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Madigan, McClain, Mapes and Kevin and Marty Quinn appear on federal subpoena

Thursday, Feb 20, 2020

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

19 Comments
  1. - Steve - Thursday, Feb 20, 20 @ 9:35 am:

    The federal subpoena mentions familiar names that keep popping up . But, that doesn’t mean there’s a criminal case here that can be won in court.


  2. - Just Me - Thursday, Feb 20, 20 @ 9:41 am:

    The way family and friends of the Speaker always — always — turn out in profitable positions is sickening. How many people were turned away in order to make room for someone whose only talent was the ability to walk precincts?


  3. - Annonin' - Thursday, Feb 20, 20 @ 9:49 am:

    Always love the quality of the journalism with the pictures are bigger than the words — perhaps an element of understanding why newspapers struggle.


  4. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 20, 20 @ 9:54 am:

    The biggest takeaway, outside the “new” (for us all maybe) angle of Mapes is that this is a continuing, and very ongoing, investigation, with no end in sight or no way to determine where this specific subpoena fits in any timeline… yet.

    It was brought up yesterday that Dorothy Brown was under investigation and scrutiny for 5 years. The feds are going to take as long as they want until they feel they have all they want, then decide where it all fits.

    This is toasty, out of the oven fresh.


  5. - A Guy - Thursday, Feb 20, 20 @ 9:57 am:

    ==whose only talent was the ability to walk precincts?===

    Not a talent to be underestimated…


  6. - A Jack - Thursday, Feb 20, 20 @ 10:00 am:

    A trash bag full of cash on Rod’s back porch and he can ask his buddy Trump to make this all go away.


  7. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Feb 20, 20 @ 10:02 am:

    Add a little sunlight and the inner workings of MJM’s political machine look like a mob outfit. It may not be enough to bring federal charges but the corruption it cringe-worthy.


  8. - Walgreen brand - Thursday, Feb 20, 20 @ 10:03 am:

    Nice is a very nice name that might be in a not so nice situation.


  9. - Commonsense in Illinois - Thursday, Feb 20, 20 @ 10:08 am:

    Another…um…Buffer?


  10. - Just Me - Thursday, Feb 20, 20 @ 10:09 am:

    ===Not a talent to be underestimated…===

    By all means, let’s turn people away with advanced degrees in their fields and years of experience because another candidate happens to walk and knock on doors for candidates they don’t know and have never met. Yeah, that guy is deserving of a good paying job, and the other guy with all the experience is an idiot of course.

    (Editor’s note, I’m biased. I was fired from my job in order to make room for a Madigan person, who was eventually fired for incompetence, but of course got another job just a few weeks later.)


  11. - A Guy - Thursday, Feb 20, 20 @ 10:23 am:

    J Me.
    I sympathize with your experience sincerely and I’m sure that’s happened to many others. That being said, this guy, and the rest of those precinct captains have a skill set far exceeding “walking precincts”. That is where they start though. And it’s what they continue to do while developing their other skills and connections along the way. The sheer number of these “Captains” who’ve been taken off the board is probably the most damaging thing that has happened to the Speaker. His field team is what fed all that power to him in the first place. Losing these people is very much like losing control (yes, control) over vast swaths of area with every take-down. It’s impossible to replace them equally since every one of these dudes have multiple thousands of contacts and decades of experience. When the Speaker has solutions at his fingertips; these guys are the fingertips.
    And he’s lost a lot of fingers in the past few years.


  12. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Feb 20, 20 @ 10:34 am:

    “their other skills”

    I suppose that is one way of describing intimidation tactics at the hands of MJM and Marty Quinn’s political staff

    “One woman recounted how she hid for weeks from the political troops, sending her increasingly irritated husband to the door with excuses for why she wasn’t available. “They kept coming and coming and coming to my house. … Three times a day for a very long time,” she said”


  13. - A Guy - Thursday, Feb 20, 20 @ 10:38 am:

    ==I suppose that is one way of describing intimidation tactics at the hands of MJM and Marty Quinn’s political staff==

    Among many other “other skills”


  14. - DuPage Saint - Thursday, Feb 20, 20 @ 10:43 am:

    I think the scariest thing would be subpoena delivered by an IRS agent.


  15. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, Feb 20, 20 @ 10:52 am:

    let’s see if the Feds agree this crew is reasonable and moderate


  16. - Powdered Whig - Thursday, Feb 20, 20 @ 12:27 pm:

    The Mayor of Merrionette Park himself said he knew Nice personally and said he never was influenced by the Speaker or anyone else. Let’s not all jump to conclusions here. There has been a lot of stuff reported over the past year, and a few indictments, but none of those indictments (T. Cullerton, Arroyo, Sandoval, Doherty) are tied to the Speaker.


  17. - Intriguing Coincidence - Thursday, Feb 20, 20 @ 1:45 pm:

    The Mayor of Merrionette Park…

    The same fellow (Dennis Magee) used to be employed by the Cook County Clerk as an elections supervisor in charge of nominating petition challenges to voter signatures. He did so while service at the Democratic Committeeperson of Worth Township too.


  18. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Feb 20, 20 @ 2:55 pm:

    ==- Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Feb 20, 20 @ 10:34 am:==

    Contrary to popular belief, it’s not illegal to ask someone who they’re voting for, it’s not illegal to call someone, and it’s not illegal to knock on their door–even if they have a no soliciting sign.


  19. - RNUG - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 12:00 am:

    == it’s not illegal to knock on their door–even if they have a no soliciting sign. ==

    But you can always try to intimidate them by answering the door with a barking guard dog.

    Reminds me of an incident at a friend’s house. Sheriff was going door to door asking for votes. Friend answered and let his well trained but intimidating looking German Shepard out. The dog proceeded to relieve himself on the Sheriff’s pant leg and shoe. Sheriff proved himself a true politician, didn’t flinch, just keep talking and asking for support.


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