Gov. JB Pritzker is facing new scrutiny from federal investigators over a watchdog's report that accused him of a "scheme to defraud" connected to one of his mansions in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood.
This case, dubbed "toilet-gate" when it first surfaced last fall during the campaign, now appears to have taken on new life with a report out Wednesday that the FBI is investigating Pritzker, his wife and others in connection with a questionable property tax break.
"What I know is what you all know from the reporting that was done this morning," Pritzker said. When asked if he was concerned about criminal charges he responded "No concerns at all."
It all stems from a report issued last fall by the Cook County Inspector General that found Pritzker got $331,000 in tax breaks on this multi-million dollar home he bought next to his Gold Coast mansion by having the toilets ripped out and then claiming the home was uninhabitable. Pritzker later paid the taxes.
"Well let me be clear that I am very confident that any review of this matter will show that all the rules were followed. I have not been contacted by any law-enforcement neither has MK," Pritzker said.
First Lady MK Pritzker, her assistant and brother are also reportedly under investigation. The U.S. Attorney's office declined to comment. Republicans called the governor hypocritical.
"It's wrong, it's something that should never be done and with a governor who's talking about fairness, his fair tax he's spending millions of dollars on the air with his fairness tax, what's fair about him not paying his own fair share of his taxes," said Tim Schneider, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party.
"Those opponents, as you know all along in this process of trying to get a fair tax, haven't been telling the truth," Pritzker said.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, who spoke at the City Club, called the investigation concerning, but was not sure how much it might hurt the governor politically.
"You know I think time's gonna tell on that. It's caught me by surprise and I think also my colleagues who were here today were caught by surprise that this is actually happening. It's not something that can be slighted, disregarded," Durkin said.
The Cook County Assessor said his office has not been contacted by federal authorities.
The Cook County State's Attorney's office declined to comment on whether it has a parallel investigation with the feds.
Gov. JB Pritzker: 'No concerns' about reported federal investigation into 'toilet-gate'