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Report: Illinois' Democratic billionaire governor facing federal investigation for toilet-based tax fraud

Four of Illinois' governors have gone to prison in the last half-century.

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Illinois' Democratic billionaire governor J.B. Pritzker is under a criminal tax investigation by federal authorities, according to a report from Chicago's WBEZ radio station.

Pritzker, his wife and his brother-in-law are under investigation for a questionable residential property tax appeal that plagued him during his previous campaign, the station reported.

A Cook County Inspector General's report that first came to light in October said that $330,000 in tax breaks and refunds that then-candidate Pritzker received on a 126-year-old Chicago mansions resulted from a "scheme to defraud." One way that Pritzker and company have been accused of doing so is by removing toilets.

According to the report, now-first lady Pritzker wanted the toilets removed on the property with no directive to reinstall them in an effort to have the property reassessed as "uninhabitable" for the purpose of receiving tax benefits.

The report contains a 2015 work-order email from a plumber who worked on the house.

"She is going to have the house re-assessed as an uninhabitable structure," it reads, the report said. "To do this, she would like to have us pull all toilets and cap all toilet lines in the house."

The Chicago Sun-Times first noted in 2017 that the Pritzkers had purchased the home next to theirs, let it fall into disrepair and then raked in a lot of money in tax breaks after having it declared uninhabitable.

The WBEZ report also added that the first lady's personal assistant, who was involved in the tax appeal, is currently being represented by high-powered, influential Chicago area lawyer Reid Schar, a former federal prosecutor.

But Gov. Pritzker says he's not worried about the matter.

"Let me be clear that I'm very confident that any review of this matter will show that all the rules were followed," he said in a Wednesday news conference where he blamed his political opponents for the problem resurfacing. He added that he has "no concern at all" about political charges.

The Land of Lincoln is no stranger to seeing its chief executives in trouble with the law. Four of Illinois' governors since the 1960s have gone to prison. Most recently, Democrat Rod Blagojevich was impeached before being convicted on several corruption charges in 2011.

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