Feds Probing Illinois Agencies & Local

Federal prosecutors in Springfield, Ill., have reportedly opened a criminal investigation into a 2001 labor dispute at E. Ill. Univ., and have subpoenaed records from the office of Ill. House Speaker Michael Madigan (D), the Ill. Bd. of Higher Educ., the Ill. Educ. Labor Relations Bd., the Ill. Dep’t of Labor, and others. Reportedly, the subpoenas were delivered to the IBHE only a day after the Mar. 19, 2002, primary (in which Madigan’s daughter Lisa, also a state senator, won the Democratic nomination for Ill. Atty. Gen.) and sought documents relating to negotiations between EIU, located in Charleston, Ill., and Int’l Union of Operating Eng’rs  Local 399 in Chicago. The subpoenas reportedly sought materials related to the role any state employee might have played concerning a new labor contract. Reportedly, the federal grand jury in the case is also currently taking testimony from a number of individuals.

An EIU spokesman confirmed that “the FBI was investigating a matter relating” to EIU’s contract negotiations with Local 399. Steve Brown, the Speaker’s spokesman, said Madigan’s office was subpoenaed for documents as a result of a meeting in which he summoned EIU and Local 399 representatives to his office to resolve the dispute. Meetings with Madigan and his staff were reportedly coordinated via EIU’s lobbyist Loretta Durbin, wife of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). In another eyebrow-raising link, Local 399’s lobbyist Janis Cellini, a “prominent GOP insider” and sister of Republican “power broker” William Cellini, is also board member of IELRB (a subpoenaed state agency). [Chi. Trib. 4/10, 4/11/02; Chi. Sun-Times 4/12/02]