The richest person in Illinois announced Thursday he’s moving his hedge fund firm’s headquarters from Chicago to Miami, Florida, coming as he said that crime in the Windy City is far too high.
“Chicago will continue to be important to the future of Citadel, as many of our colleagues have deep ties to Illinois,” billionaire Ken Griffin wrote in a note Thursday to Citadel’s 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.”
“I am excited to share with you that Citadel is moving its global headquarters to Miami,” the letter read, according to several media reports. “Miami is a vibrant, growing metropolis that embodies the American Dream. I am excited to have recently moved to Miami with my family and look forward to rapidly expanding Citadel in a city so rich in diversity and abounding with energy.”
Griffin has provided more than $600 million in gifts to educational, cultural, medical, and civic organizations in Chicago over the years, his spokesman, Zia Ahmed, told the Wall Street Journal.
In the letter, he did not make any critical comments about Chicago’s or Illinois’s Democratic leaders, or the crime rate in the city.
But in a recent Wall Street Journal interview, Griffin said that the crime and homicide rate in Chicago is too high, making it difficult to attract employees.
“If people aren’t safe here, they’re not going to live here,” Griffin, who is estimated to be worth almost $29 billion, told the WSJ in April. “I’ve had multiple colleagues mugged at gunpoint. I’ve had a colleague stabbed on the way to work. Countless issues of burglary. I mean, that’s a really difficult backdrop with which to draw talent to your city from.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat, issued a response to Griffin’s decision.
“Citadel leadership has been signaling for some time an enhanced presence in Florida, and while this announcement is not surprising, it is still disappointing,” a spokesperson for the mayor said in a statement. “We thank the Citadel team for their contributions to our city and their many philanthropic commitments, particularly around education, arts and culture and public safety.”
Boeing, which moved to Chicago from Seattle more than 20 years ago, announced in May that it would move its headquarters from Chicago to Arlington, Virginia.
And Caterpillar, the construction firm, said it was moving out of the Chicago area to Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.
“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’s CEO Jim Umpleby said in a statement in June.
In 2021, 797 people were murdered, which is 25 more than in 2020, according to data from the Chicago Tribune. The data show that 2021 was the worst year for homicides in Chicago in 25 years.
So far in 2022, 279 homicides have been recorded, the paper reported.