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One thing leads to another, and another and another for Link

Friday, Dec 20, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Lots of sizzle in this Tribune story

A Democratic state senator embroiled in a federal government corruption investigation failed to report a $50,000 profit from the sale of a Florida condominium as required on his state ethics form, the Tribune has found.

The 2016 real estate transaction involved veteran Lake County Sen. Terry Link, identified by a source as the unnamed senator who wore a wire on a fellow lawmaker. The recording, made in August, captured what authorities said was a bribery offer that led to criminal charges against then-state Rep. Luis Arroyo of Chicago.

Link, who has denied being the unnamed senator, ended up cooperating with the FBI after authorities discovered evidence that showed he’d cheated on his taxes, prosecutors have said in court filings. A source said Link’s undisclosed condo sale isn’t what spurred their investigation into his finances.

The buyer of Link’s Florida condo? The mother-in-law of a man who sources say is under investigation in the federal probe of state Sen. Martin Sandoval and SafeSpeed, the red-light camera company. Link said that tie is a coincidence.

On the same day Link sold his condo, he bought a larger unit in Florida, taking a personal loan from a Northbrook mortgage broker who was a campaign donor because Link could not qualify for a conventional mortgage at the time, the broker told the Tribune.

Link has some reasonable explanations. For instance, he couldn’t qualify for a regular mortgage because Comptroller Leslie Munger held up all legislator paychecks and that’s his only income, so he took out an interest-only bridge loan.

And if you’ve ever spent any time in Southwest Florida, you know how many Illinoisans are down there visiting or enjoying their winters. They’re as thick as no-see-ums. So, selling his condo to the mother-in-law of a perhaps shady south suburban guy is probably just rotten luck on Link’s part, and there’s nothing in the story that suggests otherwise, including the fact that the sale price wasn’t out of line with others in the area.

Not reporting the income from the condo sale is a problem, however, even though I spoke with a reform-minded legislator today who said she had no idea that sort of income was supposed to be reported. But Link amended the disclosure and nothing will likely happen beyond maybe a fine.

Anyway, whenever you’re under a federal microscope you can expect reporters to scour your public records, and that’s what happened here.

* Related…

* What Can Candidates and Elected Officials Buy With Campaign Funds?: “Unless you’re doing something that creates an income tax liability, it’s pretty difficult to run afoul of the state law,” campaign finance expert Kent Redfield said. “When people get in trouble in terms of how they spend money, it usually involves federal law enforcement.”


  1. - Ogden - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:23 pm:

    Coincidence and rotten luck don’t quite pass the smell test on this one…

  2. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:24 pm:

    Sometimes a small circle of coincidences changes everything. Coincidences in these instances are “rare”.

    This would be rotten luck for anyone else… but…

  3. - Henry Francis - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:31 pm:

    I agree the article is just sizzle.

    But there has to have been something that persuaded Link to wire up and take down some of his colleagues.

  4. - HollyToledo - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:32 pm:

    So…2 State Legislators do not know that selling a condo for a profit is a capital gain. Not surprised…..

  5. - Smalls - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:34 pm:

    Apparently the question is just too vague, for even reform-minded legislators. /s

    4. List the identity (including the address or legal description of real estate) of any capital asset from which a gain of $5,000.00 or more was realized during the preceding calendar year.

  6. - Steve - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:35 pm:

    - HollyToledo -

    Mistakes were made. It’s like going to the bingo polar and instructions being messed up. These things happen.

  7. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:37 pm:

    Good thing for him the “audio equipment” was just borrowed so he doesn’t have to report it. Reportedly. /s

  8. - Been There - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:37 pm:

    ===And if you’ve ever spent any time in Southwest Florida, you know how many Illinoisans are down there visiting or enjoying their winters. They’re as thick as no-see-ums. ====
    I actually ran into Link at his condo complex about 15 years ago. We were visiting our friends and he ended up having a condo a few doors down from them. And as Rich said the complex was probably 80% Chicago area residents or retirees. We actually looked into buying a unit. Our friends said almost all the units for sale are sold to people that are friends of other unit owners. So I can definitely see it just being a coincidence.

  9. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:38 pm:

    -Been There-

    I hear the Over By Dere Arms is lovely.

  10. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:41 pm:

    ” I spoke with a reform-minded legislator today who said she had no idea that sort of income was supposed to be reported”

    No excuse for ignorance of the reporting for the EI form. The questions are super clear..

    4. List the identity (including the address or legal description of real estate) of any capital asset from which a capital gain
    of $5,000 or more was realized during the preceding calendar year.

  11. - Steve - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:43 pm:

    From reading the beginning of the story , I would have never guessed seeing the name Harry Aleman.

  12. - Rich Miller - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 3:03 pm:

    ===don’t quite pass the smell test===

    Have you ever met Terry Link? Yeah, he got himself into big trouble over his taxes and he didn’t report some income on a disclosure form. Not good stuff. But can you really say with a straight face that he deliberately sold his house to a gangster family?

    I could be wrong, but I find that unlikely.

  13. - Billy Sunday - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 3:16 pm:

    For a legislator serving for more than 10 years+ and not knowing when making additional income after a major sale (even if it was sold to Bozo the Clown), is quite unbelievable. He should have known better to and be safe (than sorry) and report it on his required forms.

    Now, on why he wired up? Simply to get a reduced sentence for his prior problem with the federales/IRS.

  14. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 3:39 pm:

    Here is the link to the blank form.

    Please notice the extensive instructions with lots of easy to understand examples. /s

  15. - T. Fitz - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 3:45 pm:

    As someone who had to fill out a similar ethics form, (and supervised several employees who had to do the same,) that question does cause a bit of confusion for individuals who sell their home and then roll the profit from the sale into the purchase of a new house. Granted, it should be less confusing when the sale is of a vacation home and not a primary residence.

  16. - Not for Nothing - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 4:11 pm:

    -the questions are super clear -

    They are literally the opposite of that.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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