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Tom Cullerton

Illinois State Sen. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park, center, addresses a committee hearing Tuesday, May 1, 2018, at the Illinois state Capitol in Springfield, Ill. Cullerton resigned Wednesday as his attorney told a federal judge that Cullerton intended to plead guilty to federal charges.

John O’Connor

State Sen. Tom Cullerton resigns, intends to plead guilty in Teamsters ‘scheme’

State Sen. Tom Cullerton resigned from his seat Wednesday morning as his defense attorney told a federal judge that the west suburban Democrat intends to plead guilty to charges stemming from his federal criminal case.

“This document shall serve as my letter of resignation as an Illinois State Senator,” Cullerton’s brief, two-sentence resignation letter read. “I, Thomas Cullerton, do hereby resign the office of State Senator, 23rd Legislative District, effective February 23rd, 2022.”

Federal prosecutors charged Cullerton, a Democrat from Villa Park, in 2019 for taking more than $274,000 in payments and benefits while on the Teamsters Joint Council 25 payroll, alleging he did little to no work while on the job. He was charged with 41 counts of embezzlement and conspiracy.

Judge Robert Gettleman set Cullerton’s change of plea hearing for March 8.

Cullerton has represented the 23rd Senate District since 2013. Among his legislative accomplishments, Cullerton led the legislature’s response to former Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration’s handling of multiple deadly outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease at Quincy Veterans’ Home.

Democratic Senate President Don Harmon acknowledged Cullerton’s near-decade in office in his own brief statement.

“I look forward to welcoming and working with a new senator from the district,” Harmon said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do for the people of Illinois.”

Caroline Kubzansky covers Springfield for WBEZ through the UIS Public Affairs Reporting Program. Follow her @CKubzansky.

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