In 3 months, Madi­gan spent more than $445K in le­gal fees

Records show funds for fi­nal quar­ter of 2019

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - CHICAGOLAN­D - By Ray Long, Gregory Pratt and Rick Pear­son Tri­bune re­porter Dan Pe­trella con­tributed. rlong@chicagotri­ gpratt@chicagotri­

Illi­nois House Speaker Michael Madi­gan spent more than $445,000 in le­gal fees from his po­lit­i­cal war chest dur­ing the clos­ing months of 2019, ac­cord­ing to a fil­ing with the state board of elec­tions.

The spend­ing is to cover the cost of a $275,000 set­tle­ment with a former cam­paign worker, on­go­ing civil cases and rou­tine staff train­ing, ac­cord­ing to a Madi­gan spokes­woman.

The $275,000 set­tle­ment was in the case brought by former cam­paign worker Alaina Hamp­ton, with $75,000 go­ing to her and the rest go­ing to at­tor­neys, Madi­gan spokes­woman Eileen Boyce said.

Hamp­ton filed a fed­eral case against Madi­gan-con­trolled cam­paign com­mit­tees over al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual ha­rass­ment by one of his top lieu­tenants and al­le­ga­tions that the speaker’s Demo­cratic team had black­balled her.

The set­tle­ment al­lowed the Madi­gan op­er­a­tions to avoid ad­mit­ting li­a­bil­ity.

The bulk of the rest of the money, in­clud­ing $139,209 to the Chicago of­fice of Hin­shaw & Cul­bert­son and $6,500 to at­tor­ney Michael Kasper, cover costs tied to four civil cases, Boyce said. Those in­clude the Hamp­ton case; a case brought by Ja­son Gon­za­les, who chal­lenged Madi­gan’s 2016 cam­paign tac­tics; and two cases aris­ing from David Krupa’s 2019 chal­lenge to Madi­gan’s hand­picked Ald. Marty Quinn, 13th, Boyce said.

Fees paid to Fox Swibel Levin & Car­roll are re­lated to train­ing ex­penses, Boyce said.

The le­gal fees were listed in the quar­terly re­port of the speaker’s cam­paign ac­count Friends of Michael J Madi­gan filed late Wed­nes­day night.

It in­cludes spend­ing from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31.

Re­gard­less of the con­tro­ver­sies sur­round­ing Madi­gan, the pow­er­ful vet­eran re­mains a ma­jor fundrais­ing force, the cam­paign fi­nance re­ports showed.

Madi­gan con­trols four dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal funds, which raised a com­bined $8.5 mil­lion be­tween Oc­to­ber and De­cem­ber.

As of Jan. 1, the Friends of Michael J. Madi­gan, the Demo­cratic Party of Illi­nois, the Demo­cratic Ma­jor­ity fund and the 13th Ward Demo­cratic or­ga­ni­za­tion had $21.1 mil­lion in cash on hand.

Madi­gan holds a 10-to-1 ad­van­tage in cam­paign funds over House Repub­li­can leader Jim Durkin. From Oc­to­ber to De­cem­ber, the po­lit­i­cal funds that Durkin con­trols raised more than $767,000, and they held just un­der $2 mil­lion in cash avail­able to start the year.

Madi­gan wasn’t the only Chicago politi­cian mak­ing pay­ments for le­gal fees dur­ing 2019’s clos­ing months.

Ald. Ed­ward Burke, who’s fac­ing fed­eral cor­rup­tion charges, re­ported spend­ing more than $414,000 on le­gal fees. Most of that went to law firms Jen­ner & Block and Loeb & Loeb.

He spent nearly $400,000 in cam­paign funds on the high-pow­ered le­gal de­fense team han­dling his pub­lic cor­rup­tion case dur­ing the pre­vi­ous quar­ter.

Le­gal ex­penses were also re­ported by sev­eral leg­is­la­tors caught up in the on­go­ing fed­eral cor­rup­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tions that have shaken the Illi­nois po­lit­i­cal fir­ma­ment.

Sen. Tom Culler­ton’s cam­paign fund re­ported a $25,000 pay­ment in Oc­to­ber to Daniel Collins, his at­tor­ney in the fed­eral case. Culler­ton, a Villa Park Demo­crat, was in­dicted last year on em­bez­zle­ment charges al­leg­ing he pock­eted al­most $275,000 in salary and ben­e­fits from the Team­sters union de­spite do­ing lit­tle or no work. He has pleaded not guilty,

Ex-state Rep. Luis Ar­royo’s cam­paign fund re­im­bursed his wife, Mari­bel, $10,000 for le­gal fees paid with per­sonal funds, records show.

Ar­royo re­signed his seat Nov. 1, one week af­ter he was ar­rested on a fed­eral bribery charge. He is ac­cused of pay­ing a bribe to a state se­na­tor in ex­change for sup­port of a gam­bling bill that would have ben­e­fited one of Ar­royo’s lob­by­ing clients.

Former state Sen. Martin San­doval’s cam­paign fund paid $90,000 in le­gal fees for the quar­ter, in­clud­ing $70,000 to Free­born & Peters and $20,000 to Thomp­son Hine, records show. San­doval’s of­fices were raided last fall by agents look­ing for in­for­ma­tion in­volv­ing lob­by­ists, gam­bling in­ter­ests, a red-light cam­era com­pany, and trans­porta­tion and con­struc­tion com­pa­nies, ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments. San­doval, who re­signed ef­fec­tive Jan. 1, has not been charged with any wrong­do­ing.

Ad­di­tion­ally, Cook County Com­mis­sioner Jef­frey Tobol­ski, who is also mayor of Mc­Cook, listed $100,000 in le­gal fees to the

Evanston firm of Blaine & Van­zant. A search war­rant for a raid on Mc­Cook’s vil­lage head­quar­ters in­di­cated au­thor­i­ties were af­ter a range of ev­i­dence in­clud­ing in­for­ma­tion about a clout-heavy subur­ban con­trac­tor, a lo­cal strip club, the town’s po­lice chief, and heat­ing and air con­di­tion­ing work done on the home of Tobol­ski. Tobol­ski has not been charged with any wrong­do­ing.


House Speaker Michael Madi­gan speaks af­ter a House Demo­cratic cau­cus meet­ing at the state Capi­tol.

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