Willie Wilson endorses Lori Lightfoot for Chicago mayor

It was a big endorsement for Chicago mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot.

Dr. Willie Wilson, who picked up ten percent of the vote in the primary election last week, threw his support to Lightfoot on Friday.

But Lightfoot's opponent Toni Preckwinkle is accusing Wilson of selling that endorsement.

Multimillionaire philanthropist and former mayoral candidate Dr. Willie Wilson says he endorsed Lightfoot after interviewing both candidates.

"I know it was a thoughtful and deliberative process and I am grateful to be standing here with Dr. Wilson,” Lightfoot said.

But shortly before Wilson’s announcement, Preckwinkle dropped a pre-emptive bomb while getting the endorsement of some African American ministers.

"In the 30 years I have been in public life we've never paid the campaign debts of our opponents,” Preckwinkle said.

Preckwinkle's campaign issued a press release accusing Wilson of demanding Preckwinkle pay off his campaign debt in return for his support, and give Wilson city patronage jobs to fill.

Preckwinkle says she refused the alleged shakedown.

"And I'm not gonna start now,” she said.

"Why do I need anybody to retire my debt?" Wilson responded.

Wilson flatly denies that he asked for money or jobs.

"I got several calls from her asking me to endorse her as late as yesterday. So that don't make sense, right?" Wilson said.

And Lightfoot calls the accusations sour grapes.

"When you don't get what you want you move on. You don't call names and disparage and try to throw mud as we are seeing today. Frankly it's shameful conduct,” Lightfoot said.

Wilson says he also polled his supporters on social media to help him make his endorsement decision, and found more than 80 percent in favor of Lightfoot.