* Robert Herguth and Mark Brown at the Sun-Times…
Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan and several of his closest political allies are named in a new federal subpoena seeking records on a former ComEd lobbyist and his consulting work for a tiny southwestern suburb, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.
A significant focus of the subpoena is Raymond T. Nice – a longtime campaign worker for Madigan’s Southwest Side Democratic organization who became an “independent contractor” for the village of Merrionette Park in 2015, according to records and interviews.
Delivered by an IRS agent and dated Friday, the subpoena asks Merrionette Park officials for copies of contracts with Nice, as well as invoices “and payment records, including but not limited to records that explain the purpose(s) and work product for which payment was made, records of wire transfers, copies of checks (front and back) and/or records of cash payments.”
The subpoena also asks that, by March 4, village officials turn over all “correspondence with, or other communications (such as internal email messages) documenting communications with, Michael Madigan, Michael McClain, Timothy Mapes, Kevin Quinn and/or Marty Quinn.”
The Tim Mapes angle is new.
* Some background on Nice from a WBEZ report last December…
After retiring from Cook County, Raymond Nice supplemented his public pension checks with a job representing Commonwealth Edison’s interests in county government.
For Nice – a longtime campaign operative for Illinois House Speaker and state Democratic Party Chairman Michael Madigan – the job paid as much as $60,000 a year on top of his annual pension of more than $70,000, records show.
Nice answered to ComEd lobbyist and City Club of Chicago President Jay Doherty. Earlier this year, Nice disclosed that his work involved talking to county officials about ComEd’s business operations “when requested by Jay Doherty.”
But records show Nice’s job ended on July 1 – weeks after FBI agents raided the nonprofit City Club’s offices in the Wrigley Building in mid-May as part of a broad public corruption investigation into ComEd.
Authorities sought documents about Madigan and ComEd as they probed allegations the giant power company had hired multiple politically connected consultants – including some with ties to Madigan – under deals that demanded little or no work, WBEZ has reported. A source involved in the investigation has told WBEZ the feds are looking into suspicions that Doherty served as a “pass through” for ComEd’s deals with clout hires.
* From 2014…
The succession of Madigan supporters in the same job is not an isolated phenomenon, and extends to positions on appointed boards.
Consider the Cook County Employee Appeals Board, a once-a-month post that until very recently paid about $35,000 per year. The board, long known as a haven for the politically connected, passes judgment on appeals filed by disciplined county workers.
One seat on the board has been occupied by members of Madigan’s army since 2006, when former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger appointed Mary Morrissey to the seat. Morrissey is a longtime paid soldier and donor to Madigan who for years served as the political director in the various campaigns of his daughter Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
In 2011, Morrissey resigned her post on the board and took a job as deputy chief of staff to the younger Madigan. Taking her place on the board was the retiring deputy recorder of deeds for Cook County, Raymond Nice, who was appointed by County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
Nice, 58, made about $118,000 per year as deputy recorder of deeds. He is a longtime precinct captain, paid political worker and donor to Madigan. Nice resigned his board appointment after four months because of a prohibition on collecting his county pension while collecting the county paycheck.
As I told you late last year, Speaker Madigan only requested a tiny handful of appointments from newly elected Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2015, and Nice was one of them.