Quinn to name former prosecutor Fitzgerald to UI board

Gov. Pat Quinn will name former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, the Tribune has learned.

Fitzgerald will replace first term trustee Lawrence Oliver II, according to a source who was informed of the decision.

The appointment would mark a quick return to the public eye for Fitzgerald, a career prosecutor who left the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago for private law practice in 2012 after a long run that included putting former Govs. George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich behind bars.

Oliver told the Tribune he received a call from Quinn's office Wednesday afternoon with the news that he would not be reappointed. Oliver, who was appointed as a political independent and maintains that affiliation, said he suspects he was not reappointed because he voted in a 2010 Democratic primary.

By law, U. of I. can have no more than five members from any political party, and there are already five Democrats on the board.

Both of the other two board members whose terms expire Monday say they were told they were reappointed to another six-year term. James Montgomery, a Democrat and a Chicago attorney, refused the governor's call to resign during the university scandal over politically connected admissions to the school. Dr. Timothy Koritz, an anesthesiologist at Rockford Memorial Hospital, was appointed by Quinn when he revamped the board in 2009. Koritz, a Republican, was told Wednesday that he would serve a second term.

Quinn’s office is expected to announce the appointments prior to U. of I.'s board meeting next week.

Oliver, chief counsel for investigations at the Boeing Co. who served on Quinn's Illinois Reform Commission, said he was disappointed by the governor's decision. He said he voted in the 2010 Democratic primary to support David Hoffman for U.S. Senate.

U. of I.'s  nine-member board has to be politically balanced, according to state statute. The current board has five Democrats, three Republicans and one Independent.

The U. of I. board is scheduled to meet next Thursday, at which time it will take its annual vote on a chairman and other officers of the board.

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