SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Still hunting person who made death threats against pols

By Rich Miller

As the spring legislative session nears its end, I want to take a moment to look back on one of the scariest times of the year with the hope that one of you might recognize something and help bring a deranged person to justice.

You may have seen a brief news story about it, but several state legislators reported receiving an identical mailer in late April with the headline: “Dead People Can’t Collect Fat Pensions.” The envelopes were postmarked in Champaign, but that’s a central collection point; so the letters could have been mailed from anywhere in the region.

The letter contained both a long list of grievances about the state’s troubled pension system and numerous death threats. “Don’t bother about new gun laws,” the letter-writer stated, “from arson to strangulation, there are more effective means available.”

“You may think you can extract more money from us,” the writer warned. “We would advise you to think again. Over 40,000 cowards unwilling to push back have left the state annually over the last five years, leaving behind the determined, the courageous – and most importantly – those with nothing left to lose.”

“Time is short. The list is long. After the first one, the rest are free,” the writer concluded.

The writer threatened mass assassinations for pretty much everyone who receives a state government pension, including survivors and heirs.

To avoid this fate, the author demanded in the form letter that the pension actuarial tables be changed and the state’s constitution be amended to remove the pension protection clause before instituting a graduated income tax.Ê

The writer also demanded unspecified “cap$ and clawback$ for outrageous$ pension payout$” and local government consolidation. He or she also demanded the end of pension double-dipping and “playing salary games at career’s end to max out your take.”

Whoever wrote that letter is obviously more informed about state government than most average citizens.

While the content of the mass mailer was identical, whoever sent it took some time to make almost every one distinct.

One way the author individualized the letters was by using a different return address for almost all of them. The envelope sent to House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, for instance, used a return address for Gov. JB Pritzker. The Illinois Education Association’s letter had the same return address, which was for Pritzker’s personal business office in Chicago. The letter sent to a Champaign public radio station was ostensibly from the late Dawn Clark Netsch, the first woman elected to a statewide office in Illinois. All the return addresses were printed on labels and not hand-written.

However, most of the return addresses appear to have been researched on the Illinois State Board of Elections’ website. Several legislators told me that the names and return addresses on letters sent to them were of campaign contributors who can be found with an online search.

Some return addresses and names were of political action committees. The letter addressed to a prominent gun control proponent, for instance, had a return address of a gun control political action committee that had contributed to his campaign last year.

Other letters were ostensibly from specific individuals, including a prominent retired Chicago business executive, a legislator’s mother, a legislator’s relative and the husband of a state representative’s senator. All were campaign contributors.

In other words, whoever sent this letter doesn’t appear to be just some random crank with a handy mailing list. That person or persons put some real time and effort into this. That almost bothers me more than the letter itself.

A state senator who received one of the mailers said the postage stamp on the envelope chilled him to the bone. The sender used a John Lennon stamp. The former Beatle was murdered in 1980.

The letter writer had threatened all pension plan participants with being killed and cryptically asked recipients if they were “sure” that some accidental deaths on the highways were truly accidents or “the conscious decisions of people with nothing left to lose to ‘take one with me?'”

That leads us to the most egregious example of how truly sick this person is. The return address on the letter mailed to a Rockford-area legislator appeared to come from Brooke Jones-Story, an Illinois State Trooper who was killed by another motorist during a traffic stop in March near Rockford. Jones-Story was one of three troopers killed by motorists in the first three months of 2018.

If you have any information at all, please call the Illinois State Police or the FBI.

Rich Miller also publishes Capitol Fax, a daily political newsletter, and CapitolFax.com.

Rich Miller’s column is just a fraction of the content that appears in this week’s print edition of the Southwest News-Herald. Want to get the all the news? Pick up the Southwest News-Herald on local newsstands for just 75 cents a copy. For greater savings and convenience, call (708) 496-0265 during weekday business hours and order a subscription by mail, delivered each week to your home or business.

Local News

dvn lyons logo

Lyons buys property near old quarry

By Steve Metsch The village of Lyons has agreed to pay $2,770,416 for approximately 8.56 acres just south of the former quarry on Ogden Avenue. “This is something we talked about at previous board meetings. It’s finally coming to fruition,” Mayor Christopher Getty said at the Aug. 16 village board meeting. Dubbed the Lyons South…

Members of Argo High School's Track Team pose for a picture with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle at Fall Fest. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Lyons Township Democrats hold annual Fall Fest

By Carol McGowan The Democratic Park of Lyons Township held its annual Fall Fest last Saturday. The party took place outside of the Township Democratic Headquarters at 63rd Street and Archer Road in Summit. Lyons Township Supervisor Christopher Getty was happy with the turnout. “The event was an overwhelming success. We had approximately 300 people…

regional Blue Mass

St. Francis of Assisi in Orland Park to Host Blue Mass on Sunday

Hundreds of police officers, firefighters, emergency services personnel and their families are expected to attend the annual Blue Mass at noon on Sunday, Sept. 25, at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Orland Park. Hosted by St. Francis of Assisi Parish and the Knights of Columbus Council 16369, the Blue Mass is a Catholic tradition…

St. Laurence soccer players spray cola during a celebrating winning their division in the Bodyarmor Sports Series soccer showcase. Photo courtesy of St. Laurence

Area Sports Roundup: Sandburg boys finish fourth at Richard Spring Invite

By Jeff Vorva Staff writer The Sandburg boys cross country team is unlikely to win back-to-back Class 3A state championships. But the Eagles are still strong, and it showed that Sept. 17 by finishing fourth in the Richard Spring Invitational at Detweiller Park in Peoria. Oak Park won the meet with 75 points followed by…

SXU coach Mike Feminis is two wins away from No. 300. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pigskin Wrap: St. Xavier wins, moves Feminis within two of milestone

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Saint Xavier lost its first two games by a combined score of 88-10. The last thing the Cougars needed was for Siena Heights to come into Chicago and make itself at home. But the Saints tried, scoring on their first drive and putting the Cougars in a hole. This time,…

Mallory Pugh has 10 goals for the Red Stars. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pro Soccer Report: Red Stars hanging on to playoff spot; Fire eliminated from postseason contention

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The Chicago Red Stars returned to Bridgeview with mixed results in two games, but held onto the final playoff spot in the NWSL and increased their lead over seventh-place Angel City. The top six teams make the playoff in the 12-team league. The Red Stars (8-6-6, 30 points) cooled off…

Martin Franek, of Oak Lawn, and his partner dance to the sounds of Electricland during the village’s Fall Music Festival. (Photos by Dermot Connolly)

Positive reviews for new Oak Lawn Fall Music Fest

By Dermot Connolly A little rain on Sunday afternoon was the only damper on Oak Lawn’s three-day annual festival, which was renamed Oak Lawn Fall Musical Festival this year. Fifteen of the top local bands, from American English to Radio Ga-Ga, played a variety of music genres on three stages over the three days from…

evergreen park logo

Evergreen Park mayor praises Labor Day celebration

By Joe Boyle Evergreen Park Mayor Kelly Burke said activities marking this year’s Labor Day holiday were impressive and memorable. “I want to thank everybody for the wonderful concert and fireworks show we had on Labor Day,” said Burke during the Evergreen Park Village Board meeting on Sept. 6. “It was a huge success. It…

Rich Matokar, who opened his first Arrenello’s 50 years ago in Glenwood, stands inside the Tinley Park location. (Photo by Bob Bong)

Arrenello’s Pizza celebrates 50 years

By Bob Bong Fifty years ago, Rich Matokar had to choose between buying a house or opening a business. He chose to quit his job at U.S. Steel South Works and open Arrenello’s Pizza in Glenwood and the rest, as they say, is history. “I did it on a whim,” he said. “A friend was…

Palos Park Commissioner G. Darryl Reed said at Monday's council meeting that the payment system for residents needs to be upgraded. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Park to offer online payment system for residents

By Jeff Vorva Palos Park Commissioner G. Darryl Reed introduced a resolution upgrading an enterprise resource planning system at Monday’s village council meeting. He said the last upgrade came in 2013 and the system is outdated. “We want the dinosaurs out of here and make room for the Jetsons,” he said. So, the council is…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
State Sen. Emil Jones III pleads not guilty in bribery case

State Sen. Emil Jones III pleads not guilty in bribery case

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Emil Jones III pleaded not guilty in federal court Friday to three felony counts stemming from an alleged bribery scheme involving a red light camera company. Jones, 44, is a Chicago Democrat who has served in the Senate since 2009. He is also the…

Pritzker urges two lawmakers to resign

Pritzker urges two lawmakers to resign

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker called on two Democratic state senators Thursday to resign their seats amid allegations of misconduct. Sen. Emil Jones III, D-Chicago, was charged in federal court earlier this week with soliciting a $5,000 bribe from a red light camera company. And Sen. Michael Hastings,…

Pritzker urges two lawmakers to resign

Pritzker urges two lawmakers to resign

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker called on two Democratic state senators Thursday to resign their seats amid allegations of misconduct. Sen. Emil Jones III, D-Chicago, was charged in federal court earlier this week with soliciting a $5,000 bribe from a red light camera company. And Sen. Michael Hastings,…

Illinois Supreme Court denies former lawmakers’ claim for back pay

Illinois Supreme Court denies former lawmakers’ claim for back pay

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a lawsuit filed by two former state legislators who sued for back pay they believed they were due for raises that they voted against while in office. Former Sen. Michael Noland, D-Elgin, and former Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville, argued…

CAPITOL RECAP: Another Democratic senator charged in bribery scheme

CAPITOL RECAP: Another Democratic senator charged in bribery scheme

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Emil Jones III has been charged in federal court with three criminal counts tied to his dealings with a red light camera company. Jones, a Chicago Democrat, is the son of former Senate President Emil Jones Jr. The younger Jones has served in the Senate since 2009…

Treasurer’s Race: Frerichs touts investment gains, Demmer sees opportunity for GOP check

Treasurer’s Race: Frerichs touts investment gains, Demmer sees opportunity for GOP check

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – In Illinois, the role of state treasurer is that of chief investment officer. Treasurer Michael Frerichs has held that position for two full terms, winning by less than 10,000 votes in 2014 before cruising to an 18 percentage-point victory in 2018. He boasts that Illinois has…

Sen. Emil Jones III charged in bribery scheme

Sen. Emil Jones III charged in bribery scheme

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Emil Jones III has been charged in federal court with three criminal counts tied to his dealings with a red light camera company. Jones, a Chicago Democrat, is the son of former Senate President Emil Jones Jr. The younger Jones has served in the…

Capitol Briefs: State Fair sets record; jury awards $363 million in Sterigenics lawsuit

Capitol Briefs: State Fair sets record; jury awards $363 million in Sterigenics lawsuit

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The 2022 Illinois State Fair set an all-time attendance record with more than 636,700 visitors. Weekend attendance increased by 95,000 from one year ago. Attendance topped 2021 overall by more than 160,000 and 2019 by more than 127,000. There was no fair in 2020 for the…

CAPITOL RECAP: Vice Presidet Harris visits Chicago; tax rebates coming

CAPITOL RECAP: Vice Presidet Harris visits Chicago; tax rebates coming

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Vice President Kamala Harris came to Chicago Friday, Sept. 16, to rally voters who support abortion rights and urge them to turn out in the upcoming midterm elections. Speaking at a roundtable discussion on reproductive rights at the University of Illinois Chicago, Harris said the recent U.S. Supreme Court…

CAPITOL RECAP: Vice Presidet Harris visits Chicago; tax rebates coming

CAPITOL RECAP: Vice Presidet Harris visits Chicago; tax rebates coming

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Vice President Kamala Harris came to Chicago Friday, Sept. 16, to rally voters who support abortion rights and urge them to turn out in the upcoming midterm elections. Speaking at a roundtable discussion on reproductive rights at the University of Illinois Chicago, Harris said the recent U.S. Supreme Court…

CRR NH Airport Heating Cooling
Regional Papa Joes House Ad