Madigan’s handpicked alderman accused of engaging in ‘prohibited political activity’

Inspector General Joe Ferguson’s quarterly report accuses Ald. Marty Quinn (13th) of putting his name and Mike Madigan’s on a graffiti blaster bought in 2013 with taxpayer money.

SHARE Madigan’s handpicked alderman accused of engaging in ‘prohibited political activity’
Ald. Marty Quinn (13th) at a Finance Committee meeting in 2019.

Ald. Marty Quinn (13th) says there was nothing political about his decision to put his name and Mike Madigan’s name on a graffiti blaster bought with taxpayer money.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

Embattled Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s handpicked alderman was accused Thursday of engaging in “prohibited political activity” by putting his name and Madigan’s on a graffiti blaster bought in 2013 with taxpayer money.

Inspector General Joe Ferguson’s quarterly report does not identify Ald. Marty Quinn (13th) as the alderman who used city equipment to promote himself and his political patron and used a photo of the equipment in a political ad featuring himself and his state representative.

It simply accused “an alderman” of playing politics with city equipment and of knowingly allowing “a non-city employee to use the city-owned graffiti blaster throughout the state representative’s district, which extends outside the city limits.”

Ferguson asked the Board of Ethics to investigate Quinn, but the board declined because there was no signed complaint. That requirement has since been rescinded.

Quinn acknowledged he is the alderman written about in the inspector general’s report. But he categorically denied playing politics with city resources and said the graffiti blaster was never used outside city limits.

“That sign says, ‘Madigan-Quinn Service Office.’ Where does it say vote? It doesn’t. That is not the case at all. The idea that a graffiti blaster is being used as politics is not the case at all,” Quinn said.

“You see government signs all the time with phone numbers and office numbers. Same thing [here]. For people who see graffiti to call our office is exactly what we’re trying to do.”

Quinn said he “cooperated 100%” with Ferguson’s investigation and the Board of Ethics dismissed it.

“This all originated as a witch hunt by Faisal Khan, Bruce Rauner and the Illinois Policy Institute.”

Two years ago, former Legislative Inspector General Faisal Khan’s now-defunct “Project Six” accused Quinn of using $24,992 of his 2015 aldermanic expense allowance to buy an “industrial multi-purpose vehicle” in violation of city rules.

Quinn’s voucher for the purchase was initially rejected by the then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Department of Finance, citing the prohibition against buying motor vehicles.

But the rejection of Quinn’s voucher was reversed after a flurry of communications between the city and Madigan’s office that included Kevin Quinn, the alderman’s brother, who was a state employee at the time.

Khan’s investigation also homed in on $52,513 in expense vouchers for the graffiti blaster and related supplies that was advertised for use by constituents throughout Madigan’s legislative district, which takes in other wards and parts of surrounding suburbs.

Equally troubling to Khan was the graffiti blaster had a sign that read, “State Rep. Madigan and Ald. Quinn service vehicle” with a phone number of the office the two men share. The blaster was also advertised on a website Quinn and Madigan share and at least two pieces of literature paid for by Madigan.

Two years ago, Marty Quinn found himself at the center of a #MeToo scandal swirling around Madigan’s once-impenetrable political organization.

The alderman was accused of playing a pivotal go-between role for his brother and political consultant Alaina Hampton, who accused Kevin Quinn of stalking her with a series of harassing text messages.

Madigan fired Kevin Quinn and banned a second lieutenant, Shaw Decremer, from his political organization because of allegations of bullying and harassment.

That didn’t stop Hampton from filing a federal lawsuit accusing Marty Quinn and Madigan of not doing enough to stop Kevin Quinn from harassing her.

Federal investigators are now attempting to determine why lobbyists for Commonwealth Edison with ties to Madigan made a series of payments to Kevin Quinn at the direction of Madigan confidant Mike McClain.

More recently, McClain has been under fire for writing an email to two senior aides to then-Gov. Pat Quinn in a bid to win leniency for a worker in a disciplinary case. In it, McClain sasid the man “has kept his mouth shut on Jones’ ghost workers, the rape in Champaign and other items.”

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