By Frank Conklin, The Chicago Times

March 2, 2022

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Former Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan was indicted Wednesday on 22 criminal counts including racketeering and bribery.

According to federal prosecutors, for decades Madigan, 79, used the power of his elected offices and professional position to further his personal criminal enterprise.  John Lausch, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois has also demanded that Madigan and a co-defendant forfeit $3 million in ill-gotten gains.  Madigan faces criminal charges for bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud, and racketeering conspiracy.

Over the past 40 years, Madigan allegedly built up his “Madigan Enterprise” while serving as a state representative and then jointly as the Illinois House Speaker and Illinois Democratic Party chairman.  Known for eating precisely sliced apples for lunch everyday, Madigan would often be seen calmly eating his apples plotting his next move to funnel business to his multi-million dollar law firm that appealed property tax rates to unsuspecting taxpayers.  Madigan and his “crew” allegedly received tribute and bribes to doll out favors to cronies.  Prosecutors claim to have secretly recorded Madigan’s conversations with Danny Solis, former Chicago alderman turn informant, in which Solis tells Madigan that he coerced a building owner to hire Madigan’s law firm.

“I was never involved in any criminal activity.  The government is attempting to criminalize a routine constituent service: job recommendations. That is not illegal, and these other charges are equally unfounded. Throughout my 50 years as a public servant, I worked to address the needs of my constituents, always keeping in mind the high standards required and the trust the public placed in me. I adamantly deny these accusations and look back proudly on my time as an elected official, serving the people of Illinois.” Madigan said in a statement.

Madigan was the longest-serving Illinois House Speaker, having held the position from 1983 to 2021 minus two years after being defeated by Republican Lee Daniels in 1995.  Daniels once claimed that when Madigan vacated the House Speaker’s office, Daniels discovered a small tin first aid kit on the desk. 

Madigan is expected to be arraigned on March 9.

Frank Conklin, Illinois Political Columnist for The Chicago Times.  Views and comments expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the official position of The Chicago Times.