'Madigan Enterprise': 106-page indictment describes Madigan's decade-long criminal conspiracy

Once known as the most powerful politician in the Illinois State Capitol, former House Speaker Michael J. Madigan was indicted on 22 counts Wednesday. 

Federal prosecutors demand that Madigan and a co-defendant forfeit nearly $3 million in ill-gotten gains.

"The charges allege Madigan used his various elected and professional positions to further the goals of the criminal enterprise," said John Lausch, United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. 

He spoke at a news conference announcing the charges. 

They include bribery, racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. 

Madigan will mark his 80th birthday next month.

The grand jury's 106-page indictment describes a decade-long criminal conspiracy. 

They called it the "Madigan Enterprise." 

MORE: Mike Madigan steps down from role as chairman of Illinois Democratic Party

Prosecutors said it was built on Mike Madigan's power as House Speaker, state representative, Illinois Democratic Party chairman and 13th ward democratic committeeman.

They claim it funneled business to his multi-million dollar law practice that cut property taxes for wealthy clients.

Madigan once told FOX 32 Chicago that his law firm sometimes paid him more than a million dollars a year.

It appears investigators secretly recorded some of Madigan's conversations with Danny Solis, a corrupt former alderman who became a federal informant.  

Solis allegedly told Madigan he had successfully bullied a building owner into hiring Madigan's law firm. 


"I think they understand how this works, you know, the quid pro quo, the quid pro quo," Solis is quoted saying; to which Madigan replied, "Okay. . . .very good." 

The indictment claims Madigan later scolded Solis, telling him not to use the words "quid pro quo," a legal term associated with bribery.

RELATED: Madigan's former chief of staff Tim Mapes pleads not guilty to perjury

Lausch declined to confirm specifically that Madigan was secretly recorded, but he said, "That's the core of our evidence in this case. It's the words that are spoken by people. It's the things that show up on documents… (and) emails."

"There's no better evidence to present to a jury than a defendant's own words in their own voice," said Ross Rice, a former special agent in charge of the FBI's Chicago Office.

Madigan is currently scheduled to be arraigned on March 9. 

He may enter a plea at that court appearance on the 22-count indictment.