suntimes
TOUGH 
Weather Updates

Political dads become burdens

LisMadigan

Lisa Madigan

storyidforme: 52027022
tmspicid: 18970007
fileheaderid: 8564917

Updated: August 15, 2013 6:37AM



It’s been a miserable week for political daughters, thanks to their politically powerful daddies.

Take Lisa Madigan.

The popular state attorney general’s unpopular pop, House Speaker Mike Madigan, threw yet another bump in her road to the governor’s mansion. Thanks to revelations this week about how the Mighty Madigan sought to meddle in the Metra mess, it turns out (surprise!) that the reason the board of the rail authority gave its outgoing CEO such a huge bundle of severance cash, $718,000, was allegedly because it was “hush” money.

What was he supposed to hush about?

That Mike Madigan — allegedly — exerted pressure on the now-exiting Metra CEO Alex Clifford to raise the pay of one crony and hire another. Clifford balked.

There were, according to testimony this week at a legislative inquiry of Metra, other reported instances of interference from politicos trying to install friends at the public trough. The board, perhaps in an effort to shut Clifford up, paid up.

Interestingly, the chair of the legislative committee looking into this debacle is state Rep. Deb Mell, who has her own sizable daddy problem.

As Sun-Times reporters Natasha Korecki and Chris Fusco exclusively reported on Friday, Mell’s father, outgoing 33rd Ward Ald. Dick Mell, may have had a secret ownership interest in a Joliet landfill and, according to a lawsuit, is accused of defrauding his alleged partners out of millions.

Was this simmering lawsuit the reason Ald. Mell, at 75, suddenly announced his resignation a week ago? Hard to know. But it’s not hard to remember that this landfill first found its way into the news back when Mell’s son-in-law, then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, shut it down. Blagojevich (now in prison) back then publicly blasted his father-in-law for trying to reverse his decision. Dick Mell always insisted he had no financial interest in the landfill and was merely trying to help a relative of his late wife who was listed as the sole owner.

How do these stories affect Deborah Mell or Lisa Madigan and their political possibilities?

Well, they’re not exactly warm, fuzzy episodes of “Father Knows Best.”

Mike Madigan is a subject of a just-released memo that Clifford sent to his board. Clifford explosively charges that he was forced out “for not complying with Speaker Madigan’s requests for politically motivated employment actions.”

Maybe state Rep. Mell, chairman of the committee investigating Metra, should demand Speaker Madigan come in and testify?

Maybe Attorney General Madigan should reopen the probe of this state-regulated landfill to see whether Ald. Mell did, in fact, have a potentially questionable, silent interest?

Wait. How about this idea?

Maybe both women should join with Gov. Quinn in his publicly applauded campaign of stopping the paychecks of public officials who don’t do their jobs for the citizens of this state. Including powerful dads who take care of themselves instead.

Let’s call it “Daughter Knows Best.”



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.