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Oops! Penny Pritzker Underestimates Income By $80 Million

By Samantha Abernethy in News on May 23, 2013 5:40PM

Penny Pritzker in 2011. (Image via YouTube screen grab.)

Chicago billionaire Penny Pritzker understated her income by $80 million in the financial disclosure forms as she prepares for Senate confirmation hearings as President Barack Obama's nominee to be U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

Pritzker appeared before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Thursday to start the confirmation process. According to Politico, it was a "surprisingly cordial hearing."

According to Bloomberg, Pritzker amended her income filing on Tuesday to reflect the missing funds. Spokeswoman Susan Anderson told Bloomberg, “It is a substantial amount and we moved to correct the mistake as soon as it was discovered.” Bloomberg writes:

The income in Pritzker’s amended filing includes some in-kind fees, the equity interests of which had already been listed in her original disclosure forms, according to Anderson.

“Ms. Pritzker was engaged by the U.S. trustee of trusts for the extended Pritzker family for advice on restructuring trust investments for the purpose of dividing assets along individual family lines,” Anderson said. They included investments in Hyatt, Marmon Holdings Inc., Union Tank Car Co. and non-hotel real estate investments including the Hyatt Center office tower in Chicago, she said.

Forbes recently estimated Pritzker's wealth at $1.85 billion. Family members J.B., Thomas, Gigi, James and Nicholas II also made that list of the richest people in the world.

It appears the paperwork hiccup didn't come up in today's hearing with the Senate Commerce Committee, but Hyatt Hotels' uneasy relationship with its workers did, as well as Pritzker's involvement with Superior Bank, which failed in 2001.

The Tribune reports a hotel housekeeper testified at the hearing and said, through a translater, "She's a shame to the Democratic party. She's not a trustworthy person."