UPDATED 02/20/12 6:43 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — State Sen. Annazette Collins (D-Chicago) is demanding an apology from Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White for recent newspaper comments about her.
In Saturday’s Chicago Sun-Times, White compared Collins to convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
White described Collins as “the most unethical person in government. You can almost put Blagojevich beside her.”
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Collins threatened a libel lawsuit if White does not apologize by Tuesday morning, when the courts reopen after the Presidents Day holiday weekend.
“I demand an apology to me, my family and my friends,” Collins said.
She said the comparison to Blagojevich was unacceptable.
“We find his comments malicious and irresponsible and we will not take it lightly,” Collins said. “He has the nerve to compare me to a convicted felon, a person who was convicted for selling his office? Those comments are malicious.”
But White wasn’t backing down from his criticism.
“I’m not going to apologize, no,” White said.
White nominated Collins to fill State Sen. Rickey Hendon’s seat after he retired, but White said Sunday he didn’t know about allegations that she didn’t live in her district and awarded legislative scholarships to students outside the district in violation of state law for legislative scholarships.
“She’s a person who is not honorable, she’s not credible. I thought a lot … of her at the time, but I think less of her now,” White said. “She can ask for an apology, but that apology will not be forthcoming.”
He also said Collins sent out flyers claiming she could get constituents’ drivers licenses back after they lost them, “indicating that she had pull within the Secretary of State’s office that would bring that about and I found that to be offensive.”
Collins disputed the White’s claims against her. She insists she does indeed live in her district, and so do the recipients of the scholarships she awarded — although some of those students might have moved since then.