Who are the ‘ComEd Four’? – Chicago Tribune

Good morning, Chicago.

Outside of former House Speaker Michael Madigan, the main characters in the “ComEd Four” bribery conspiracy trial set to begin today are hardly household names.

One was Madigan’s loyal confidant. Another was ComEd’s popular chief executive. There’s a consummate lobbyist and a political consultant who was the face of the City Club of Chicago.

But the secretive Madigan, the Chicago Democrat who served a national record 36 years as speaker, not only knew them all, he allegedly knew how they could take care of each other in Illinois’ special brand of insider politics.

So who, exactly, are the “ComEd Four”? Criminal justice reporter Jason Meisner and investigative reporter Ray Long can explain.

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One of the central allegations in the “ComEd Four” bribery conspiracy trial, expected to begin today with jury selection, promises a fascinating look at how the unending struggle over the reins of political power in Illinois can create some odd alliances.

According to the indictment, then-House Speaker Michael Madigan participated in a two-year effort to get a onetime political nemesis, Juan Ochoa, appointed to a lucrative position on Commonwealth Edison’s board, part of a larger scheme by the utility to harness the Democratic speaker’s influence in Springfield.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, center, holds up a newly signed law on March 13, 2023, making paid leave mandatory for workers in Illinois.

Starting Jan. 1, Illinois businesses must provide paid time off for workers.

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The law grants employees of businesses of any size up to 40 total paid hours per year “for any reason.” Pritzker’s office said this bill will provide “approximately 1.5 million workers” paid time off.

Soldier Field in Chicago.

As the Chicago Bears make plans to build a new stadium, taxpayers still are on the hook for the old one. A big bill is coming soon —and the primary method of paying for it may not be enough.

Due to refinancing and years of primarily paying interest instead of principal, the debt owed for Soldier Field has ballooned from the original $399 million to $631 million, according to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, or ISFA, which manages the debt payments.

Buffalo Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (49) makes an interception on a pass to New England Patriots running back Damien Harris (37) during the second half of an NFL football game, Jan. 8, 2023, in Orchard Park.

Ryan Poles wanted to pay Roquan Smith last summer — he just didn’t want to get to the $20 million annual salary the linebacker desired. So the Chicago Bears opened 2023 free agency by dropping even more money in the position.

The Bears agreed to terms with four players Monday after the two-day negotiating window opened leading into the official start of free agency at 3 p.m. Wednesday. The headliner is Tremaine Edmunds, whom the Buffalo Bills drafted with the 16th pick in 2018 — eight slots after the Bears picked Smith.

Corned beef Reuben on rye bread.

Can you imagine St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago without corned beef sandwiches?

They’ve become something of a restaurant barometer for food critic Louisa Chu since she started covering what happened to the big, old-school Jewish delis around Chicago in 2018.

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