Quinn appointee resigns following I-Team report

March 10, 2011 4:31:19 PM PST
In this Intelligence Report: a racially-charged incident spells the end for one of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's top state appointees.

The resignation of Michael Joyce as a state labor relations board member comes less than three weeks after the I-Team first reported on Joyce's arrest.

On Valentine's Day, Governor Quinn named Joyce to the state labor relations board, a post that pays more than $90,000 a year. Joyce, a South Side lawyer from a politically-connected family, accepted the position.

Now, though, Joyce has notified the governor that he is quitting even before starting-- after the I-Team's disclosure of a nasty, alcohol-fueled incident two years ago at a Rosemont restaurant.

"I don't know if he was trying to prove a point to somebody else or if he felt the testosterone going, but it was horrible, it was bad," said witness Jim Richards.

Richards says he was having lunch at Gibson's Steakhouse in Rosemont that Tuesday afternoon. Richards says a drunk diner began loudly threatening him and his lunchmates. Restaurant management called police.

"The gentleman who shouted the profanity and was spitting on the floors was then arrested and put into custody," Richards said.

Authorities handcuffed 43-year-old Michael J. Joyce and took him to Rosemont police headquarters where he was charged with disorderly conduct.

But, according to a Rosemont police report, that wasn't the end of it. At the police station, the report says Joyce called one officer the "N-word" and then stated, "Why am I chained to this bench? I'm not a (N-word)."

Joyce, an attorney himself and longtime boxing coach at Leo Catholic High School, posted bond and was released.

When the case went to court, the manager of Gibson's, who was the complainant on the disorderly charge, didn't show up and the case was dropped.

Joyce never disclosed any of that to state authorities when he was vetted last month for the Illinois Labor Relations Board. His lawyer said he had been over-served and didn't remember making racially offensive statements.

"I have known the man," Gov. Quinn said last month. "He was a person that I have known for some time. But, is there something in his record that needs to be looked into? We will."

Before a decision by the governor, Joyce sent him a letter obtained by the I-Team, stating, "I respectfully tender to you my resignation."

Joyce cites in his statement "prior existing personal and professional commitments...related to the practice of law" that prohibit him from continuing with the appointment.

Joyce recently married Muhammad Ali's daughter, Jamillah, and Joyce's attorney told the I-Team that, with a black wife and having trained numerous black athletes, such racial slurs would have been unlikely from Joyce.

Attempts to reach Joyce's attorney Thursday for additional comment were unsuccessful.

Gov. Quinn is yet to name Joyce's replacement.