Inspector general: Illinois governor candidate removed toilets from mansion in 'scheme to defraud'

Inspector general: Illinois governor candidate removed toilets from mansion in 'scheme to defraud'
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Illinois Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker's removal of toilets from a Chicago mansion that resulted in more than $330,000 in property tax breaks were part of a "scheme to defraud," according to a confidential government report obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

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The Sun-Times reported Monday that, in his report, Cook County Inspector General (IG) Patrick Blanchard recommended the county recover the money from Pritzker.

Blanchard wrote that family members and colleagues of Pritzker's made "false representations" to a county assessor, including a claim from Pritzker's wife that the Chicago mansion adjacent to a property owned by Pritzker was uninhabitable. According to an October 2015 email obtained by Blanchard, Pritzker's wife claimed the mansion was unlivable and called for its toilets to be removed prior to a property tax reassessment. 

The paper reports that Pritzker indicated he would follow the Inspector General's lead, stating, "We're going to follow whatever the recommendations, whatever it is."

Blanchard's report, according to the Sun-Times, references state perjury, federal conspiracy and mail-fraud laws, though it does not say whether Blanchard has shared his report with law enforcement authorities.

Pritzker, in response to the report, told the Sun-Times, "I've been saying all along that there are flaws in the property tax system. We followed the rules."

Pritzker also claimed that the report was leaked "clearly for political purposes," given the upcoming midterm elections. 

The campaign for his opponent, incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner (R), said the report "proves what we knew all along — JB Pritzker is a fraud." 

Nonpartisan political handicapper, The Cook Political Report, has placed the race in the 'Lean Democratic' column. According to a RealClearPolitics average of polling, Pritzker holds a double-digit lead over Rauner.