Dennis Hastert’s name has disappeared from various boards and a lobbying firm since his indictment —even from an economics and public policy center bearing his name at his alma mater, Wheaton College.
But not from the Volo Auto Museum’s collection of cars once owned by the “rich and famous.”
The museum owns a dark green 1942 Lincoln Zephyr “from the personal collection of Dennis Hastert,” according to Brian Grams, one of the museum’s owners. The car is on display at the Illinois Tollway’s Belvidere Oasis, he said, and will remain there until Labor Day.
“We put it out there on display before any of this involvement with him hit the media,” Grams said.
Federal prosecutors charged Hastert less than two weeks ago with structuring bank withdrawals while he allegedly paid $1.7 million in hush money to a man to conceal sexual misconduct that occurred sometime between 1965 and 1981, according to Hastert’s indictment and sources. Hastert has remained out of sight since the charges were filed, but he is set to be arraigned Tuesday in Chicago.
Grams said the car has generated curiosity and controversy ever since Hastert’s indictment — some people have called to say it should be removed from the display. The museum purchased the car around 2007, he said. And despite a listing on its website that indicates the car “can be yours” for $29,998, he said it’s not for sale.
A note on the letterhead of “J. Dennis Hastert, Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives” appears in a photograph on the museum’s website. It appears to bear Hastert’s signature.
“I hope the old green Zephyr serves your museum well! All my best!” the note reads in part.
Other photos of the car show it bearing an Illinois license plate. It reads: “42 SPKR.”