Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » More details on that threatening letter
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
More details on that threatening letter

Monday, May 27, 2019

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

As the state Legislature’s spring session nears its end, I want to take a moment to look back on one of the scariest times of the year with the hope that one of you might recognize something and help bring a deranged person to justice.

You may have seen a brief news story about it, but several state legislators reported receiving an identical mailer in late April with the headline: “Dead People Can’t Collect Fat Pensions.” The envelopes were postmarked in Champaign, but that’s a central collection point so the letters could’ve been mailed from anywhere in the region.

The letter contained both a long list of grievances about the state’s troubled pension system and numerous death threats. ”Don’t bother about new gun laws,” the letter writer stated, “from arson to strangulation, there are more effective means available.”

”You may think you can extract more money from us,” the writer warned. ”We would advise you to think again. Over 40,000 cowards unwilling to push back have left the state annually over the last 5 years, leaving behind the determined, the courageous — and most importantly — those with nothing left to lose.”

”Time is short. The list is long. After the first one, the rest are free,” the writer concluded.

The writer threatened mass assassinations for pretty much everyone who receives a state government pension, including survivors and heirs.

To avoid this fate, the author demanded in the form letter that the pension actuarial tables be changed and the state’s constitution be amended to remove the pension protection clause before instituting a graduated income tax. The writer also demanded unspecified “cap$ and clawback$ for outrageous$ pension payout$” and local government consolidation. He or she also demanded the end of pension double-dipping and “playing salary games at career’s end to max out your take.”

Whoever wrote that letter is obviously more informed about state government than most average citizens.

While the content of the mass mailer was identical, whoever sent it took some time to make almost every one distinct.

One way the author individualized the letters was by using a different return address for almost all of them. The envelope sent to House Speaker Michael Madigan, for instance, used a return address for Gov. JB Pritzker. The Illinois Education Association’s letter had the same return address, which was for Pritzker’s personal business office in Chicago. The letter sent to a Champaign public radio station was ostensibly from the late Dawn Clark Netsch, the first woman elected to a statewide office in Illinois. All the return addresses were printed on labels and not hand-written.

However, most of the return addresses appear to have been researched on the Illinois State Board of Elections’ website. Several legislators told me that the names and return addresses on letters sent to them were of campaign contributors who can be found with an online search.

Some return addresses and names were of political action committees. The letter addressed to a prominent gun control proponent, for instance, had a return address of a gun control political action committee which had contributed to his campaign last year.

Other letters were ostensibly from specific individuals, including a prominent retired Chicago business executive, a legislator’s mother, a legislator’s relative and the husband of a state representative’s senator. All were campaign contributors.

In other words, whoever sent this letter doesn’t appear to be just some random crank with a handy mailing list. That person or persons put some real time and effort into this. And that almost bothers me more than the letter itself.

A state senator who received one of the mailers said the postage stamp on the envelope chilled him to the bone. The sender used a John Lennon stamp. The former Beatle was murdered in 1980.

The letter writer had threatened all pension plan participants with being killed and cryptically asked recipients if they were “sure” that some accidental deaths on the highways were truly accidents or “the conscious decisions of people with nothing left to lose to ‘take one with me?’”

And that leads us to the most egregious example of how truly sick this person is. The return address on the letter mailed to a Rockford-area legislator made it appear that it came from Brooke Jones-Story, an Illinois State Trooper who was killed by another motorist during a traffic stop in March near Rockford. Jones-Story was one of three troopers killed by motorists in the first three months of 2019.

If you have any information at all, please call the Illinois State Police or the FBI.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Grandson of Man - Monday, May 27, 19 @ 9:36 am:

    Thanks Rich for following up on this and keeping it in people’s attention. May the perpetrator(s) get caught.

  2. - wordslinger - Monday, May 27, 19 @ 9:58 am:

    –The return address on the letter mailed to a Rockford-area legislator made it appear that it came from Brooke Jones-Story, an Illinois State Trooper who was killed by another motorist during a traffic stop in March near Rockford. –

    That is a truly sick mind at work. And this demento has fever dreams that these actions are serving a noble, public purpose.

    This one has such delusions of grandeur, you have to think that the sender can’t stand to go unrecognized. My guess is the writer has already left clues to some, desperate for the glory of the actions.

  3. - Not a Billionaire - Monday, May 27, 19 @ 10:03 am:

    I note that leaving Illinois theme. And it’s wrong as we know it’s poor people dealing with a regressive tax system and higher costs…….

  4. - Not a Billionaire - Monday, May 27, 19 @ 10:08 am:

    Who has been looking at our election system . I don’t think we can eliminate the Russians. Their websites like zh are known to obsess over our Pension issue.

  5. - wordslinger - Monday, May 27, 19 @ 10:36 am:

    –I note that leaving Illinois theme.–

    It’s not hard to find the editorial boards, columnists and “think tanks” that share the political point-of-view.

    I’m guessing investigators might be checking various comment section platforms looking for similar use of language and idioms to the letters sent.

  6. - revvedup - Monday, May 27, 19 @ 4:17 pm:

    An FBI profiler is needed; lots of clues to be put together.

  7. - Perrid - Monday, May 27, 19 @ 4:59 pm:

    wordslinger, I doubt s/he is leaving intentional clues. Seems like they went to some length not to incriminate themselves. People usually aren’t as smart as they think they are though, hopefully there’s a trail.

  8. - Amalia - Monday, May 27, 19 @ 9:28 pm:

    Rich, my husband and I discussed how we appreciate that you wrote this column with such detail. It truly horrifies, but captures the attention of any reader. This will surely assist in apprehending the threatening person. thank you. (exclamations)

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Pritzker contributes $51.5 million to his "Fair Tax" campaign account
* *** UPDATED x1 *** SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: This just in...
* Reader comments closed for the holiday weekend
* *** UPDATED x3 *** Devore tells reporters he's won both cases
* Question of the day
* 869 new cases, 36 additional deaths, 2.6 percent positivity rate
* *** UPDATED x2 - ILGOP will appeal *** Federal judge denies ILGOP's TRO request: "Granting Plaintiffs the relief they seek would pose serious risks to public health"
* Today's must-watch video
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: New ads; More react to Wednesday's edition (password fixed)
* After returning from Florida, Rep. Bailey won't get tested "on the advice of his doctor"
* We're number one... in FBI gun background checks during June
* White Sox vs. Cardinals at Field of Dreams game
* Lightfoot spins tall tale to justify preemptive sweeps
* Well, that escalated quickly
* If you want schools to reopen, wear a mask, keep your distance and wash your hands
* 1.43 million Americans, 45.25 thousand Illinoisans filed new unemployment claims last week
* Open thread
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...





Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller