After taking office in 2005, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner took part in meetings regarding his cut of a $67.5 million settlement months after taking office in 2015 though declaring publicly he had given control of his personal wealth management to avoid conflicts in interest according to a new lawsuit.
In Cook County, the lawsuit filed focuses on a settlement Rauner reached with ex-investment partner Harreld “Kip” Kirkpatrick III but was not pleased about, according to a WGN report. The Michigan-based mortgage company earned $15 million for the Republican governor according to the lawsuit, but that is “apparently is not enough for Rauner.”
Rachel Bold, a Rauner Spokeswoman on Tuesday informed The Associated Press that the governor “disputes Mr. Kirkpatrick’s allegations, including Mr. Kirkpatrick’s characterizations of any conversations.”
Kirkpatrick is a co-chief executive of Chicago-based private equity firm Vistria Group, who also in the past ran as Democratic candidate for state treasurer according to the news outlet. The lawsuit says the meetings between Kirkpatrick and Rauner happened on May 2015 on the patio of the governor’s mansion as well as in September of that year at the Chicago Club. The complaint was filed in October.
After taking office in January 2015, Rauner vowed to put his investments as well as assets in a blind trust to avoid conflicts of interest. WGN reported that any day-to-day management decisions in such cases usually go to an independent adviser. Rauner told reporters in October regarding the lawsuit that he could not comment on business disputes and that all his investments, as well as assets, were in a trust he did not control.
In the March 20 primary, word of the lawsuit immediately drew negative focus on Rauner’s political opponents, according to the news outlet. Rauner is considered one of the most vulnerable governors nationwide, his wealth and business record often a point of discussion.
“Bruce Rauner is allegedly conducting private business out of the governors’ mansion and then openly lying about it to the public,” said a spokeswoman for candidate J.B. Pritkzer, Galia Slayen. “It is no wonder this failed governor tried to keep this lawsuit sealed, but now that it’s public, it is time for Bruce Rauner to tell voters the truth.”