Democrat Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s name has been floated for weeks as a potential candidate for president should President Biden choose not to run for re-election in 2024.
President Biden has said multiple times on-air and online that he is running for re-election, but 64 percent of Democrats don’t want him on the 2024 ticket. Biden’s policies, poll troubles and age have all placed question marks on his candidacy.
And Democratic governors have taken notice — Pritzker, who has stated his support for Biden’s re-election, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom are just two of the state executives positioning themselves for a potential 2024 run.
ILLINOIS GOV. PRITZKER SAYS HE WILL SUPPORT BIDEN’S RE-ELECTION BID AS DEMOCRAT 2024 CHATTER INTENSIFIES
However, even if Pritzker does run to challenge or replace Biden, his past toilet troubles may come back to haunt him on the campaign trail.
Before Pritzker — a venture capitalist billionaire — became governor of the Prairie State, the now-governor and his wife, M.K. Pritzker, allegedly removed the toilets from their second Chicago mansion they bought in 2007 for $3.7 million to write it off as “uninhabitable” on a property tax appeal.
Cook County only taxes vacant properties at 10 percent of their market value. The property was reported by the Chicago Sun-Times as being uninhabited and allowed to fall into disrepair.
A 2018 report from Cook County Inspector General Patrick Blanchard shed some light on the Pritzkers’ porcelain problem: in 2015, the couple hired contracting company Bulley & Andrews to remove five of the toilets from their second mansion, allegedly to take advantage of the county’s low tax rate for uninhabitable properties.
As a result of the mansion’s lavatories being lightened before the inspection, the Cook County assessor’s office “lowered the 6,378-square-foot mansion’s assessed value from $6.3 million to about $1.1 million.”
Following the assessment, Bulley & Andrews was hired again to reinstall a single toilet in the now-governor’s “hangout/meeting area.”
Blanchard wrote that the couple had engaged in a “scheme to defraud” the county that “resulted in the property owner ultimately receiving property tax refunds totaling $132,747.18 for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014, as well as additional tax savings of $198,684.85 for the years 2015 and 2016” — or around $330,000 total.
Additionally, Blanchard accused the governor’s brother-in-law and wife’s personal assistant of making “false representations” to the county assessor regarding the toilets’ removal and the mansion’s condition in sworn affidavits.
The scandal broke during Pritzker’s 2018 run for governor, which saw the Illinois Democrat pledge to pay back the $330,000 in property taxes he and his wife allegedly avoided.
Pritzker also called the document’s release in October 2018 political.
“This is an internal, confidential document by the inspector general’s office, which was looking into the assessor’s office, that was leaked for political purposes in this last month of a campaign,” Pritzker said in 2018.
The echoes of the scandal continued into 2019, when a federal investigation was launched into the governor’s alleged tax dodge. Lawyers for the gubernatorial couple maintained the pair’s innocence when asked by The Real Deal Chicago.
Those aftershocks also continued into 2020, when the same contractor who took out the toilets was awarded a $9 million COVID-19 contract from the Army Corps of Engineers.
Bulley & Andrews was hired in 2020 to convert an old hospital in Chicago for use to treat COVID-19 patients amid the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even amid the controversy, Pritzker’s toilet troubles did not hinder him from unseating Republican former Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2018.
However, should Pritzker run for president, the scandal could come up again and be a liability when tax issues inevitably come up.
Pritzker’s office did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.