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Longo and Blago

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The governor’s relationship with Dominic Longo and his comments about the controversial political organizer/fixer/etc. have changed over the years:

On Tuesday
, Blagojevich said he believed in giving Longo a chance at rehabilitation in 1996 but broke ties with him in recent years because of his questionable work history with the city. Longo has bounced from department to department, leaving one job after reports that he did personal chores on city time.

“I’ve made it clear that some of the individuals that have been named in that organization have no place in state government with me,'’ Blagojevich said.

Blagojevich has praised
Longo for his help getting Blagojevich elected to Congress in 1996, and Longo’s group has contributed money to the campaign funds of Blagojevich and his father-in-law, Ald. Dick Mell (33rd). Blagojevich insists neither Longo nor Boyle has any role in his campaign, but Ryan released a videotape this week purportedly showing the two at a Northwest Side political office plastered with signs promoting Blagojevich and other Democrats.

The Chicago Sun Times
(10/9, Fornek) reports Jim Ryan “unleashed his own barrage at Blagojevich for political contributions the Northwest Side congressman accepted from a group of political operatives called the Coalition for Better Government. Ryan produced documents showing the group contributed $47,080 between 1997 and last June to the political war chests of Blagojevich or his father-in-law, Chicago Ald. Richard Mell (33rd). […]

Doug Scofield “said that only $4,750 of the $47,080 went directly to Blagojevich, and he returned it all to the group. ‘Rod is his own man, and he runs his own campaign,’ Scofield said.”

Blagojevich publicly
thanked Longo for his campaign help in 1996 when he won his first primary for Congress. But he said he has become concerned about Longo’s questionable work history with the city of Chicago since then.

Blagojevich said Longo, a volunteer, never was on his campaign payroll and that he’s not even sure he knew about Longo’s vote fraud conviction during the 1996 campaign.

Vote fraud felon Dominic Longo has landed on a new government payroll — the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District — just a week after he took early retirement from the Chicago Park District.

Gov. Blagojevich’s office denies a claim it got Longo the job. […]

He took early retirement March 31. On April 7, he became an aide to Water Reclamation Commissioner Frank Avila Sr.

Avila declined comment, but another aide, Howard Handler, issued this statement: “Mr. Longo’s impropriety occurred over 20 years ago. He has since worked with distinction in public service, and his experience and qualifications will be an asset to the district. This is a non-issue.”

Avila’s son, Frank Avila Jr., who lost a bid in March to join his father at the district, said Blagojevich’s chief of staff, Lon Monk, approached him about getting Longo a job at the district.

“Dominic Longo came highly recommended by the governor’s chief of staff, Lon Monk,” Avila Jr. said. “Lon Monk personally asked me to help him out.”

Monk, through a spokesman, denied seeking a job for Longo.

“He did not recommend and has never recommended Dominic Longo for a job and he really doesn’t even know Mr. Longo, so he wouldn’t be in a position to do so,” said Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottendorf.

posted by Rich Miller
Friday, Jan 21, 05 @ 2:49 pm


  1. The hits just keep on coming! Looks like someone picked at this festering sore just one too many times. Potential Democratic hopefuls thinking about running against Blago next year just got a major shot in the arm. This could get ugly very quickly.

    Comment by Anonymous Friday, Jan 21, 05 @ 3:59 pm

  2. You are blowing this way out of proportion. This will come to naught.

    Comment by Anonymous Friday, Jan 21, 05 @ 4:43 pm

  3. Look, anyone these days who repeatedly trumpets “truth” in politics deserves what they get. Truth is a word that should be used sparingly, and Blagojevich ought to understand that.

    I’m all for cleaning up government, but cripes, be quiet about it and just do it. As a taxpayer and a voter, I have much more respect for a strong one-termer who tackles tough issues than a weak two-termer who polls their way into the spotlight.

    Comment by Anonymous Friday, Jan 21, 05 @ 5:45 pm

  4. Anonymous–

    As a specific news story, this may well amount to “naught”. But there is a lot more going on here than how the media covers this story.

    There is a backlash building in the Democratic party against the Governor, and it is growing by the day. If he does not take steps to defuse it, it will continue to grow.

    And if he’s not careful, some enterprising Democrat will challenge him in a primary, and be able to tap into a movement that will force the Governor to fight for his political survival within his own party.

    Smart politicians try to avoid this type of stuff.

    Comment by ILPundit Friday, Jan 21, 05 @ 5:52 pm

  5. naught my ass, one cut down, 999 to go; the blood is now in the water, and the number of people with the desire (and ability) to further weaken him will do so on an ongoing basis as we go through 2005-6. imo, he brought this onto himself

    Comment by Anonymous Friday, Jan 21, 05 @ 6:38 pm

  6. Abby OttenDORF???

    Comment by Anonymous Friday, Jan 21, 05 @ 8:41 pm

  7. This took a lot of chutzpa. This is just one major thing Rod did not need for his next Gubernatorial run or any future Presidential ambitions he may have. Dominic Longo commercials playing in an Iowa primary won’t go over to well with those folks. Frank Avila has proven again that you shouldn’t F@#& with him.

    Comment by Anonymous Friday, Jan 21, 05 @ 9:08 pm

  8. Folks, I made mention of this at my blog. If Rod still has hope for DC, and Jesus, who wouldn’t…he better polish up the image. If a poll were taken right now, I bet Rod runs a distance second to Illinois’ new golden boy, Barack Obama. And that is something I believe Rod thought could never happen. Sometimes I wonder who wants to President more…BT or RB.

    Comment by Bo Friday, Jan 21, 05 @ 10:09 pm

  9. Rod Blagojevich will NEVER be elected President. Blagojevich will probably not be elected governor and go the way of Dan Walker.

    But don’t think that this is not Dick Mell putting Longo and Avila up to this. Dick Mell is Machivellean and had to back away from the statements because he doesn’t want to be sued and his sick wife’s family was connected and he started his legitimate private sector manufacturing business with outfit money. Also, lots of other pols don’t want depositions to happen with Kelly and he knows it can hurt them. This is a way for Mell to strike back without his fingerprints.

    Because Blagojevich has not made his presidential ambitions secret, this has been noticed by Karl Rove and company that would like to make a real oligarchic dynasty Presidential dynasty with Jeb Bush.
    Mell and Avila were on a United flight to DC not more than a month ago and the rumor is Karl Rove wants the law firm of Avila & Tomic to take down Blagojevich.
    Look into the big Republican DC business that Avila & Tomic have had in the last year. It is no secret that Avila Jr and Sr have been friendly with Prez Bush.

    And do a Freedom of Information and subpoena the phone records of Avila Jr. and Sr to and from the White House.
    I doubt if their conversations were just about more money to treat waste water at the Sanitary District.

    The real story is the Karl Rove dirty tricks and Avila being the torpedo WITH MELLS HELP.

    Comment by Anonymous Saturday, Jan 22, 05 @ 11:30 am

  10. Longo is a corrupt jerk who Blagojevich should distance himself from. Just read all the investigations on this Blog from ghost payrolling to shaking down city employees. Longo is mob connected. Blagojevich is doing a good job and just not doing politics as usual-that is why people are mad. Blagojevich should be commended for not giving Mell and Longo access to government even if he supposedly used them.
    Joe Kennedy used the mafia and people to elect JFK and we got a young, dynamic President who didn’t have to ow the peole his father did business with.
    People get used in politics and people lie.
    So to Dominic and Mell GROW UP AND GET OVER IT.
    And for the taxpayers and citizens of Illinois THANK YOU GOVERNOR

    Comment by Anonymous Saturday, Jan 22, 05 @ 11:47 am

  11. The the previous post… those allegations on Dominic are based from an article on the Illinois Leader — hardly an unbiased, credible source of information. Moron.

    Comment by Anonymous Saturday, Jan 22, 05 @ 1:25 pm

  12. Clearly, from that pic you can tell that Longo was not employed with the city at that time. If he was, he would have TWO pagers hanging on that belt next to his over-sized cell phone, standard gear for the Ward goon squad.

    Comment by Anonymous Saturday, Jan 22, 05 @ 2:34 pm

  13. I love those of you, on both sides of this issue, who throw around your bathroom prattle as if it were based in fact. You can drop your Rove/Avila conspiracies as well as your ‘clean hands’ Rod nonsense. They are both misplaced. Stop looking for Clancyesque subplots.

    Rod went out of his way to create a fight to bolster his credibility and now it is coming back to bite him in the ass, and will continue to for a while. It is one thing to hurt people politically, another thing to hurt them personally as well. The reactions to him are the actions of those who are fed up with his duplicity and with being sh*t on. If Rod had nothing to worry about, he wouldn’t be worried. That’s not the case.

    Remember when everybody loved George Ryan, and the lightning speed with which that tide turned? Rod has just as many enemies as George, with fewer of the friends.

    Comment by Anonymous Saturday, Jan 22, 05 @ 2:43 pm

  14. Dominic Longo should imitate Dick Mell and apologize and get over it. Longo wanted a big job in state government and Rod said NO because he doesn’t want people like Longo having jobs in his administration and people like Dick Mell having influence over his administration.

    Why doesn’t little Avila Jr send a letter to Daley threatening to sue? And I thought Avila was a reformer going against HDO and trying to reduce the signature requirement for Mayor for ballot access. Avila is the hypocrite getting a job for Dominic Longo even if Rod asked him to, which Avila should of just kept his mouth shut about, didn’t Avila ask for big legal contracts from the state?

    How much credibility does Avila have being a reformer if he is the attorney for Dominic Longo? Is Avila Jr so stupid that he doesn’t know that Longo worked with HDO?

    The governor is the real reformer. Mell is a hasbeen. Longo is a crook. And Avila is stupid.

    Comment by Anonymous Saturday, Jan 22, 05 @ 6:08 pm

  15. Who is Abby whateveherlastname is?
    And did she really claim that The Guv never knew Dominic Longo?

    Comment by Anonymous Saturday, Jan 22, 05 @ 6:10 pm

  16. Rod clean??? What a joke.
    Panda Express, Chris Kelly, Tony Retzko
    that is enough to take him down

    let alone all the little stuff like hiring indicted former alderman Ray Frias
    and the 4 children from different babies mamas from Obadallie
    or Milan Petrovic

    Comment by Anonymous Saturday, Jan 22, 05 @ 6:26 pm

  17. Dominic Longo has gotten an undeserved bad reputation. Of course what he did over 20 years ago was wrong, but that was over 20 years ago. Do we not give people second chances in life?

    Comment by Anonymous Saturday, Jan 22, 05 @ 6:45 pm

  18. What is this nonsense about over 20 years ago. Dominic Longo was charged with things recently.
    Look at the articles. He was going to tanning beds on the city job.
    The governor tried to rehabilitate Longo but when he continued his ways and his association with John Quarters Boyle, he had to get rid of him.
    Quarters stole millions of dollars which is why they nicknamed him Quarters.
    Boyle recently was indicted with Tomczak in the Water Department and the mob bookie Nick Stick LaCoco.

    Longo should retire and get out of politics.
    Maybe Avila should get some decent clients, but he is probably getting paid a lot.

    Comment by Anonymous Saturday, Jan 22, 05 @ 6:55 pm

  19. “Do we not give people second chances in life?”

    If you’re an ethical crusader, there are no second chances. You’re either wrong — or you’re right.

    If you’re right, you stay employed.

    If you’re wrong — you’re fired. A press conference gets called, Rod bounds out with his sleeves rolled up, photographs get taken, and — “Fingers crossed, guys!” — poll numbers go up.

    Comment by Anonymous Saturday, Jan 22, 05 @ 7:04 pm

  20. What article? An article from the Illinos Leader — real credible news source. You probably watch the Daily Show for your news as well. It was never proven that Dominic vistited any tanning salon while at work — no disciplinary actions even occured.

    Comment by Anonymous Saturday, Jan 22, 05 @ 10:06 pm

  21. Hey Rich! We need a scorecard here or at least some sort of family tree. Now that this is all starting to spill out we need a bit of context. Which players are in play and who’s just noise?

    Comment by Anonymous Sunday, Jan 23, 05 @ 6:53 am

  22. Abby Ottendorf is a press secretary just like Bradley Tusk was.

    Where does Governor Blagojevich get these fools?

    Comment by Anonymous Sunday, Jan 23, 05 @ 4:14 pm

  23. Longo does have a championship level tan though.

    Comment by Anonymous Sunday, Jan 23, 05 @ 6:42 pm

  24. Longo is sexy and has a great tan.
    I would date him any day of the week, is he single.
    He should be a movie star.

    Longo is much better looking than Rod.
    Longo does look like a tough mafia type though.

    Comment by Anonymous Sunday, Jan 23, 05 @ 10:45 pm

  25. Longo has worked with Mayor Daley in the past, he ran some of his political campaigns in the North West side, is it possible that he is doing this for the Mayor ?

    Comment by Anonymous Monday, Jan 24, 05 @ 7:53 am

  26. Rove joining up with Aliva and Mell? C’mon, let’s not get carried away with ourselves Blago-ites. I have a hard time believing Rod is on the Bushies’ radar screen. And if he were, do you really think Rove would climbed into to bed with a two-bit Democratic gadfly, like Aliva, who can’t get elected to something called the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District?

    Comment by Anonymous Monday, Jan 24, 05 @ 11:29 am

  27. Did Avila meet with Rove or not?

    The Bushes and Rove would jump into bed with the devil let alone a Chicago alderman and a two bit gadfly lawyer to stop opposition. you should read the memoirs of Lee Atwater and the stuff they did to hurt up and comers.

    and didn’t Commissioner win the election that is why he is the commissioner

    Comment by Anonymous Monday, Jan 24, 05 @ 12:42 pm

  28. This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

    Comment by Anonymous Monday, Jan 24, 05 @ 1:16 pm

  29. This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

    Comment by Anonymous Monday, Jan 24, 05 @ 1:17 pm

  30. Let’s buy into this Rove thing for the sake of arguement for a minute: If you’re Rove (or any national GOP operative,) and you have the goods on a potential Dem opponent, wouldn’t you keep it to yourself until the point in time when releasing the damaging info would be of most help to you, i.e., when that opponent has the nomination wrapped up?

    The only reason you would look to hurt Blago now would be if you believed he is such a scary-good candidate….much better than Edwards, Richardson, Bayh, Kerry II, or anyone else….that he has to be stopped now! I’m sorry, Blago ain’t the second coming of FDR. He’s not making Rove or anyone else quake in their boots. If he gets comfortably re-elected and starts sniffing around Iowa, then the GOP will pay attention. Right now, he’s not on the list of the top ten or twelve pontential Dem candidates. (Whoa, wait a second…I have to stop. The thought of Blago running for president is about to make my head explode!!!!!)

    Comment by Anonymous Monday, Jan 24, 05 @ 4:10 pm

  31. Abby OttenHOFF is the guv’s press secretary, but Tusk never has been…

    Comment by Anonymous Monday, Jan 24, 05 @ 4:22 pm

  32. Avila is certainly a better attorney than Rod ever was.

    I don’t by the Rove and Bush thing either.
    Rod is not presidential timber.

    Comment by Anonymous Monday, Jan 24, 05 @ 5:24 pm

  33. Watch the best governor we had in Illinois in a long time crush Dominic Longo and Mell like bugs.
    They can use their fancy lawyers and help from Rove and Bush and they will still get crushed.

    Comment by Anonymous Monday, Jan 24, 05 @ 6:08 pm

  34. Actually the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District is a very competitive seat — its a countwide race with an electorate larger than a good number of states. Avila came in fourth out of eleven — the three incumbents won — nothing to sneeze at.

    Comment by Anonymous Monday, Jan 24, 05 @ 10:03 pm

  35. Abby OttenHOFF is HOT !!! I saw her on TV recently, don’t let the name fool you, She’s a 10. The Gov should hire some ugly people to get the ugly vote in the state of Illinois.

    Comment by Anonymous Tuesday, Jan 25, 05 @ 7:50 am

  36. Rod was a gadfly lawyer who was a runner for Vrdolyak and even ran his lakefront operation until he married Patti Mell.

    Comment by Anonymous Tuesday, Jan 25, 05 @ 8:01 am

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