Illinois’ richest man leaves the state and takes his billion-dollar hedge firm to Florida amid rising crime in the Windy City.
In a memo to employees, Ken Griffin announced that he and his family are moving to Miami, Florida — and said the headquarters of his Citadel hedge fund and his trading firm Citadel Securities will move with him.
“Chicago will remain important to the future of the Citadel as many of our colleagues have deep ties to Illinois,” he wrote in the memo, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“However, over the past year, many of our teams in Chicago have asked to relocate to Miami, New York and other offices around the world.”
He went on to call Chicago a “remarkable home” for Citadel, praising past support from political and business leaders.
But in the past, 53-year-old Griffin has spoken out against Chicago’s growing crime problem as violent crime has risen a whopping 34 percent from last year.
In April, he even suggested that he consider leaving the Windy City because the crime problem makes it difficult to attract talent.
Griffin didn’t mention the city’s rising crime rate in his memo, but top executives say it’s likely a major reason he decided to move the company, although they also note that Florida has no income taxes, giving Griffin his wealth even more.
Ken Griffin, 53, the richest person in Illinois, announced Thursday that he is moving his family and the headquarters of his hedge fund to Miami.
The move of Citadel’s headquarters (pictured) is expected to deal a major blow to the city’s economy after it already lost the headquarters of Boeing and Caterpillar
Instead, Griffin just called Miami a “vibrant, growing metropolis that embodies the American Dream.” †
He said the company’s new Brickell Bay location will be in the heart of the city’s business district.
The company has been present in Miami since March 2020, when employees there started working from a high-end at the start of the pandemic.
But Griffin has now hired Chicago-based developer Sterling Bay to build a new headquarters, and in the meantime, he said in the memo, Citadel will lease space in Miami until the building is complete.
The move is expected to take several years – as the companies have more than 1,000 employees in Chicago.
It will deal a significant blow to the state’s tax collection efforts, as Griffin has a net worth of approximately $25 billion and is among the top 50 richest people in the world according to the Wall Street Journal, coming on the heels of the Chicago region losing the headquarters of Boeing and Caterpillar.
And while he doesn’t mention it in his memo, the Journal reports, top executives believe the city’s rising crime rate may be a factor — though they also note that Florida has no income taxes, which would keep Griffin more of his earnings.
Crime in Chicago is up 34 percent this year, thefts 66 percent and robberies 21 percent compared to last year
Griffin has been a staple of the Windy City for years.
He founded the Citadel Fund in Chicago in 1990, and it has become one of the most successful alternative investment vehicles for wealthy people and institutions in the world.
Citadel is now one of the most successful hedge fund companies, managing $51 billion in assets and consistently outperforming competitors. In fact, the company has continued to perform well even as the economy slumped, with executives recently reporting assets up 13 percent.
In 2002, Griffin founded Citadel Securities, which has become the largest market maker in the world. In January, it was valued at $22 billion.
Griffin has since donated about $500 million to local causes and plans to give more.
He has paid for the construction of 50 miniature soccer fields in the city and made it possible to separate cyclists and runners along the Lakefront Trail, according to the Sun-Times, and he supported food programs during the pandemic.
The local Museum of Science and Industry has even said it will name itself after Griffith after he donated $125 million, but the museum has not yet done so, according to the Sun-Times.
Griffin has been a staple of the Windy City for years, after founding the Citadel Fund in Chicago in 1990. He’s since spent about $500 million on local causes, and the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago said it’s self-supporting. would call him. he donated $125 million
Griffin has donated $50 million to Republican gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin (pictured in 2020) campaign, which has called on the governor for a soft-on-crime policy
But recently, Griffin has spoken out about Chicago’s growing crime problem, even hinting to the Journal in April that he was considering leaving the city.
“If people aren’t safe here, they’re not going to live here,” he said at the time. ‘I had several colleagues robbed at gunpoint. I stabbed a colleague on my way to work. Numerous problems of burglary.
“I mean, that’s a very difficult setting to bring talent to your city.”
He added that carjackers once called his security detail but couldn’t get to his vehicle, and Citadel executives have cited crimes near the homes of several employees, while also noting that the Dearborn Street headquarters was destroyed by rioters in 2020. was destroyed.
Crime in the city has increased by 34 percent this year. Theft, burglary and robbery all increased significantly at 65, 31 and 21 percent, respectively.
Griffin has also attacked Illinois governor JB Pritzker for lacking strategy to deal with the crime wave, pouring $50 million into Republican gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin’s campaign, who also criticized the governor for his soft-on. -crime policy.
“We have a governor who wants to handcuff the police, rather than handcuff those who commit crimes, and encourage the very criminals who terrorize neighborhoods,” Irvin said during a campaign blackout last month, vowing to turn back. what he considers “anti-police policies.”
“That means a cash bail for violent criminals, banning anonymous complaints against police officers to ruin their careers, and reinstating felony murder to hold killers accountable,” Irvin said, according to WBBM.
In a statement following Griffin’s announcement, the office of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot appeared to downplay the effect the move would have on the city. Her office said the departure was “disappointing” but claimed the “city’s economic prospects have never been stronger”
In statements following Griffin’s announcement that Citadel is leaving the Windy City for a warmer climate, local and state officials seemed to downplay the company’s loss.
Emily Bittner, a spokeswoman for Gov Pritzker, said in a statement, “Numerous companies are choosing Illinois as their home and we continue to lead the nation in corporate relocations, and had a record number of start-ups in the past year.”
She noted that cereal and snack maker Kellogg has announced that the largest of the three companies it splits into will be located in Chicago.
“We will continue to welcome those companies — including Kellogg, which this week announced it is moving its largest headquarters to Illinois — and support emerging industries that are already creating good jobs and investing billions in Illinois, such as data centers, electric vehicles and quantum computing.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s media agency, meanwhile, said the departure was “disappointing” but claimed the “city’s economic prospects have never been stronger.”
“Citadel’s leadership has been signaling a strengthened presence in Florida for some time, and while this announcement isn’t surprising, it’s still disappointing,” the office said.
“We thank the Citadel team for their contributions to our city and their many philanthropic commitments, especially in the fields of education, arts and culture and public safety.
“We know that Citadel will maintain a significant presence in Chicago, and their story would not be possible without our city’s strengths.”
It added: “Our economic outlook has never been stronger and we will continue to build on a best-in-class recovery in the nation among major US cities.”