J.B. Pritzker, the Democratic nominee in Illinois’ 2018 gubernatorial race, is being accused by seven U.S. representatives of a tax scheme they say left taxpayers covering the “depreciation” of his $6.25 million mansion.
The “scheme to defraud” involved a devaluation of over $5 million due to Pritzker’s 2012 claim that the massive house was vacant and uninhabitable and didn’t have working toilets, the GOP congressmen said in a letter to John R. Lausch Jr., the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
Because of the supposed horrid condition of his mansion, Pritzker was able to claim over $330,000 in tax refunds.
An investigation by the Cook County inspector general found that the candidate removed the toilets in 2015 — 10 days before an official appraisal of the property.
An email discovered in the investigation revealed that Pritzker’s wife, Mary Kathryn, “directed that the toilets be removed for the express purpose of allowing the house to be declared uninhabitable,” the lawmakers said.
The Illinois Republican congressional delegation asks the U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate JB Pritzker’s toilet tax break “scheme.” All seven Illinois GOP congressmen signed it. pic.twitter.com/8QEkGgEDUq
— Tahman Bradley (@tahmanbradley) October 3, 2018
“The facts described in the Inspector General’s report appear to constitute fraud and perjury,” the congressmen wrote.
Lausch’s office appears to be up to the task of investigation. On its website, the office proudly celebrates its reputation gained from an entire generation of “battling organized crime and aggressively prosecuting public corruption.”
It’s in the right place to hone that reputation, because Illinois has long been a hotbed of corruption. The shocking arrest rate of former governors was even mentioned in the letter.
The most recent of these governors was Rod Blagojevich, who was found guilty on 18 counts of corruption and was impeached by the state’s Senate. Blagojevich’s most infamous action was trying to sell the vacant U.S. Senate seat left by Barack Obama when he became president.
Blagojevich is eligible for a good behavior release starting in May 2024.
He wasn’t the only Democrat governor who ran into legal trouble.
Dan Walker, Illinois’ 36th governor, was charged with bank fraud in the late 1980s. Walker “borrowed” money from a contractor in a way that violated federal law.
Walker was sentenced to seven years in prison but served only 18 months.
Otto Kerner, the 33rd governor of Illinois and the Democrat who started the corruption trend, was found guilty of mail fraud, conspiracy and other charges that stemmed from his time in office. In 1973, Kerner was sentenced to three years in prison, but he was released early due to terminal cancer and died in 1976.
Illinois Democrats don’t seem tired of corruption, however.
We’ll have to wait and see if Pritzker will add his name to the state’s Hall of Shame.
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