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Corruption roundup

Friday, Nov 8, 2019

* This is a good idea, and not just because of Heidner. These are regulated entities and they ought to seek approval from the Gaming Board before they sell out

The Illinois Gaming Board on Thursday moved to block video gambling operators from selling their companies without state approval in what regulators billed as an “emergency” step they hope will stop any business under investigation from turning a profit before facing disciplinary action.

The unanimous vote followed a Tribune story last month that revealed one of the state’s largest video gambling operators, Rick Heidner, is in business with a convicted illegal sports bookmaker as well as a banker accused by the FBI of involving organized crime figures in a failed Rosemont casino deal. […]

Currently, video gambling operators are permitted to sell their businesses and report the transaction to the Gaming Board as much as three weeks later, legal counsel Dan Gerber told board members. Under the new rule, such sales have to be approved by the Gaming Board before going forward.

Gerber told board members that the “after-the-fact disclosures” undermine the integrity of state oversight.

* Speaking of Heidner, here’s Hannah Meisel

The video gaming terminal magnate linked to the investigation of State Sen. Marty Sandoval’s (D-Chicago) has long operated as a landlord for suburban House members. […]

Heidner owns the property at 15 W. Weathersfield Way in Schaumburg, where State Rep. Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg) has set up her district office since being sworn into the House in 2010.

Mussman’s predecessor, State Rep. Paul Froehlich (D-Schaumburg), also used that space as his district office after he was appointed to the House as a Republican in 2003, and continued using the space after defecting to the Democratic party in 2007. […]

Mussman told The Daily Line last week that she did know know Heidner, and said he “was not influential in my choice” of district office. Asked whether the recent revelations surrounding Heidner made her rethink renting her district office from Heidner Property Management, Mussman said she would “need to think about that at renewal time.”

* One of Hannah’s stories today is about the House Republican ethics package

While some of those tweaks already have some Democratic support, others will be complete non-starters for the majority party.

State Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago), for example, said on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight Wednesday that statements of economic interest lawmakers currently file do not show much, and predicted lawmakers would work across the aisle to address a ban on lawmaker-lobbyists.

“We have a statement of economic interests out there that barely makes sense, it’s hard to follow, doesn’t cover what it’s supposed to cover,” Williams said. “Why are legislators also acting as lobbyists? I think that’s something we’ll see bipartisan support on.”

…Adding… The Daily Line reports that Ald. Villegas no longer wants to be appointed committeeman

Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36) said last week that he hoped to convene 36th Ward Democrats to appoint him as committeeperson so that he could take the lead in filling the legislative vacancy. The alderman said at the time that he believed Arroyo would step down from the political post. The two officials have been close allies since 2015.

But the committeeperson appointment would need to be verified by the executive committee, whose members have since said that they do not plan to meet until next April. Under state law, the legislative vacancy must be filled by Dec. 1.

Villegas reversed course on Thursday, saying he wants no part in the process to select Arroyo’s successor in the state house. Villegas, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s floor leader, added that he will work with whomever is chosen, and he will continue gathering signatures to run for committeeperson in March.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

3 Comments »
  1. - Nagidam - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 10:14 am:

    Slow news day when a Legislator gets named in an article because the landlord of the Legislator, who the legislator never knew, is named in a subpoena but hasn’t been charged.


  2. - DIstant watcher - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 10:50 am:

    There are a couple jurisdictions that regulate lobbying and they all have different definitions and exemptions. You can do things at one level without registering that you have to register for elsewhere. The Republicans plan doesn’t seem to acknowledge that; any final plan should.


  3. - Big Joe - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 11:25 am:

    I agree with you, Nagidam.


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