Kudos to Crains on this unbelievable story:
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan cost taxpayers nearly half-a-billion dollars by blocking repeated efforts to restructure McCormick Place bonds and finance a much-needed second hotel at the convention center, a Crain’s investigation finds.
Between 2005 and 2010, Mr. Madigan stopped five refinancing bills, ignoring declining interest rates that would have saved hundreds of millions. At the time, he never explained why, but his reasons seem petty and political: McCormick Place CEO Juan Ochoa, an appointee of then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, had fired a Madigan ally at the convention center, and lawmakers from both parties say the speaker wanted retribution.
“It was no secret that Madigan had a beef with Ochoa and wanted him gone,” says state Rep. Angelo “Skip” Saviano, an Elmwood Park Republican who sponsored refinancing bills in 2005, 2007 and 2009. “As long as Ochoa was there, Madigan wasn’t going to give McCormick Place anything.”
But politics may not have been Mr. Madigan’s only motivation. By holding up refinancing, the speaker also denied McCormick Place the money to build a new hotel. That bought time for clout-heavy developers Gerald Fogelson and Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises Inc. to push a controversial land swap and hotel deal with McCormick Place on property just north of the convention center. Both were then clients of Mr. Madigan’s law firm, Madigan & Getzendanner, but the speaker denies any connection.
Five Hundred Million Dollar hit to the taxpayers. Hundreds of jobs directly in the balance. Total economic impact of $8-billion and 66,000 jobs all used as toys by Madigan.
My question is when will someone ask our State Attorney General Lisa Madigan when she’s going to investigate a politician?