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Madigan’s former 13th Ward alderman implicated in ComEd scheme during House panel testimony

ComEd executive David Glockner declined to confirm whether the Frank Olivo he identified as Associate No. 2 in the utility company’s deferred prosecution agreement was the former 13th Ward alderman. But a federal subpoena issued to Madigan’s office named Olivo as well — and tied him to Madigan’s 13th Ward.

Former Ald. Frank Olivo, left; House Speaker Mike Madigan, right.
Former Ald. Frank Olivo, left; House Speaker Mike Madigan, right.
Sun-Times file photos

State House Speaker Mike Madigan’s former hand-picked alderman was named Tuesday as one of the powerful Southwest Side Democrat’s associates who was on ComEd’s payroll despite doing little or no work.

Testifying before the Illinois House committee investigating Madigan, David Glockner, ComEd’s executive vice president of compliance and audit, identified Frank Olivo as one of the people who received some of the $1.3 million that the utility paid to Madigan’s associates in what amounted to a ghost-payrolling scheme at a time when ComEd was seeking the speaker’s support for legislation.

Glockner declined to confirm whether the Frank Olivo he identified as Associate No. 2 in the utility company’s deferred prosecution agreement was the former 13th Ward alderman.

But a federal subpoena issued to Madigan’s office named Olivo as well — and tied him to Madigan’s 13th Ward.

David Glockner, Commonwealth Edison executive vice president for compliance and audit, answers questions on Tuesday,
David Glockner, Commonwealth Edison executive vice president for compliance and audit, answers questions during the House Special Investigating Committee hearing in Springfield on Tuesday,
Ted Schurter/The State Journal-Register via AP

Olivo and the U.S. Attorney’s Office did not respond to requests for comment.

The information came out Tuesday in the second meeting of the House special investigation committee called for in a petition filed by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs.

The hearing convened less than an hour after former ComEd executive Fidel Marquez pleaded guilty to a corruption charge in an ongoing criminal probe into an alleged political bribery scheme that has implicated Madigan and others.

Marquez and the utility both agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors. The move could ultimately help Marquez avoid prison.

The committee took turns questioning Glockner about ComEd’s dealings with Madigan and the July deferred prosecution agreement that implicated the speaker in the utility’s alleged $1.3 million bribery scheme.

The three Democrats and their three Republican counterparts have argued about everything from how the committee should proceed to a conversation they had with U.S. Attorney John Lausch about the direction of their proceedings and the meaning of Lausch’s subsequent letter that was intended to spell out the parameters of the panel’s investigation.

On Tuesday, the six-member, bipartisan group got back to the squabbling early, haggling over whether or not Durkin should be allowed to give an opening statement. They also argued about whether or not they should admit documents into the record and the group’s subpoena power moving forward.

State House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, makes his opening statement Tuesday.
State House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, makes his opening statement during the House Special Investigating Committee hearing at the William G. Stratton Building in Springfield Tuesday.
Ted Schurter/The State Journal-Register via AP

The Democratic chair of the committee, state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, said it was “premature” to issue subpoenas at this point in the committee’s proceedings.

“You’re asking this committee to vote to approve subpoenas we haven’t seen, that we haven’t even discussed,” the Hillside Democrat said. “No one has called me. ... That’s not very professional.”

Republican state Rep. Tom Demmer shot back “is it your interpretation of these rules that you alone control whether or not this committee issues subpoenas?”

The committee also spent a lot of time Tuesday on ComEd’s July deferred prosecution agreement with the feds.

In that agreement, ComEd agreed to pay a $200 million fine and admitted that some company officials were involved in a scheme to pay $1.3 million to Madigan associates for doing little or no work in an effort to secure his support in the Legislature.

Reading through the agreement’s statement of facts, state Rep. Deanne Mazzochi, R-Elmhurst, got Glockner to confirm the identities of two Madigan associates who allegedly received some of the money – one identified as Olivo.

Federal agents sought information from the speaker’s office about Olivo’s employment at ComEd, as well as “all documents and communications” related to any efforts to secure employment, contracts or payments for family, according to the agreement.

Olivo, 67, represented the city’s 13th Ward — where Madigan is the longtime Democratic ward committeeman — from 1994 to 2011 before becoming a lobbyist for ComEd and returning to the City Council to lobby his former colleagues for the utility company.

U.S. Sen Dick Durbin, left, Mayor Richard M. Daley, center, and Ald. Frank Olivo (13th), right, in 2005.
U.S. Sen Dick Durbin, left, Mayor Richard M. Daley, center, and Ald. Frank Olivo (13th), right, before a Chicago Public Schools news conference in 2005.
Brian Jackson/Sun-Times file

Glockner is the first — and possibly only — witness to appear before the special investigation committee. Madigan declined last week to appear, saying he’d “provided all the information” he can give.

House rules dictate that a member who is named in a complaint has the right “to appear with counsel to present their side, and that certainly is going to be made available to the speaker,” Demmer has said.

Madigan has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crime.