April 12, 2021

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Mike Madigan urges his successor to resign — two days after engineering his appointment – Chicago Sun-Times

3 min read

Just two days after personally anointing his successor in the Illinois House, Mike Madigan on Tuesday abruptly urged the 13th Ward employee to step down from the post due to “alleged questionable conduct.”

Madigan was instrumental in engineering the appointment of state Rep. Edward Guerra Kodatt, 26, on Sunday, giving him 56% of the weighted vote. But a little more than 48 hours later, the former Illinois House speaker suddenly switched gears.

“After learning of alleged questionable conduct by Mr. Kodatt, it was suggested that he resign as state representative for the 22nd District,” Madigan said late Tuesday in a joint statement with Ald. Marty Quinn (13th). “We are committed to a zero tolerance policy in the workplace.”

The statement did not elaborate on the nature of the “questionable conduct.”

With the support of two other Democratic committeepersons, Kodatt received 63% of the weighted vote needed to replace Madigan during a meeting Democrats held Sunday morning in the building that also houses Madigan’s Southwest Side headquarters.

Former state House Speaker Mike Madigan speaks during a committee hearing on the Southwest Side on Sunday.
Former state House Speaker Mike Madigan speaks during a committee hearing on the Southwest Side on Sunday.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

CapitolFax first reported Madigan’s change of heart.

It was not immediately clear whether Kodatt would step down. He did not return requests for comment.

Madigan, 78, also serves as 13th Ward committeeperson. He and four other members of the Cook County Democratic Party were in charge of making the appointment for the seat that Madigan had held for half a century.

Kodatt has worked as an infrastructure manager to Quinn, Madigan’s handpicked alderman, since July 2017. Data from Chicago list him as a staff assistant making $42,456 a year.

Quinn and Kodatt sat next to one another at Sunday’s meeting. Kodatt’s mother and girlfriend were also in the room for the swearing in, which came right after the vote.

Edward Guerra Kodatt speaks during a committee hearing on the Southwest Side to decide who will take over for Illinois’ former Speaker of the House Mike Madigan as state representative in the 22nd House District on Sunday.
(Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times file

During that meeting, Ald. Silvana Tabares (23rd), who is also the Democratic committeeperson of her ward, asked Kodatt tough questions during his presentation.

Tabares supported a rival candidate, Angelica Guerrero-Cuellar, for the position.

And after Kodatt won, Tabares said he will have to “reapply for his job to the people that matter, and those are our constituents.”

“The constituents, the residents, need to have a say,” Tabares said. “They’re the ones that really matter in this process, so he’s going to have to talk to them. He is accountable to them.”

Ald. Derrick Curtis (18th) looks on as Ald. Silvana Tabares (23rd) asks a question during a Southwest Side meeting Sunday to choose who will take over Madigan’s House seat.
Ald. Derrick Curtis (18th) looks on as Ald. Silvana Tabares (23rd) asks a question during a Southwest Side meeting Sunday to choose who will take over Madigan’s House seat.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

Two other committeepersons also voting for Kodatt on Sunday were Ald. Derrick Curtis (18th) and Vincent Cainkar of Stickney, who gave his share of the weighted vote to Curtis. State Rep. Aaron Ortiz, who also serves as 14th Ward committeeperson, supported another candidate.

Madigan’s abrupt reversal is the latest twist in his downward political spiral — an embarrassment to a veteran politician with a reputation for being several moves ahead of his rivals.

The former Southwest Side powerhouse stepped down as chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois on Monday, less than a week after he resigned from the Illinois House seat he has held since 1971 and six weeks since the beleaguered legislator gave up his bid to remain speaker.

It all began last summer after federal prosecutors accused ComEd officials of bribing associates of Madigan in exchange for his organization’s help in passing favorable legislation.

Madigan has not been charged with any crime and denies wrongdoing, but four members of his inner circle were indicted in November in connection with the alleged bribery scheme.

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