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Things that make you go “Hmmm….”

Monday, Nov 30, 2009

* Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Ryan can’t shake ties to corrupt player Stu Levine. The Sun-Times take a look at some contributions to Ryan’s last gubernatorial campaign while Levine was the finance director. The contributions seem curiously timed to some investment votes by the Teachers Retirement System, on which Levine served. The story relies heavily on Levine’s testimony at Tony Rezko’s trial

When his testimony turned to the teachers’ pension fund, Levine told jurors he helped one firm — the John Buck Co. — win a deal to manage $100 million of real estate investment money for the fund.

Levine also testified he helped a second investment firm — Walton Street Capital — get a deal with the teachers’ pension fund to handle another $75 million.

The TRS approved the investments on Oct. 29, 2002 - just before the November election. And here’s the contribution timeline…

• On Oct. 1 — 28 days before the TRS board meeting — six employees of Bluhm’s Walton Street Capital and one from another Bluhm company gave a total of $33,500 to Citizens for Jim Ryan.

• On Oct. 11 — 18 days before the meeting — the John Buck Co. contributed $35,000 to Ryan and spent another $2,000 to host a Ryan fund-raiser at the Union League Club of Chicago.

Everybody denies a quid pro quo and Ryan’s campaign won’t give back the money.

* A challenge to state Rep. Deb Mell’s petitions was dismissed last week by Chicago Board of Elections hearing officer Barbara Goodman. From the transcript

I find nothing in the Election Code that tells me that a candidate has to be a registered voter at all….I think we all agreed that the petition signers have to be registered voters at the addresses shown on their petitions, and I have a hard time understanding the logic used to require candidates to have a lesser connection to the voting process than petition signers. But there it is….However troubling I find this issue….I believe I’m compelled to grant the motion to dismiss.

Strange. Mell’s opponent is appealing, of course.

* And this is just plain bizarre

The chief of staff for a state social service agency has left her job after allegedly using her state-issued phone to harass another woman because the two had a relationship with the same man.

Champaign County authorities also said Tamara T. Hoffman boasted of her position in state government in the threats to the Rantoul woman, threatened a police officer when he contacted her and posted photos of herself and the man holding guns on a social networking Web site belonging to the alleged victim’s daughter. […]

Rietz said Hoffman began repeatedly calling the Rantoul woman about Aug. 14. One threat, according to Rietz, began with an expletive and continued, “If you see him again, something bad is going to happen to you. I work for the State of Illinois, and you don’t know who you’re messing with.” […]

When a Rantoul police officer called Hoffman, Rietz said, Hoffman threatened him with unspecified retaliation from “investigators in the Illinois State Police.”

Wow.

* But if you really want to get your weird on today, take a look at a short piece of fiction in New York Magazine’s latest issue, entitled: “The King of Mop - Blago in Vegas, looking to make a deal with Michael Jackson’s father”…

Threading through the Venetian, Rod cast an appreciative gaze at the painstakingly painted murals of Italian skyline, while gondoliers poled between linen-laid tables. Some folks pilloried Las Vegas for being fake, but they didn’t get it—the power and the glory of façade. It never rained in this dive, and its sun never set.

* Related…

* Anti-corruption law: Supreme Court decision could derail ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s trial - Justices are asked to scale back or strike down prosecutors’ key tool for public corruption cases

* Still time to boot Blagojevich leftovers

- Posted by Rich Miller        


33 Comments
  1. - Anon - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 9:30 am:

    Sorry, but the King of Mop thing is stupid.


  2. - Secret Square - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 9:32 am:

    “I work for the state of Illinois and you don’t know who you’re messing with!”

    Doesn’t have quite the same ring as “You ain’t woman enough to take my man,” or “You’d better be fast on your feet if you don’t wanna eat a meal that’s called Fist City,” but catchy nonetheless :-)


  3. - Irish Eyes - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 9:38 am:

    This Stu Levine problem is getting worse for Ryan. There is no way to spin yourself out of this one. Andy McKenna’s team now has additional fodder for a slew of negative ads that will be coming your way after the New Year.


  4. - Bring Back Boone's - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 9:45 am:

    At least she was more restrained than the diapered astronaut lady.


  5. - Take a Deep Breath - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 9:46 am:

    The Stu Levine thing is what it is for Jim Ryan. If he goes up againstQuinnn, it isn’t as bad as being Blago’s Lite Guv. If the feds thought Jim Ryan has ill gottten gains in his campaign fund, they would have gone affter it.


  6. - Clive Bock - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 9:52 am:

    McKenna is on record praising Jim Ryan’s integrity and repeatedly criticizing GOPers who launch cheap attack during primaries. Is he really going to throw that all away for an extreme longshot bid to win the nomination?


  7. - cassandra - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 10:30 am:

    What does “left her job” mean exactly. That she resigned? That she was fired? That our Pat couldn’t bring himself to fire her so he waited until her term was up and didn’t renew it (if she was on a term). Since our Pat can’t bring himself to fire anybody (state bureaucrats, no matter how inept or redundant, are safe under our Pat) a forced departure would be rather surprising, given the circumstances.

    Love is temporary insanity and lots of folks have done crazy things while under its spell. That’s not the problem here. But isn’t this the same Tamara Hoffman who was less than forthcoming when questioned by the House impeachment committee last winter about the Allkids expansion. If I recall correctly, she was in charge of it but couldn’t remember who told her to do it? Now, our Pat should have fired her for that early days. Her boss too.


  8. - Dnstateanon - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 10:34 am:

    Clive Bock–Trying to figure out if your serious?


  9. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 10:42 am:

    === What does “left her job” mean exactly. That she resigned? That she was fired? ===

    I believe there was a brief story two weeks ago that she was escorted from her office by State Police.

    At that time, I believe she was suspended without pay, pending an investigation, but I could be wrong.

    Why the S-T is running the story now, I don’t know.


  10. - Secret Square - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 10:48 am:

    IIRC, Hoffman was escorted from her office by the police two MONTHS ago (mid-September) and was placed on some sort of indefinite leave at that time. The story seems to indicate that she only formally resigned as of last week.


  11. - Burrito Bandit - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 10:59 am:

    Whoever gave this to the press (my guess is McKenna’s people) has probably got more on this. That’s what you get when you have Stu Levine raising millions for you. Their people are just following the money trail. There is more out there.


  12. - Joe from Joliet - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 11:06 am:

    Jim Ryan spokesman Dan Curry said:
    “…Stuart Levine was a respectable citizen in the eyes of everyone…”

    No, Dan, he just hadn’ been caught yet.


  13. - wordslinger - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 11:26 am:

    The Ryan/Levine review story was inevitable and is fair. Strange though, given his faith in the Unified Conspiracy Theory, Kass made no mention of Levine is his column the other day on Ryan.

    Judging by Tamara’s testimony at Blago’s impeachment hearings, I’m guessing she has no recollection at all of any of these allegations.


  14. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 11:34 am:

    ===Kass made no mention of Levine is his column the other day on Ryan.===

    He did, but he breezed right over it. Strange, indeed.


  15. - John Bambenek - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 11:36 am:

    Quinn was Blago’s LtGov but had no verifiable role in the corruption. Jim Ryan’s chief fundraiser and “close friend” is under indictment for corruption for Blago and looks like he fixed up some pay-to-play love for Jim Ryan’s campaign fund… aka the same stuff Blago is going down for.

    Yeah, Ryan’s going to come out on top on that one against Quinn…

    He needs to drop out, now.


  16. - Major Frank Burns - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 11:39 am:

    Anyone who’s seen Tammy out and about town isn’t surprised by this story.


  17. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 11:40 am:

    OK, take it easy, please. No need to go in that direction.


  18. - Clive Bock - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 11:46 am:

    Trying to follow Bambenek’s “logic”
    Jim Ryan is bad because he knew someone who NOBODY knew was corrupt until he was caught.
    Quinn is OK because he called Blagojevich honest and ethical at the time EVERYBODY knew he was under heavy federal investigation.
    Does not compute.


  19. - VanillaMan - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 12:15 pm:

    Ryan is so 2000. I can’t imagine why any voter is interested in a throw-back to the last Millenium. It’s kind of strange, but the guy who ran against Blagojevich reminds voters of Blagojevich, which isn’t a good thing.

    Ryan didn’t make news for eight years - now this? Where was he? The guy he lost to, screwed us to a sinking ship, but he didn’t pipe up - until now?

    Nah. If Jim Ryan wants to be seen as a GOP alternative to the nightmare we have been experiencing since 2003, he needed to have been leading opposition since 2003. He can’t just have sat there all these years, but now wants us to think he has something to offer.

    As a political candidate, he is as dated as Loleta Didrickson, but not nearly as interesting or cute.


  20. - Cindy Lou - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 12:21 pm:

    Ms Hoffman does not appear to have been any more or less forgetful during the impeachment committee than she was during her appearances in front of JCAR. Consistantly forgetful and the reason behind, harder to prove than misuse of state issued equipment aka computers/phones. Sometimes it’s the little things that just can’t be explained away or denied and can’t be fought.


  21. - John Bambenek - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 1:04 pm:

    Clive-

    Quinn didn’t benefit from Blago’s corruption. Ryan got campaign cash.

    I’m not saying anyone is bad per se (except the fact that JRyan tried through negligence or malice to execute people he knew were innocent of the crimes they were convicted of), but politics is perception. Only a fanboy could not see that JRyan’s chief fundraiser, currently under indictment, receiving campaign cash for his charge and then “coincidently” those donors getting state contracts doesn’t look bad. Real bad.

    Jim Ryan may or may not have known what Levine was up to. Does it really matter in this environment? His fundraiser is going up the creek and will be within months of election day.


  22. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 3:20 pm:

    Question
    1. Everyone out there who believe Stooie Levine did not become corrupt and kinky until Blagoof arrived plese raise your hands.
    2. Everyone out there who wonders why Kass cannot type the name ERV get those hands up
    Hmmmmm


  23. - downstate hick - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 3:32 pm:

    I think the Levine connection doesn’t eliminate him from the promary, he’s the clear favorite in a crowded field. But in the general it will hurt badly and negate the GOP’s advantage of the Blago sandal. I can’t seem him as electable.


  24. - John Bambenek - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 3:54 pm:

    It doesn’t negate the advantage, it turns the entire tables. I can see the commercials now… “Rod Blagojevich and the Republicans who enabled him”


  25. - Emily Booth - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 5:40 pm:

    Ms Hofmann used a state-issued cell phone on state time to harrass and threaten someone? Meanwhile, we can’t get pens at DHS.


  26. - bobtheskeptic - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 8:16 pm:

    Regarding the HFS boss who was arrrested,I have worked for the state a long time and I dont trust any state agency management types. You give a small minded person a job with a nice paycheck and they think its all about them.


  27. - Clive Bock - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 8:36 pm:

    Bambenek is setting records for wild and inaccurate statements.

    Quinn didn’t benefit by shutting. Ugh, it got him elected. Whose commercials were responsible. Who funded the commercials?

    Compared to JR who essentially was betrayed by a guy who was leading an Eliot Spitzer double life. Should everyone who supported Spitzer be blamed for not knowing?

    Let’s stick to reality.

    The Feds fully debriefed Stu. If JR did anything wrong we’d know about it by now.


  28. - John Bambenek - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 9:08 pm:

    So let me get this straight… no one raised a dime for Quinn, but he goes down for corrupt fundraising.

    Jim Ryan gets cash from a political fixer under indictment for corruption, and he’s pure as the wind-driven snow?

    With that kind of preposterous druid logic, no wonder my party can’t win elections.


  29. - steve schnorf - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 10:10 pm:

    I don’t care what any of the rest of you think or say, on issues of ethics and integrity I’ll stand with Jim Ryan any time. Mistakes, sure, he’s made some (we’ll just skip looking at those who are throwing stones), but I consider his personal integrity beyond reproach.


  30. - Anon3 - Monday, Nov 30, 09 @ 10:11 pm:

    The allegations against Tammy give new meaning to “What was she thinking?”


  31. - Clive Bock - Tuesday, Dec 1, 09 @ 12:48 am:

    Bam, try again.

    Quinn was direct beneficiary of Blago dirty money in 2006 and he knew it was dirty.

    Levine was not under indictment or any cloud when JR took his money in 2002.

    Every time , online, your logic’s not worth a dime.


  32. - Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows - Tuesday, Dec 1, 09 @ 2:45 am:

    The whole Hoffman thing is very strange indeed.

    1. According to another article, she also posted a picture of herself and Rod Blagojevich. In August. 2009. When he had been out of office for 7 months…how exactly is that supposed to be intimidating? Guns, yeah, I get that..Blago? Then? What was he going to do, send an autgraphed copy of his book?

    2. The SJ-R print article said that after 18 harassing text messages, and threatening the cop with an ISP investigation, the police there were going to drop the whole thing, let it blow over. It only escalated when she posted the photos on facebook..? Yeah, they were going to ‘let it go’…

    3. The Google basic web search brings you the story of Tamara Hoffman, teacher, caught in her own love triangle with a student. This is like the Lincoln Kennedy coincidences - what is the cosmic nexus between the name ‘Tamara Hoffman’ and ‘Love Triangle’?

    I hope she lands on her feet.


  33. - Bookworm - Tuesday, Dec 1, 09 @ 6:38 am:

    “She also posted a picture of herself and Rod Blagojevich… how exactliy is that supposed to be intimidating?”

    Well, maybe she was threatening to send him to the other woman’s house to talk her to death about the Cubs, healthcare, Elvis, or the girl who mistook him for Mayor Daley :-)


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