Patterico's Pontifications

2/21/2009

Will Illinois’s Next Senator Be a Pal of Obama and Rezko with Mob Ties?

Filed under: Obama,Politics — Patterico @ 5:04 pm



Chicago Sun Times columnist Michael Sneed tells us:

Hoop scoop: Sneed hears rumbles that state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, 32, a basketball buddy and political protege of President Obama, is gonna make himself official.

• • Translation: Watch for Giannoulias to announce the formation this week of an exploratory committee to run for beleaguered Sen. Roland Burris’ seat.

• • Pssst! Dem insiders say Giannoulias was invited to accompany Sen. Dick Durbin — who is “sickened” by the Burris brouhaha — on a congressional delegation to Greece, Turkey and Cyprus last week to give Giannoulias some international exposure.

Great! Hey, you know, in addition to being Obama’s basketball buddy, Giannoulias also hosted a September 2007 fund-raiser for Obama, pledging to raise $100,000. And he donated $7000 to Obama personally, despite other contributions to the National Committee.

[Turns, Columbo-style, scratches head, and says:] Oh . . . there’s just one more thing.

What about Giannoulias’s business dealings with members of the mob? And Tony Rezko?

Reader jimboster provides some links with useful background. Let’s start with this, from the local ABC TV station:

New questions were raised Thursday about a political candidate’s alleged connections to organized crime. Alexi Giannoulias is a Democrat running for Illinois state treasurer. His Republican opponent, Christine Radogno, is asking these questions. But she isn’t the only one.

Political newcomer Alexi Giannoulias is not only facing Republican Christine Ragogno in the state treasurer’s race, he is also battling with the chairman of his own Democratic party, House Speaker Michael Madigan, who agrees with Radogno that Giannoulias hasn’t provided the right answers to questions abut loans from his family bank to unsavory characters.

The Democratic candidate for state treasurer, Chicago banker Alexi Giannoulias, is still facing the same questions he has been answering for months about multi-million dollar loans from his family-owned Broadway Bank to convicted felons with mob ties. Some of the questions are coming from his Republican opponent, state senator Christine Radogno of southwest suburban LaGrange.

“Clearly, he is the banker for people with mob associations, and, yeah, I don’t think there’s any question about that,” said Christine Radogno, (R)-nominee for state treasurer.

He was also the banker for Tony Rezko:

Rezko allegedly accumulated $450,000 in debts to Caesars Palace and Bally’s Hotel Casino between March and July 2006. He passed nine bad checks and got hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash or gaming chips in return, Roger said. The bad checks, written on Rezko’s Broadway Bank account, were for amounts ranging from $15,000 to $120,000. Bellagio LLC won a civil judgment against Rezko for failing to repay $331,000 in gambling markers.

This link has more details about the loans to mobsters:

According to a Chicago Tribune article from 2006, Giannoulias “has faced questions about the bank’s multi-million dollar loans to Michael Gioranago, a convicted bookmaker and prostitution ring promoter.” Barack Obama was quoted in the article as saying that he “is concerned by revelations that the bank owned by Illinois Democratic treasurer nominee Alexi Giannoulias’ family gave loans to a Chicago crime figure and said the candidate owes him and the public a full accounting.”

And while Giannoulias claimed that the loans to Gioranago were made “before he became a full-time bank employee”, “newly discovered public records show Broadway Bank made $11.8 million in additional mortgage loans to Giorango just last year. Giannoulias said he oversaw the servicing of those loans.”

Apparently Giannoulias didn’t give the “full acounting” demanded by Obama, according to the Illinois Democrat who is the House Speaker:

Rodogno is getting unexpected help in fueling the controversy from the chairman of Giannoulias’s own Democratic party, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, who refuses to endorse Giannoulias and won’t even put his picture on the party’s campaign web site.

“I want some answers. The allegations are there,” Madigan said earlier this week. “My history in politics, if you were alleged to be connected to the mob, you were done. But life seems to go on.”

Not only is this guy not “done” — he may have far to go. Life goes on . . . and so do Chicago-style politics.

29 Responses to “Will Illinois’s Next Senator Be a Pal of Obama and Rezko with Mob Ties?”

  1. Move along, now.
    Nothing here to see.

    Just more Hope & Change!

    AD - RtR/OS (80f3aa)

  2. I can’t wrap my head around this…too much nuance.

    Old Coot (7721b8)

  3. People voted for Chicago politics. Now they are learning what that means. The protests against the bailout bill seem to be growing. At some point they will collide with the Obama hopeandchange. I wonder what will happen then ?

    MIke K (90939b)

  4. The protestors will be called “racists,” of course, Dr. K.

    Right, JD?

    Eric Blair (ec334b)

  5. Chicago…a political version of the Mad-Hatter’s Tea Party.

    Andrew (8a94e5)

  6. I’m hoping that if they don’t hold a special election (that’s a rhetorical question, btw), that the head of the Chicago Urban League will throw her hat into the ring. She’s sharp, she’s avoided the racial trap that so many have fallen for previously, and Obama and his gang won’t be able to deny her, because of her bona fides and her racial and gender make – up.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  7. ‘Tis never a good idea to make an enemy of Speaker Madigan.

    JD (4a1b82)

  8. Local word is Mob Bank. No two ways about it.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  9. O’Hare Airport is named after the son of a Capone fixer and bagman. I have dealt extensively with Broadway Bank on behalf of clients. My impression is that its rates were usurious (in the non-legal sense) but that was because it lent to people no other bank would lend to. But that can be said for Household Finance, payday loans, just about every credit card company, and the bail bond section of the Cook County Circuit Court. The place to look for illegal activity is in its deposits.

    nk (b70aca)

  10. Perhaps the salient question here would be:

    Does Illinois have anyone even remotely likely to make the short list who isn’t a Pal of Obama and Rezko with Mob Ties?

    PCachu (e072b7)

  11. PCachu – Slumlord Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s brain and first choice, also had a the Rezko connection and direct ties to Mayor Daley. I can’t remember whether she had ties to the mob which have been exposed. Her ethics are certainly questionable, though.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  12. Come on people. This is all ‘old news’. Alexi dealt with all these questions in the ’06 election. This is nothing more than Dirty Politics from the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

    /sarc off

    kg (f708d1)

  13. Does Illinois have anyone even remotely likely to make the short list who isn’t a Pal of Obama and Rezko with Mob Ties?

    Yeah. Mike Madigan.

    I would very much like to see him get the Senate seat, assuming the person I would most prefer get it won’t have a shot at it in 2010 (since this person i’m thinking of isn’t a Democrat).

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  14. Barack Obama was quoted in the article as saying that he “is concerned by revelations that the bank owned by Illinois Democratic treasurer nominee Alexi Giannoulias’ family gave loans to a Chicago crime figure and said the candidate owes him and the public a full accounting.”

    Well, so long as I know that The One is “concerned” by these “revelations,” my mind is at ease.

    LASue (29a0ac)

  15. I say let the scum rise.
    Corruption that surrounds Obama and Emmanuel will seen for what it is by the public.
    Republican scandal lately has been tapping feet, wide stances, pathetic texts to pages… Democrats are facing scandals over cash during a down economy.

    SteveG (bf3db3)

  16. O’Hare Airport is named after the son of a Capone fixer and bagman.

    OT question – I thought O’Hare was named for Butch O’Hare, the WWII Pacific Ace. (Well Pacific Theater ace, he himself was fairly un-pacific.)

    Have Blue (974cdf)

  17. please select this guy, please please please, chicago, the gift that keeps on giving

    slizzle (cebb6d)

  18. I’m so glad The One Lightworker rose through the Chicago sewers totally untainted. The Election wasn’t just a mandate for Change, it was a rescue mission, to extract the pure from the cesspool.

    #16, Butch O’Hare, the WW2 ace, was the son of Edward O’Hare, Al Capone’s business partner. So, it’s true, but the first poster was being a bit disingenuous.

    Techie (6b5d8d)

  19. So, it’s true, but the first poster was being a bit disingenuous.

    “Disingenuous” only to some illiterate asshole who does not know what “disingenuous” means in the first place and does not understand rhetorical points in the second place.

    nk (b70aca)

  20. Sorry I objected to the slander of a WW2 hero as merely the “son of a Capone bagman”.

    I guess that makes me illiterate…..

    (or is tonight friendly fire night?)

    Techie (6b5d8d)

  21. How dense do liberals have to be to see the constant relationships between Obama and every one of these scums and vehemently believe that he is a true “messiah” figure.

    LogicalUS (f80a6e)

  22. Techie, the only reason HE was the one they named the airport after was because of his father’s connection to a guy who had the right connections.

    Hero? you bet. But chicago’s had a bunch of them. This got picked for the reason NK named.

    Scott Jacobs (90ff96)

  23. OK, first question: Can you find an Illinois pol without mob ties?

    Rob Crawford (04f50f)

  24. Gosh, shady financial dealings? Reputed mob links? Reputation as a sleazoid?

    He’ll fit right in.

    mojo (8096f2)

  25. “Hey, kid, you gotta know the righta peoples. Ifa you know the righta peoples, everything comeupa roses”.

    Vito “Cool Lips” Chericola

    nk (b70aca)

  26. The fish rots from the head, but the WHOLE fish rots.

    mojo (8096f2)

  27. You might be interested in a story in the 2/12/09 Chicago Reader. It’s semi-long, but the punch line is a real zinger.

    Around 1974, a woman named Loren Billings established a small “Museum of Holography” in an old printer’s building in the “West Loop”, then a run-down warehouse district. She and her husband Bob lived there, taught classes in holography, and hosted parties for the arts crowd.

    But Bob Billings died in 1998, and Loren, then 78, slipped into depression and partial dementia, according to her son Terrence Kasprzak and nephew Gareth Dobija. She never went outside. Dobija helped her keep the Museum open.

    It’s still there: four dingy galleries cluttered with miscellaneous holograms. But the area has changed: Harpo Studios is now a block away, and there are high-end restaurants and loft condos on nearby streets.

    In 2001, three mysterious people (probably Russian or Ukrainian immigrants) moved into the building for a while. They claimed to have invented “revolutionary” holographic technology, and befriended Mrs. Billings. About $1M that she had appears to have disappeared into a purported “foreign currency arbitrage account” run by the Russians and into “service fees”.

    In 2002, Mrs. Billings took out a $1M loan with the building as collateral. The Russians were “co-borrowers”. Most of the money went to the Russians’ shell company; the rest was used to pay interest for four years.

    The loan paperwork was obviously fraudulent: Mrs. Billings claimed a $120K salary and $170K of dividend income, both non-existent.

    The loan is now delinquent and the bank is foreclosing – on a property now worth far more than $1M. (Mrs. Billings seems to believe that the Russians repaid the loan.)

    Which bank? Broadway Bank. And the loan was personally approved by Alexi Giannoulias.

    Rich Rostrom (09ec82)

  28. I remember going to that museum in high school.

    I am trying to remember the corrupt auto leasing firm that all of these guys use – I think it’s in Lincolnwood.

    carlitos (ebd4ab)


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