Illinois’ richest man is threatening to take his business elsewhere if Chicago doesn’t improve its handling of crime, despite his company’s recent investments in guns and ammunition companies.
Billionaire Ken Griffin, who founded Citadel and Citadel Securities, expressed concern about the direction the city is heading in an interview with Bloomberg News.
“We’re getting to the point that if things don’t change, we’re gone,” Griffin told Bloomberg. “Things aren’t changing.”
Citadel is headquartered in The Loop on South Dearborn Street and employs 530 in Chicago out of 2,700 total employees. The Citadel Securities unit has about 540 employees in Chicago out of 1,300 total employees, according to the firm.
Zia Ahmed, a spokesperson for Griffin, told Bloomberg that no formal decision has been made.
It isn’t Griffin’s first time suggesting that he would relocate the business because of frustrations with leadership of both the city and the state.
His latest remarks on violence in Chicago come as his firm increases its investments in weapons. Just Wednesday, WBEZ reported that Citadel expanded its holdings in gun and ammunition stocks this spring. Citadel and Citadel Securities increased the value of their gun and ammunition manufacturing holdings by 62 percent during the first quarter of this year.
Griffin has long criticized Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who is currently seeking a second term. Griffin, who is worth just under $30 billion, has donated millions of dollars to Illinois’ Republican gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin, who is running against Pritzker.
“One out of every four guns recovered from city homicides in the past five years came off the assembly lines of companies in which Griffin’s Citadel held shares––and when faced with that information Griffin doubled down,’’ Pritzker spokeswoman Natalie Edelstein said to WBEZ.
Earlier in May, Griffin pledged $25 million to finance a University of Chicago Crime Lab’s program on policing.
Griffin’s comments come on the heels of an announcement from Boeing that they will be departing the Windy City for the Washington area. Citadel’s departure would be a devastating blow to the city’s business community and its office market, which has been slow to recover since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Crime is up in Chicago, according to data from the Chicago Police Department. Shootings rose 9 percent and theft rose 21 percent between 2020 and 2021.
[Bloomberg] — Miranda Davis