LIVE session coverage...
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Witness: Rezko shared cash with Blagojevich

Wednesday, Apr 30, 2008

* Take some caution with this one

Tony Rezko asked an official in Gov. Blagojevich’s administration to pay him $25,000 so Rezko could use the money to keep construction contractors from putting a lien on the governor’s home, federal prosecutors said in court today.

Prosecutors got a judge’s OK for Ali Ata — former executive director of the Illinois Finance Authority — to be allowed to tell jurors in Rezko’s corruption trial about the cash payments.

Rezko told Ata “this is going to be embarrassing to him [Blagojevich]” if the contractors put a lien on Blagojevich’s Ravenswood Manor home, Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Hamilton told U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve.

* The reasons you should be careful about assuming too much are several-fold, including this one

“Ata claims that he gave or lent cash to Rezko on four or five occasions . . . and estimates the total cash disbursements amounted to $125,000,” Rezko’s lawyers wrote. “Ata alternatively stated he did not know what the cash was for, then proceeds to say he supplied $25,000 in cash to pay certain contractors who were threatening to put a lien on another individual’s [Blagojevich’s] home.

“Ata recounted these alleged cash transactions in a suspiciously dramatic way, including meetings on ‘narrow streets’ in Chicago with ‘black plastic bags’ of cash.”

First, this is Tony Rezko allegedly telling Ata why he wanted the money. We don’t know if Rezko told the truth to Ata or if Ata concocted the story to help hi stay out of prison. And even if Rezko did tell the truth, there’s no guarantee that Blagojevich knew about it.

* But the judge will allow the testimony…

[Judge St. Eve] said such testimony was relevant because it showed the relations between Ata, Rezko and Kelly.

She did bar the prosecutors, however, from bringing in such atmospheric embellishments as “black plastic bags” and “narrow streets.”

* And, of course, there’s more

Prosecutors said Ata will say Rezko extracted four bribes from him, including the one to avert the lien. Another involved a $50,000 payment that Rezko allegedly said was destined for Blagojevich fundraiser Chris Kelly.

Ata said the money was passed in cloak-and-dagger fashion as he and Rezko drove to Kelly’s house in the southwest suburbs. “The cash is in the car when they go down there,” Hamilton said. “And when they leave Mr. Kelly’s house, the money isn’t there any more.”

Kelly, who faces criminal charges in an unrelated case, denied the allegations through his lawyer. “If Mr. Ata is saying he gave large amounts of cash to Mr. Kelly for political purposes or to get some state position, that is simply incorrect,” said Michael Monico, Kelly’s attorney.

Notice there was no denial that Kelly might have received cash for other purposes.

* And the governor’s statement

“We can’t comment on alleged conversations that the governor was not a party to,” spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff said today. “As we said last year, the Blagojeviches personally paid for the work to renovate their 14-by-20 family room out of their checking account.”

Man, this is crazy stuff.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


25 Comments
  1. - anon.com - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 9:27 am:

    THIS IS REAL EASY TO CHECK,WHO DID THE WORK,WHEN WAS IT FINISHED,HOW MUCH DID THEY CHARGE,AND WHEN AND HOW WERE THEY PAID.


  2. - Little Egypt - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 9:29 am:

    In the middle of raising millions of cash for his first campaign, why would Blago need money to pay for his home remodeling? There seems to be a huge hole in this story that I wish someone would fill and give me a good reason to slam Blago because I really don’t like taking up for him. I am surprised though when he did win the office of governor, that Blago didn’t find some way to get the State to pay for the new official office of the governor.


  3. - S. Illinois - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 9:38 am:

    Also….how do you put $86K worth of work into a remodel of a 14×20 room? The more answers we get on this story the more questions are raised. This whole thing stinks from all sides.


  4. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 9:42 am:

    If Ata is to believed, he was quite the cash cow. When he testifies, I hope someone asks him all the ways he intended to benefit from his investment.


  5. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 9:42 am:

    anon,com, please don’t use all caps in comments. It makes you look like a freak. I’m not saying you are a freak, I’m just sayin’. Thanks. :)


  6. - Rooster - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 9:51 am:

    If you lay down with dogs you get up with fleas!


  7. - anon.com - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 9:53 am:

    Sorry Rich my bad


  8. - Rob_N - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 9:59 am:

    Either Blago is the unluckiest son of a gun ever… (Is there a stormcloud over his head?)

    Or, he’s a complete airhead with no concept of what’s going on around him… (How do you not know how the contractors remodeling your own home are being paid?)

    Or, he’s on his way to Club Fed… (It is possible he’s innocent in all this and can claim ‘plausible deniability’.)

    (Or some combination thereof.)


  9. - Moderate Repub - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 10:04 am:

    If it went down the way Ata says (which it is a definate possiblility that it didn’t), and he allowed himself to be grifted as easily as this, he pretty much deserves what he got for being an idiot. THis wasnt some big elaborate “usual suspects” or “oceans 11″ scam, Rezco droped an unbaited hook in front of Ata and the fish bit. Thats why it is so hard to believe it at all.


  10. - Moderate Repub - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 10:08 am:

    - Rob_N - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 9:59 am:

    Either Blago is the unluckiest son of a gun ever… (Is there a stormcloud over his head?)

    Or, he’s a complete airhead with no concept of what’s going on around him… (How do you not know how the contractors remodeling your own home are being paid?)

    Huh? I don’t think Blago had any idea about this because if its true at all, Rezco made up a story to Ata to suck money from him. WHy would Blago know anything about that? WHat does it have to do with him? Did we not read the same story?


  11. - Blagojevich's Shell Game - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 10:13 am:

    For being the control freak that he is, it’s hard to believe Blagojevich wasn’t a party to theses many conversations especially knowing how full of himself he truly is.


  12. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 10:14 am:

    Rich, you’re right about the CAPS, but anon’s point is a very good one. This story doesn’t seem credible. I look forward to the details.


  13. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 10:58 am:

    The Gov should have applied for an episode of “Trading Spaces” and got the work done for free.


  14. - FedUp2 - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 11:04 am:

    Find out when the building permit was issued and how long it took for the job & who the contractor was and when the job was complete. Then follow the money to see when he was paid and how he was paid, by cash, check or Resko.

    The contractor could be put under oath to see if Ata’s story is creditable or if he was just in a shell game for Resko to get more money.

    Follow the money as Fitz has done!!!


  15. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 11:14 am:

    At least one version of the AP story that I have found online states (wrongly, of course) that the lien was on the “Illinois governor’s mansion”. I hope this has since been corrected.
    Of course, the irony is that with the financial hole our state is in, perhaps a lien will eventually have to be placed on the “official” governor’s mansion as well :)


  16. - anon - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 11:27 am:

    Is this the same home renovation that got Mr. B in trouble with unions when he was a candidate the first time, for not using union labor?


  17. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 11:29 am:

    And speaking of misleading stories, what is an outdated NYT story headlined “Campus Shooting Site To Be Torn Down” doing on IceRocket?


  18. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 12:41 pm:

    I think what we need to be focusing on here is our
    Blago’s (he IS ours, we elected him….twice!) exceptionally poor choice of close cronies and his, shall we say, uncritical approach to classic Democratic pay to play politics, which he has sought to greatly expand during his terms of office.

    Could Rezko and/or Ata be making this up? Absolutely. They are the ultimate greedy, no-class political cronies. But wouldn’t we like to have a governor who had some judgment when it comes to
    picking business allies. I’m sure there were any number of wealthy, respectable liberal businesspersons who would have jumped to be in the guv’s kitchen cabinet. But our Blago just doesn’t get it. He feels more comfortable with the Rezko/Kelly types.


  19. - Bessie - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 12:43 pm:

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/499796,CST-NWS-rezko07.article

    I bet there are a lot of cash donations unaccounted for, check out the bottem half of this article. “$100,000 in cash stolen and 3 guns, or were they” when you read the attached link look at the date of the email April 26, and the money stolen April 27th. When are they going to charge Blagojevich with “wrongdoning”.


  20. - True Observer - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 12:55 pm:

    “The Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) is a self-financed, state authority principally engaged in issuing taxable and tax-exempt bonds, making loans, and investing capital for businesses, non-profit corporations, agriculture and local government units statewide.

    IFA approves about $3 billion in project financing each year. Since its formation in 2004, IFA has approved 780 projects and funded nearly $11 billion in capital projects to support growth initiatives thoughout Illinois — initiatives that create and keep jobs, stimulate the economy and improve quality of life.”

    Ata wasn’t in it for a paycheck.

    He wanted to be in handing out $3,000,000,000.00 per year of State of Illinois backed money.

    780 projects.

    Think of all the people that could be hit up for State of Illinois backed money.

    Rezko was a piker compared to what Ata wanted to get his hands on.

    With the Teacher’s Pension Fund, at least some of the teachers are keeping an eye on its investments.

    Who was auditing the IFA?

    Money from the IFA could generate a lot more “grift” than whatever Ata was being grifted for.


  21. - the Patriot - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 1:15 pm:

    I don’t think what we know now matters. If Rezko is convicted he will sing like a bird. No way he does the full bit.

    Second, does it matter whether he (Guv) knew or not? If you recieve proceeds from a criminal enterprise you don’t get to keep them even if you didn’t know they were obtained illegally. If Rezko steals Rich’s car and gives it to the Governor, the Guv doesn’t get to keep it just because he didn’t know it was stollen.

    I am sure Lisa Madigan is investigating this issue since it is an issue of a state crime involving a contractors under state authority and real estate in the State of IL.

    Since she is vigorously trying to stamp out corruption I expect she will place a lien on the Manor until this can be sorted out.


  22. - SuperDave - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 2:10 pm:

    I’m waiting for the spin sisters to say that the Governor was too busy governing to be aware of impending liens on his home office. I just hope and pray that the construction work in the living room didn’t disrupt any of the multitude of conference calls the Governor conducts from his home.

    “Hold on a second, Tony… (hey guys, can you keep it down for a second?)

    “Sorry about that Tony. Remind me later to get some soundproofing done — maybe you can help arrange that?”


  23. - GofGelnview - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 2:29 pm:

    The question is who re-did his driveway. Did Blago hire Knight E/A (a peter fax hurtgen company), of Oasis fame, to do the work?


  24. - Rob_N - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 2:52 pm:

    Moderate,

    The money was supposedly for Blagojevich’s own house.

    Perhaps the money never actually went to what Ata claims Rezko says it was for, but if it did… then why wouldn’t Blago know that a lot of his remodeling costs were suddenly paid off?

    Even still, given what’s coming from Ata, Rezko, etc. my original post still stands on its own.

    What is it you are not understanding?


  25. - soccermom - Wednesday, Apr 30, 08 @ 11:11 pm:

    This makes no sense whatsoever. In my experience, it is standard operation procedure for contractors to place a temporary lien on a house until they’re paid. And anyway, wasn’t Rezko the contractor for this job? If he was concerned about a lien being place on the Governor’s house, why didn’t he just not file one? And wouldn’t Ata have realized this was goofy?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Good morning!
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * Our 5 favourite new Windows Phone apps of the week
        * ASUS reportedly to unveil selfie-serving new Zenphone at Computex
        * Create atoms but don’t destroy the universe in new Android game Atomas
        * Google Android M multi-window, 2K Sony Xperias, iPhone SMS fix & more – Pocketnow Daily
        * Tactile is another addictive interactive puzzle game
        * Train wizards and sorcerers in Schools of Magic Android game
        * Race your way to the finish line with Mini Racing Adventures

        * Twitter Audience Insights: This Week in Social Media
        * Lenovo A6000 Plus Review – A rock solid entry level phone
        * iiyama’s New Windows 8.1 Tablet With Intel Atom Processor
        * Get Mouse Computer’s Latest 11.6-Inch Notebook With 128GB SSD
        * Stay Safe On The Road With Novatek’s New Full HD Mini Car DVR
        * 'Minecraft' creators to compete in the first annual 'Builder Bowl'
        * Cricket Wireless Releases ZTE Overture 2 4G LTE-Enabled Android 5.0 Smartphone

        * White Sox to rely on Webb out of bullpen
        * Rodon subdues Astros with renewed focus
        * Soto ends deadlock in 11th to complete rally
        * Soto ends deadlock in 11th to complete rally
        * White Sox aim for series win behind Quintana
        * Abreu likely out Saturday with finger injury
        * White Sox 6, Astros 3 (11 innings): Backup plans come to the forefront

        ...............


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        May 2015
        April 2015
        March 2015
        February 2015
        January 2015
        December 2014
        November 2014
        October 2014
        September 2014
        August 2014
        July 2014
        June 2014
        May 2014
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * Former US House Speaker Dennis Hastert accused .....
        * Illinois lawmakers wind down session as showdow.....
        * Rauner says he's compromising, waiting for Demo.....
        * State House OKs no-strike, no-lockout proposal..
        * Rauner, Democrats still at impasse over budget..


        * AP source: Hastert paid to keep old sex abuse claims secret
        * House records show Schock reimbursed US $122,590
        * House records show Schock reimbursed US $122,590
        * Legislature advances plan to help Chicago fund pensions
        * Gay conversion therapy ban heads to Illinois governor's desk
        * Latest on Hastert: Boehner 'shocked' by reports
        * Impasse between Rauner, Democrats continues over budget
        * Settlement clears way for Kokomo baseball home opener
        * Union legislation would prohibit strike or Rauner lockout
        * 1st positive test for West Nile virus in Illinois in 2015

        * Rauner won't call special session to reach budget agreement, wants action by Sunday
        * House passes bill separating Lincoln museum from Historic Preservation
        * Legislation to prohibit union strike, Rauner lockout gets House approval
        * Rauner won't call special session to reach budget agreement
        * Conversion therapy ban heads to Rauner's desk
        * Legislation to prohibit union strike or Rauner lockout gets House approval
        * House passes bill separating ALPLM from Historic Preservation
        * House OKs plan to make Lincoln Library and Museum its own state agency
        * Illinois Capitol statue of Dennis Hastert on hold
        * Legislative leaders say Rauner's Turnaround Agenda still on table

        * Emanuel finally unveils plan to fund police, fire pensions
        * Buyer linked to George Lucas buys condo for $18.8 million
        * Everything you need to know about the Hastert indictment
        * For Desiree Rogers, the campaign to fight cancer is personal
        * Happy 90th birthday, Lester Crown


          * Former Speaker Hastert's federal pension not in danger
          * Emanuel's police, fire pension plan clears first hurdle at Capitol
          * Cops: Relative of mother, son found dead in SW Side home being questioned
          * Man killed in rollover crash in Lake County
          * Ex-Bull Brunson not guilty of sex abuse charges
          * This season's first positive test for West Nile detected in St. Clair County
          * Blame game, political jockeying as overtime looms for Rauner, Madigan
          * New Cook County court aims to treat prostitutes more like victims
          * Ex-Yorkville school chief recalls no misconduct complaints against Hastert
          * Illinois lawmakers send Rauner ban on gay conversion therapy for minors


          * Bears release Ray McDonald after domestic violence arrest in California
          * Ex-US House speaker's indictment offers few clues about case
          * Chicago school board to consider charter relocations, renewals
          * Ex-US Speaker Hastert indicted on bank-related charges
          * Vets' best friend: Two veterans trekking cross-country with the dogs that 'saved their lives'
          * After pig farm raises a stink, Hoosiers debate rural-city divide
          * City planners and neighborhood residents map out Chinatown’s future
          * City planners and neighborhood residents map out Chinatown's future
          * Nebraska repeals death penalty, but U.S. isn't quite ready to abandon it
          * FIFA officials arrested on charges of bribery and corruption


          * Rauner won't call special session to reach budget agreement, wants action by Sunday
          * Kim Harber: Rural Illinoisans deserve modern tech rules
          * Charles Krauthammer: Why doctors quit
          * House passes bill separating Lincoln museum from Historic Preservation
          * Legislation to prohibit union strike, Rauner lockout gets House approval
          * Conversion therapy ban heads to Rauner's desk
          * Illinois Capitol statue of Dennis Hastert on hold
          * Esther Cepeda: How sincere is Clinton's Latino outreach?
          * Rauner agenda bills defeated in committee
          * Our Opinion: What's next, Springfield? More jobs, please


          * More ‘barks’ needed to keep Jacksonville in top spot
          * Monument to freedom
          * Open Line
          * Top honors
          * Police Beat
          * Reception planned for new MacMurray president
          * Illowa Sports Flyers aviation meeting
          * Tennis block party at West High school
          * Bent River Community Credit Union announces the Freedom Tree food drive
          * Names & Faces 05/30/15


          * Buehrle, Blue Jays rally past Twins 6-4 on Colabello homer
          * Lackey K's 9, Cardinals beat Dodgers 3-0 for 5th in row
          * Report: Hastert was trying to conceal sexual abuse of student
          * Lightning strike: Tampa Bay beats Rangers, will play for Cup
          * Images: Barrington High School graduation

          * Summer Open House to again feature 'Rock t...
          * EPA's new ethanol standards cut short
          * Democrats face contested primaries in 2016...
          * DCCC hits Republicans on Amtrak safety fun...
          * Women are stepping up in most major 2016 S...
          * Milbank: Cruz shape-shifting with the wind...
          * Peoria gets $400K grant to clean up contam...
          * LGBT veterans honored with monument in nat...
          * EPA's latest biofuels proposals fall short...
          * Skowhegan handbell ringers to perform at C...

          * Hastert case assigned to Judge Thomas Durkin...
          * EPA's new ethanol standards cut short...
          * Durbin discusses safety concerns with trai......

          * Hastert paid off former pupil, official says...
          * Hastert rose to speakership among the scan......
          * Hastert 'misconduct' involves sexual abuse......
          * Hastert case assigned to Judge Thomas Durkin...

          * Women protested against Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed budget cuts on Thursday
          * Chicago Higher Schoolers Hold Climate Action Rally
          * Report: High School Grad Rate Stagnant In Illinois
          * ACLU, Tea Party Patriots Form Alliance In Debate Over Patriot Act Provisions
          * 'Bare-Bones' Illinois Mental Health System Can't Afford Further Cuts, Advocates Say
          * Chicago High Schoolers Rally For Climate Action, Illinois Clean Jobs Bill (VIDEO)
          * A sex scandal? How will it stick! How unfortunate that it will do so
          * “The Driver’s Side” – News From The Motorist’s Perspective
          * Paper Chronicles Another Costly Parking Privatization Failure
          * Catholic Citizens for Life launches calls in opposition to SB1564


          * Honoring Illinois' Fallen - United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from Sunrise, Monday, June 1, 2015 until Sunset, Wednesday, June 3, 2015.
          * First West Nile Virus Positive Mosquito in Illinois for 2015 Reported
          * Celebrate National 529 Day with a College Illinois!® Savings Plan - Enrollment Open Through June 1st
          * State Announces Business Resource Event Coming to Aurora - ‘Make a Connection’ networking and resource program promotes economic growth of small and diverse businesses
          * Gulf War Veteran Reports for Duty as IDVA Women Vets Coordinator, Vet Business Champion




              Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller