This is a very bad day for Alexi Giannoulias. First, the Tribune ran a very unflattering story:
Bank loans to a Chicago crime figure have become an unlikely campaign issue in the Democratic primary race for Illinois treasurer. […]
Broadway Bank had lent millions of dollars to Chicago crime figure Michael Giorango, who has been convicted twice of federal bookmaking charges and also of promoting a nationwide prostitution operation.
And then it gets worse.
But Giannoulias said that since he became a full-time senior loan officer, he has met Giorango at the bank “a few” times.
He described Giorango as “a very nice person” and questioned whether Giorango actually was a criminal. “Is he a crime figure?” Giannoulias asked. “I don’t know what the charges are that makes him this huge crime figure.”
Nicknamed “Jaws,” Giorango pleaded guilty in 1989 to helping direct a south suburban bookmaking ring that used threats of bombings, beatings and robbery to collect unpaid debts. Then in 1991, he was convicted of additional gambling and tax violations stemming from his role in a separate bookmaking operation overseen by Chicago Heights gambling boss Dominic Barbaro.
In 2004, federal prosecutors convicted him of promoting the Circuit, a nationwide prostitution ring, by encouraging Miami madam Judy Krueger to have prostitutes work from one of his hotels and by using the women to entertain and entice his business associates.
And then the Tribune uses that story as a big reason for endorsing Paul Mangieri.
More troubling, some of the bank’s business dealings have come into question. As the Tribune reports today, the bank has lent millions of dollars to a Chicago crime figure who has been convicted on federal bookmaking charges and of promoting a prostitution operation. Giannoulias’ answers about these deals are incomplete.
Giannoulias’ very brief work experience and the unanswered questions about Broadway Bank raise some caution. The Tribune endorses Paul Mangieri in the Democratic primary for treasurer, based on his record of strong ethical standards as a county prosecutor.
The Republicans will have a field day with this if Alexi wins the primary.