Rabine — who owns 13 businesses — explained to the outlet that his employees and physical assets were no longer safe operating in Chicago.
“We would do thousands of jobs a year in the city, but as we got robbed more, my people operating rollers and pavers we got robbed, our equipment would get stolen in broad daylight and there would usually be a gun involved, and it got expensive and it got dangerous,” Rabine recounted, adding that security and insurance costs rendered the jobs “twice as much as they should be.”
Rabine’s employees now work in the suburbs of Chicago and in nearby Wisconsin. “What happened eventually is we said enough is enough,” he added.
Rabine, a Republican gubernatorial candidate for Illinois, is by no means the first business leader to leave Chicago in recent weeks. Ken Griffin — the founder of hedge fund Citadel and the richest man in Illinois — announced that he would move his business to Florida. “Chicago will continue to be important to the future of Citadel, as many of our colleagues have deep ties to Illinois,” he wrote in a letter to his employees. “Over the past year, however, many of our Chicago teams have asked to relocate to Miami, New York and our other offices around the world.”
Earlier this year, Griffin expressed concern about worsening crime in Chicago, noting that the city was a “really difficult backdrop” for attracting talent. Under the leadership of Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D), the city of Chicago endured 797 homicides in 2021 — the highest of any other American city.
Rabine reacted to the news by saying he is “confident that Citadel was losing people.”
“If you want a great culture in your company you have to have people that love being on the team and they don’t want to live in a violent area,” he told Fox. “They don’t want to live in a place where their kids can’t walk to school safely and their wives and kids can’t go shopping in a beautiful environment like Michigan Avenue which was once the safest place you could ever go shopping.”
Citadel — which manages over $51 billion in investment capital — is the third major company to move its headquarters out of Chicago in the past two months. Construction machinery maker Caterpillar and airplane manufacturer Boeing are respectively moving to Irving, Texas, and Arlington, Virginia.
“We believe it’s in the best strategic interest of the company to make this move, which supports Caterpillar’s strategy for profitable growth as we help our customers build a better, more sustainable world,” Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby said in a statement.
Nevertheless, the office of Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) — with whom Griffin has feuded — said that “countless companies” are still opting to stay.
“We will continue to welcome those businesses — including Kellogg, which just 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, like data centers, electric vehicles and quantum computing,” Pritzker spokeswoman Emily Bittner said.