* Ken Griffin has had enough of the high-crime Windy City and moves his hedge fund to Miami: Mr. Griffin noted in a letter to employees that many workers had clamored to relocate to other offices, including Miami. They don’t merely want to escape Chicago’s winters. Many are literally running for their lives amid a crime surge that shows no signs of abating. Thefts so far this year in Chicago have increased 65% compared to last year.
* Ken Griffin’s Citadel Move Is ‘Punch in the Gut’ for Chicago: “There’s no way to dress this up as anything but a punch in the gut for Chicago’s economic development reputation,” said Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, a government watchdog group that counts Griffin among its trustees. “The entire company isn’t moving right away, but it is a terrible warning.” … “It does not signal any immediate ramifications for the city’s credit profile,” Rinaldi said. Fitch has assigned a BBB- rating with a stable outlook to the city largely given its underfunded pensions and others liabilities. Fitch’s rating for the city is one notch above junk. … Still, Citadel’s move and others like it should be a wake up call for policy makers in the city and state, said Todd Maisch, president of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. While the vast majority of companies likely will stay put, departures of headquarters including Citadel will at the very least spur small- to medium-sized companies to question why they are based in this city or state, he said.
* Ken Griffin’s announcement about Citadel’s move comes at a curious time politically for the billionaire: Illinois House Republican leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs said Griffin’s departure was a sign of the state’s modern-day business climate. Durkin quoted Ian Fleming’s “Goldfinger,” in which the villain told James Bond, “‘They have a saying in Chicago. Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time, it’s enemy action.’ First it’s Boeing. Second it’s Caterpillar. Third, it’s Citadel,” Durkin said.
* Ken Griffin pulling Citadel out of Chicago: His announcement comes on the heels of the Chicago region losing the corporate headquarters of Boeing and Caterpillar, a worrisome trend balanced slightly by news this week that one of three companies cereal and snacks maker Kellogg will split into, the largest, will be based in Chicago. And in a win for the city at the expense of the suburbs, Abbott said it will move 450 headquarters workers downtown from Lake County.
* Griffin’s exit will deal one more hit to Illinois: In its piggy bank: Still, if the figure amounts to tens of millions, budget and tax experts said the damage done to the state’s budget would be minimal in a state of 12.8 million residents. Losing out on one taxpayer’s loot, even the state’s wealthiest resident, would amount to a “rounding error” in a state with a $46.5 billion budget, said Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax & Budget Accountability. [Carol Portman, president of the Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois] agreed, saying “that’s real money, but it’s not devastating.”
* Ken Griffin moving Citadel headquarters from Chicago to Miami: “He’s walking away even before the election. He’s giving up on his candidate on the campaign even before the election’s even happened. He’s sending a message that he’s washing his hands of Illinois,” said ABC7 Political Analyst Laura Washington. Washington said Griffin’s absence will create a vacuum. “It’s especially bad for the Republican party because the Republican party, particularly at the top of the ticket, has been relying on Griffin’s money, and now that money seems to be going away,” she said.
* Going to Disney World: No sour grapes in billionaire Griffin’s exodus to Sunshine State as Illinois election clouds loom? “The decision to move HQs to Miami and the timing around announcing it have absolutely nothing to do with the Governor’s race,” spokesman Zia Ahmed said in an email to the Sun-Times. Ahmed didn’t respond when asked whether Griffin would continue to contribute to Illinois causes and politicians. … But Griffin is also likely sending a message that he doesn’t want to support whomever wins the GOP primary on Tuesday, whether Bailey or former venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan.
* Ken Griffin’s exit from Illinois leaves his gubernatorial candidate behind: However, former two-term Republican Gov. Jim Edgar said the effects of Griffin’s announcement carry undeniable harm for Irvin’s struggling gubernatorial effort and likely is a sign of Illinois’ wealthiest person calling a strike a strike. “I guess he believes the polls,” Edgar said of Griffin. “It’s not a good endorsement for Irvin.”
* Ken Griffin, wealth inequality and the politics of envy: It is easy to be jealous of Griffin’s billions, but the politics of envy make us all worse off. Instead of focusing on income inequality, Pritzker should celebrate wealth creators, regardless of whether they widen the gap between the rich and the poor. Adding a few billionaires will increase income inequality here, but that would be a boon to government revenue. When it comes to policies, Illinois would be better served by ones that attract successful entrepreneurs, not ones that drive them out of the state.
* What happens now to Ken Griffin’s $58.5 million Gold Coast condo?: It’s not clear why Griffin, whose primary Chicago residence appears to be a condo half a block east at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago (formerly the Elysian Hotel Chicago) that he bought for $13.3 million in 2013, hasn’t finished the four-story penthouse. But it may turn out to have been for the best. A Chicago agent who sold the city’s next-highest priced condos says there is likely more of a market for Griffin’s space sold off as individual floors than as one big unit. “Individual floors would sell much faster versus a whole unit,” said Chezi Rafaeli, the Coldwell Banker agent who this year represented both buyer and seller in the $20 million sale of the 89th-floor penthouse at the Trump International Hotel & Tower. It’s the second-highest condo price to date in Chicago, after Griffin’s purchase, and was for mostly raw space.
* Ken Griffin Makes Wall Street South in Miami a Reality: Inflation is already uniquely painful in the Sunshine State. Single-family rents in the Miami metro area surged 41% in the past year, the most among large metro areas tracked by CoreLogic, thanks in part to limited supply and the added demand from people moving into the area. On Zillow, typical rents in the Miami metro are now comparable to those in Los Angeles despite household income levels that are about 25% lower. Meanwhile, Miami’s Gini coefficient — a measure of inequality — is on par with Colombia’s.
* Griffin’s move to Florida only latest blow to local philanthropy: “You think the 606 [trail] would have been built without Ken? Do you think the Field Museum would have gotten a new dinosaur or what he did for the [Museum of Science and Industry] or the University of Chicago?” the source said.
* Ken Griffin’s move means he’ll step back from Chicago nonprofit boards: “Given that he and his family have moved, he unfortunately will no longer be able to serve on boards in Chicago,” spokesman Zia Ahmed said in an email. Ahmed added that Griffin will announce additional donations to local organizations in the next week. Trustees and board members of nonprofit organizations are typically among the institution’s highest-dollar supporters and public advocates. Losing a high-profile and affluent figure like Griffin would be a huge blow, illustrating another way the departure of the state’s richest man will reverberate across multiple facets of Chicago’s cultural and economic landscape.
* With Ken Griffin headed to Miami, these are now the richest Illinoisans: With Griffin gone, who’s on top? The answer is Lukas Walton—by a long shot. Walton, 35, an heir to the Walmart founding family’s fortune who heads a Chicago-based sustainable-investing philanthropy, is worth $19.7 billion, according to Bloomberg. And though that’s a year-to-date decrease of $2.43 billion, it still far exceeds the next highest-value Illinoisan.