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Really bad news for that Greek guy

Wednesday, Mar 15, 2006 - Posted by Rich Miller

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.


  1. - Not surprised - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 9:09 am:

    I’ll take ethics over experience anyday. The good people of Illinois can tolerate a lot of things, but the line has to be drawn somewhere, and that somewhere is prostitution, illegal gambling and murder. Isn’t the whole point of commununity banking to know your customers. To beleive that Alexi or his family were not aware of “Jaws’” background is rediculous. They either knew and chose to ignore it, or they didn’t know at all, which I beleive is worse.

  2. - Paul Powell - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 9:25 am:

    Hmmmmmmmm……wonder who is behind all these leaks to the media? I’ll bet there is a shill or two amongst you. Funny indeed.

  3. - Leroy - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 9:27 am:

    I think refering to Mr. Giannoulias as “that Greek guy” is ethnically unflattering.

    Would you refer to Sen. Obama as “that African American guy”?

  4. - Bill Baar - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 9:35 am:

    I think it’s unfair to expect a bookmaker to collect debts without …threats of bombings, beatings and robbery to collect unpaid debts.

    That’s what this Dutch Guy thinks.

  5. - ISU REP - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 9:43 am:

    This Mutt isn’t surprised by any of this I mean it’s sad this is what politics in IL has turned into. I know they do “bidness” in the good ol bayou, but this is getting riddiculous. I think one of the qualifications for politicians is must be involved in nefarious activities…you know so you can get street credit!

  6. - grand old partisan - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 9:52 am:

    Leroy, I sort of see your point, but isn’t it really a sad, yet honest reflection of the politics of identity that is regularly used by Democrats in this state?

  7. Pingback » Blog Archive » Roundup (3/15/06) - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 9:55 am:

    […] Alexi Giannoulis has had a bad week already.  This Crain’s article was especially harsh. […]

  8. - Publius - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 10:21 am:

    I’d like to thank all of the self-important Chicago liberals, who were SOOOOO offended at the idea of a somewhat conservative downstate Democrat being on the ticket, that they decided to run this yahoo against the party slate.

    Not exactly good for Barack Obama to be associated with this guy — but then, that genie is out of the bottle….

  9. - ANON - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 10:40 am:


  10. - ETHICAL BARACK OBAMA - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 10:55 am:

    - Leroy - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 9:27 am:

    I think refering to Mr. Giannoulias as “that Greek guy” is ethnically unflattering.

    Would you refer to Sen. Obama as “that African American guy”?

    Answer: Why not? Does it take anything away from his character. After all we all know he’s African American we can look at him and tell. Simultaneously we know that Alexi Giannoulias is Greek; so what.

    It’s really a none issue, Greek Guy, African American Guy, Black Guy, whatever, we don’t take it personal.

  11. - HeKnowsBarack - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 11:04 am:

    Capitol Fax reports Alexander is “way ahead in polls…” Not so. he appears to be losing to Undecided by about 20 points.
    Too bad nobody checked the clips…Jaws turns up in the Trib mortgage scandal story too.

  12. - ZC - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 11:09 am:

    Obama WAS “that African-American guy” until he stomped up and down the polls last primary. Giannoulias may yet emerge, too, but right now, as a reference to his relatively obscure IL persona, “that Greek guy” doesn’t seem ethnically charged to me.

  13. - Birthday Boy - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 11:24 am:

    Who’s going to Alexi’s Birthday party tonight at Rockit Bar & Grill? He needs the money to fundraise more commercials.

  14. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 11:41 am:

    Birthday Boy -

    I’m there if “Jaws” is providing the entertainment.

  15. - deepdeepthroat - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 1:12 pm:

    People: why do we get so breathless about such sordid details less than a week before each election? We’re being manipulated by both media and campaigns/parties, and without the time to ferret out all the facts we leap to judgements. The quotes from Gianoullias are new, clueless, and a bit of a shock, but is he a criminal? What are the charges? Is he unethical? What are the failings?

    If Mike Madigan (and the Republicans, by the way) were working AGAINST Paul Mangieri, you would not believe the creepy things (I’ve heard of lots) you would be hearing, and don’t think the Republicans won’t bring them up in the general. Giannoulias is an unknown, but prosecutors in Knox County are not exactly under the white hot spotlight. In November, it will be Mangieri’s turn if he wins, and we will hear more breathless, but probably substantiated rumors. Who is the better candidate? Let the voters decide.

  16. - the Patriot - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 1:21 pm:

    I think we need a candidate tied to mob crime figures to take care of the money, it could help the state dramatically in a number of ways.

    1. Mobsters don’t abide by lending laws. Instead of a lousey 6-12% on our money think what we could do at 60-80-100% interest. We could actually balance the blagos budget.

    2. Bad debt collection is much more effective. Lets face it, Judy is taking heat for a pennies on the dollar hotel deal. It would have been much more effective if some legs were broken to collect. I bet we would have got more money back.

  17. - Not getting it - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 1:42 pm:

    Deepdeepthroat -

    Yesterday it was Mangieri’s “funky smell” and today we have the “creepy things.” Does the guy have a tail or something? Or are you Giannoulias supporters that desperate to the point of making up stuff. If you have the dirt, spill it for pete’s sake or can it and move on.

  18. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 1:45 pm:

    I agree “Not Getting That.” I’m a little tired of this goofy game, too. Spill or cease.

    HOWEVER, this is NOT the place to spill. Send out a press release or leak it to a reporter. Enough with that crud already. You’ve had months to get this out. But, again, don’t hide behind anonymity by doing it here. You’ll wind up on the banned list for sure.

  19. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 1:54 pm:

    Rule number 1 when running for office is to know all of your skeletons in the closet. I guess the Obamaramas forgot to let Alexi know this before he decided to jump into the statewide campaign fire. Alexi is really a good kid, just politically green. He should have been prepared to deflect these kinds of questions. Reminds me of Blair Hull & JACK! ryan’s failed campaigns. The failure to be open and honest about your past will always nip you in the butt when going against the slate because of the OPPOSITION RESEARCH.

  20. - Its Hard... Hard Work - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 2:32 pm:

    It’s clear to me from his lack of substantive plans and his inability to cope with these articles that Alexi is pretty much a dilletante who entered this race on a lark. Paul M. ain’t perfect, but he’s gotta be better prepared that Little Lord Fauntleroy, right?

  21. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 3:11 pm:

    What Mangieri is prepared for, apparently, is to run for every office imaginable. As a Democrat, I am convinced that if he wins next week, it does nothing but keep the office in Republican hands for four more years.

  22. - Anon - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 3:23 pm:

    Though the Trib did a decent folo on Wednesday, Greg Hinz of Crain’s ran a long story on this in their edition this week, which hit newsstands on SUNDAY. Credit where it’s due.

  23. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 3:28 pm:

    Now we’re punishing people for having ambition. You’re right, let’s burn Mangieri at the stake. Who does he think he is with all this “wanting to serve others” crap? That Abe Lincoln was the same way, he should of just hung it up after his first failed attempt at the State Legislature. Weak argument 3:11.

  24. - Anon - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 3:41 pm:

    Mangieri is the better candidate… bottom line… I don’t think that any person can logically argue that a 29 year old kid, with no experience should be the Democratic Candidate for State Treasurer

  25. - Anon The Greek - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 3:46 pm:

    Seems as if that “Greek Guy” picked up some good news too.

    Besides a pollconfirming he has a 2-1 lead over his opponent, he was endorsed by the Peoria Journal Star, Mangieri’s local paper. The PJ Star says of Mangieri “He’ll forgive Illinoisans who think he’s starting to look like a politician in search of an office.”

    They also address the issue of having a downstater on the ticket:
    “Mangieri’s strongest case for election is that he’s a downstater. Yes, the statewide ticket could use more balance, but it shouldn’t be the deciding factor. In the treasurer’s office, money-management skills should trump political aptitude. Alexi Giannoulias is endorsed”

    When you factor in that Mangieri lost his home precinct when he ran for State Senate, it seems that you can tell a lot about a person by those who know them best.

  26. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 4:06 pm:

    Anon the Greek -

    Mangieri’s precinct was heavily Republican, he made an outstanding run for that seat when the odds were stacked against him. That’s called courage, just like when Mangieri stepped up to the plate at the slating meeting. Where was Alexi then?

  27. - The Greek loving Turk - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 4:37 pm:

    Anon — 4:06 p.m.

    What’s more courageous, kissing up to the state party and getting slated, or standing up to the state party?

    This Mangieri has “courage of his convictions” mantra is a joke. If he is so courageous and ethical, and given his status as a prosecutor, why isn’t he on record about the ethical abuses in the party that is slating him?

  28. - Big Mama - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 5:05 pm:

    Greek: what the heck are you talking about? You make no sense.

    Mangieri is impressive.

    Also wondering: does Broadway Bank hold any City of Chicago deposits?

  29. - HeKnowsBarack - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 5:32 pm:

    Hope we get some live photo/blogging from Alexander’s birthday bash.We are looking forward to the FunkyQB. Wonder if he will be wearing shoes? Wonder if he is registered to vote in Illinois. Last time someone tried to use him, the registration issue tarnished the glow.
    Back in the good old days turning out you over the hill.

  30. - Paul Powell - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 6:11 pm:

    While we are talking criminal association what about RGod and his cronies? You know all them there Chicago and New York and California thugs who have created nice fat contracts for themselves? Where or where is the media on this one? Any thoughts from anyone out there? I’ll bet good ol’ Patrick Fitzgerald knows where they are at. What would be wront with each voter making up their own mind. I could do without all these beneath the belt sudden scandals that are planted in the media. Shame on you media wonks for letting yourselves be used and shame on us for putting up with your garbage. You all need to get a life and quit trying to make news as you go.

  31. - Minion - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 6:47 pm:

    Alexi is a joke…and all of you who are crying that it is unfair all of these issues coming up: not even close. This is relatively mild compared with what Tristano and the House GOP threw at House Dems in the ’90s.

    Wake up and smell the coffee. If little alexi wins the primary, you think the Republicans aren’t going to bring this stuff out? I thought Barack’s people were smarter than that (hello, Dan S.? Did you do your homework on this one?) Hello? Earth to Dan?

  32. - Beowulf - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 8:40 pm:

    I would be more interested in what Barack Obamma has to say about this information than the information itself. An endorsement by Barack has got be like having Moses tell you that there were really eleven commandments. You wouldn’t even question him on that because you just accept his statement as the final word.

    What say you Mr. Obamma? We respect your opinion.

  33. - Southern Illinois Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 9:31 pm:

    I will vote for Mangieri for 2 reasons:

    1. He is not from Chicago and it will be nice to vote for a Democrat from somewhere other than there.

    2. He is better qualified.

  34. - swede - Wednesday, Mar 15, 06 @ 11:01 pm:

    Obama loses on this one. I agree with Anon–3:45..I mean can anyone argue that a 29 year old basketball player that works at his dad’s bank has more life experiences and is more qualified than a 47 year old prosecutor with 12 kids. I mean let’s get real. An aside…. my grandfather was upset and confused that Lt. Governor Quinn endorsed AG. He kind of admired Quinn for his outreach in comforting families of our war dead at funerals. Not being disrespectful, he just kind of shook his head and thought better of Quinn in endorsing this guy. He now thinks Quinn is like Blago. My Gramps is a Korean War Vet, and really liked Mangieri’s naval background. I just thought it was an interesting observation.

  35. - HeKnowsBarack - Thursday, Mar 16, 06 @ 5:48 am:

    Holy Cow…Now the GOPs are filing complaints
    Looks like this guy is imploding faster than a dish of saganaki!
    How the those birthday bash camera phone shots. Or is the bash still going on. Maybe the Punky QB is campaigning in the parking lot like the good old days that the Prime Minister.

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