If early media reports are any indication, the divorce of one of Chicago’s richest and most politically potent couples is unlikely to remain a private affair, as both sides are hoping.
Billionaire Ken Griffin, founder and head of Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel Investments, confirmed through the law firm Berger Schatz that he filed for divorce Wednesday from Anne Dias Griffin, his wife of 11 years and founder of the website Reboot Illinois.
Shia Kapos of Crain’s Chicago Business, who broke the news online, predicted that the divorce would be contentious and “sure to draw attention because of the couple’s significant wealth.” Chicago Tribune’s Becky Yerak followed soon after. The Sun-Times stumbled, posting a story attributed to Crain’s more than five hours later.
The breakup is not expected to affect the Chicago-based media enterprise and pet project of Anne Dias Griffin, who runs her own hedge fund, Aragon Global Management.
Along with Lester and Jim Crown, Anne Dias Griffin is the founding investor of Reboot Illinois, billed as a nonpartisan and independent website advocating citizen involvement in government reform. Insiders says she serves as a kind of chair of the board, but does not involve herself in editorial decisions.
Sources said Ken Griffin has never been involved in Reboot Illinois, and publicly opposed one of the group’s key issues — support for Governor Pat Quinn's pension reform bill — in a Tribune op-ed piece.
Ken Griffin recently made headlines by contributing a record $2.5 million to Quinn’s Republican opponent, Bruce Rauner. He previously donated $1 million to Rauner’s campaign.
Jim Kirk, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Sun-Times, once said if he could interview any local figure he’d choose Ken Griffin — in part because of his evolving political power. In 2012 Kirk told Crain’s Chicago Business the billionaire was “influencing politics in much different way using his money to, not only on a national level but on a local level, to try to influence government around the country. It's a model to watch because it's both allowed and it could be scary and interesting.”
Griffin’s hedge fund, the largest in Chicago, has $20 billion in assets under management, according to Crain’s. Forbes has ranked him as the world's 270th wealthiest billionaire, with a personal net worth of $5.2 billion.