Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Madigan makes power play for Lincoln library and museum 

Clout Street
1:25 a.m. CDT, May 27, 2014

SPRINGFIELD — The latest political power play at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum comes from Speaker Michael Madigan, who is pushing a plan to set up the center as a free-standing state agency despite opponents’ concerns it would become a patronage haven.

With the budget still unsettled and less than a week until adjournment, the Democratic speaker used the Memorial Day session to move through a committee a plan that would make the library and museum more independent of Gov. Pat Quinn. The speaker’s bill would remove the library from under the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. The Quinn administration was largely silent on the issue, but estimated the cost for the switch would be $2.4 million at a time when other historic sites are considered for closure because of the state’s budget crunch.

Madigan’s proposal could benefit some of his friends. The Springfield presidential museum is run by Eileen Mackevich, a Madigan friend. Madigan confirmed she is a longtime acquaintance of Stanley Balzekas, whose family runs the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture. Madigan acknowledged his Southwest Side office is at the same 13th Ward address as the museum, and that Balzekas is the landlord.
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This is deja vu all over again!

Madigan's patronage workers have run up the Metropolitan Pier & Expo Authority (read this as stand-alone State/City agency) deficit to over $1.1 BILLION in 2013 from a $287.8 Million deficit in 2006!

To boot, in 2010 MPEA's Trustee Jim Reilly and General Counsel Renee Benjamin conspired to split out Navy Pier into a bogus non profit that has now siphoned off $43 Million in revenues for the last three years on a $1 per year lease agreement that runs 25 years!

See our previous posts in this blog related to corruption at MPEA.

Hey, Illinois Legislators, this should be a good lesson as you consider the vote on the Lincoln Museum!

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