Lester: Madigan opponent pardoned for suburban forgery, theft
Longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan's Democratic primary opponent, whose campaign so far largely is funded by Republican donations, was pardoned in 2015 by then-Gov. Pat Quinn for six crimes he was convicted of committing in the suburbs between 1991 and 1994, involving forgery, theft and the misuse of credit cards.
According to documents I obtained from the state's Prisoner Review Board, Jason Gonzales's offenses include using a stolen credit card to make purchases at Spring Hill Mall in West Dundee in 1993, presenting a forged credit card receipt to receive a $942 refund at an Arlington Heights Service Merchandise in 1994 and using a stolen credit card to buy a $1,000 Sony camcorder from a Highland Super Store in Morton Grove in 1991.
Turning it around
Gonzales, a 41-year-old business consultant, says he was born in Elgin and dropped out of Barrington High School at age 16 but graduated from high school at age 21. He went on to Duke University and later got his MBA from MIT and another master's degree from Harvard. Before Quinn pardoned him, former Govs. Jim Edgar and George Ryan denied requests. A full pardon, Gonzales wrote in his letter to Quinn, would help him enter public service. "These convictions prevent me from this dream," he wrote.
Spokesman Ben Gould tells me Gonzales "has a story that can resonate ... it's important to see where he came from and what he is now. That's something that can inspire people."
Quinn backs Noland
Democratic sources tell me Quinn will endorse state Sen. Michael Noland today in the three-way primary in the 8th Congressional District. Noland is running against Schaumburg businessman Raja Krisnamoorthi and Villa Park Mayor Deb Bullwinkel. The announcement, I'm told, will be made at the VFW on Devon Avenue in Elk Grove Village.
Krishnamoorthi, meanwhile, was recently endorsed by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Springfield.
I was tipped to the news that the Chicago City Council is dubbing Saturday Richard Duchossois Day. While the 94-year-old business tycoon and Arlington Park chairman lives in Barrington Hills, Alderman Ed Burke, who is sponsoring the resolution, expresses Chicago's gratitude for Duchossois' local business work and service to his country. Serving under Gen. George Patton in World War II, Duchossois is a recipient of both the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. I learned in my time reporting on him that he celebrates two birthdays -- his real one in October and another in September, when he was shot in his side while crossing the Moselle River and, as he puts it, "left for dead."
Don Dobrez, a filmmaker who's producing a documentary about the former Hi-Lite 30 drive-in theater in Aurora, tipped me to the fact the West Chicago Development Committee is considering a new truck stop, restaurant and motel that would replace the Cascade Drive-In theater.
Dobrez, of Tinley Park, says he learned of the news through Democratic state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Aurora, whom he describes as "one of the "stars" of his upcoming documentary.
Ever wonder about the slide that's part of the indoor pool at Rosemont School in Rosemont? The slide was added in 1984, though the pool was built in the late 1960s as a joint venture of the school and park district, according to the village. My colleague Chris Placek dug up this fact as he researched notable events for Rosemont's 60th birthday on Wednesday.