Kitchen United Names Michael Montagano CEO as Jim Collins Departs

Kitchen United, a ghost kitchen industry leader, announced the appointment of Michael Montagano as Chief Executive Officer and newest member of the company’s Board of Directors following two years serving as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer. Additionally, Joy Lai has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer from her previous position as Chief Marketing Officer.

“Over the past three years, we have built a solid foundation on which to grow. I am proud of what we accomplished in my years at Kitchen United, and can say without a doubt the Kitchen United team is the best that I’ve had the privilege to serve alongside. I know they will continue to achieve great success in the years ahead,” says former CEO Jim Collins, who departed the company to focus on personal endeavors.

“Michael is well positioned to continue to build upon Kitchen United’s industry leadership and help restaurant partners achieve optimal success,” adds David Krane, CEO and Managing Partner at GV. “He has been instrumental in growing the business and charting the course for the future, making him the ideal leader to advance the company into its next chapter of growth. Together with Joy, who has a deep understanding of consumer adoption and scaling businesses, we are confident the Kitchen United leadership team will achieve long-term success.”

Montagano joined Kitchen United as CFO in 2018, as an experienced executive with a proven track record of building and scaling venture-backed companies. He led capital formation initiatives for the company securing institutional financing partners including GV, Fidelity Investments, and G Squared, as well as strategic partners, RXR Realty, DivcoWest and Rich’s Food Products. Prior to Kitchen United, Montagano helped shepherd PowerFlex Systems from seed-stage to acquisition by a Fortune Global 100, Electricite de France (ENXTPA:EDF). He currently sits on the Board of Directors for Dog Haus World-Wide, one of the country’s fastest-growing national restaurant chains.

Montagano grew up in a restaurant family anchored by an Italian restaurant and neighborhood butchery founded by his grandparents. He received his MBA from University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and his JD from Indiana University’s McKinney School of Law.

“I look forward to working closely with our exceptional senior leadership team and our entire board of directors,” Montagano says. “We believe strongly in the Company’s growth potential as we sharpen our focus on serving our clients and creating value for our stakeholders.”

In her new role as Chief Operating Officer, Lai oversees sales, marketing and operations at Kitchen United. She joined Kitchen United in 2019 bringing nearly two decades of experience driving growth for Enterprises and SMBs, including launching/scaling products, partnerships, and optimizing omni-channel strategies. She previously held strategic leadership roles at Internet Brands, The Wonderful Company and Bain & Company. Lai received a BS from the University of California, Berkeley, and a MS from Stanford University.

“Our team has built a burgeoning business by marrying deep experience in the industry with a passion for growing off-premise business for restaurant operators,” says Lai. “I look forward to

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Kitchen United Appoints Michael Montagano Chief Executive Officer, Promotes Joy Lai to Chief Operating Officer

Kitchen United a ghost kitchen industry leader, announced today the appointment of Michael Montagano as Chief Executive Officer and newest member of the Company’s Board of Directors following two years serving as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer. Additionally, Joy Lai has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer from her previous position as Chief Marketing Officer.

“Over the past three years, we have built a solid foundation on which to grow. I am proud of what we accomplished in my years at Kitchen United, and can say without a doubt the Kitchen United team is the best that I’ve had the privilege to serve alongside. I know they will continue to achieve great success in the years ahead,” said former CEO Jim Collins who departed the company to focus on personal endeavors.

“Michael is well positioned to continue to build upon Kitchen United’s industry leadership and help restaurant partners achieve optimal success,” said David Krane, CEO and Managing Partner at GV. “He has been instrumental in growing the business and charting the course for the future, making him the ideal leader to advance the company into its next chapter of growth. Together with Joy, who has a deep understanding of consumer adoption and scaling businesses, we are confident the Kitchen United leadership team will achieve long-term success.”

Mr. Montagano joined Kitchen United as CFO in 2018, as an experienced executive with a proven track record of building and scaling venture-backed companies. He led capital formation initiatives for the company securing institutional financing partners including GV, Fidelity Investments, and G Squared, as well as strategic partners, RXR Realty, DivcoWest and Rich’s Food Products. Prior to Kitchen United, Mr. Montagano helped shepherd PowerFlex Systems from seed-stage to acquisition by a Fortune Global 100, Electricite de France (ENXTPA:EDF). He currently sits on the Board of Directors for Dog Haus World-Wide, one of the country’s fastest-growing national restaurant chains.

Mr. Montagano grew up in a restaurant family anchored by an Italian restaurant and neighborhood butchery founded by his grandparents. He received his MBA from University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and his JD from Indiana University’s McKinney School of Law.

“I look forward to working closely with our exceptional senior leadership team and our entire board of directors,” Mr. Montagano said. “We believe strongly in the Company’s growth potential as we sharpen our focus on serving our clients and creating value for our stakeholders.”

In her new role as Chief Operating Officer, Ms. Lai oversees sales, marketing and operations at Kitchen United. She joined Kitchen United in 2019 bringing nearly two decades of experience driving growth for Enterprises and SMBs, including launching/scaling products, partnerships, and optimizing omni-channel strategies. She previously held strategic leadership roles at Internet Brands, The Wonderful Company and Bain & Company. Ms. Lai received a BS from the University of California, Berkeley, and a MS from Stanford University.

“Our team has built a burgeoning business by marrying deep experience in the industry with a passion for growing off-premise business

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Former GOP chair Michael Steele calls Trump ‘the superspreader’ in the White House

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele referred to President TrumpDonald John TrumpState Department revokes visa of Giuliani-linked Ukrainian ally: report White House Gift Shop selling ‘Trump Defeats COVID’ commemorative coin Biden says he should not have called Trump a clown in first debate MORE as a “superspreader” on Tuesday as a growing number of White House officials test positive for the coronavirus.

Steele knocked Trump after footage emerged online showing the president taking off his mask after returning to the White House on Monday, despite his positive COVID-19 diagnosis several days earlier. Trump spent the weekend at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center getting treatment for the disease.

At the time, Trump appeared to be posing for photos on a balcony at the White House. Not long after, the president could be seen leaving to enter the building without his mask on.

“He takes his mask off in contravention of everything we know. He is the superspreader. He is the problem in the White House, and everyone wants to tiptoe around it,” Steele said on MSNBC, where he serves as a political analyst.

“People are getting sick. We don’t know how and to what degree they will be sick over the next few weeks, and yet he’s standing there, thumbs up, like, you know, ‘I got a cold’ and ‘I got the sniffles,’” he said.

Trump drew widespread criticism on Monday after urging Americans not to “be afraid” of the disease, which has infected more than 7 million people in the country and has been linked to more than 210,000 deaths.

“Don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it. You’re going to beat it. We have the best medical equipment. We have the best medicines, all developed recently,” the president said in a video, in which he did not wear a mask.

“Don’t let it dominate. Don’t let it take over your lives. Don’t let that happen,” Trump went on, adding that he felt “better than 20 years ago.” 

During Trump’s time being hospitalized over the weekend, White House physician Sean Conley said the president was administered supplemental oxygen on Friday. At the time, Conley said Trump had developed a high fever and that his oxygen saturation had “transiently” dipped below 94 percent.

White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsOvernight Defense: Trump says he’s leaving Walter Reed, ‘feeling really good’ after COVID-19 treatment | White House coronavirus outbreak grows | Dems expand probe into Pompeo speeches Trump’s physician declines to provide key information on his health Trump says he’s leaving Walter Reed Monday evening MORE also said at one point that the president’s blood oxygen level “dropped rapidly” on Friday before he began showing signs of improvement later during the weekend. 

The president’s COVID-19 diagnosis comes as several White House aides and officials have tested positive for the disease over the past week.

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Democratic chair of House committee investigating Speaker Michael Madigan accuses GOP of ‘wearing two hats,’ says no more meetings until after election

Accusing his Republican counterparts of engaging in “political theater” ahead of the Nov. 3 election, the Democratic chairman of a special Illinois House committee investigating the conduct of longtime Speaker Michael Madigan said Tuesday that the panel won’t meet again until the polls close.



Emanuel Chris Welch et al. looking at a laptop: State Rep. Emanuel "Chris" Welch addresses issues concerning seclusion in Chicago Public Schools during a meeting of the Illinois State Board of Education at the Thompson Center in Chicago, Nov. 22, 2019.


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State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch addresses issues concerning seclusion in Chicago Public Schools during a meeting of the Illinois State Board of Education at the Thompson Center in Chicago, Nov. 22, 2019.

State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch of Hillside said in a statement that the three GOP lawmakers on the special investigating committee, formed in response to a petition from House Republican leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs, “are wearing two hats.”

“While sitting on a committee that is charged with conducting an impartial investigation based on the petition filed by Leader Durkin, the Republican members of this committee are also engaged in competitive political campaigns in which they have chosen to campaign almost exclusively against the speaker,” Welch said.

Welch took issue in particular with two committee members, Reps. Grant Wehrli of Naperville and Deanne Mazzochi of Elmhurst, participating in a campaign news conference on Monday, “effectively confirming their assumption of guilt and chiding Democratic opponents for not jumping to the same conclusion.”

Wehrli and Mazzochi are both engaged in competitive reelection battles against Democratic challengers who have received sizable campaign contributions from funds tied to Madigan, who also chairs the state Democratic Party.

Republicans have accused Welch of acting in defense of Madigan by blocking a vote last week to issue subpoenas to compel testimony from the powerful Southwest Side Democrat and other witnesses.

Earlier Tuesday, the leading Republican on the committee, Rep. Tom Demmer of Dixon, accused Welch of trying to slow-walk the investigating by requesting “a data dump” from Commonwealth Edison, which is at the center of the investigation

Durkin petitioned for the creation of the rarely used special investigating committee after ComEd in July admitted in a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office that it engaged in a yearslong bribery scheme aimed at currying favor with Madigan.

The only witness to testify before the committee to date, an executive with ComEd parent Exelon, confirmed that, among other actions, the utility paid Madigan associates through third-party companies despite the fact that they did little or no work.

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The committee is tasked with determining whether Madigan should be charged with engaging in “conduct unbecoming to a legislator” and face potential discipline.

While Republicans on the committee sought documents from ComEd pertaining to its communications with Madigan and close associate, Welch has requested a decade’s worth of documents detailing the company’s dealings with the administration of Gov. J.B. Pritzker and his two predecessors and the with current and former leaders of all four caucuses of the General Assembly.



Emanuel Chris Welch wearing a suit and tie: State Rep. Emanuel "Chris" Welch addresses the issues concerning seclusion in Chicago Public Schools at the Thompson Center in Chicago on Nov. 22, 2019.


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State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch

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State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit to challenge House Speaker Michael Madigan for leadership post he’s held for decades

Four-term Democratic state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego said Thursday she will challenge longtime Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan for leadership of the chamber when the new General Assembly is seated in January.

Kifowit is one of a handful of House Democrats who have called for Madigan’s resignation since federal prosecutors unveiled a deferred prosecution agreement with Commonwealth Edison in July in which the state’s largest utility admitted to a yearslong bribery scheme aimed at currying favor with the powerful speaker.

A Marine Corps veteran, Kifowit has been in the House since 2013 and is running for reelection unopposed in the November.

Kifowit said in a statement that she called for Madigan to resign “for compromising the integrity of the office and undermining public trust.”

“The response from Michael Madigan was to double down and has remained that way,” Kifowit said. “It is clear to me that he doesn’t hold the same values that I do and falls short of what the public expects from an elected official.”

Kifowit’s decision to challenge Madigan a month before the election puts vulnerable House Democrats and Democratic candidates, particularly in the suburbs, into an even more awkward position leading up to the election—whether to back Madigan or her or someone else.

It is a question many were hoping to wait out until after the election despite repeated attacks by Republicans on the issue. But her run provides new fuel to the issue.

There are also questions about the extent of support for her candidacy. Madigan still holds the power and controls the purse strings in the Democratic caucus and has made loyalty paramount during his decades long tenure as speaker.

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Madigan has not been charged in connection with the ComEd probe and has denied any wrongdoing.

At the request of House Republican leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs, a special House committee is investigating whether Madigan engaged in “conduct unbecoming to a legislator.” The committee heard testimony from an executive with ComEd parent Exelon this week, but Madigan and other witnesses have declined the invitation to testify.

Madigan has been speaker since 1983, with the exception of two years in the 1990s when Republicans took control of the House. House Democrats have been nearly unanimous in voting for him to remain speaker, with only a few dissents. Most recently, Rep. Anne Stava-Murray of Naperville voted “present” in 2019, as did then-Rep. Scott Drury of Highwood in 2017.

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House Speaker Michael Madigan says it’s not ‘ethically improper’ to find government jobs for people. Here’s what he’s failing to mention.

For years, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has defended his aggressive push to land political allies and their friends and family on taxpayer-funded payrolls, but rarely has he waxed as philosophically about it as he did last week in a three-page letter.



Michael Madigan wearing a suit and tie: Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan (D) 22nd District talks with House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R) 82nd District before a debate at Illinois House to vote on a bill raising statewide minimum wage during session at the State Capitol in Springfield on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.


© Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan (D) 22nd District talks with House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R) 82nd District before a debate at Illinois House to vote on a bill raising statewide minimum wage during session at the State Capitol in Springfield on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.



Michael Madigan standing in front of a door: Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan (D) 22nd District watches as Illinois House votes on a bill raising statewide minimum wage during session at the State Capitol in Springfield on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.


© Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan (D) 22nd District watches as Illinois House votes on a bill raising statewide minimum wage during session at the State Capitol in Springfield on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.

Facing intense pressure from a federal investigation into ComEd’s bribes-for-favors scandal and an invitation from a House corruption committee to tell the public what he knows, Madigan’s missive broke two months of near silence. The powerful speaker loudly proclaimed his innocence and tried to reframe his penchant for patronage hiring as a virtue.

Not only is “helping people find jobs not a crime,” Madigan wrote, it’s not even “ethically improper” for politicians to make job recommendations.

“To the contrary, I believe that it is part of my duties as a community and political leader to help good people find work — from potential executives to college interns, and more,” wrote the 78-year-old Illinois Democratic Party chairman, alluding to some of the very jobs that prosecutors brought up in charging ComEd with crimes. “What an employer chooses to do with that recommendation rests solely with their discretion.”

What Madigan didn’t mention when discussing the numerous jobs he’s secured for people during more than 50 years in politics is how that practice has benefited him and what it’s cost taxpayers and electricity ratepayers.

The Tribune has spent the last decade chronicling how it works: Patronage jobs are the lifeblood of Madigan’s political organization. And the people Madigan recommends be hired often serve as foot soldiers on the campaigns for the very legislative seats that allow the speaker to stay in power. In turn, that control of the House is key to helping Madigan bring in clients at his law firm, which handles high-dollar property tax appeals on some of Chicago’s biggest buildings.

Starting in 2010, the Tribune published the “The Madigan Rules,” a first-of-its-kind, yearslong investigation that exposed how the speaker built his political empire and law practice, revealing how those two careers repeatedly intersected. The report found that in some cases Madigan took public actions that benefited his private clients, though the speaker said his “personal code of conduct” ensured he maintained “high ethical standards.”



Michael Madigan sitting at a table using a laptop: House Speaker Michael Madigan listens to a debate on the House floor in 2019.


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House Speaker Michael Madigan listens to a debate on the House floor in 2019.

In 2013, the legislature’s watchdog investigated Madigan’s role in a Metra scandal after the commuter

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Illinois House committee investigating Speaker Michael Madigan set to hear testimony from Exelon executive

An executive from Commonwealth Edison parent company Exelon is set to testify Tuesday before a special Illinois House committee investigating Speaker Michael Madigan in connection with a bribery case involving the utility.



a man sitting at a desk looking at a laptop: David Glockner, Exelon s executive vice president for compliance and audit, answers questions at a meeting with the Illinois Commerce Commission in Chicago on July 29, 2020. nn


© Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
David Glockner, Exelon s executive vice president for compliance and audit, answers questions at a meeting with the Illinois Commerce Commission in Chicago on July 29, 2020. nn

The six-member special investigating committee, formed this summer after federal prosecutors alleged ComEd engaged in a “yearslong bribery scheme” aimed at currying favor with Madigan, has become a partisan flash point ahead of the November election.

The panel was formed at the request of House Republican leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs to determine whether Madigan engaged in “conduct unbecoming to a legislator” and should face potential discipline. The speaker and the panel’s Democratic chairman, state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch of Hillside, have accused the GOP of political posturing. Republicans accuse Democrats of acting in defense of Madigan, who has not been charged and has denied wrongdoing.

Madigan was one of several witnesses the committee’s three Republicans asked to testify, but all declined the invitation, with the exception of ComEd. Set to testify on the utility’s behalf on Tuesday is David Glockner, Exelon’s executive vice president for compliance and audit.

The six-member panel could subpoena witnesses, but that would require one of three Democrats to vote with the three Republicans to compel testimony. One Democrat also would have to side with Republicans for the special committee to approve a charge against Madigan.

As part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office announced earlier this summer, ComEd agreed to pay a $200 million fine and cooperate with investigators after federal prosecutors alleged in July that the utility offered jobs, contracts and payments to Madigan allies in the hopes of winning support for favorable legislation.

The agreement with federal prosecutors focuses specifically on two major pieces of energy legislation approved in the legislature in the past decade: the 2011 Energy Infrastructure and Modernization Act and the 2016 Future Energy Jobs Act, both of which resulted in major benefits for the state’s largest utility.

In a letter Friday declining the invitation to testify, Madigan argued that “House Democrats won significant concessions, much to the chagrin of ComEd and Exelon, likely costing the companies millions of dollars in profits.”

Seeking to turn the tables on Durkin, Madigan noted the key role the House GOP leader and then-Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner played in negotiating the 2016 legislation, which opponents characterized as a bailout for two Exelon nuclear power plants.

“If Rep. Durkin were to put aside his current political agenda and speak honestly about his experiences with this energy legislation in which he was personally involved, I am certain he would attest that the process of negotiating that bill was bipartisan and his input was likely more valuable than mine,” Madigan wrote.

Following Madigan’s cue, Welch said in a statement Monday that he

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Two former Illinois governors, now out of prison, have advice for House Speaker Michael Madigan

Two former Illinois governors who served time in federal prison have some unsolicited advice for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.



George Ryan standing in front of a building


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Former Gov. George Ryan, who served prison time for federal corruption charges, was the Speaker of the House before Madigan was elected speaker in 1983.

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“I always got along with Mike and we worked together pretty much to get things done for the state and we worked together when I was speaker and when I was governor,” Ryan said in an interview. “Mike’s got his hands full, I think.”

Ryan, a Republican, is doing interviews promoting his book, “Until I Could Be Sure,” which focuses on his steps to stop the death penalty in Illinois in 1999 before being convicted and sentenced to prison for corruption in 2006.

The 86-year-old Ryan had a message for the 78-year-old Madigan about being in the scope of federal investigators.

“You know when the FBI puts their ‘x’ on you that they’re going to prosecute you, they’re only about 92 percent effective,” Ryan said. “They’re probably the most effective agency in government.”

“That’s always the best advice, be open and above board about everything,” Ryan said.

In late July on his podcast for WLS radio, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Madigan should be honest.

“If you’re not going to fight back and deny this stuff and tell the people who look to you as a major public official that not only did you not doing anything wrong but ‘I’m going to take the questions and answer specific allegations and I’ve got nothing to hide,’ unless you do that then you’re telling me you’re guilty,” Blagojevich said.

Blagojevich, a Democrat who calls himself a “Trumpocrat,” maintains his innocence of federal corruption charges despite serving years in prison, only to have his sentence commuted by President Donald Trump earlier this year.

The Speaker needs to come clean with the people of Illinois, Blagojevich said.

“We don’t have a government of the people, by the people and for the people,” Blagojevich said. “It is instead government of Mike Madigan, by Mike Madigan and for Mike Madigan.”

Madigan Friday declined to voluntarily testify in front of a House committee. Tuesday’s House hearing in Springfield won’t have any witnesses, according to chairman state Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside. It’s unclear if the committee will move to subpoena Madigan to testify, Madigan said Friday that he won’t appear before the committee.

Tags: States, News, Illinois, Death Penalty, Rod Blagojevich

Original Author: Greg Bishop, The Center Square

Original Location: Two former Illinois governors, now out of prison, have advice for House Speaker Michael Madigan

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Special legislative committee begins rarely used disciplinary proceeding to look into conduct of House Speaker Michael Madigan

The Illinois House kicked off a rarely used disciplinary process Thursday to probe the conduct of Speaker Michael Madigan in light of allegations that Commonwealth Edison undertook a bribery scheme to gain his favor, with Republicans seeking to hear testimony from the powerful Democrat and former utility executives and lobbyists.

House Republican leader Jim Durkin, who petitioned for the probe, asked the six-member panel to decide whether to authorize a charge against Madigan for engaging “in conduct unbecoming to a legislator, or which constitutes a breach of public trust… including engaging in a bribery scheme and extortion scheme, conspiracy to violate federal and state laws, among other misconduct and misuse of the office.”

ComEd this summer agreed to pay a $200 million fine as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors who alleged the utility engaged in a “yearslong bribery scheme” by offering jobs and other inducements to allies of Madigan.

Madigan, the nation’s longest serving speaker and the chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party, has not been charged and has denied wrongdoing.

The special committee is made up of three Democrats and three Republicans, and partisan differences were quickly felt.

Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, a Democrat from Hillside who chairs the committee, said the panel’s first task is to reach out to the U.S. attorney’s office to ensure the legislative committee’s effort doesn’t interfere with ongoing federal probe.

Durkin’s petition to form the committee invoked the House’s rarely used Rule 91, which was most recently triggered last year after then-Democratic state Rep. Luis Arroyo was charged with one count of federal program bribery. Arroyo resigned before that special investigating committee held its first meeting.

In 2012, the process advanced much further in the case of then-state Rep. Derrick Smith. The full House voted overwhelmingly to oust him from his seat after he was indicted on charges he accepted a $7,000 bribe.

That process, which started with a special investigating committee, should set the precedent for the present panel’s work, Welch said.

“We have very little precedent to go by. I have studied the Derrick Smith transcripts all weekend long and we’re going to follow precedent. And we have to make sure we contact the U.S. attorney’s office and get a response before this committee can do any work further,” Welch said.

Rep. Deanne Mazzochi, a Republican from Elmhurst, suggested Welch’s proposal was an effort to bring the proceedings to a halt, and that there’s a “whole host of work” the committee can do independently of the U.S. attorney’s office.

“No one said anything about halting the work of the committee, but we are going to reach out to the U.S. attorney’s office and make contact first,” Welch said. “There will be nothing further until then.”

A majority vote of the committee is needed to authorize a charge against Madigan, meaning it would require the support of at least one Democrat. If a majority was achieved in favor of charges, a 12-member disciplinary panel would decide whether

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Michael Cohen knocks Trump amid house arrest: He’d ‘start a war’ to stay in office

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDHS to label white supremacists as the ‘most persistent and lethal threat’ to the US: report Buttigieg slams Trump over comments on fallen soldiers: ‘He must think we’re all suckers’ White House tells federal agencies to cancel ‘divisive’ racial sensitivity training: report MORE’s former lawyer Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenBiden cannot keep letting Trump set the agenda Conspicuous by their absence from the Republican Convention University of Pennsylvania professor wants to investigate claim Trump faked admission exam MORE said he believes Trump will “do anything and everything” to win reelection and “even go so far as to start a war” to remain in the White House.

Cohen was asked by NBC News’s Lester Holt in an interview excerpt released Friday whether he thought his former boss will win a second term in November.

“Donald Trump will do anything and everything within which to win. And I believe that includes manipulating the ballots,” Cohen responded. 

“I believe that he would even go so far as to start a war in order to prevent himself from being removed from office,” Cohen continued. “My biggest fear is that there will not be a peaceful transition of power in 2020.”

Cohen served as Trump’s personal lawyer and self-described fixer for several years.

His tell-all memoir, titled “Disloyal: The True Story of Michael Cohen, Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump,” is set to be released next week. According to a recently released excerpt, Cohen accuses the president of fraud and corruption in the book. 

The White House labeled the book as “fan fiction” in a statement released last month.

“He readily admits to lying routinely but expects people to believe him now so that he can make money from book sales,” White House spokesman Brian Morgenstern said in the statement. “It’s unfortunate that the media is exploiting this sad and desperate man to attack President Trump.”

Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations in 2018 and turned on Trump amid his legal ordeal, testifying before Congress and accusing the president of ordering him to make payments to two women who claimed they had affairs with Trump.

The former Trump lawyer was released to home confinement in May due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic but was suddenly sent back to prison on July 9 due to a dispute with corrections officials over the terms of his release.

With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, Cohen sued for his release from prison last month, arguing that the government was retaliating against him for planning to publish his book. 

His lawyer said last month that Cohen has been offered a job at an unspecified political action committee to

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