* The top of the story….
Fifteen hours and 46 minutes. That’s how long the clout-heavy law firm of Chico & Nunes spent as Springfield lobbyists for the Chicago Christian Industrial League, the homeless shelter where Gov. Blagojevich’s wife Patti worked as a fund-raiser until she was fired last week.
The law firm headed by Mayor Daley’s former chief of staff Gery Chico disclosed its lobbying relationship with the league on papers filed with Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White at 6:02 p.m. Dec. 4.
Chico’s firm ended the relationship the following morning — the day the Chicago Tribune reported that the feds had secretly recorded Blagojevich.
Oops. The explanation is that the filing was made in error. They never intended to lobby the state, just the city, was the explanation offered.
The bottom of the story…
Chico helped the governor’s wife get her job at the league last summer. And his law firm hosted a campaign fund-raiser for Blagojevich the night before he was arrested by the FBI.
* Jumping into Illinois and Chicago politics (they may have actually been pushed) has turned out to be a huge mistake for the Chicago Christian Industrial League. Not only did they hire the governor’s wife at a six-figure salary, and Gery Chico as their lobbyist, but here’s more…
A decade ago, David Ariola owned a South Loop gym where Mayor Daley worked out.
Today, the businessman serves on Daley’s Community Development Commission, making recommendations on every proposal for city tax-increment financing — the multimillion-dollar program Daley has used to build offices, stores, schools and other projects across Chicago.
As one of 15 members of the unpaid city advisory board, Ariola supported the mayor’s plan to spend more than $13.5 million to build a $25.2 million homeless shelter for the Chicago Christian Industrial League — a charity that had sold its longtime home in Greektown to Daley’s friend Michael Marchese for a luxury condo development.
Ariola’s Chicago Realty Co. was later hired by the league to oversee construction of the homeless shelter — a project that has left the league in financial trouble, unable to pay a $10.8 million loan it got to finish the project.
And now they’re broke.
* I wouldn’t call any of these people gangsters, that wouldn’t be right. But what happened to the Christian Industrial League since it was “nudged” into moving out of its old digs and into a new building looks almost like a classic case of how the Outfit takes over a restaurant. First, they demand free food and drinks, then they force the owner to buy a bunch of supplies on credit and sell them out the back door for cash profit. Then the restaurant is burned to the ground to collect the insurance.
As I’ve often said, the mob and Illinois politics both operate under the ancient system devised by the Roman Legion…
“You were around the old-timers who dreamed up how the Families should be organized, how they based it on the old Roman legions and called them Regimes, Capos, and Soldiers. And it worked.”
* It pays to be a friend of Blagojevich
* Governor’s pick for DNR chief doesn’t inspire much hope
* IDOT subpoenaed in Blago case
* Feds subpoena Blagojevich about contacts with Axelrod, Jarrett
* Fitzgerald’s inflammatory comments an ethical lapse