Illinois Sen. Terry Link Resigns, Lawmaker Embattled in Gaming Bribery Scandal

Posted on: September 14, 2020, 01:08h. 

Last updated on: September 14, 2020, 01:34h.

Longtime Illinois State Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan) has resigned from office a month after being charged with filing a false income tax return.

Illinois Terry Link resignation casino bill
Illinois Sen. Terry Link’s days in the Legislature are over. (Image: Justin Fowler/AP)

Link, 73, has long championed the legalization of commercial gambling. His wishes came true last year, when Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed a sweeping law that authorized an integrated resort in downtown Chicago, as well as five smaller casinos in the Windy City suburbs of Rockford, South Suburbs, Williamson County, Danville, and Link’s hometown of Waukegan. 

Link has been identified by The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times as “CW-1,” a state lawmaker who cooperated with federal agents in an undercover operation in 2019. The sting led to the 2019 arrest of Democratic state Rep. Luis Arroyo, who was then the assistant majority leader in the Illinois House of Representatives. 

Federal authorities allege that Arroyo bribed CW-1 to support a gaming legislation bill with a $2,500 monthly payment. The Tribune and Sun-Times wrote that Link agreed to wear a wire for law enforcement after learning he was going to be charged for filing a false federal income tax return.

More to Story

Link has repeatedly denied the accusations that he was the federal informant that lead to Arroyo’s arrest. The case against the former lawmaker is ongoing. Arroyo has pleaded not guilty to a felony count of bribery.

Federal officials say Link’s reported income of $264,450 in 2016 was far short of what he actually made. 

“Defendant knew that the total income substantially exceeded that amount,” charging documents read. Link was charged with tax evasion in the US District Court in Chicago in August of this year.

Link announced last month that he was stepping down as chairman of the Lake County Democratic Party, a post he held for 28 years. At the time, however, he asked his constituents to allow the legal process to play out.

I can assure you that there is a lot more to the story. I respectfully request that you not be too quick to rush to judgment. Hopefully, in time, the entire true story will come out, and maybe everything will make sense and you will understand the truth,” Link explained. 

In his notice to the Legislature late last week, Link offered only a two-sentence declaration announcing his resignation. It ends his 24 years in the Illinois Senate.

Democratic Party officials from Link’s 30th District will name his replacement. That person will serve out Link’s term, which expires in January in 2023. 

Potential Penalties

The IRS doesn’t pursue tax evasion cases against many people. But those who are investigated and charged face harsh penalties if convicted. 

“In order for charges to be levied, it must be determined that the avoidance of taxes was a willful act on the part of the taxpayer,” financial website Investopedia explains. 

Those found guilty of tax evasion face prison time of no more than five years, and a fine of up to $250,000.