Madigan vacates Springfield apartment, fueling speculation about resigning from Illinois House

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Illinois Rep. Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, is no longer speaker, and now has moved out of his Springfield apartment, a spokesman confirmed Monday.
Illinois Rep. Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, is no longer speaker, and now has moved out of his Springfield apartment, a spokesman confirmed Monday. | Associated Press file photo

“They were downsizing. He doesn’t expect to be there as much. He probably didn’t need something like that like he’s had over the years,” said Madigan’s longtime spokesman Steve Brown. “He could just stay at a hotel. He’s probably just there for session days.”

Days after being deposed as Illinois House speaker, Michael Madigan has vacated his Springfield apartment, fueling speculation that he will resign the Illinois House seat he has held since 1971.

Madigan’s decision to vacate his apartment at Lincoln Towers was first reported by Mark Maxwell, a television reporter in Springfield.

Maxwell tweeted a picture of an open door at Lincoln Towers leading to a vacant apartment without a stick of furniture visible.

“Looking more and more like someone other than Michael Madigan will represent his district in Springfield for the first time in 50 years. Spotted staffers clearing out his apartment furniture today. No official resignation yet,” Maxwell tweeted.

Madigan’s longtime spokesman Steve Brown confirmed the man who was once Illinois’ most powerful Democrat has cleaned out the Springfield apartment he has occupied for 40 years.

But Brown said that does not necessarily mean Madigan’s formidable ego won’t tolerate being just another state representative.

“No. They were downsizing. He doesn’t expect to be there as much. He probably didn’t need something like that like he’s had over the years,” Brown said.

“He could just stay at a hotel. He’s probably just there for session days.”

Pressed on whether Madigan has any plans to resign the seat he has held in the Illinois House since 1971, Brown said, “I’ve not heard that discussed. He took the oath to serve in the 102nd General Assembly. … I’ve not discussed anything beyond that with him on that topic.”

Indicted Ald. Edward Burke (14th) has continued to serve as just one of 50 aldermen after being deposed as the City Council’s Finance Committee Chairman. Those who know Madigan best don’t expect the former speaker to make a similar adjustment to life as a plain old state rep.

“I wouldn’t read it that way. Everybody else could read it whatever way they wish,” Brown said.

“I’ve not discussed that topic with him. This all happened over just a period of a few days last week.”

Ald. Marty Quinn (13th), Madigan’s longtime alderman and political operative, could not be reached for comment on his mentor’s move.

Last week, Madigan gave up the gavel he has held for all but two years since 1983.

Emanuel “Chris” Welch, a Madigan ally, made history as the first African American elected speaker of the Illinois House.

Welch emerged as the favorite just hours after Madigan “suspended” his campaign after coming up nine votes short of the 60 votes he needed to secure another term as speaker.

The end of the Madigan era came after former lawmaker-turned-Commonwealth Edison lobbyist Michael McClain, one of the former speaker’s closest confidants, was one of four people charged with participating in a bribery scheme.

McClain, former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore and former ComEd lobbyists John Hooker and Jay Doherty, former president of the City Club of Chicago, all were accused of participating in a bribery scheme designed to curry favor with Madigan in exchange for his support for legislation benefitting the utility.

The charges mirror those in a deferred prosecution agreement that required ComEd to pay a $200 million fine and cooperate with the continuing investigation that clearly targets Madigan.

Even before that bombshell indictment, Madigan had been under fire to relinquish his dual role as speaker of the House and chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Illinois’ U.S. senators, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, all had pressured Madigan to step down as state Democratic chairman, citing the party’s losses in the Nov. 3 election. That includes the defeat of a constitutional amendment that would have authorized Pritzker’s signature push for a graduated income tax and the failed effort to retain Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride.

Madigan has denied wrongdoing.

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January 18, 2021 at 10:33AM

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