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Edited by Jennifer Davis

Shifts al the Top

John Madigan, spokesman for the Illinois Supreme Court for the past decade, is retiring this month. While talking with Illinois Issues, he recalled one controversial case and took one last parting shot: "The Baby Richard case, which was long and tortuous, as you know, was misused and distorted by a few in the news media." He said he wanted to leave it at that. At presstime, no one had been named to replace Madigan, a longtime Chicago newspaper and broadcast reporter, editor, commentator and Washington correspondent.

Dan Miller, Illinois Commerce Commission chairman, says he will step down in January, the same time Gov. Jim Edgar leaves office. Miller, whose term officially expired in January 1997, attracted the ire of Senate Republicans for some radio comments he made about then-GOP presidential candidate Bob Dole. The Senate must confirm the governor's ICC appointments. Edgar never reappointed Miller, but he also never named anyone to replace him.

Manny Hoffman is resuming his duties as Cook County Republican Party chairman, a position he gave up less than two years ago. Hoffman, a former state legislator who is now chairman of the State and Local Labor Relations boards, replaces Herb. Schumann.

DuPage County Board Chairman Gayle Franzen left his post seven months earlier than expected. He has returned to private sector work, leaving behind a public service career that spans more than 20 years. Beginning as an aide to Gov. Jim Thompson, Franzen eventually served as director of corrections and executive director of the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. More recently, he announced his intention to run for secretary of state, then changed his mind a week later.



Kevin Kehoe

It's a funny initiation story: The first time Kevin Kehoe saw the Illinois Senate, he was part of the action. Kehoe was chosen to replace the late Sen. Penny Severns. Sitting in her former Capitol office, with its bare walls and empty shelves, he explains how he got where he is: He applied. 'After Penny passed away, out of respect for her, no one talked about [her replacement] for a while. But then a couple people asked me if I was interested, and I was, so I submitted my resume. I think they picked me because they wanted someone who could hit the ground running and be electable in November."

Indeed, Senate Democrats are wary of losing that district. Sevems' term had not expired, but Kehoe will run for the seat in the fall against Republican Rep. Duane Noland of Blue Mound.

Kehoe, a 43-year-old Decatur attorney on leave from private practice to concentrate on his campaign, understands he's a target of the Republicans. And that the Democrats have given him some "tough shoes to fill." Sevems, who died last February after a long struggle with breast cancer, was a lifelong, die-hard Democrat respected by her peers on both sides of the aisle. She was the first and only woman appointed chief budget negotiator.

"A lot of the things that Penny supported, I will," says Kehoe, who grew up in Missouri and lived in Maryland before moving to Decatur in 1990. "I have to respect her votes, but I believe I also have to find my own positions." He says he will be "active in education and helping working men and women." Kehoe, who says he's worked on campaigns helping to elect Democrats in the states he's lived in, was first elected to the Macon County Board in 1992 and then elected chairman in 1994. He resigned in 1995 due to a conflict of interest with his law firm.


They scurried out of the April rain and into the squat brick union hall just south of the Capitol. They greeted each other warmly: pats on the back, kisses on the cheek. Then they got down to the real business of unanimously electing House Speaker Michael Madigan chairman of the state Democratic Party

Now Republicans are complaining that the man once dubbed the "velvet hammer" has too much political control. Madigan laughs it off. He's too busy.

First, he's closing the party's Chicago office, moving the Springfield operation to smaller quarters and opening campaign offices as needed. The central committee will meet once a year, instead of quarterly. He'll appoint a CPA to serve as treasurer, someone who can take full liability for the party's election filings. And he plans to make it easier for the Democrats to endorse candidates.

"My method in the legislature will be my method here: full participation by those who want to participate."

Madigan assumed the chairmanship April 3, one day after House Republicans castigated the speaker for an alleged "ghost-payrolling" contract with a former lawmaker. He noted the timing, saying: "I think they accomplished their purpose in terms of providing some publicity which is not exactly flattering."

Meanwhile, outgoing Chairman Gary LaPaille offered Madigan advice he was given by former Democratic Senate President Phil Rock:

"This is something you want to do once in your life, but only once."

42 / May 1998 Illinois Issues


All Secretary of State George Ryan had to do was pick up the phone. With one call, Ryan can say he cleared the roadblock that has been stifling appointment of federal judges in Illinois. That roadblock: Republican U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas. It has been said Gramm was blocking Illinois' nominations because U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley- Braun blocked his choice for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

After being contacted by a concerned U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, Ryan talked with Gramm. Ryan headed Gramm's Illinois campaign for president in 1996. Just two days later, the Senate confirmed the appointments of Michael P. McCuskey and G. Patrick Murphy to the federal trial court benches in the Central and Southern Illinois districts, respectively. "Consideration of these nominees was long overdue, and I am pleased that they finally were confirmed by the Senate," Moseley-Braun said in a release.


" It was a giant fraud on the taxpayers. You were a very integral part. You were the lead man at the gate."

Judge Richard Mills, as reported in The State Journal-Register of Springfield, while sentencing former Public Aid administrator Curtis Fleming to federal prison. Fleming admitted taking cash and gifts from Management Services of Illinois Inc., which had a contract with the state.


Curtis Fleming, the former Public Aid official who cooperated with officials in last summer's fraud and bribery probe, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison.

Fleming's testimony helped convict four others in the Management Services of Illinois Inc. contract scheme that cost the state more than $12 million. MSI, its owners and another former Public Aid official were accused of renegotiating a state contract so the company was paid more for the same work.

Fleming, who faced up to 51 months, pleaded guilty He was charged with one count of mail fraud and one count of misapplication of funds.

Fleming "was a very important witness for the case," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Pat Chesley. "His pleading guilty gave our investigation and prosecution credibility and assisted us in getting information from state agencies that were lukewarm as far as cooperating before."

As of presstime, the remaining MSI defendants MSI owner William Ladd, former co-owner Michael Martin and former Public Aid official Ronald Lowder are to be sentenced in mid-May.

Illinois Issues May 1998/ 43

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