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Chicago City Wire

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Alleged subject of McClain email to receive $2.7M in pension payments, IPI reports


By Glenn Minnis | Jan 27, 2020

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago)

Although he now finds himself embroiled in the latest scandal involving Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago), a former state worker's silence is expected to pay huge dividends in the years ahead.

According to Illinois Policy Institute (IPI), Forest Ashby, the man identified as the person Madigan confidante Mike McClain was referring to in a 2012 email where he spoke of his “loyalty,” is set to collect at least $2.7 million in pension payments over the course of his retirement. The hefty estimates come courtesy of the State Employees’ Retirement System after factoring in the now 54-year-old Ashby’s 30-years of government service. 

Over that time, he contributed just $120,717 to the pension system, which IPI notes he easily recouped just two years into his retirement.

Meanwhile, the state’s $241 billion in pension debt is the worst in the U.S., continuing to mount despite two record-setting income tax increases over the last decade.

Ashby was recently thrust into the spotlight when WBEZ reported that former lobbyist McClain praised Ashby in an email to state officials because he “kept his mouth shut” about “the rape in Champaign” and “Jones’ ghost workers.”

In addition to his pension, on the strength of a McClain recommendation, Ashby was also hired to work on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s gubernatorial campaign.

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