Just weeks before he is to be sentenced, political fund-raiser Tony Rezko is in the midst of intense discussions with federal investigators, sources close to the investigation confirmed to the Chicago Sun-Times.
There’s no question federal authorities are interested in Rezko, a former top adviser and fundraiser to Gov. Blagojevich, as a federal witness. But one source who spoke on the condition of anonymity, warned it’s too early to call the discussions full-fledged cooperation.
Already, however, Rezko has provided information to the feds, who are in the process of vetting it, sources said. […]
Rezko not only was privy to inside meetings with the governor, but engaged in numerous real estate dealings with his wife, Patti.
* And the kicker…
One source with knowledge of the investigation into the governor and into his wife Patti Blagojevich’s real estate dealings say the probe is going “at top speed.” [emphasis added]
* The Tribune also uses the governor/wife angle in its story…
[Rezko’s] cooperation would give prosecutors investigating the governor and his wife access to someone they have described as an ultimate political insider at the center of a pervasive pay-to-play scheme. […]
Still, there are indications Rezko has already provided investigators with information.
Four attorneys have told the Tribune in recent days that federal prosecutors have telephoned them and other attorneys either with news Rezko is talking, or armed with details only Rezko could know. The lawyers speculated prosecutors are using the preliminary talks with Rezko to shake loose more cooperation from other witnesses.
“I had very recent a conversation with an assistant U.S. attorney that led me to believe they were getting specific information from either Mr. Rezko or Mr. Rezko’s lawyer,” said a defense attorney who said he represents a figure in the case.
*** UPDATE *** Check out the comments by the BGA guy in this CLTV report…
The feds have a huge investment in Blagojevich and related investigations and prosecutions. At some point, they will seek a return on their investment.
I’m not sure how many high public officials, or top-level corporate types, could withstand the full-press scrutiny of the Justice Department and IRS. And God help you if you prevaricate to the FBI or a Grand Jury — you’re done.
Having said that, Blagojevich knew the rules of the game from the get go. In plain sight, he has demonstrated a reckless arrogance and curious immaturity that dared the feds to take a hard look.
It should have been enough to get elected governor the first time. Actually, Congress should have been good enough. Taking risks after that was just dumb.
He really needed someone from the beginning who could rap his knuckles hard when he started approaching that line you don’t cross. Now, it’s probably too late. But to involve your spouse in these shenanigans is unconscionable.
It seems like they may have a more cut & dry case on the wife which should be able to force a resignation by the Governor and then they can prosecute him without ripping the State up anymore that it has been.
The problem, of course, is that we could end up with a sitting governor under indictment for the better part of a couple of years. And he could be exonerated. While all that is going on the people’s business will be so back burner.
Would the Legislature remove him or sit back and let him fight it out. After all, there is a downside for other gubernatorial wannabees if Quinn becomes govenor since he would most certainly want another term. Incumbency confers a huge advantage. Ahd a widely publicized removal process, on top of a trial, could give life to even the most moribund Republican party.
Interesting decisions might be coming right up
for the Dems.
Did the FBI or the U.S. Attorney directly talk to Obama? Or did Obama refuse to talk? It’s hard to believe in an investigation like Operation Boardgames Obama wasn’t questioned.Tony Rezko knows a whole lot about the Stroger family,Blago,Obama,Mayor Daley,and Alderman Ed Burke(who tried to cut Rezko’s property taxes).What does Tony Rezko have to offer to cut a good deal.Stay tuned.
Whoop…what are you thinking. If they get to Patti, Blago will have full deniability. She cannot testify against him and he can just say he was not aware of her personal dealing. Dirt on Patti will only give you Patti. This Guv will let his wife do his time, no problem.
There are serious implications here because Blago will sell out anyone. How do you take down Blago without risking Daley or other prominent Chicago politicos being implicated.
Daley, Obama, Blago are all in the same machine. The same system got them to where they are. How do you take down one without him making the others part ofhis defense. If I had to defend Blago, I would be shouting that he was the fall guy. “Mr. Obama had real estate dealings with Toney, why isn’t he here?”
You guys talk like Daley, Obama, and Blagojevich are all little ducks in a shooting range when they are individuals who all acted independently, using their own judgements.
- He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 9:00 am:
The gov, Mrs Gov and all thier Staffers (Kitchen and otherwise) all knew what they were doing as they said “Chicago Style Politics”. When called out the common line was “That is a matter of interpretation.”
What makes it worse is the Gov said he was going to clean up state government. Instead he has made it even more corrupt.
At the risk of sounding like I know what I’m talking about, which I do not, Obama is not going to get clipped here. Pay to play may be Illinois politics, but it is the cornerstone of 207 Statehouse. I would be shocked if Obama or Daley are implicated in any way.
What surprises me (but really doesn’t) is the the huge leak the Feds are putting out to the press. I really have no experience in these matters, but it seems like they are making their play in the press to induce the Governor to be the one who begins to cooperate. And to the commenters who think Blago will let Patti sink: please. Rod may be narcissistic, but reality will smack him in the face when they get to his wife’s dealings with Rezko.
I’ve made this comment before–unless the Feds have airtight evidence on Rod, he will drag this thing out. He will ultimately lose no matter the outcome, having finally soiled his place in Illinois politics as the Governor who never had a clue from day one.
I don’t mean they want the Governor’s wife to testify against him, I just think that if she is indicted he will be forced to resign and cut a deal to get her out of trouble. It would be the honorable thing to do.
He can blame Ryan by saying that the feds used the same wire taps on him as they did on Ryan. The feds can counter, of course, with stating he started stealing so fast they didn’t realize there was a transition.
Wow, the vultures are really circling today. If Dirty Tony really is trying to cut his time by making stuff up about the governor, how credible would that be? The governor is an honorable man who tries to do things right. Let them investigate. If the USA is interested in the truth and in justice and not just another notch on their belts, Governor Blagojevich will not even be indicted, let alone convicted.
Rod will not go down easy. He will deny, deny, deny. He will continue to Rewrite to do Right until they drag him out in leg irons. He is too arrogant and egotisical to do anything else.
And as far as affecting Obama or Daley. You have to remember that Daley came from a political family. He knows better than to get himself into any situation with the likes of Blagojevich.
Obama also is no dummy. His only tie to Rezko is that Tony raised some money for him. The fact that the real estate deal has been scrutinized heavily and there was nothing found amiss leads one to believe that is over. Neither Daley or Obama are of the same ilk as Rezko and Blagojevich. You have to be driven by greed to do the things that these people have done. I just don’t see those two having those inclinations. Todd Stroger? yes, and he might be nervous about now.
Patty also came from a political family and should have known better but apparently did not. I think in the end she will be shown as just as complicate as Rod. She was well aware of hirings that were done of friends of HERS that involved pay to work. ie: the famous birthday check to their daughter.
I think the biggest surprise in all of this will be relevations that some other top names in the national scene will be dragged into this. I wonder how the Billarys are doing? The depths that those two will go to for power and money has yet to be revealed.
Obama’s connections to Rezko are far more tenuous and less questionable than Blago’s, of course. But the fact that they were referred to in a Saturday Night Live parody of the debates indicates that they have made their way into the public consciousness (or at least the consciousness of SNL’s writers).
I read the blog daily, but don’t comment that often. But, I can’t let this one pass. Bill, you think the Governor is an “honorable man who tries to do things right.” I laughed so hard at that one that Diet Pepsi came out of my nose. If that is true, then he certainly has failed to demonstrate this to the Illinois taxpayers.
I really wish I knew what to say. I want to say that the governor could have saved himself a lot of trouble a long time ago. It’s easy for me to jump on the bandwagon and say he should be gone! I want to keep his (allegedly) criminal issues and his job performance separate.
All I can say is that it is going to be both painful and fun to watch. I hate watching almost anyone go to the hoosegow. Even when they eminently deserve it. It can’t be called a “good thing”. Although sometimes it is obviously necessary for the public safety and good.
As for Blago a good description of him would be “arrogance without intellect or achievement”.
It would be nice if Blago had the decency to go with some tiny amount of dignity. Somehow I don’t associate the word “dignity” with Blago.
My meandering thoughts lead me to Cromwell’s speech to Parliament:
It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonoured by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money; is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? is there one vice you do not possess? ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter’d your conscience for bribes? is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth? ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil’d this sacred place, and turn’d the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d, are yourselves become the greatest grievance. Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House; and which by God’s help, and the strength he has given me, I am now come to do; I command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place; go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. In the name of God, go!
I think perhaps the most interesting thing in his whole thing are these airplane trips. The stuff that Jospeph Cari brought up about the flight to NYC wth Levine, Hurtgen, Kelly during the Rezko trial. Basically everyone who was on that flight has been indicted except Blago and his Bodyguard.
With Tony “I can’t live without my silk boxers” Rezko, the big ticket item in all his scheming was the $10 Billion Dollar mortgage Blago put on the state with Hurtgen and Bear Stearns. Pehaps Rezko confirms what some suspect- that there was a payoff from Hurtgen to Kjellander laundered through a Rezko account.
Then the question is what else will blow up- for example will the whole Knight E/A Tollway/Oasis thing be revieled by Rezko? Where Fox and Hurtgen company got the engeneering contract.
The timing is perfect- Hurtgen’s trial is Nov 3rd and Kelly is coming right away.
I’m sure more indictments will come out of Rezko’s cooperation. Unfortunately, they won’t all be Democrats. As Kass and others have noted, this is the Illinois Combine on trial. I’ll predict Blago won’t even be the next indicted. Just a guess.
I’m personally rooting for Individuals A and K. Both Republicans.
The Illinois GOP seriously dropped the ball here again. Dirty hands could have been washed, but they weren’t. Big surprise.
Perhaps Franks could sketch out what he and the Trib want the Impeachment Pre Party to do.
Better yet Franks, Bomke and the other impeachers can draft impeachment resolution and file it.
Meanwhile StatewideTom can see if Blagoof is issuing extended waranties on the MOUs they signed in May.
I bet the House will watch Blagoof continue to implode
His next steps should be:
1. Doom the Cubs with some stipid goat stunt
2. Veto the Parks and Historic Site $
3. See if he bought Lehman paper with his extra $$$.
- Dan S. a Voter and Cubs Fan - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 10:41 am:
Blagoof is here by excomunicated as a Cubs fan and banished to hell or to be a Sox fan which ever hurts the worst.
Yet another sad revelation for Illinois Taxpayers. Where and when does it stop? How much has it cost the taxpayers over the decades?
The pensions debt is huge, infrastructure is crumbling, the State is selling money making assets and the people continue to pay through the nose for greed and corruption. Yet another sad day only to become more sad & more expensive. Sometimes Illinois makes me so proud!
I was in Mexico years ago and a street vendor asked me where I was from (in Spanish)… I said Illinois, to which he responded with a big smile and wide eyes and spoke in broken English “Ahhh, Chicago, Bang!Bang!” as he gestured shooting a gun with his hand.
Is this what we have become known for; corruption, greed and voilence?
at some point I beleive Rod will blame Patty’s father for her problems
- Judgment Day Is On The Way... - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 11:01 am:
“I’m personally rooting for Individuals A and K. Both Republicans.”
Maybe, but that will only occur because they’ve got information which backs up elements of “Big Tony’s” narrative.
Levine’s testimony did one thing for the Fed’s. They got religion on corroborating evidence. Fairly good before, much better now.
This is going to take a while, as it’s likely that nothing has yet gone to the Grand Jury to seek an indictment. Looks like the Feds are first concentrating on getting all the backup players in this tragic farce all sealed and delivered.
Remember that it was within the last two or three weeks that Obama was not on the campaign trail but was back in Chicago for the day to “receive a briefing from the FBI.” This is not difficult to connect the dots. Fitz signals that he is going to indict the Gov., which I expect will occur within 72 hours of election day. This makes it difficult for whomever wins the White House to sack him. If Obama wins, the understanding will be that Fitz gets to collar Blago, but no other prominent Chicago Dems, whether they hold city, state or federal office, will get indicted. It ends with Blago. After Blago is convicted, Fitz is bumped up to main justice somewhere or is given a federal judgeship. Would’nt be suprised to see him tapped for some prosecutorial or judicial position involving terrorism or counterintelligence.
The timing is crazy - I know that Rod is not on the ballot this November, but there is a potential rollover effect on other candidates. Nothing should be done between Labor Day and Election Day.
And don’t assume prosecution is immanent. If the feds seem to fold up their tents and go away, it may be because Rod has agreed to not run for public office again. We may never know if that deal has been struck, as it may have been with Lee Daniels - and perhaps even Jim Edgar.
But this scenario calls for an acknowledgement of wrongful conduct. George Ryan never acted contrite, and they threw the book at him. Rod appears incable of acting contrite, but Jim Thompson may convince him to do so in the privacy of the offices of the federal prosecutors.
I anticipate Rod either resigning if required by the feds, or agreeing to not run again — not for his wife, but for the sake of their kids if both he and his wife are about to be prosecuted and the feds have the goods on both of them. Sorry, Blago haters, but no trial for you to smirk at.
This summer I was talking to my state senator at the fair, and he told me that before the election, in enough time to possibly make a difference, Blago would be indited and charged. Seems like he is on to something. He had multiple reasons, but they are all coming out now…. and as of today, all of his reason are coming to the forefront.
Capitol View, aren’t we politicizing the entire judicial process if we let ANY criteria enter into the decision to indict or not indict other than there is now unquestionable, unequivocal, incontrovertible, irrefutable evidence to do so? When the Feds get everything lined up, an indictment should come shortly thereafter, whether there’s an upcoming election or a state fair.
Oh there will be a trial alright, a trial of the century.
Little Egypt, I’m from the old school — I don’t like layoffs before Christmas,I like sermons that aren’t political endorsements in religious congregations, and I fly my flag on national holidays.
There is a time and place for everything, and federal indictments that have been months if not years in the developing should not be sprung on the public just before elections. If a timeline is approaching due to statutes of limitations, then go forward with the indictments. But not otherwise. It will wait until after Election Day. The judicial process must remain from even appearing to be political. Or so this old codger believes…
All major networks and Chicago media reported that Obama met with the FBI in Chicago for a routine “intelligence briefing.” The briefing occured during the GOP National Convention. At the time, the FBI said McCain would recv a similar briefing, but have not seen news of it. This would have been an excellent time to also give Obama a heads up that Rezko is talking. This allowed the FBI to talk to Obama without it appearing to be about corruption in Chicago. This is how it happens.
As we know from the the book that what’s his name wrote - Jim Laski - the Emperor operates with buffers. Neither Rezco or Pinnochio have anyhing on Daley.
Obama has nothing to fear from Rezco other than embarassment because there is absolutely no evidence that Obama has done anything illegal or unethical. The real estate deal was it, and it’s old news at this point. Obama’s as clean personally as any national politician anywhere in any country can possibly be.
I’m sorry to see Mrs. Pinnochio in legal jeopardy, but it’s apparent that some of the real estate deals may have been disguised payoffs.
I had a spirited discussion with an elected official this morning. I advocated strongly for impeachment if Pinnocchio does not resign promptly after any indiotment. I am absolutely not buying the argument that Governor A should be considered innocent until proven guilty of his alleged crimes for purposes of determining whether he should remian in office. Public opinions will demand that Pinnochio be removed from office should either he or his wife be indicted,if he ceclines to resign/protests his innocence too much.
Indictment would be prima facie evidence that the Governor is no longer fit/able to serve/effectively discharge his duties as Governor.
The machine did not corrupt Obama - he merely co-existed peacefully with the endemic bipartisan corruption in Illinis and stayed above the muck - not unlike his illustrious predecessors: Douglas, the Stevensons, the Simons, Netsch, Durbin, Dan Hynes, Lisa Madigan, Ogilvie, Percy, Edgar, etc.. and many other honest elected officials too numerous to enumerate.
It is a controlled leak to panic other potential stoolies to get a deal while the getting is good. Note the phone calls to attorneys. They have done this before, and it means that Rezko is chatting up a storm.
I actually will be shocked if Obama has any scuff out of this at all. He had some dirty donations and a smelly real estate deal, but give him credit for not being a complete fool.
Capitol View - I agree with everything you said in your first paragraph. After that, we part ways.
IMHO, Patrick Fitzgerald did exactly what you wanted by waiting until the Poshard/Ryan election was over in November 1998 before indicting George Ryan. Hindsight now tells most of us that was a mistake. Poshard should have been governor and not GRyan. Poshard deserved it, GRyan did not. I would have far more respect for Fitzgerald if he had all the goods on Blago and came out with an indictment as late as the Monday before any election, rather than failing to timely indict just because of political correctness. Our U.S. judicial system should never wait for the most politically opportune time to indict a crook. However, it probably happens. This time it should not.
Rich, I clearly remember that. I also remember the millions of dollars of money being thrown at the media in campaign ads to offset any negative publicity about Rezko. Blago hopped on the “What was she thinking” horse and rode that all the way to his second term as governor. And the majority of voters on election day fell for it. After all, Blago came into office to shake the system and change the way things were done. Way too many people were uninformed and thought it was still going to happen.
-bubs ===It is a controlled leak to panic other potential stoolies to get a deal while the getting is good. Note the phone calls to attorneys. They have done this before, and it means that Rezko is chatting up a storm.===
Do you mean like Kelly, Hurtgen and the others in Operation Board Games are the “stoolies”? Glennon, Cari, Levine, Keiferbaum have all aready gone States. Of those not indicted but named in the various indictments as “co-schemers” and “inviduals” you have Cellini and Kjellander. I suspect they will be the last to fall.
What playes to Kass’s often refered to “combine” is the fact that Hurtgen and Glennon were also named in the Ryan indictment I believe and the fact that Kjellander and Cellini are often refered to as republican “power brokers”. Interesting though that it seems, until his indictment, Kjellander listed Rezko on his lobbyist team.
Isn’t this what happened before the 2006 election? a lot of hints of pending indictments, followed by — a lot of hints of pending indictments? Looks like Fitzgerald took the title of “Wait, Wait” too seriously…
=Patrick Fitzgerald did exactly what you wanted by waiting until the Poshard/Ryan election was over in November 1998 before indicting George Ryan.=
That was Scott Lassar who not only didn’t indict, but all but said, “Uncle George is not a crook.”
=What playes to Kass’s often refered to “combine” is the fact that Hurtgen and Glennon were also named in the Ryan indictment I believe…until his indictment, Kjellander listed Rezko on his lobbyist team.=
Also all completely incorrect. Those two weren’t named in Ryan indictment by name (or letter) and Rezko was on Big Bob’s lobster list about as long as it took to oh, move some money around.
Don’t throw mud unless you know what you’re talking about.
You know what they say is stranger than fiction. The indictment will come after the election. I doubt main justice will allow it to come before the election given the impact it may have on Obama. Main justice plays a very important role in deciding the when and ifs surrounding a high profile indictment. Look at the rules governing USAs, its in the guidelines governing their actions.
I get a kick out of all this talk about the ethics of whether or not a U.S. attorney should or should not indict before an election.
Scott Lassar, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, announced in October 1998, one month before the gubernatorial election, that Secretary of State and candidate George Ryan was not a subject of the Operation Safe Road investigation.
It’s old news, but let that one sink in for a moment.
Anyone know the history on how many times a U.S. Attorney gave a candidate under fire for corruption a clean bill of health before the election?
Not only does Lassar still have a license to practice law, but he’s got a sweet deal at Sidley and Austin, one of the biggest law firms in Chicago.
When or if Blago gets indicted it doesn’t matter if it before or after the election. It can be claimed it was delayed or delivered early, either way someone will make as case it unduly affected the election. Fitz should hand it down when it is ready.
I asked my wife about Mrs. Rod and the idea of a horse trade with the feds some time back, and without hesitation she said she believed Rod WOULD throw his own wife under the bus rather than step down.
I think Rod thinks Springfield is Thermopylae, and he’s Leonidas.
You mean Columbia. She was the one with the short red hair and danced with a dubious character. LOL
In all seriousness though, for the sake of our state, this really needs to happen sooner than later. At this point, it’s not about leadership. It’s not about politics or vendettas. It is little more than an act of desperation on behalf of the citizens of this state because we cannot afford another two years of failed leadership, disastrous budget cuts, and press releases without substance from the 2nd floor.
I feel really sorry for whoever inherits the mess that Blago has created. Quinn can’t fix the problems facing this state in two years, so I highly doubt his incumbency would/will amount to much, if any, traction in the 2010 primary.