Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has put Chicago’s Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot on notice after a $22 billion company ditched her crime-ridden city for the Sunshine State.
The move has sent a loud and clear message to Lightfoot as the business community loses patience with the Democratic politician’s failure to tackle crime in Chicago.
Ken Griffin, Chicago’s richest man, reached his limit with Mayor Lightfoot and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s failures and is leaving the city.
He is moving to Miami due to the crime levels in Chicago and he’s taking his $22B company, Citadel Securities, with him.
The hedge fund billionaire, whose personal net worth is an estimated $29 billion, informed his employees of the move in a letter on Thursday.
While not specifically blaming crime in the letter, his top officials told reporters that crime was one of the main factors for the move.
“If people aren’t safe here, they’re not going to live here,” Griffin said in a recent interview.
“I’ve had multiple colleagues mugged at gunpoint.
“I’ve had a colleague stabbed on the way to work, countless issues of burglary.
“I mean, that’s a really difficult backdrop with which to draw talent to your city from.”
Griffin and his company will move to Florida after more than 30 years in Illinois.
This is a tremendous loss for the city of Chicago.
Griffin is not alone in his desire to relocate, however.
More companies are looking at moving out of Chicago as crime continues to spiral out of control during Lightfoot’s four years in office.
Griffin wrote to his employees:
“Miami is a vibrant, growing metropolis that embodies the American dream.
“I am excited to have recently moved to Miami with my family, and look forward to rapidly expanding Citadel in a city so rich in diversity and abounding with energy.”
“I’ve had multiple colleagues mugged at gunpoint. I’ve had a colleague stabbed on the way to work. Countless issues of burglary. I mean, that’s a really difficult backdrop with which to draw talent to your city from.” https://t.co/U8YEiMDbyX
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) June 23, 2022
It stings either way for Illinois, which has benefited from Griffin’s philanthropy to the tune of $600 million — including putting his money where his mouth is and funding $35 million in crime-fighting technology and education programs.
Griffin’s exit to Florida (his home state) also follows news that Caterpillar and Boeing companies are moving their HQs out of Illinois, too.
Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot were quick to remind that companies are still moving into Illinois.
Kellogg Co., for example, announced earlier this week it’s opening its HQ here.
The big question for Playbook readers: Will Griffin still be engaged in Illinois politics? It will depend on the primary, a person told Playbook.
As the Tribune points out in its thorough report: “Since 2002, Illinois State Board of Elections records show, Griffin has contributed $179 million to state and local candidates, mainly Republicans, and organizations.
“But Griffin also was a financial supporter of Chicago Mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel.”