State Sen. Thomas Cullerton (D-Villa Park)
Dixon Mayor Liandro Arellano called State Sen. Thomas Cullerton's (D-Villa Park) indictment on Friday morning part of a continued pattern of corruption in Illinois politics.
“There is no one at the state level policing corruption,” Arellano said to NW Illinois News. “Illinois leadership doesn’t care enough to act decisively, so it takes federal action for Illinois taxpayers to get any protection from corrupt officials.”
In a news release, Cullerton, who represents the 23rd Senate District, was charged with 39 counts of embezzlement from a labor union after allegedly pocketing close to $275,000 in salary and benefits from his membership at Teamsters Local Union 734 before taking on the senator role in 2012. The Chicago Tribune reported that Cullerton completed “little or no work” in office with those funds.
Dixon Mayor Liandro "Li" Arellano Jr.
In the same news release, Cullerton was also charged with one count of conspiracy to embezzle money from a labor union and employee benefit plans, as well as an additional count of releasing a false statement in regards to health care. The release also mentioned that Cullerton used those funds from Teamsters for spending on mortgage, utilities and groceries.
“If true, this charge shows a continued pattern of corruption in Illinois politics, especially in regards to leveraging political clout to abuse union positions for personal and political gain,” Arellano said. “The ‘corruption tax’—the extra money citizens have to pay due to government corruption—is very real. In this case, it appears that Teamster dues-payers have taken an extra hit from it.”
If convicted, Cullerton could possibly face a prison sentence up to five years.
The 23rd Senate District includes Addison, Bloomingdale, Bartlett, Carol Stream, Glendale Heights, Hanover Park, Itasca, Roselle, Villa Park, West Chicago, Wayne and Wood Dale.