Suburban Rundown: Untold Rauner-Quinn tiff over veterans sketches

 
 
Updated 9/1/2015 2:21 PM
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  • Surrounded by families of soldiers killed during the war, then-Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn speaks at the unveiling of the "Portrait of a Soldier" exhibit at the Des Plaines Public Library in 2008.

    Surrounded by families of soldiers killed during the war, then-Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn speaks at the unveiling of the "Portrait of a Soldier" exhibit at the Des Plaines Public Library in 2008. Daily Herald File photo

  • Gloria and Joseph Caruso of Naperville, parents of Marine Sgt. David M. Caruso, browse through the "Portrait of a Soldier" exhibit at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn.

    Gloria and Joseph Caruso of Naperville, parents of Marine Sgt. David M. Caruso, browse through the "Portrait of a Soldier" exhibit at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn. Daily Herald file photo/2007

  • Archbishop Blase Cupich

    Archbishop Blase Cupich Associated Press

By Kerry Lester

klester@dailyherald.com

1. Where are those sketches?

"We definitely didn't steal anything," Billy Morgan, a spokesman for former Gov. Pat Quinn says, referring to downstate artist Cameron Schilling's sketches of fallen soldiers from the suburbs and throughout Illinois.

But Gov. Bruce Rauner's staff members weren't buying that when they filed a previously unpublished police report in March questioning where the art had gone after Quinn left office.

The Illinois State Police report landed in my inbox last week, the result of a Freedom of Information Act request I filed after hearing rumors that made me wonder exactly what happened. Among those depicted in the series of portraits are members of the military from Aurora, Elgin, Oswego, Naperville and Wheaton.

Quinn made veterans issues a hallmark of his tenure, and there was a question whether the exhibit -- valued at $5,000 -- was state property or his.

Rauner's staff certainly thought the portraits were Illinois property and filed the police report after former Quinn chief of staff Ryan Croke, a Wheeling native, told Rauner chief Mike Zolnierowicz, who grew up in Downers Grove, that he thought the sketches could be found on the 16th floor of the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago.

But they weren't.

Several months later, the artwork quietly turned up again, and police reviewed surveillance video to verify how it got back into the building, noticing it was returned by former Quinn staffers.

Quinn, in the police report, told police the drawings were inadvertently moved by staff to his campaign headquarters. No charges were filed, and the portraits are now on traveling display -- this week, they're at the Du Quoin State Fair.

2. Message for millennials

Schaumburg Business Association President Kaili Harding
Schaumburg Business Association President Kaili Harding -

Schaumburg Business Association President Kaili Harding doesn't buy the stereotype that young adults are drawn to Chicago rather than the suburbs.

She says the association aims to bring more millennials to live and work here.

The SBA will work with local companies to craft a message to attract the generation born between 1980 and 2000.

In addition to her work at SBA, Harding, of Elmhurst, is active on the pageant circuit. This summer, she was named Ms. Illinois Galaxy 2015. She was Mrs. Illinois America in 2005.

3. Chosen by the archbishop

The Rev. John Francis Kartje, a familiar face at the Mundelein Seminary since 2009, was Archbishop Blase Cupich's choice to succeed the Rev. Robert Barron as rector of the Mundelein Seminary.

Barron, named bishop of Los Angeles earlier this summer, boosted enrollment at the seminary from 171 seminarians three years ago to 223 today, the seminary's registrar tells me.

While Chicago Archdiocese officials had been tight-lipped about the selection process, a hint of Kartje's appointment Friday came a few days earlier when Cupich asked him to coordinate the archdiocese's efforts to reflect on Pope Francis' encyclical on environmental degradation, "Laudato Si': On the Care of Our Common Home."

An interesting note about Kartje, who also becomes president of the University of St. Mary of the Lake: He's an astrophysicist -- the seminary's only one.

4. Today's selfie

This snap was taken after coffee with U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton, who told me his visit to Israel in late August included a private meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "He looked like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders," Roskam said of Netanyahu, who is at odds with the Obama administration on Iran.
  This snap was taken after coffee with U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton, who told me his visit to Israel in late August included a private meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "He looked like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders," Roskam said of Netanyahu, who is at odds with the Obama administration on Iran. - Kerry Lester | Staff Photographer

This snap was taken after coffee with U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton, who told me his visit to Israel in late August included a private meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "He looked like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders," Roskam said of Netanyahu, who is at odds with the Obama administration on Iran.

5. Anniversary time

Monday marks the anniversary of actors Jenny McCarthy's and Donnie Wahlberg's wedding a year ago in St. Charles. The couple this summer announced plans to make it their permanent home.

6. Condolences

Heartfelt condolences to Daily Herald Bears writer Bob LeGere and his family on the loss of his 13-year-old niece, Annie LeGere of Elmhurst. Annie, a student at Sandburg Middle School, died last week after a brief illness.

• What's going on? Let me know at klester@dailyherald.com or (847) 427-4603.

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