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J.B. Pritzker

As bad a year as Rahm had at the power table, Pritzker seemed to turn over all aces. In October, the billionaire financier burnished his philanthropic rep by dropping a cool $100 million to support scholarships at Northwestern University’s law school, the largest gift ever to a U.S. law school. The ice-skating ribbon in Maggie … Read more

Ken Griffin

By some measures, the recently divorced Griffin may be the most eligible bachelor in town. Forbes pegs his net worth at $7.2 billion, making him Chicago’s richest man. And he’s getting richer by the minute: Citadel’s main funds rose nearly 13 percent from January 1, 2015 through November, according to Bloomberg, as the S&P closed … Read more

Mike Madigan

In 2015, Madigan did what he does best: be Mike Madigan. Just as he’s done for, well, practically forever, the wily speaker used his absolute control over the statehouse to stand as the impenetrable roadblock to anything—anything!—that threatens his power source: his 71-seat Democratic supermajority. We defy you to name one of Madigan’s accomplishments last … Read more

Sam Zell

When this brass-tacks billionaire talks investing, people listen. Why wouldn’t they? Last year, three publicly traded real estate investment trusts that Zell controls delivered the largest returns of any in town. In October, one of those trusts sold off a quarter of its apartment properties for $5.3 billion, and Zell is reportedly selling more this year, … Read more

Rocky Wirtz

Whispers of the D-word—“dynasty”—began in 2013 after Wirtz’s Chicago Blackhawks won their second Stanley Cup in three years. When they hoisted their third last year, those whispers became a chorus. Winning the Big One with any sports franchise confers power—and produces big profits. Thanks to their Cup runs, the Hawks are now the fourth most … Read more

Bruce Rauner

The first Republican governor in 12 years, Rauner charged into office vowing to shake up Springfield, but instead has inflicted the state with shaken-government syndrome. Sure, he’s flexed his substantial political muscle. But to whose benefit? He shut down state government to pressure House speaker Mike Madigan (No. 5) and Senate president John Cullerton ([[[No. … Read more

Tom Ricketts

It was only a couple of years ago that the Cubs’ head honcho seemed to be suffering a severe power deficit. The rooftop owners were still giving him fits, the club still stunk, and sports talk mocked him for being too nice to win. But just as those who best know Ricketts predicted, he put … Read more

Zach Fardon

Chicago’s storied history of corruption tends to keep its U.S. attorneys busy, and Fardon certainly isn’t getting shortchanged. His office recently nabbed former U.S. House speaker Dennis Hastert and on-the-take ex–CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett; it was the first in the nation to drop the hammer on a “spoofer,” a trader who cheated millions of small … Read more

John Cullerton

In the great mess that is Springfield, Cullerton has emerged as the voice of moderation, trying to bring together the warring speaker and governor. He has put together major compromise proposals for school funding and pension reform. Along the way, he has ticked off both Madigan and Rauner—which suggests he’s doing something right.

George Lucas

The Force is definitely with Lucas. He’s worth billions. He’s got a powerful, glamorous wife (No. 18). A new baby. And an old baby, Star Wars, that was, of course, just reinvigorated by director J.J. Abrams and smashed box-office records around the world. (Lucas consulted on the film.) New interest in the Star Wars series … Read more