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Corruption roundup

Tuesday, Nov 5, 2019

* Dave McKinney, Dan Mihalopoulos and Tony Arnold at WBEZ

Veteran lobbyist and City Club of Chicago President Jay Doherty has stopped working for embattled, longtime client Commonwealth Edison, according to a disclosure document he filed Monday with Illinois officials. […]

Also Monday, records show Doherty informed state officials he was no longer going to lobby for Fer-Pal Construction. WBEZ reported last week that both Doherty and the firm co-owned by influential Chicago Ald. Gilbert Villegas — who is Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s floor leader — had been lobbying for Fer-Pal.

ComEd signed Villegas’ lobbying company, Elgin-based Stratagem Consulting Group, in January to a one-year, $5,000-a-month deal. But the utility, which has a monopoly over virtually all of northern Illinois, cut ties with Stratagem last month and executives have not explained why they did so.

He still appears to be lobbying with Jordan Matyas at Catalyst Consulting Group, however. Matyas is Speaker Madigan’s son-in-law.

* Rachel Hinton at the Sun-Times

Cook County Democratic Party leaders voted unanimously Monday to ask former state Rep. Luis Arroyo [the 36th Ward Democratic committeeman] to step down from their ranks — and plan to send a letter to indicted Ald. Ed Burke requesting he relinquish the party post he’s held for more than half a century. […]

On Monday, the Cook County Democratic Party’s 10-member Executive Committee voted to formally request the resignations of Burke and Arroyo because they had been charged with crimes, Delmarie Cobb, a spokeswoman for the party, said.

The vote was unanimous, although Ald. Carrie Austin, the 34th Ward committeeman, did not attend the meeting or vote. Austin herself was named in a federal grand jury subpoena earlier this year, prompting FBI agents to remove files and equipment from her Far South Side ward office. Like Solis, she has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

* Dan Petrella and John Byrne at the Tribune

On Friday, Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, the 35th Ward Democratic committeeman, called on Arroyo to step down before the vote to replace him. “I’m not going to be part of the process where he’s filling the vacancy,” said Ramirez-Rosa, who has about 11% of the vote.

Sen. Robert Martwick, who has about 9% of the vote as 38th Ward committeeman, said he “certainly would not participate in him choosing his successor.”

Ald. Ariel Reboyras, who as 30th Ward committeeman controls the second-largest share of the vote at nearly 19%, said he will take part, regardless of whether Arroyo is involved. As treasurer of the Cook County Democratic Party, Reboyras was among the executive committee members who voted to request Arroyo’s resignation.

So, if Arroyo stays, he could cut a deal with Reboyras to appoint his replacement.

* John Byrne at the Tribune

Chicago’s new 25th Ward alderman filed an election complaint Monday saying his predecessor, Daniel Solis, improperly used hundreds of thousands of dollars from the ward’s Democratic organization to pay lawyers to represent him in a federal investigation of his spending.

Solis is at the center of the spiraling FBI probe at City Hall. He secretly wore a wire while cooperating with federal investigators after they confronted him with evidence of his alleged wrongdoing they had compiled during a two-year investigation, according to a federal affidavit in the case. […]

Now, Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez, who took over from Solis representing the ward that includes Pilsen, Chinatown and part of the South Loop, filed a complaint with the Illinois Board of Elections, arguing Solis violated the Campaign Disclosure Act by transferring $220,000 from the 25th Ward Regular Democratic Organization to cover his legal costs. […]

Sigcho-Lopez said Solis hasn’t been fulfilling his duties as committeeman, so he shouldn’t be allowed to tap into the party funds. “More than anything else, it raises attention of this common practice,” Sigcho-Lopez said. “The election law says you can use the political fund for legal fees, but the legal fees have to be relevant to your office or the purpose it was collected for.”

* Related…

* ‘What’s wrong with you guys?’ Arroyo scolded tollway after it dumped his donor

* Hastert hush-money sex abuse lawsuit trial delayed until spring

- Posted by Rich Miller        

9 Comments »
  1. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 5, 19 @ 10:41 am:

    The press conference and naming of all these investigations and the dove tailing will be… sumptin’


  2. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Nov 5, 19 @ 10:46 am:

    How about forbidding political campaigns from spending money on legal fees for anything but a list of few exception like forming the committee. If a politician gets in trouble with the law or allows harassment in their organization, they have to pay the legal fees out of their own money.


  3. - Just Me 2 - Tuesday, Nov 5, 19 @ 10:54 am:

    It warms my heart to see that Madigan’s family members have joined the family business of government and are all doing so well.


  4. - Responsa - Tuesday, Nov 5, 19 @ 11:16 am:

    Mike Royko would not be surprised by all this but he would be having a field day with it.


  5. - revvedup - Tuesday, Nov 5, 19 @ 11:24 am:

    Cook County Dems sure took their sweet time asking Burke to step down, even telegraphing the punch before the letter was sent. Mike Royko is smiling somewhere…


  6. - Powdered Whig - Tuesday, Nov 5, 19 @ 11:29 am:

    === How about forbidding political campaigns from spending money on legal fees for anything but a list of few exception like forming the committee. ===

    So if someone sues the political organization the political organization cannot use their funds to pay for legal representation? That doesn’t seem right does it?


  7. - Amalia - Tuesday, Nov 5, 19 @ 11:39 am:

    Arroyo continues to disgust. one of the most objectionable elected officials I have ever encountered.


  8. - Payback - Tuesday, Nov 5, 19 @ 1:32 pm:

    “Veteran lobbyist and City Club of Chicago President Jay Doherty has stopped working for embattled, longtime client Commonwealth Edison…”

    Why did City Club MC Jacki Robinson-Ivy bury an audience question for Kwame Raoul at the Union League Club on Oct. 21? Chairman Ed Mazur is the usual MC, and he’s always been fair with audience questions. I used to respect the City Club as a place to hold officials accountable.


  9. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Nov 5, 19 @ 1:37 pm:

    ===Why did City Club MC Jacki Robinson-Ivy bury an audience question for Kwame Raoul at the Union League Club===

    Well I was there and I remember being told the AG had to leave promptly so he would not be taking any questions. I thought that was convenient for him, but I also don’t think it’s fair of you to accuse someone of burying a question when no questions are allowed.

    You could accuse them of conspiring to bury all of the questions, but your comment as-is is not accurate.


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