The Citadel Griffin looks past Chicago amid rising crime

(Bloomberg) – Citadel founder Ken Griffin said the future of his Chicago business could be years, not decades, if officials don’t get a handle on issues like crime in the third largest city. most populated in the country.

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New York has become the “focal point” of Griffin’s $ 38 billion hedge fund, he said. Citadel is recruiting nationwide and is in the process of acquiring offices in Miami. While New York City is still a huge source of hiring, Chicago has “gotten smaller on a relative basis,” he said Monday in a conversation with Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker at the Economic Club of Chicago. Recruiting workers there is more difficult now and fewer people want to call the city home, he said.

“It’s getting harder and harder to have this as the global headquarters, a city that has so much violence,” said Griffin, 52, citing recent shootings and an attempted hijacking that his security service has rebuffed as examples of soaring crime.

Even as he watches his friends leave for states from Florida to Wyoming, Griffin said he still hopes Chicago retains the Bears after NFL team owners announced an agreement to buy last week. a large property in the suburb of Arlington Heights.

Griffin, who founded the hedge fund businesses of Citadel and Citadel Securities, also called on executives to address Illinois’ current financial problems.

Illinois was the only state to tap into the Federal Reserve’s municipal liquidity facility, and has done so twice to close a gap caused by the pandemic amid an increase in its borrowing penalty on the bond market. Illinois also has an unfunded pension liability of around $ 144 billion and almost no rainy day funds, making it still the U.S. state with the worst credit rating even after improving incomes. and billions in federal aid ease its financial pressure.

“Illinois needs to get their house in order,” Griffin said. “With each day that passes through our fingers, the liabilities increase and the ability to change course decreases. “

Griffin is a frequent critic of Democratic Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. He opposed a Pritzker-backed voting measure to shift the state to a progressive income tax from a flat rate, and voters decided against the change in the November 2020 election. governor had pushed the progressive levy to increase state revenue, which faced consecutive deficits. Griffin paid around $ 50 million to groups that managed to defeat the measure.

Griffin also criticized what he called Pritzker’s lack of involvement in tackling the crime spree in the city, a claim that the governor’s office said was inaccurate.

“Governor Pritzker is dedicated to the safety of this city and this state, deployed the National Guard during the social unrest of the summer of 2020 and made historic investments in crime prevention,” said Emily Bittner, spokesperson. word of Pritzker, in an e-mailed statement Monday. . “Governor Pritzker will continue to work to help local leaders cope with the national outbreak of gun violence. “

A spokesperson for Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot did not immediately respond to requests for comment sent by email and phone.

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