A political rival who narrowly lost to recently indicted state Sen. Thomas Cullerton called for Cullerton to resign in the wake of the charges.
“I hereby demand that Senator Tom Cullerton resign his position as a State Senator,” Seth Lewis, a Bartlett businessman who lost out to Cullerton in the 23rd District in 2016, said in an interview with the DuPage Policy Journal. “He is not fit to be an elected official in Illinois and serve our community.”
Federal prosecutors hit Cullerton (D-Villa Park) with at least 40 charges after an investigation into allegations that he pocketed as much as $275,000 in salary from a Teamsters Union job where he allegedly had no job description and was rarely required to report for work. The charges, ranging from embezzlement to conspiracy and making false statements, carry five years in prison each if convicted.
Formal charges against the veteran lawmaker were made public just hours after former longtime Teamsters boss John Coli Sr. pleaded guilty to federal charges of corruption and agreed to cooperate with investigators. The Chicago Tribune reported that part of the indictment alleges that Cullerton conspired with Coli as recently as four years ago in landing the high-salaried post now at the heart of the ongoing investigation.
“I repeatedly heard Tom Cullerton publicly claim that his family’s only source of income was the salary that he drew as an elected official,” Miller said. “Tom even went as far to declare on his public disclosure form, which is a legal document filed with the state of Illinois, that he did not have any outside income. It is evident by today’s announcement by federal authorities indicting Tom Cullerton on over 40 counts of embezzlement and conspiracy to commit fraud that he was clearly dishonest and attempted to mislead the honorable residents of the 23rd District.”
The 49-year-old Cullerton, a distant cousin of Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), has denied all of the charges.
Thomas Cullerton is the seventh Illinois legislator to be hit with criminal charges over the last seven years.
The 23rd District includes parts of Bartlett, Bloomingdale, Glendale Heights, Roselle, Wood Dale and Villa Park.