Pritzker and Lightfoot -- Illinois's Hypocritical Tyrants

As the bailout-seeking billionaire Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker resists lawsuits saying his lockdown order extension exceeds his authority and is unconstitutional, his wife jets to their estate in opened-up Florida to enjoy life without being arrested for leaving the house. Meanwhile Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot keeps barbershops and hair salons closed under penalty of imprisonment as she visits her own hair stylist on the grounds she is “the public face of Illinois” and must look her best. Both deem themselves more important than the people they represent. Laws are for the little people. It’s good to be king and queen

Despite his slogan “All In” which he preaches to Illinois residents under virtual house arrest, Pritzker’s wife isn’t content to hunker down with the peasantry and watch Netflix:

M.K. Pritzker, the billionaire wife of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D), is reportedly skipping out on her husband’s stringent lockdown orders, jetting off to their $12.1 million equestrian estate in South Florida -- a state that has refused to implement what Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) described as “draconian” measures as a response to the coronavirus pandemic.

While Pritzker finds himself in the middle of a legal battle over his extension of his lockdown order, extending it until May 30 and promoting his All-in Illinois initiative, his wife is nowhere to be seen, at least in the Prairie State.

No draconian existence for this royal couple. Like our absentee House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, Mrs. Pritzer probably is enjoying $13-a-pint gourmet ice cream as we speak.  As  Mark Konkol, recipient of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting and Emmy-nominated producer, reports on local news outlet Patch:

In Crain's Chicago Business columnist Greg Hinz's day-in-the life tale of Illinois' rookie governor amid the pandemic, we learned Pritzker watched "Tiger King" on Netflix, and how he usually ends his day -- "a little dinner, then he chats with his son and makes more calls" -- but nothing of the first lady or his daughter…

As things turn out, as the governor makes regular public pleas for Illinoisans to be "All In" during the extended stay-at-home fight to slow the spread of COVID-19, Mrs. Pritzker has been out of state, sources told Patch.

Specifically, the first lady has been spending time at their $12-million equestrian estate in Wellington, just down the horse trail from Bruce Springsteen, Bill Gates and Billy Joel, the family purchased shortly after J.B. was elected governor last year…

She has no obligation to sequester herself in their Astor Street mansion in the Gold Coast when her family can hop on a private plane to stay-at-home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, the family estate in the Bahamas (close to the governor's off-shore bank accounts) and, of course, their place in the "winter equestrian capital of the world" in Florida.

Lawsuits have been filed claiming Pritzer’s lockdown does what protestors all over the country have claimed -- unconstitutionally infringe on our basic constitutional rights such as freedom of assembly, the right to petition for redress of grievances, freedom of religion, the right to keep and bear arms, and even freedom of speech. Pritzker claims he is just violating our rights for our own good:

Pritzker finds himself in the middle of a legal battle over his extension of the lockdown order. Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney sided with State Rep. Darren Bailey (R), who filed a lawsuit alleging that Pritzker exceeded his authority. While McHaney issued a temporary restraining order pausing the extended lockdown orders, it only exempts Bailey, leading to action from State Rep. John Cabello (R). He plans to issue a similar lawsuit, but in a way that will apply to everyone in Illinois.

Illinois, like New York, California and other blue states, were hemorrhaging population and jobs and wringing up huge debt long before the Wuhan virus escaped from a Chinese lab. Yet, believing firmly in the admonition  by former Chicago Mayor and Obama White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste, Pritzer, like other blue state governors, seeks a federal bailout of the state’s debt which would include a huge pension bailout:

Illinois Democrats are demanding $41 billion from the federal government for coronavirus relief, including $10 billion for Illinois’s cash-strapped and underfunded public pension plan. The most fiscally mismanaged state in the union, which has criminally neglected funding its public pension fund for two decades, wants Washington to pull its chestnuts out of the fire?...

There should be no bailout of the public pension fund in Illinois. For two decades, which have seen Democrats largely in control, the state refused to fully fund its pension system. Now, with the stock market in the toilet and the shortfall becoming critical, the bill for Illinois politicians’ criminal negligence and shady dealings is coming due.

As toilet paper becomes a crypto-currency all its own, dubbed “butt-coin” by some, it is worth remembering how Pritzker once pulled all the toilets out of a mansion he owned so he could get a huge property tax break on the grounds his mansion was “uninhabitable”  The Chicago Sun-Times called it Pritzker’s “Game of Thrones”:

Cook County’s chief watchdog has concluded that more than $330,000 in property tax breaks and refunds that Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker received on one of his Gold Coast mansions -- in part by removing toilets -- constituted a “scheme to defraud.”

Cook County Inspector General Patrick Blanchard also recommends in the confidential report that Cook County should try to recover the money from the billionaire.

Making the taxpayers pay for his mistakes is a habit for Pritzker, and this was a cheapskate move by a guy flush with cash:

In 2007, Pritzker and his wife bought a second mansion next to the one they live in on Chicago's Astor Street, for $3.7 million. As The Chicago Sun-Times reported, that mansion remained vacant and was allowed to fall into disrepair.

And then in October 2015, according to a report by Cook County Inspector General Patrick Blanchard, the Pritzkers had five toilets removed from the second house so that it would be classified as "uninhabitable" in a property tax appeal filed by the Pritzkers. Cook County assesses vacant properties at 10 percent of the market value.

The toilets were removed shortly before the affidavits in the property tax appeal were submitted. The county assessor's office "lowered the 6,378-square-foot mansion's assessed value from $6.3 million to about $1.1 million," The Chicago Tribune reports.

This sense of above-the-law entitlement is shared by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the current caretaker of the third-world city Chicago is rapidly becoming. Lightfoot decided a pandemic was a perfect time to get a trim and style her hair -- all those press conferences under the hot lights, you know. She, like New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, is important and we are not, she tells us by her words and actions:

Democrats are hypocrites, especially when it comes to "rules for thee but not for me." New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decided to use a public gym minutes before public facilities were ordered to close to prevent the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus. Apparently the order was important enough for every other New Yorker to follow but not for him. 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot decided to follow in de Blasio's footsteps and put herself above Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker's stay-at-home order. Even though salons and barbershops across the state are currently closed, Lightfoot decided to get a haircut, the Chicago Tribune reported. …

“I’m a person who, I take my personal hygiene very seriously. As I said, I felt like I needed to have a haircut,” Lightfoot said. “I’m not able to do that myself, so I got a haircut. You want to talk more about that?”

I want a haircut too, as do many of my brethren in the People’s Republic of Chicago. There are many barbers and hair stylists who would gladly take our money in order to do silly things like keep their businesses open, pay their rent, pay their mortgage, and put food on the family table. But they dare not under penalty of Pritzker’s and Lightfoot’s shut-up-and-stay-at home orders:

After a judge in Southern Illinois ruled that a state representative was exempt from Governor J.B. Pritzker’s extended “stay-at-home” order, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says the city intends to continue enforcing the restrictions.

“Continued compliance will be needed to keep flattening the curve and ultimately lead to a decrease in cases,” she said. “Contrary to what this ruling suggests, we must all be in this together, and only through cooperation and collaboration can we contain and limit the effects of the virus.”

Except that we are not all in this together. Lockdowns are for the little people. Pritzker is not. Lightfoot is not. De Blasio is not. They do what they want when they want and to whomever they want. Maybe when this is over, if they let it be over, they can all meet for drinks and giggles and $13-a-pint ice cream at Mrs. Pritzker’s equestrian estate in Florida. Oh wait: They can do that now.

Daniel John Sobieski is a former editorial writer for Investor’s Business Daily and free lance writer whose pieces have appeared in Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.               

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