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Tribune blasts Alexi

Wednesday, Apr 12, 2006 - Posted by Rich Miller

I agree with every single word in this Tribune editorial about Democratic treasurer nominee Alexi Giannoulias.

Giannoulias has been nothing but puzzling when he has been questioned about his ties to Michael Giorango, a convicted bookmaker and prostitution ring promoter. […]

Let’s get this straight. Voters are supposed to be impressed by Giannoulias’ experience at the bank. Yet his defense here is that he was clueless as to what his bank was doing?

And he wants to take control of the entire state treasury?

Giannoulias was asked if it was acceptable for a state treasurer to lend money to crime figures. His response to Tribune reporter David Jackson: The treasurer should work to get “the best rate of return for taxpayers to create jobs.”

What, no questions asked?

And the Tribune comes up with some good questions.

Has the 30-year-old candidate for treasurer ever really been more than a junior officer at the family bank? If he had the authority his title implies, how can he claim he didn’t know about this bank business?

How well does he know Giorango?

And why has Giannoulias failed his first tough test as a candidate?

Giannoulias has touted his banking experience as qualifying him for the treasurer’s job. He even said after the election that his experience is what got him the nomination, not the support from Barack Obama.

Well, it’s time for some answers.


  1. - Levois - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 8:02 am:

    This is serious. And if he isn’t acknowledging the role of Barack Obama in his election, is Sen. Obama getting burned?

  2. - Observer-2-all - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 8:20 am:

    What does the support of Barack Obama say about - Barack Obama.

  3. - DOWNSTATE - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 8:29 am:

    Obama probably did not know this guy from Adam.Obama was given his speaking piece and matching orders from the State Democratic committee.You see how bad of shape this sate is in since this group has taken over.This is just another example who cares as long as they were that Democrat tag.

  4. - zatoichi - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 8:37 am:

    Item One: Experience at what? Making mortgage and construction loans? There are people in our local banks with far more experience with far more money and difficult financial situations.

    Item Two: Is that a back hand at Obama that it was Alexi’s “experience” not Obama’s support was not important to the election? Love or hate the other office holders in your party, you gotta be on the team in public during election cycles. Memories (and video/press) of these kind of statements last a long time. He is going to be a never ending supply of “what was he thinking statements”. The behind the door meeting with party leadership on how to act in public must be coming soon.

  5. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 8:37 am:

    Obama shall speak Alexi’s misdeeds and underqualifications out of existance!
    As someone posted yesterday. Alexi is a self made man!

  6. - OPA! - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 8:39 am:

    The Tribune has always hated Greek People since the beginning. This is more evidence of their blatant Greek-hating bias. Shame on you Rich for disseminating this anti-Hellenic tripe.

  7. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 8:43 am:

    That was pretty funny “OPA!” Let’s just hope it doesn’t sidetrack the comments here.

    But, just in case, I have two words for you: John Kass.

  8. - Disappointed - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 8:44 am:

    I was disappointed to see Obama endorse and do commercials for Alexi in the primary, only because he is a large financial supporter of his. It’s one thing for Barack to take $ from Alexi, but it’s another for him to encourage Illinois voters to vote for him because of it.

  9. - FDR's Ghost - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 8:51 am:

    DOWNSTATE - “Obama was given his speaking piece and marching orders from the state Democratic committee.” Huh? The State Democratic Central Committee endorsed Mangieri. Everyone’s entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. It’s a more fruitful discussion when people take the time to get their facts correct.

  10. - Anon - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 9:14 am:

    It’s not the State Dem. Committee that is fielding candidates like Alexi and Tammy Duckworth and using endorsees like Sen. Obama, it’s Rahm Emanuel and his fellow oil slicks. Their motivations — and backers — should be questioned. Why are they playing hardball with M. Madigan et al?

  11. - anon - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 9:29 am:

    First of all, let me say that I am Greek, an early supporter of Giannoulias, a Tribune subscriber, and a daily reader of this blog, as well as the capital fax forwarded to me daily (sorry Rich). The Tribune, Rich Miller and almost every newpaper in the state, except the Chicago Sun-Times, Paul Vallas before, during and after his candidacy. The Giannoulias family chose to support Blagoyavich over Vallas, a HIGHLY qualified Greek candidate.
    I supported Giannoulias because I beleived him to be a bright, sincere young man who would make an excellent public servant. I still beleive that’s true, but I cannot help but be troubled by two things. One, is the “make money ANYWHERE we can” business practices of his familys’ bank, and the other, is the message of his candidacy at this point. He can’t have it both ways on his banking expertise. Make money anywhere you can in the private sector does not translate into “the best rate of return for taxpayers to create jobs”.

  12. - The Playa's Club - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 9:31 am:

    So here’s my question…is Dan Shomon still-up for “The Political Operative of The Year Award?”

  13. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 9:34 am:

    Hmmm… anon 9:29, perhaps I should track you down.

  14. - anon - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 9:34 am:

    ……..the word SUPPORTED was omitted in the above post. “The Tribune, Rich Miller and almost every newwpaper in the state, except the Chicago Sun-Times, supported Paul Vallas……”


  15. - MJM's Club - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 9:35 am:

    Memo to Shomon & Barrack:

    Never mess with “the” man.

  16. - Just Observing - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 9:38 am:

    One word: Duh! I’m a northside “liberal” Dem, but I knew this was going to blow-up in everyones face. If you ever met the kid prior to the election, you knew he was just some rich kid that got a job in Daddy’s bank — and there is nothing wrong with that (I wish my Dad had a bank), but then don’t pretend at 29 after playing basketball and going to law school that he has so much banking experience. I voted for Mangieri because executive experience in government means more than anything Alexi could bring. I hope Rodagno wins. This is bad for Obama.

  17. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 9:41 am:

    Will the media finally question whether annointing Obama as a saint? Maneuvers such as this are what cause public distrust for elected officials. Someone should’ve done their homework.

  18. - Anon - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 9:45 am:

    In the Tribune article is says”There’s no suggestion that the loans were illegal”.

    Is the Tribune suggesting that before anyone gets a loan from a bank that they should go through a criminal back round check?

    If a person commits a crime and pays their debt to society should they never be allowed to get a bank loan again?

    Another question that I have is, has the current State Treasurer ever invested state money or delt with a bank who has made a loan to a person who has committed a crime in the past and payed their debt to society a “crime figure” or a bank who has made a loan to a person who invested in a casino?

  19. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 9:48 am:

    Gee, Anon 9:45, you sound just like Shomon.

    I would suggest that your campaign start taking this issue a lot more seriously and answer the questions at hand. Including mine, by the way. I’ve been waiting all week for a response to a simple little inquiry about how the loan to the mobster was financed.

  20. - The Playa's Club - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 9:49 am:

    I agree with “Just Observing”…I think its bad for Barrack…its a no-brainer that Rodagno’s Camp is going to cut a commercial and direct mail assault tying-in Michael Giorango to Alexi to Abramoff to Barrack…I think its incredibly, incredibly unfair to Barrack…BUT I’m sure the GOP will do something along these lines…

  21. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 9:58 am:

    How was the loan to the mobster financed?

    Probably like most banks…along the lines of “don’t ask, don’t tell”

    I mean what’s a banker supposed to ask and better yet, how’s a businessman supposed to respond…

    “Oh, by the way Mr. G, Alexi & Co, my biz is a cash biz operating on on a bookmaking and call-girl platform?”

  22. - Anon 9:45 - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 10:00 am:

    I am not Shomon and I do not work for the Giannoulias campaign, I did vote for him and will again.

    I do work in the private sector, I have all my life, and God willing will retire there.

    I just don’t believe that if someone has made a mistake and payed their debt to society that they should be shut out of society for the rest of their life.

    Thank you for letting me post on your blog.

  23. - the polish - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 10:02 am:

    If Alexi Giannoulias was employed with a bank that had no tied to his family he’d soon realize how “under qualified” he is for the position of State Treasurer. He’s a joke. If his Republican opponent is smart she’ll hammer away at his lack of “life” experience.

  24. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 10:03 am:

    Anon, being a Chicago Heights mob bookie is not just “making a mistake.” And after he “paid his debt to society” he got involved with a nationwide prostitution racket. There are limits.

    But thanks for your post and for coming here.

  25. - Tinkerbell - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 10:05 am:

    Who was the youngest person ever elected to a statewide office? I just feel that he’s a little too young and inexperienced to be our treasurer. And with all of these stories coming out, I feel that he’s in a little over his head.

    What’s the story with Rodango? I haven’t heard anything about her.

  26. - Western Springs Republican - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 10:45 am:

    Hey Tinkerbell, “Rag”dagno is a state senator from the Western suburbs who represents her husband who is afraid to run for public office.Her husband is a Sicilian attorney from the town of Corelone!
    Ragdagno also represents the “combine” of Illinois, which is Klenadjer,Vrdolak,Stroger,Ryan and lobbyist Tom Walsh! Her position is to get elected and allow those guys to run her office along with her husband, and then she is planning to name Tom Walsh as her replacement for State Senator!
    She supports Democrats more often than Republicans and she has no distinguish record in Springfield, and she is also is full of herself , because at the events she is always short,curt and leaves the parties!
    If her campaign team were a business,she would try applying for WMBE license, and the Feds would take her down, because everyone would find out it really is a shell operation being run by her Husband,Walsh and Stroger, just like the Duff’s family business!
    These guys are afraid of Alexi because they know that he is well aware of there shenanigans and that if elected he won’t allow these creeps around to profit of the taxpayers!

  27. - The original Bill - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 11:01 am:

    Western Springs Repub,
    Everything you posted about Radogno is a lie. You obviously have some personal ax to grind. If you don’t like her, or don’t think that her constituients like her,run someone against her and see how far you get.
    Chris is probably the most knowledgable Senate Repub about the state budget, which I know is not really saying that much.
    She would make a great treasurer.
    Save your mobbed up innuendoes for Alexi.

  28. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 11:03 am:

    Obama probably did not know this guy from Adam.Obama was given his speaking piece and matching orders from the State Democratic committee.You see how bad of shape this sate is in since this group has taken over.This is just another example who cares as long as they were that Democrat tag.

    sometimes things written here remind me of the old Will Rodgers line “It’s not what you don’t know that bothers me…it is what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

  29. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 11:09 am:

    Anon 11:03, the state party endorsed Mangieri, not Alexi. This is at least the second time I’ve seen this type of comment posted here. Both were wrong. Let’s move on now.

  30. - Vrdolyak Question? - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 11:11 am:

    Would Ed Vrdolyak ever consider a 2007 run against Mayor Daley?

  31. - Tom DeLay's Mom - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 11:35 am:

    It appears Mr. Giannoulias has suddenly found himself in quite a Crapola Sandwich. He’s got the GOP punching him in the face and the Democratic Party kicking him in the proverbial “Twigs & Berries.” (damn the censors)

    Zoinks…that’s smarts!

    Honestly, I couldn’t care less who our next state treasurer is…that office should be abolished in my opinion…just look at Topinka’s shady hotel deals - nothing good comes out of that office but sweetheart deals.

    It would be a shame if a similarly, totally unqualified Chris Radogno were to win by default, just because the Democrats leave the Greek Kid twisting in the wind because he defied the Party by running in the Primary.

    I don’t blame Madigan for trying to take the Kid out in the Primary - in fact I respect his decision - the Kid is obviously toting around some troublesome baggage and still hasn’t figured out how to handle a media interview.

    That said, the Kid won the Primary and has earned the Party’s support in the General - love him or hate him - he’s the Dem nominee.

  32. - The original Bill - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 11:39 am:

    Tom’s Mom,
    So is Rod Blagojevich. That doesn’t seem to matter anymore here in Illi-noise.
    Chris is much more qualified than “the Kid”.

  33. - unhappydem - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 11:47 am:

    Great job to alexi’s staff, he always seems well prepared when he speaks with the media and always says the right thing. Someone posted yesterday that his staff is “ditzy kids playing politics,” thats starting to look very true.

  34. - Conservative Republican - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 12:06 pm:

    Obama can escape any fall out from this; its too remote from him and his endorsement was payback anyway…everyone knows that.

    Obama won’t avoid the problem of his first foray into “reforming” the Illinois Democratic Party being a disaster, due to his flawed pick, if Gia loses. Obama would be then stuck with playing his role of America’s Favorite African American Politician, a lifetime sinecure if he wants it.

    The bottom line is that the Gia FAMILY cannot distance themselves from this crook. Gia himself may be able to distance himself, letting the public conclude that he was “young and dumb”, but the odds are in his favor in winning this election. Topinka was the only Republican to win this office in nearly 50 years, and her first win was in the GOP landslide year of 1994; don’t think 06 will be a GOP landslide year, so the Democratic lemmings here may pull it off for for this lightweight Gia.

  35. - Tom DeLay's Mom - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 12:07 pm:

    I’m not here to defend Governor Blagojevich…he has teams of bloggers here doing that for him already…so I’ll decline to take the bait.

    As for your assertion that Radogno is more qualified - sorry, I disagree that statement wholeheartedly. She’s a former social worker…only time she’s seen the inside of a bank has been to deposit campaign contributions.

    As for her legislative record, she’s widely accepted to be a back-bench, rank-and-file legislator - not a vociferous leader in Springfield.

    Nothing in Radogno’s background makes her more qualified than the Kid…

  36. - Anon - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 1:29 pm:

    Radogno and Rutherford were 2 of the 3 republicans who helped pass the gay rights bill. They are running for statewide office to overcome their votes with the republican core voters. If they win this November, everything is forgiven. If not, they’ll have minimized potential fallout for the March ‘08 primaries.

  37. - Scott Cisek - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 3:21 pm:

    Keep this in perspective, as well. A friend of mine works in a downtown Chicago law office. She tells me she does very little other then surf the internet all day long. She is VERY savvy with the news and actually worked in politics in the 2004 cycle.

    The first time she heard about this story was when I mentioned it to her today. She later told me she went and looked for the story on-line, but couldn’t find anything more recent then the primary dirt.

    She told me in the real-world (where does she think I live?) nobody knows about these quotes and nobody would care if they did.

    There, an outsider’s opinion.

  38. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 4:19 pm:

    I wonder if Western Springs ever served in the Senate. Oh, well.

    I worked with her on various issues over 10 years. Anyone who thinks she isn’t well respected isn’t well informe.

  39. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Apr 12, 06 @ 7:51 pm:

    Scott Cisek,

    Whether your friend knew about it, or should have known about it, doesn’t really matter. And yes, this is inside baseball stuff, so you’re right, most people don’t know anything about this.

    But two things will come of it: TV ads will ensure everybody hears about it when the voters start paying attention; and more ominously for Giannoulias, it looks like the Tribune has decided this is their next “cause.”

    If they give him half the editorial damage they inflicted on Stroger, Alexi should save his money and bow out now. The Tribune really ought to have reported about $2 million as their in-kind contribution to Claypool. And I say that as a Claypool voter and Tribune subscriber. Their coverage was way, way over the top.

    To me, based on this editorial, it looks like Alexi is next. Plus Radogno is the proto-type Tribune Republican. Having the Tribune in her corner takes Alexi’s money advantage away. And I wouldn’t expect Obama to guest star in anymore commercials. James Gandolfini maybe, but not Obama.

  40. - Emmet Paloian - Thursday, Apr 13, 06 @ 6:50 pm:

    Running a nationwide prostitution ring could be viewed as a service to humanity serving a need.

    Vrdolyak could run for Mayor in 2007. He probably knows the Chicago Heights guys that Alexi G loaned the money too.

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