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The Speaker's Son

"The son of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is forging a successful insurance career in the Chicago suburbs with the help of mayors who look to his powerful father to advance their political and legislative agendas," the Tribune reports.

"Andrew Madigan, 26, joined the powerhouse Chicago firm Mesirow Financial in 2008 after interning with the company during college. Since 2010, he has worked in business development for the company's insurance division, where he is now a vice president.

"His job: connecting with decision-makers, laying the groundwork for new business and then handing over the details to teams of Mesirow insurance brokers who seal the deals."

Oy.

"His emergence into a political world long dominated by his father raises new questions about the intersection of the speaker's public and private interests."

No shit.

"In the last two years, Mesirow has won new government business tied to Andrew Madigan in more than a half-dozen suburbs, according to public records and Tribune interviews. In at least three towns where Mesirow won business - Chicago Heights, McCook and Bridgeview - the speaker did favors for the mayors around the same time the suburbs hired the firm."

Look, the guy's allowed to make a living. But if this is the way he chooses to do so, he deserves every ounce of scrutiny he'll get.

*

"He's a hardworking kid, and he's done a terrific job for us," said Norm J. Malter, president of the insurance services division at Mesirow. "In business, people hire those who can go out and build relationships. Andrew is one of those people."

Not helping.

*

"Mayors said they have bumped into the younger Madigan at political events attended by local leaders - including at the annual 13th Ward appreciation dinner thrown by his father, the ward boss. Andrew Madigan handed out his business card at last year's event attended by some 300 political supporters, officials and community leaders."

Not helping.

*

"Speaker Madigan's spokesman, Steve Brown, said any attempt to connect Andrew Madigan's business to the work of his father was 'kind of a stretch.'"

Go complain to Malter, then.

*

"Asked about whether it is appropriate for Andrew Madigan to be soliciting business at his father's political events, Brown said he had no knowledge it ever happened."

But you were just told it happened.

*

"I talked to the speaker . . . and he said to me, 'It looks like the garbage haulers are on a new route, and now they're trying to dirty up my family,'" Brown said. "So that's really about all I would have to say about any of this."

Madigan wasn't willing to say that to reporters himself, though. Both he and his son refused to comment.

*

"Mesirow's political and civic involvement runs deep, and the firm touts itself as one of the largest public sector insurance practices in the Midwest.

"'It's not surprising that some of the opportunities he develops would be in an area where we are a market leader,' Mesirow said in a statement responding to questions about Andrew Madigan."

That's garbage!

*

"Mesirow has won new government business tied to Andrew Madigan in Berwyn, Burbank, Chicago Heights, Cicero, Lyons, McCook and South Holland, according to public records and Tribune interviews.

"Suburban leaders who responded to Tribune inquiries - including Burbank Mayor Harry Klein, Cicero Town President Larry Dominick and South Holland Mayor Don De Graff - said they felt no political pressure because of Andrew Madigan's involvement."

I'm sure they didn't. I'm thinking they felt something more like joy - hey, we got a guy now!

*

"I am not sure what profession that young man could enter where he bumps into politicians that wouldn't raise these issues," McCook Mayor and Cook County Commissioner Jeffery Tobolski told the Tribune.

I am. Airline pilot, gym teacher, English professor, dentist, graphic designer, entomologist, singer-songwriter, marine biologist . . . pretty much most jobs.

*

"Of course I wouldn't want to say anything that might upset the Speaker, but I see the issue," Tobolski said.

Shhh, don't upset the Speaker!

*

Andrew Madigan is also on the board of the Chicago Metropolitan Planning Agency. From his bio:

Prior to joining Mesirow, he worked for the Chicago White Sox in a variety of roles, including working in the purchasing, baseball, public relations/media relations, and ticket sales departments.

Appointed to the CMAP Board by Mayor Emanuel as one of five representatives for the City of Chicago, Madigan is also a member of the Regional Coordinating Committee.

I bet Rahm didn't even know he was related to the Speaker!

*

If Andrew and his father would merely submit themselves for questions by reporters representing a deserving public, maybe they could persuade us that all measures are being taken to prevent conflicts of interest. Refusing to answer questions only deepens suspicions that once again we are witnessing Illinois politics as usual, led by the chairman of the state Democratic Party.

-

Comments welcome.



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Posted on August 23, 2012


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