White Won’t Apologize For Comparing Collins To Blago; Collins Won’t Sue

CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is not apologizing for comparing State Sen. Annazette Collins (D-Chicago) to convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but Collins is not following through on a threat to sue White for libel.

Collins had threatened to sue White over comments he made about her after withdrawing his support for Collins and backing her opponent in the Democratic primary, Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins.

In the Chicago Sun-Times over the weekend, White described Collins as “the most unethical person in government. You can almost put Blagojevich beside her.”

As CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports, since then, Collins has been calling for an apology from White for comparing her to the convicted former governor.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports

“I was really disappointed that the secretary would say such a thing,” Collins said.

She had threatened to file a libel suit against him if she didn’t get that apology by Tuesday morning, when the courts reopened after the Presidents Day holiday weekend, but has yet to file any lawsuit.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports, Collins said she won’t file any lawsuit, claiming she’s satisfied with a comment from White that he could have softened his statement.

Although White said he’s not backing down from his comments, he said maybe he could have put his criticism another way.

Collins said she’s ready to move on.

“We have high unemployment in my district and we have housing, education and other issues … to deal with,” she said. “So, hopefully Mr. White will turn his attention to those issues, as I will.”

White said he wasn’t concerned about the threatened lawsuit and stood by his criticism of Collins.

“Early on in Rod Blagojevich’s campaign, I saw some personality flaws. I saw some problems with his honesty and integrity,” White said Tuesday. “Then after we swore Annazette Collins in, I saw that same pattern emerging. And, so, that’s why I said what I said.”

White nominated Collins to fill State Sen. Rickey Hendon’s seat after he retired, but White has said he didn’t know at the time about allegations that she awarded legislative scholarships to students outside her district in violation of state law for legislative scholarships.

He also said he wasn’t aware at the time of allegations that Collins didn’t live in her district, as required by state law.

Collins has claimed a West Side condo as her home while also receiving a homeowner’s exemption on property taxes for a Hyde Park condo outside her district.

Collins said claiming the exemption on the Hyde Park condo – a move that requires a home to be the taxpayer’s primary residence – was a simple error.

“We didn’t know, and so we made a mistake,” Collins said, adding that she’s lived in her district the entire time she’s represented it.

But what really upset White was some of Collins’ campaign literature, which he felt implied she could fix driver’s license problems.

He 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.”

“I’ve been in this office for 13 years and no scandal. I’ve been in office for 36 years and no scandal. I won’t stand idly by and allow anyone to use their position, or their authority to get anything from this office in terms of a license, if they don’t deserve it,” White said.

In response to that, Collins said her office was only offering help to people with driver’s license problems.

Her campaign sent a copy of what they say is the campaign brochure in question. It reads “Lost your license? We’ll fight so you can drive! Contact our offices today so your State Senator can direct you in resolving matters with the Secretary of State.”

More from Mai Martinez
  • Afro

    Fire em Both

  • GrammarCop

    In some other language, Annazette Collins means Carol Mosely Braun.

    • Lyndia

      Really? I thought you were Carol Mosely Braun, in drag.

      • Durrr

        What the hell is going on over there at CBS. After reading the top page story, I tried to comment and the comment section is missing! Why would CBS omit the comment section on a story they deem relevant enough to put at the top of the page? Come on CBS, get on the ball!!!!!

      • GrammarCop

        Lyndia, put down the crack pipe!!!

  • BEV

    If anything Whites loosing his credibility for who he endorses with us. Watkins is a nut who brags about her support and work and its all her church or church target organization who funding her. Google: her pastor gave over 70% of her financial support for mayor run just 6 months ago. Creepy Group who likes roughing up Carol Braun for calling it like it is “Cult” .

  • tom sharp

    Tell me there is a legitimate Republican or third Party candidate running in the regular election. These two belong in jail and or the asylum. yet another failure for Affirmative action!

  • Valerie F. Leonard

    You don’t get to be one of the most powerful men in Illinois, elected to a statewide office in a state that is 12% black through Affirmative Action. If you don’t like African Americans, you should just say so, and not hide behind Affirmative Action.

    • Lyndia

      He dosen’t have that much sense.

    • tom sharp

      NO? How many tumbling coaches do you know hold state-wide office?

      • Valerie F. Leonard

        The one who got the votes

      • tom sharp

        Exactly, Valerie “one” political hack who benefited from Affirmative Action. Made by Daley and Madigan. They could have picked a West Side junkie and he probably would have won too! I thad nothing to do with his ability, jsus like it has nothing to dow with Collins’ ability.–they’re both losers on their own.

  • Valerie F. Leonard

    You don’t get to be one of the most powerful men in Illinois, elected to a statewide office in a state that is 12% black through Affirmative Action. If you don’t like African Americans, you should just say so.

  • unlimited

    well chicago politics is lesser of two evils most the time,
    id take Collins over Watkins, sorry White dont your endorsement is not worth it.
    Watkins seems to be wanting to have a goverment job very bad just coming out of a failed mayoral campain. Watkins is behind all the sturing anyone can see internet search, she on the attack but tonight setting at home laughing as its not Braun vs. Watkins we laughing at but Collins vs. White.. but look see watkins the one that been sturring the pot >
    Collins paid back exemption long ago and has a good track record.

    • Lyndia

      what in the f are you talking about?

      • GrammarCop

        unlinmited…I am not familiar with that language…please try English next time!!!

  • Lyndia

    His name be White but he be Black. I wished I has enuff sense to be understanding how dis be possibull.

  • Spookiest spook

    Anything is possible as long as sleep your way to the top.

  • AllthatIam

    This all has to do with ethics and a sense of right and wrong. I agree with Jesse White about what was written in the brochure. The quote “We will fight so you can drive!” suggests that those who have lost their licenses are “victims.” Please give us a break. This seems like it should be an advertisement for a law office not the Secretary of States office. Jesse White has been in office a long time and I believe he is calling her out and she knows he is right. Disgusting!

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-muckrakers/2012/02/elections-2012-the-week-in-review-4/ Elections 2012: The week in review | Chicago Muckrakers

    […] Watkins, compared Collins to corrupt former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. He also said Collins was the "most unethical person in government." This week, Collins countered by threatening to sue, but reportedly backed down. Collins and […]

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-muckrakers/2012/02/black-and-latino-districts-in-chicago-to-see-most-new-faces-in-springfield/ City's black, white and Latino districts will see new faces in Springfield | Chicago Muckrakers

    […] Last week, White called Collins "the most unethical person in government" and said, "You can almost put Blagojevich beside her." […]

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