Comptroller candidates spar over roadworker donation

  • Judy Baar Topinka

    Judy Baar Topinka

  • David Miller

    David Miller

Updated 10/23/2010 10:41 PM

Illinois comptroller candidates are seeing red over a $5,000 donation from a construction company banned from government contracts.

Democrat State Rep. David Miller calls the contribution tainted while Republican recipient Judy Baar Topinka of Riverside dismisses her rival's claims as a publicity stunt.


Topinka, a former state treasurer, received the contribution from Orange Crush LLC on Feb. 22.

Company executive Sebastian Palumbo along with his brother and father pleaded guilty in 1999 to federal charges of failing to pay employees and not contributing enough to union pensions. The plea deal also meant Orange Crush was banned from state and federal roadwork.

Miller, of Lynwood, said taking the donation was inappropriate for someone vying to become the chief fiscal officer of the state.

"She accepts money from people who are banned for life from doing business with the state. If you're barred, you blew it. We've just gone through two scandals with two former governors," Miller said.

Topinka spokesman Brad Hahn said Orange Crush has contributed to numerous candidates including Democrats such as Secretary of State Jesse White.

"The company has given money to candidates on both sides of the aisle," Hahn said, adding if Miller was serious he'd call on all recipients to return the Orange Crush cash."This is nothing more than a cheap political stunt. The campaign does not plan to return the money," he noted.

An Orange Crush official had no comment when contacted by the Daily Herald.

Libertarian Julie Fox of Dundee and Green Party candidate Erika Schafer of Chicago are also running in the Nov. 2 comptroller election.