It would help your case if you could examine the hundreds or thousands of other Cook County properties that were given similar tax treatment over the years. If you think this was some sort of special arrangement, but you really have no freaking idea about other, similar situations, you might just be smearing a guy because you don’t like his politics.

    Seriously, the world of property tax assessments is opaque and byzantine. It’s a specialized field and most commenters here are wholly unqualified to make any assertions about whether this deal is par for the course or extraordinary.

    See also: homeowners who file multiple homeowners’ exemptions. That’s much easier to determine and Rauner got caught red-handed.


  24. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 11:25 am:

    ===I sit in total amazement that tax & toilet issues appear to be given more weight in the public arena than…===

    That’s what’s funny about gross political malpractice…

    They had months and months and months… they either thought “no big woop”… or were utterly clueless to their own oppo.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same…

    …your own oppo, in the political, steps on real issues like deaths at the Veterans Home.


  25. - Actual Red - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 11:31 am:

    IT’s truly a testament to how terrible a governor Rauner has been that this is all out in the open, with no convincing response from the Pritzker campaign, and Bruce is still going to take a shellacking in November.


  26. - Jibba - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 11:41 am:

    == I believe collusion with JB’s people and Berrios’s office will be uncovered===

    Lots of people believe lots of things, Nagidam, but that doesn’t make them true. Did you read the report where the people who actually were in charge of reviewing the documents and making the decisions stated that they did not know who the owner was, and no one had asked them to rule one way or another? Astor St. LLC did not say Pritzker, neither did any other paperwork nor their contacts with the property manager. CCAO says no one colluded. Presumably lying to the IG is a crime, yes?.


  27. - Chris P. Bacon - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 11:51 am:

    Between the reckless accusations of who is the bigger felon between the 2 billionaires, I would definitely say Pritzker has the more plausible case against Rauner re the Quincy home.


  28. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 11:58 am:

    Ever heard of conspiracy liability Rich?


  29. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 1:22 pm:

    ==I believe collusion with JB’s people and Berrios’s office will be uncovered.==

    Hey Madigan spelled backwards,Berros said he didn’t know the property belonged to Pritzker, and the Suntimes verified the property was in a trust that didn’t have Pritzker’s name on it.


  30. - Politix - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 1:30 pm:

    The house had an unsafe staircase and mold problem. It was uninhabitable anyway. That’s why he won’t get indicted, thrown in jail, or any of that other stuff Rauner has been fantasizing about.


  31. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 1:34 pm:

    ==Once they go after Luis Guttierez for his property tax shenanigans they can go after Pritzker.==

    Is that you,John Kass?


  32. - Brenner - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 1:51 pm:

    Yeah, but at the end of the day JB is still living in the house.
    Isnt he now banging on Rauner for saying “I’m not in charge.”
    George Ryan had a lot of buffers too. Another name for buffer is potential flipper.


  33. - wordslinger - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 1:53 pm:

    ===Hard to get around what looks like favoritism or a special arrangement in my book.===

    The IG report specifically found no evidence of favoritism.


  34. - Anon0091 - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 2:01 pm:

    “Yeah, but at the end of the day JB is still living in the house.”

    No, he’s not. This isn’t his house. It’s the house next door that he bought and was renovating.

    “If there is an official investigation by a prosecutor I believe collusion with JB’s people and Berrios’s office will be uncovered.”

    I guess you’re free to believe this, but the IG you repeatedly rely on investigated this question specifically and found the opposite was true. There was no relationship whatsoever with Berrios and no knowledge of who owned the property. So pick a lane.


  35. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 2:47 pm:

    Stick to politics Rich and leave legal analysis to individuals who actually have at least a shred of expertise in the field.


  36. - @misterjayem - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 3:45 pm:

    “Stick to politics Rich and leave legal analysis to individuals who actually have at least a shred of expertise in the field.”

    I got this one, Rich: BITE HIM.

    – MrJM


  37. - @misterjayem - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 3:47 pm:

    And if you think the law and politics are two distinct things, you’ve got no business practicing either in Illinois.

    – MrJM


  38. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 3:57 pm:

    ==And if you think the law and politics are two distinct things, you’ve got no business practicing either in Illinois.==

    You’re right, I’ll be sure to give any politically savvy individual a call to represent me if I ever face any legal issues in Illinois.


  39. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 4:03 pm:

    ===You’re right, I’ll be sure to give any politically savvy individual a call to represent me if I ever face any legal issues in Illinois.===

    If the IG decides to do a report and it gets leaked, arguably for political purposes, but maybe not, you let us know how that’s working for you.

    Ugh.


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