Already facing criticism from Republican opponents for businesses leaving Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker is under more scrutiny after billionaire Ken Griffin announced that his investment firm Citadel will move from Chicago.
Griffin, the state’s richest man, made the announcement in a letter to employees on Thursday, revealing that the company will move to Florida after more than 30 years in Illinois.
“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.”
Griffin’s decision comes just eight months after he warned an audience at the Economic Club of Chicago that he was considering moving the business because of crime in the city, warning that the company would consider leaving within years if statistics didn’t turn around.
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Now, less than a year after making that comment, Citadel is heading to South Beach, along with its CEO, who is worth more than $25 billion.
Pritzker’s office, which has now had Boeing and Caterpillar also announce plans to move their corporate offices from Illinois this month, issued a statement saying that the state still “leads the nation in corporate relocations,” and that the administration’s policies have helped Illinois businesses.
“We will continue to welcome those businesses, including Kellogg, which just this week announced it is moving its largest headquarters to Illinois, and support emerging industries that are already creating good jobs and investing billions in Illinois, like data centers, electric vehicles and quantum computing.”
Despite that optimistic tone, Pritzker is still facing withering criticism from Republican opponents that are hoping to get the chance to unseat him in November, including Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, whose campaign has received nearly $50 million in donations from Griffin.
“JB Pritzker is either in complete denial or simply refuses to acknowledge what everyone sees, which is that his high-tax, pro-criminal administration is literally driving jobs and businesses out of state,” Irvin said in a statement. “It’s a clear pattern that shows no signs of ending unless we beat Pritzker in November, and I’m the only person in this race with a proven record of success to take Illinois back.”
Recent polling has shown that Irvin has fallen behind State Sen. Darren Bailey in the race for the Republican nomination, with businessman Jesse Sullivan also firmly in the mix as the Tuesday election draws near.