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L. Madigan Blocks Lease Deal, Blagojevich Blames Her Dad

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Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan (KWMU file photo)

By AP/KWMU

Chicago, Ill. – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan ruled Thursday the state cannot take a $200 million loan against a state office building in Chicago (the Thompson Center).

The deal is part of Governor Rod Blagojevich's plan to balance the state budget. The mortgage was supposed to help.

The governor immediately said the move was political retaliation for disputes he's having with Madigan's father, House Speaker Michael Madigan.

But Lisa Madigan said the decision was based solely on the law. She says the plan would create new state debt and therefore needed extra votes by lawmakers to be legal.

Blagojevich's comments drew quick ire from critics. The top Republican in the state, Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, called the governor's comments "both shameful and chauvinistic."

"Rod Blagojevich showed all of Illinois today that he is not only an incompetent governor, but that he is also nothing more than a chauvinistic pig who is willing to say anything to score cheap political points," Topinka said in a statement from the Illinois Republican Party.

The state party chair went on to call the remarks "an affront to women throughout Illinois," and she's demanding an apology. She also mentioned that she's never heard Lisa Madigan bring up the fact that Blagojevich is married to the daughter of Dick Mell, a powerful Chicago alderman.

The governor's spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff says the governor stands by his belief that that decision was retaliation. And Ottenhoff says the response to the governor's remarks is also politically motivated.

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