Chicago News Roundup: Madigan Faces New Charge, Pritzker Leads Downstate Bailey in New Poll, Chris Rock Opens Chicago Residency and More

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Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. This is a roughly five minute read that will educate you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be mostly cloudy with a few isolated showers and a high near 57 degrees. Tonight will be cloudy with scattered showers and lows near 35. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with highs near 52. Sunday will be partly sunny with highs near 54.

top story

New charge filed against Mike Madigan as AT&T Illinois agrees to pay $23 million fine

A federal grand jury brought an additional criminal charge against former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan as AT&T Illinois agreed to pay a $23 million fine for attempting to unlawfully influence the once powerful politician.

Madigan and his longtime confidant Michael McClain face another conspiracy charge alleging bribery involving AT&T Illinois. Former public service chairman Paul La Schiazza, 65, also faces charges of conspiracy to influence Madigan. The utility arranged for a Madigan ally, former state Rep. Eddie Acevedo, to receive $22,500 as key legislation passed through Springfield.

AT&T Illinois reached a so-called deferred prosecution agreement with U.S. Attorney John Lausch’s office, similar to the agreement ComEd reached when the federal government charged it with bribery more than two years ago. AT&T Illinois has cooperated with federal prosecutors — and says it will continue to do so — under the terms of the two-year agreement.

Acevedo pleaded guilty late last year to tax evasion.

Defense attorneys for Madigan and McClain declined to comment. A spokesperson for AT&T Illinois said, “We hold ourselves and our contractors to the highest ethical standards. We are committed to ensuring that this never happens again. »

The case against ComEd first implicated Madigan in a nearly decade-long scheme that has since led to the indictment of Madigan himself, along with McClain and three other people connected to ComEd who are also charged. of attempting to illegally influence Madigan by rewarding his allies.

The scandal led in early 2021 to the end of Madigan’s reign as the nation’s longest-serving state House speaker, though Madigan won’t be charged until early this year.

Jon Seidel says more about the new charge here.

More news you need

  1. A tow truck driver says he feared for his life when he was hired to pick up a woman and bring her to Foster Beach, where his SUV was to be towed. It was only later that he learned she had called him just hours after killing his landlord, according to police and prosecutors. The driver shared his story with our Tom Schuba here.
  2. Several vacant lots in Washington Park will be transformed tomorrow after a group of volunteers planted 100,000 red tulip bulbs in the shape of houses. Titled “Redefining Redlining,” artist Amanda Williams says the work aims to spark a conversation around the disempowerment of black neighborhoods that followed banks’ refusal to lend to residents.
  3. Chicago will build its first tiny homes on city property, a top mayoral adviser said today. The $3 million program will eliminate land acquisition costs, place four to eight units on each lot and feature “common space” to support “community building,” Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara said. .
  4. A former Caldwell Math and Science Academy sales clerk admitted yesterday that she scammed CPS out of thousands of dollars to help pay for a Disney cruise. She did all this while the district was reeling from a kickback scandal involving her ex-CEO.
  5. Democratic incumbents Governor JB Pritzker and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth lead their opponents by double digits, with the governor also faring better than Republican nominee Darren Bailey in his home turf in southern Illinois. That’s according to a new Sun-Times/WBEZ poll.
  6. Sun-Times/WBEZ polls also showed Democrats appear in little danger of losing control of state offices three weeks from now. Democratic candidates for Illinois secretary of state, attorney general, comptroller and treasurer all hold a significant lead over their Republican rivals, according to the poll.
  7. Reverend Jesse L. Jackson turned 81 last week and is expected to celebrate the milestone at a birthday gala tonight. Ahead of the festivities, he spoke with our own Mariah Rush about his history of groundbreaking activism — and how he has no plans to slow down anytime soon.
  8. Last night comedian Chris Rock kicked off the first of four shows at the Chicago Theater. He delivered a set that was more about jokes than ideas, sounding about pop culture, single life and that Will Smith stuff, writes our Darel Jevens in his review of Rock’s opening night.
  9. Kroger and Albertsons, two of the nation’s largest grocers, agreed to merge in a deal that would help them better compete with Walmart, Amazon and others getting into the grocery business. The deal is likely to come under scrutiny from U.S. antitrust regulators, especially at a time of high food price inflation, and if approved is expected to close in early 2024. .

A bright

Rensselaer, Indiana, has become a mural hotspot, attracting people from the Chicago area, elsewhere

In 2016, when Ryan Musch helped commission his town’s first mural, the Rensselaer, Indiana business owner said his goal was for his community to one day have “the amount of public art most concentrated of all Indiana cities.

Today Rensselaer has more than 60 murals in its business district – on building facades, on sides, tucked away in alleys – and this has made it a popular spot for out-of-town visitors. , including Chicagoans who make the trip, about 85 miles, to see them.

Boosters have created maps to help visitors find them.

“Take Flight”, the first mural in Rensselaer, Indiana, was painted in 2016 by San Francisco artist Cameron Moberg. Dozens more followed.

“It really surprised me that it took off like this,” said Stephen A. Wood, the mayor of Rensselaer, which has a population of about 6,000.

The city’s first mural was painted about six years ago on Musch’s eMbers bar, bistro and event venue. On an exterior wall, Cameron Moberg, an artist from San Francisco, depicted a giant, colorful bird. He called it “Taking Flight”.

And so it has been with the city’s mural scene since then, with artists from elsewhere in Indiana, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles all doing murals.

You can read more about the murals – and see some of them here.

From the press gallery

Your daily question☕

What’s your spiciest food in Chicago?

Email us at [email protected] and we might feature your response in the next afternoon edition.

Yesterday we asked you: have you been “ghosted” by a CTA bus or train that never showed up despite appearing on the app’s tracker?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Yes, recently. I was planning on taking the downtown bus (first time since the pandemic started) from the south loop, but the bus never came, so I walked over 30 blocks and I never saw the bus that was supposed to arrive when I got to the bus stop.” — Julie McCarthy

“Getting #GhostBussed has been a tradition since the beginning of tracking apps, but the last 18 months have been really brutal. I still assume that at least half of the buses listed don’t come. — Jamie Gump

“It happens all the time on the blue line. I waited several times on trains that never arrived. In addition, the rhythm is also getting worse. Always late and the 290 bus I’m waiting for didn’t show up several times. — Michael Dicks

“The 146 has become one of the most unreliable bus lines.” — Rita Hasner

“I worked part-time at Wrigley Field and usually take the #22 bus. After night games it’s the worst, when after 10 p.m. there’s often NO service going south. But sometimes a bus will appear in Waveland without being displayed on “BusTracker”.chuck fargo

“I think anyone who uses a transit app has had this. It happens regularly on bus lines 77 and 9. Then you will see several buses appear in a row. Sigh.” – howard moore

“Who does not have?” —Patricia Unsinn

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