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Rauner talks Levine

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2014

* After months of waiting, Bruce Rauner finally talked with Greg Hinz about his employment of convicted influence peddler Stu Levine

When asked this by his opponents at a candidate debate earlier this month, Mr. Rauner said he “didn’t know” Mr. Levine at the time — Mr. Levine wasn’t indicted on federal corruption charges until a year later — and that GTCR got the work strictly because it produced good returns.

“I didn’t have ‘a relationship’ with Levine. I didn’t know him,” Mr. Rauner told me. “I didn’t interact with him. What I’ve been told is that he was an employee of a company in which we had a minority interest.”

In further comments over our tea, Mr. Rauner said GTCR’s ownership in the medical-services company that employed Mr. Levine varied from 5 percent to 40 percent, depending on the time. Two other GTCR officials — not him — served on the board of the firm, he said. And the medical services firm was one of scores owned by GTCR at the time, all of which had a number of highly paid officials, he said, though I doubt too many people at just one firm made $300,000 a year.

Mr. Rauner added one other thing: Mr. Levine’s original hiring by the medical firm predates GTCR’s acquisition of the company by at least a year, he said. If that’s true, it strengthens his case that Mr. Levine wasn’t fixing things for GTCR. But Mr. Rauner said he does not have access to the actual Levine hiring contract, which was extended by a company that no longer exists. Nor could he provide a copy of Mr. Levine’s departure agreement in 2004 or 2005 — after Mr. Levine was indicted on federal corruption charges — or say whether Mr. Levine received any financial settlement.

Asked whether he played the Illinois political game with Mr. Levine and others in getting pension work, Mr. Rauner replied that GTCR would make its pitch “to the staffs of the pension funds. . . .We did not interact with the board members.”

* But former TRS executive director Jon Bauman had this to say

“Clearly, no one disclosed the (Rauner/Levine) relationship at the appropriate time,” Mr. Bauman emailed me. “On one hand, GTCR was one of four owners in a company that was one of maybe 80 to 100 in (its) portfolio. On the other, limited partners pay general partners (like GTCR) a good fee to know what’s going on in their portfolio companies and to be accountable for them. I’m missing the accountability here.”

After being against the Rauner company’s investment offer, Levine voted for it at the next meeting.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


27 Comments
  1. - Superanon - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 2:50 pm:

    Who’s going to Duluth?


  2. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 2:51 pm:

    Good enough for me… Thanks, Bruce.


  3. - Superanon - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 2:54 pm:

    OW, you owe me coffee. again.


  4. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 3:03 pm:

    Where can I get one of those jobs where you make $50 million a year and have no responsibility, no accountability and no idea what’s going on?

    The idea that a pay-to-player like Rauner didn’t know Stu Levine or what he was all about is absurd.


  5. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 3:06 pm:

    - Superanon -, apologies, send the bill to - AA -.

    “I am 100% responsible for whatever I can have an excuse for, it take credit from. Everything else is just baloney.”


  6. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 3:11 pm:

    Sniffing around this fellows business interests gets more and more ‘fishy’ every day…..the sniffers are out in force - and good for that.


  7. - Sgt. Schultz - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 3:14 pm:

    I know nothing!


  8. - PoolGuy - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 3:16 pm:

    why would they hire/pay Stu Levine if he/they didn’t know what Stu could do for them? they found him in the phonebook under nice guys?


  9. - Fred Derf - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 3:26 pm:

    Bauman wants accountability? Oh my golly that is funny!


  10. - Chi - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 3:28 pm:

    To expand on PoolGuy’s point:

    If it’s true that Levine worked for the firm before GTCR bought it…

    Isn’t any private equity firm worth its salt going to look at all of the high paid employees and determine what the particular employee does for the company and whether they should be making that much money? So when Bruce was looking over the payroll of the newly acquired company, and sees Stuart Levine making $300k a year, isn’t he going to ask why?


  11. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 3:31 pm:

    I just cash the checks. I don’t know how they actually wind up in my bank account.


  12. - MrJM - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 3:44 pm:

    Captain Rauner: I’m shocked, shocked to find that political fixing is going on in here!

    [Stuart Levine hands Rauner a pile of money]

    Stuart Levine: Your $50 million, sir.

    Captain Rauner: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.

    Captain Rauner: [aloud] It’s pure baloney!

    Aaaaaaaaand scene.

    – MrJM


  13. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 3:46 pm:

    I guess Rauner wants this to stay here until someone talks to Levine.

    Might not happen until April… The “3″ have no leverage to push(?)


  14. - Chad - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 3:55 pm:

    Off topic, but Rainer just amended his quarterly reports. Supposed to include payroll names.


  15. - walker - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 4:08 pm:

    You’re either an effective hands-on manager, or you’re a smart gambler with Other Peoples’ Money.

    Which set of “business skills” are you bringing to government again?


  16. - Drallid - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 4:25 pm:

    It wasn’t Stu “snorting animal tranquilizer mixed with crystal meth at the Purple Hotel” that shocked me, it was discovering Rauner was paying Levin $25,000 per month to do so.


  17. - Percival - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 4:28 pm:

    Once again, he faces a situation where he cannot be found to have a personal role, but that will be of little matter when the attack ads start. I do think it a bit unfair to tag him with things that he did not know (”so far,” anyway, since he did bend the truth like a pretzel on the minimum wage fracas), but when you pocket the money, you take the potential heat that can come with it.


  18. - concern1 - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 4:32 pm:

    I love politicians how they can talk out of both sides of their mouth..takes a lot of ability but then again they are politicians!!!!


  19. - Leave a Light on George - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 4:33 pm:

    I guess he would be just as surprised when another “Stu Levine” showed up on the state’s payroll after he became Governor?


  20. - Gordon Geko - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 4:56 pm:

    Rauner’s firm made good money off the bankrupting of senior citizens homes and laying off thousands of others.

    What’s wrong with that?

    Greed is good folks.


  21. - CollegeStudent - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 5:18 pm:

    ==== I do think it a bit unfair to tag him with things that he did not know====

    His campaign is predicated on how he will know everything that is going on in the state when he is governor. Tag him with his hypocrisy.


  22. - D.P.Gumby - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 5:18 pm:

    It was just business….as usual…like the way I will run government…


  23. - Henry Clay - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 6:03 pm:

    One of the problems with running for a public office (especially one like “Governor of Illinois”) is that all of a sudden everything you have ever done (privately and in business) is dragged out of the closet and thrown out into the sunlight. Where nobody even cared before, now all of a sudden you have the media and it’s few remaining investigative reporters crawling over everything that you have been involved in during the last twenty years. Hence, you had better be sure that your track record is as clean as a bed sheet. Any dirty laundry is going to be hung out for public inspection.

    I am not saying that Bruce Rauner (or anyone else) has done anything illegal, immoral, or anything which is fattening but the irony would be if Rauner (or anybody else) suddenly finds themselves suddenly being placed under a microscope by the feds for what some media investigative reporter took the time and effort to ferret out. Blagojevich, George Ryan, etc. are recent examples that show that the times are slowly changing in Illinois. Accountability in Illinois politics was always a joke. That is slowly changing. My guess is that Rauner would never have run for office if he thought that he had done something illegal in one of his previous investment ventures. He wasn’t likely to get to where he is in life by being only as smart as Rod and George.


  24. - Sgt. Schultz - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 6:07 pm:

    Is it not sad that this obsession to make billions is considered by many to be synonymous with the skills necessary to run government successfully?


  25. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 6:27 pm:

    == I do think it a bit unfair to tag him with things that he did not know==

    As has been pointed out, Rauner is running on his vast experience as a successful businessman; that means we should look very closely at how he has run his businesses to get an idea of how he will run the state. The nursing home deal, Stu Levine, etc. provide insight. Either he knew about (and presumably approved of) these aspects of his business, which is clearly problematic, OR he did not know (and presumably did not care to know) which is also problematic. Either way you get a governor who has Stu Levines in his ranks carrying out the state’s business and you get vulnerable folks in the state’s care in harms way. This appears to be how Rauner runs his businesses.


  26. - for the record - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 6:43 pm:

    Behind every great fortune there is a crime.
    —Balzac


  27. - Percival - Tuesday, Jan 28, 14 @ 7:56 pm:

    I see my comment got some responses. I don’t agree with all of them, particularly Pck’s implied assumptions, but it is of no account: Rauner is going to get nailed on this stuff either way, unless his opponents are fools.


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