Illinois’s richest resident, hedge-fund CEO Ken Griffin, announced on Thursday that he—and his company, Citadel—are packing up shop and heading to Miami, citing a better corporate environment and rising crime rates in Chicago.
The move, which Griffin announced in a letter to employees, will deprive Democrat-run Illinois of hundreds of millions of dollars in annual income tax revenue, a company spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon.
Griffin alone—who is worth approximately $25 billion—pays over $200 million in state income taxes every year, the spokesman said, and Citadel employees have themselves funneled over $1 billion to the state over the past decade.
Citadel is the third major corporation to announce plans to leave Illinois in the past two months. Caterpillar said earlier this month that it would move its headquarters from Illinois. The announcement followed Boeing’s decision in May to move its headquarters to Washington, D.C., from downtown Chicago.
Griffin’s announcement comes as Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, faces reelection in November. Pritzker and Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, also a Democrat, are grappling with a spike in violent crime. Murders in the city were up 60 percent in 2021 relative to two years prior, while shootings were up 66 percent and car theft was up 19 percent over the same time period, according to statistics compiled by the Chicago Police Department.
Griffin has spoken publicly about the rising crime rate and its impact on his colleagues. “If people aren’t safe here, they’re not going to live here,” he told the Wall Street Journal in April. “I’ve had multiple colleagues mugged at gunpoint. I’ve had a colleague stabbed on the way to work. Countless issues of burglary. I mean, that’s a really difficult backdrop with which to draw talent to your city from.”
Pritzker spokeswoman Emily Bittner told the Free Beacon that “countless companies are choosing Illinois as their home, as we continue to lead the nation in corporate relocations and had a record number of business start-ups in the past year.” Bittner pointed to Kellogg, which announced this week that it would move its corporate headquarters to Chicago.
A top donor to Republican candidates and causes whose giving has ramped up dramatically over the past decade, Griffin has announced plans to spend approximately $40 million in the upcoming midterm elections. His move back to Florida—he was born in Daytona Beach—is also a boon to state governor and GOP star Ron DeSantis, who has welcomed an influx of high-income earners and companies thanks in part to fact that the state has no income tax.
In his letter to colleagues on Thursday, Griffin said that he has already relocated his family to Miami, which he described as a “vibrant, growing metropolis that embodies the American Dream,” and that he looks forward to “rapidly expanding Citadel in a city so rich in diversity and abounding with energy.” Many Citadel employees, he said, had asked over the past year to relocate away from Chicago—”to Miami, New York, and our other offices around the world.”
Citadel is one of several major hedge funds that have announced plans to relocate to Florida over the past two years, including Melvin Capital Management and D1 Capital Partners.
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