Visit The TRiiBE Election Center to learn more about the upcoming 2023 Chicago municipal election. Click here to find your Chicago ward and police district.

An audio recording allegedly between Willie Wilson’s political consultant Rickey Hendon and a volunteer for Ja’Mal Green’s campaign has leaked — and the talk details a bribe for Green’s team to drop the petition challenge against Wilson.

Green is also accusing Wilson of violating the residency requirements to run for Chicago mayor, claiming Wilson’s main home is in south suburban Hazel Crest. The two candidates have a history dating back to at least the 2019 Chicago municipal election, when Hendon — who was Wilson’s campaign advisor at the time — challenged Green’s petitions. After that, Green clashed with Hendon, with Hendon later posting on Facebook that he and Green exchanged threats about fighting one another. 

“If you withdraw, I will take care of you. And you can tell me how much you would need,” Hendon, a former state senator and Chicago alder (27th Ward), allegedly said on the recent phone call. That audio was released on Thursday. 

Chicago-based What’s the Word TV was the first media outlet to publish the full recording on its Instagram page on Thursday morning. What’s the Word TV has since removed the video, although The TRiiBE has retained the audio and video. (Read the full transcript below.) 

Additionally, Chicago-based blog Chicago Media Takeout’s posted the video on its Instagram page, and it was still up at publishing time.

“You know, don’t nobody want you to lose money, you know, ‘cause Ja’Mal ain’t ‘gon be on the ballot, bro. I wouldn’t do that shit,” Hendon allegedly continued on the call. He also mentioned Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th Ward), who is also in the 2023 race for mayor.

“Sawyer ain’t gon be on the ballot,” Hendon allegedly said. “I never miss. Don’t shoot if I’ma miss.”

In a response to The TRiiBE, Wilson’s campaign spokesperson Richard Boykin confirmed that Hendon’s voice is on the recording.

“The comments made by former Sen. Rickey Hendon were not authorized by me or my campaign. This is a personal issue between Sen. Hendon and Mr. Green,” Boykin wrote in a press release on Thursday.

In a press release issued at 4:45 p.m. on Thursday, Green’s team identified the volunteer on the call as Kevin Hobby and acknowledged the conversation. Green said, “I’m glad someone was able to capture the corrupt openness Ricky has. Let me just say that the old way of politics is pulling some desperate moves to drag me and my campaign down, going so far as to offer financial compensation to my ally. This city’s corrupt nature shows its face almost out in the open now. The sleazy deals, the open bribery, the big money talking — it needs to end! That’s why I am running for mayor in the first place. 

“It’s time for the new generation of leadership, if the audio didn’t prove it then I’m not sure what will.”

Illinois law makes it a felony to intercept, record or transcribe any private telephone or electronic communication unless all parties consent. The TRiiBE has not yet been able to verify if the conversation was recorded legally.


According to Crain’s Chicago Business, businessman Wilson and community activist and entrepreneur Green are attempting to rid the current 11-candidate field of the other, while Wilson also filed a separate challenge to Sawyer. Other candidates are seeking to knock off long-shot candidates Frederick Collins and Johnny Logalbo.


Rickey Hendon: And I ain’t even gotta tell you, you know. The lines, we both know y’all weren’t in there looking at them [unintelligible] lines. So Willie’s gonna make it. Ja’Mal is not. Why you have to suffer? We can work something out. You come on our team or not. But I didn’t want to jam you, bruh. I got people that know you that’s [unintelligible] a game called [unintelligible]. So that’s where I’m coming from. 

Kevin Hobby: What you, what you, what you offering?

Rickey Hendon: Say what now?

Kevin Hobby: What you offering?

Rickey Hendon: Well, you know, everybody can use some help financially. So I will help you there if that was the case. I mean, I could just go through the case, you know, Willie got money. He can pay the lawyer. Done paid the lawyer already. But I’d like to get it over with, you know, so let me know what you’re trying to do. I mean —

Kevin Hobby: [unintelligible]

Rickey Hendon: You know, if you withdraw, I will take care of you. And you can tell me how much you would need. You know, don’t nobody want you to lose money, you know, ‘cause Ja’Mal ain’t ‘gon be on the ballot, bro. I wouldn’t do that shit. I had 25 people down there for a week. Sawyer ain’t gon be on the ballot. I never miss. Don’t shoot if I’ma miss. So what about what’s ‘gon happen with you? You know, you got a family, you know, kids and shit. They gotta eat. Christmas coming up. I go through this. And then, you know, the Board can look at the shotgun that they did on Willie because y’all hit every name on every page, you know, and refer that shit over to the State’s Attorney. Who wants to do that? I don’t want to do that to you. 

Kevin Hobby: Right.

Rickey Hendon: Yup. So just think it over and then you let me know if it’s something you willing to do. So just think it over and then let me know if it’s something you willing to do. You know, you’d have to, you know, file it. You know, if it’s a document, you’d have to file it, you know, 69 W. Washington. Just withdraw the objection against Willie. And I’ll look out for you. 

Kevin Hobby: Mmhm.

Rickey Hendon: I don’t like putting, you know, amounts and stuff. We are talking on the phone. But you can tell me, ‘Look. OK. I’ma do it.’ Soon as you do it, I’ll meet up with you. I’ll meet you down there. You know what I’m saying? And if you talk in the streets with people who know me, like the people who call me about you, they’ll tell you, ‘Rickey Hendon keeps his word.’ Whether it’s good or bad, you know, I’ma keep my word. You know?

Kevin Hobby: Right.

Rickey Hendon: That’s why I’m kicking Ja’Mal off. ‘Cause I told him that, ‘N*gga, if you run for dogcatcher or bootylicker, I’ma kick you off the ballot. Every time. Your shit better be perfect. Every time.’ I guess he thought I was joking. I’m serious, you know.

—recording ends—

is the editor-in-chief of The TRiiBE and a 2023-2024 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.
is the Digital News Editor for The TRiiBE.