Jackson Jr.'s condition 'more serious' than initially thought - FOX 32 News Chicago

Jackson Jr.'s condition 'more serious' than initially thought

Posted: Updated:

The doors were locked the day after the 4th of July at the South Shore building where Jesse Jackson, Jr., and his wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th), both have offices.

His main district office in suburban Homewood was almost as empty, with one worker on hand. No senior staff returned our phone calls, as confusion grew regarding the true condition of a Congressman who's not been seen in public for about a month after a press release deepened the mystery.

"Congressman Jackson's medical condition is more serious than we thought and initially believed. Recently, we have been made aware that he has grappled with certain physical and emotional ailments privately for a long period of time. At present, he is undergoing further evaluation and treatment at an in-patient medical facility," the press release said. "[Jackson will need "extended in-patient treatment as well as continuing medical treatment thereafter."

"We need to know what is wrong with him. Where is he? And when is he coming back?" said former colleague Debbie Halvorson, who served in Congress and was then defeated by Jackson in the Democratic primary this past spring. "Because if he's not coming back soon, he needs to step down. We need a member of Congress that is going to fight for you and for the people of this district."

Halvorson was not the only one in the Second Congressional District asking for more information. We spoke to evening commuters a few blocks from Jackson's Homewood office.

"He needs to disclose that, especially the high office that he holds. And that commands a lot of trust," said David Cunningham.

Others told us that, while they would like more information from Jackson or his staff, their wish right now was for him to have a quick recovery.

"I'm not a member of his party, but I respect him. He's done a good job around here for a long time. And we're all very concerned about his health, no question about it," said James Anderson.

"There's a lot of people out there suffering from all kind of different ailments and setbacks and what have you. So, he's not the only one. Pray for me. And I'll pray for him, too," said Juan Lewis.

His father, Rev. Jesse Jackson, told the Associated Press that he spoke to his son once recently and he sounded "exhausted and overwhelmed."

"He'll be in for a longer stay for more evaluations and treatment of his challenges," the civil rights leader said, declining to elaborate.

"No one has a clue," said U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, a fellow Illinois Democrat. "There is concern among his colleagues ... Anybody there could understand that. It's a stressful occupation."

In order to take a medical leave of absence, Jackson must notify the leader of his party's House delegation in writing. A spokesman for Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment on Thursday. Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said his office had not received any notification from Jackson's office.

Jackson, who first won office in 1995, is facing a House Ethics Committee investigation over allegations that he was involved in discussions about raising money for Blagojevich's campaign in exchange for the then-governor appointing him to President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat.

Jackson also allegedly directed fundraiser and longtime friend Raghuveer Nayak to buy plane tickets for a woman described as Jackson's "social acquaintance." Jackson has since called the incident a personal matter that he and his wife have dealt with.

Nayak was arrested last month and pleaded not guilty to unrelated fraud charges involving outpatient surgery centers he owns. At Blagojevich's first corruption trial in 2010, prosecutors said another Blagojevich fundraiser was ready to testify that Jackson instructed Nayak to raise money for Blagojevich's campaign to help him secure the Senate seat. The same witness later testified that he attended a meeting with Jackson and Nayak.

Jackson never has been charged and has denied any wrongdoing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Powered by WorldNow

205 N. Michigan Avenue
Ground Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
Station Operator: (312) 565-5532
Newsroom: (312)565-5533

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices