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Morning Shorts

Monday, May 19, 2008

* The ‘piggy bank’

“From the very limited information that we’ve had access to, it’s apparent that the owners of the hotel cooked the books to conceal profits and fleece taxpayers to avoid making good on a government loan that never should have been made,” said Giannoulias, who last week turned over a 36-page report about the matter to the FBI and Illinois attorney general.

* Treasurer targets GOP insider

* Cahnman, lawmakers blast pair of bills as “hostile to grass-roots democracy”

* Audit: Insiders cooked Lincoln Hotel’s books

* Rezko trial jury instructions

* A lesson from the Rezko trial: the power of money

* Rezko case is all about the Benjamins

* Governor in middle of case

* Rezko case puts big question mark on Illinois politics

* California gay marriage ruling will affect Illinois: State Sen. Bill Brady, a Bloomington Republican and likely gubernatorial aspirant for 2010, said Friday he will initiate next year another drive for a constitutional ban. The California ruling, Brady said, “gives more credence to the fact that we need to strengthen the constitution based on the wishes of voters and not leave it to a court.”

* Same-Sex Marriages Likely A Long Way Off In Ill.

* Gay marriage not likely in Illinois any time soon

* Unwise haste on gay marriage

* Editorial: Take a stand on same-sex unions

* Circle of life

Roughly 16 percent of babies born to African-American women weigh less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces, compared to 7 percent for whites, according to the most recent birth data released in 2005, Onwuta said.

* 2008 State of Fair Housing in the 6-County Region and Blueprint for Change

* Credit Crunch Crunches Illinois Housing Sales, Prices in 2008

ccording to the 2008 first quarter report from the Illinois Association of Realtors, total home sales (which include single-family homes and condominiums) totaled 21,576, down 27.0% from 29,553 in the first quarter of 2007.

* Food stamp recipients struggle through the month

* Heads we lose, tails we lose

* Daley: Whatever it takes

In the case of the museum, legal covenants that have kept Grant Park “forever open, clear and free” were ignored by the Daley-controlled Chicago Plan Commission.

* Taverns might be serving drinks at sidewalk cafes

* County clout for ex-cons

“This is more evidence that the ‘Friends and Family’ hiring plan is in full swing,” said Jay Stewart of the Better Government Association, adding, “It is clear that he isn’t going to reach beyond his inner circle” to fill top jobs.

* Daley’s Michigan neighbor says fire may be linked to cougar death

* Secrets from the crypt

* Why foie gras is controversial

The best weapon against animal abuse and cruelty is honest information, widely distributed. In that spirit, let us offer a brief, dispassionate description of how foie gras is produced. Emily Patterson-Kane, an animal welfare scientist at the American Veterinary Medical Association in Schaumburg, explains:

* New Scavenger Boat to Clean Chicago River

* State house passes Shib’s Law

Dubbed “Shib’s Law” after James “Shib” Miller, a Sesser firefighter who was killed in the line of duty when a bus hit him along Interstate 57 last July, the proposal would permit firefighters to close off lanes of traffic while responding to an emergency.

* Rep. Watson hopeful on Iraq

* Who’s Hiding The Hybrids?

* Timberline Knolls Supports Illinois House Bill 1432 to Provide Fair and Equal Coverage for Eating Disorders

* State Fair Grandstand Tickets On Sale

* Scholarships honor politician’s passion for civics

Receiving the 2008 Patrick S. Botterman Leadership Award were Chet Farley, 25, and Kelly Friskics, 25, founders of Northwest Suburbs for Obama. The two were recognized for recruiting volunteers, raising money, canvassing in several states, coordinating phone banks and registering voters.

* Lawmakers want to put brakes on Canadian National Railway

Congresswoman Melissa Bean, D-Barrington, and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill, on Friday urged federal regulators to reject this week’s request by the CN to complete the environmental review by Nov. 3 and approve the acquisition by Dec. 1.

* Piracy in Crystal Lake

* Motorcycle promoter cancels swap meet over fears of violence

* Chicago students deliver gun control petitions

* Schools in Illinois are now required to use green cleaners

* ‘Three times is three times too many’ for kids left on buses

* Safe driving is big business

* Congress picks Illinois for military program

The governor’s office says Congress has picked Illinois as one of 20 states to join a program that helps military families in need.

* LED Lighting in State Buildings

* Birkett the prosecutor out of line

* Ozzie refuses to play race card

- Posted by Kevin Fanning        

  1. - t-rex - Monday, May 19, 08 @ 9:35 am:

    Where was Fitzgerald on the Cellini scheme? Thanks Alexi!

  2. - wordslinger - Monday, May 19, 08 @ 9:58 am:

    Forgive my ignorance, but after 20-plus years, was this the first hard look at the books of the Cellini hotel? Didn’t Quinn take a shot at this when he was treasurer?

    Jeez, I was around when Big Jim and Jerry Cosentino redid the deal. It stunk then. No one could (or wanted to) lay a glove on this guy all that time? Talk about the Power of the Darkside.

  3. - Cassandra - Monday, May 19, 08 @ 10:03 am:

    Ah, Illinois, home of state government corruption and a voter population with an endless tolerance for that corruption.

    No question that Blago will run again–I suspect, even if he is indicted, which seems extremely unlikely. His world view is…he’s innocent. And, according to old-time Democratic Machine politics…the kind that still goes on in Chicago and in Cook County government..Rezko type maneuverings are business as usual and he IS innocent. Blago has apparently even convinced the white lakefront libs, the ones who are always screaming about corruption, that he is, well, ok. They all voted for him. They all voted for Stroger Jr. And they’ll vote for them both again.

  4. - Leave a light on George - Monday, May 19, 08 @ 10:15 am:

    t rex - read the article. Findings were just truned over to the FBI and Cellini is named as a co-conspiritor in the Rezko trial.

    It appears the only the Illinois State Government does well is manage hotels. Perhaps they should buy more of them to solve the budget issues?! Starting with the Purple Hotel?

  5. - GofGlenview - Monday, May 19, 08 @ 10:19 am:

    What’s interesting in these cases is to see how interwoven the whole system is. For example: Rezko was involved with the tollway, as was Knight E/A (Hurtgen) no the question is who was doing the paving (Cellini?). Another example is this: Beck is in charge of TRS, Kjellander get’s work from TRS reaping millions, Bear Stearns get’s work from TRS (Beck’s son works at Bear Stearns) getting fat fees. Yet another example, Beck’s son works at Bear Stearns who pays Kjellander $800,000 for the state bond re-fi- nearly 50% of that money goes to a Rezko employee who then filters it through several Rezko controlled entities.

    What Fitzy is doing is breaking the entire circle of what seems to be a rather significant conflict of interest as it relates to the responsibilities of stewards to the State.

    Perhaps the unintended consequence of these investigations will be that without this corruption the State Goverenment will cease to operate?

  6. - Truthful James - Monday, May 19, 08 @ 10:48 am:

    I informally reviewed the Renaissance deal before Judy B became State Treasurer and told her not to touch it with a nine foot Hungarian, let alone a 10 foot pole. I told her that if she anted to see the one friend she had in Springfield, she should look in the mirror. And she did hold off.

    I had never seen a more ass backwards funding in my life, putting the State at Risk instead of the hotel owners.

    Cellini often bragged that he had never done a money losing deal and it was evident why.

    This was a typical Jimbo jumbo deal. And with Jimmy the C pushing the Collinsville Hilton into the same type of financing structure — well, it was equal opportunity pork.

    Now Jimbo wants to do the firty with the taxpayer with Wiggly Field.

    Hey does anybody see the similarity with White Socks Parque where the poor old owners don’t pay rent unless attendance rises above X — which meant that they lost money…or didn’t make enough. Lo the State had to pay, just like with the Convention Center campus where local taxes had to be used.

    Which leads us to little jim edgar who had a Cellini in his kitchen cabinet. Now was he for a Cellini bailout with the RenHotel? I forget.

    The rule is: if when entering a poker game you look around the room and don’t locate the easy mark, look in the mirror.

  7. - Pro-Gunner - Monday, May 19, 08 @ 11:45 am:

    The best way to get guns off of the streets is to get criminals off of the streets.

  8. - Snidely Whiplash - Monday, May 19, 08 @ 11:49 am:

    It’s pretty easy to see that Alexi is preparing for an imminent gubanatorial run. This was an easy one for him: he has no ties to Cellini, he knew Cellini was already under investigation anyway, and many of the details of this “dirty deal” have been front page news for years on end.

    So, he has no political repercussions, the US Attorney does the work (hey, from the sounds of the Tony R. trial, an indictment was coming against Cellini soon, anyway), and Alexi comes off as the “reformer” who brought down Cellini and corruption in Illinois government. Lucky for him he had the records and authority to order the “investigation” (actually, just a limited review of the Treasurer’s own records).

    This was an absolutely brainless call by Gianoulias. Hell, if Todd Stroger had been elected Treasurer rather than county board prez, even HE could have seen the opportunity for self-advancement there. The liberal press (and more Obama commercials) may just romance the gullible public enough to even propel him over Lisa M in the Dem gubanatorial primary. This is the second recent, easy press conference opportunity that was simply handed to him because he happened to get elected to the office that has the records. I think this guy is just “charmed” enough to become the next governor. He’s got Obama teflon and press corps love potion written all over him.

  9. - 2for2 - Monday, May 19, 08 @ 2:50 pm:

    If Alexi has ambition for 2010 he should set his sights on Obama’s seat (assuming its open). I think the public would be more willing to go with a less-known quantity for US Senate than Guv. He might not even be opposed for Senate depending on who Blago appoints. Who would run against him? Jan? I’d say that is possible but not likely. I think he would have a tough time running for Governor. After the last two governors I think the public is going to be very selective. I like Alexi. I just think the timing would be bad. The Ed Boards will not be kind if he jumps out too far too fast.

  10. - Truthful James - Monday, May 19, 08 @ 3:09 pm:

    I doubt that Ms. Madigan will run for governor. She could clean ut the joint, but even if Mike retires there is Emil to contend with on a day by day basis and she will have zero control over him.

    I like Lisa for Senator if there is a vacancy. Least stressful and might even eventually lead to the Supremes. That leaves Dan Hynes and Alexi. What happens there will depend on what Jesse White wants to do. If he retires (and I see no inkling of that) or is called for a Federal appointment under Obama that is one scenario. More likely that Alexei will be called to DC. Hynes and Alexei can fight over SecState since that is a straight shot up after 8 years for a Guv run. That leaves the Blago role to be filled by Danny Hynes.

    So much opportunity. It boggles the mind.

  11. - Snidely Whiplash - Monday, May 19, 08 @ 3:20 pm:

    Yes, James, so much opportunity is right. Funny how the same old family names pop us as the recipients of the opportunity: Hynes and Madigan, in their fourth decade nobility. Or, maybe a Daley or Burke would like to come in and try and push for 7 decades in power for their families (1950’s)? Perhaps we could add another Lipinski to the mix? Or a Stroger or Steele, maybe?

    Cripes, I feel like a serf in medievel England!

  12. - PhilCollins - Monday, May 19, 08 @ 3:42 pm:

    Snidely, I agree. Who will run against Stroger, in 2010? Will he have a primary opponent?

  13. - RAI - Monday, May 19, 08 @ 4:33 pm:

    The problem Alexi has is that when they look into Springfield and Celini you have to look into Collinsville and Costello! Yes the combine raises it’s head again! It is one and the same.
    Oh yes it is fun to see the democrats act like reformers. When do you think the audit of the Collinsville property will become public from Alexi? Do you think he will forward that to the Feds? Or maybe he has already and just didn’t bring it up? Ha Ha.

    Can Alexi do that and be safe with the loans his bank made to some “Businessmen” in the Caribbean? I think his phone will ring and he will shut his mouth or someone, a Bank examiner maybe, will be knocking at the family business door.

  14. - Disgusted - Monday, May 19, 08 @ 5:58 pm:

    Cellini must be losing it. After decades on the take, he is outed by the biggest know-nothing administration there is anywhere. I bet he recognized Blago for what he was but let greed take over - one more grift before retirement.

  15. - nino - Monday, May 19, 08 @ 9:13 pm:

    He owns the FBI, this investigation will go nowhere. How do you get promoted with the G? Look the other way and better yet go after his enemies. You folks just don’t get it. He was given the big tuna’s cain and he uses it.
    Stop paying your taxes what isn’t stolen is wasted.

  16. - nino - Monday, May 19, 08 @ 9:14 pm:


  17. - Joe Pesci - Monday, May 19, 08 @ 9:57 pm:

    I tink some uh youse guys, maybe youse utes out dere, been wartchin too many uh my movies, see. Youse tink da G is onna take? Geddoudda heae!

  18. - Snidely Whiplash - Monday, May 19, 08 @ 10:08 pm:

    Well, Mr. Reformer just got his campaign commercial on the 10:00 news …

  19. - Snidely Whiplash - Monday, May 19, 08 @ 10:10 pm:

    “He owns the FBI, this investigation will go nowhere.”

    I take it a black helicopter has been following you around all day?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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