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This just in… BLAGOJEVICH, HARRIS, MONK, ROB BLAGOJEVICH, KELLY, CELLINI ALL INDICTED

Thursday, Apr 2, 2009

* 5:45 pm - AP: U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says he hopes Rod Blagojevich will spare the state another round of radio and TV talk show interviews following the former governor’s indictment on corruption charges.

* 5:27 pm - Gov. Quinn will speak to the press at 5:35 pm. Click here to watch it live.

*** DOWNLOAD THE INDICTMENT BY CLICKING HERE ***

* The governor is facing a maximum 325 years in prison.

* From the US Attorney. I’ve bolded some of the highlights…

FORMER ILLINOIS GOV. ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH, HIS BROTHER,

TWO FORMER TOP AIDES AND TWO BUSINESSMEN INDICTED ON

FEDERAL CORRUPTION CHARGES ALLEGING PERVASIVE FRAUD

CHICAGO – Since 2002, even before he was first elected governor that November, and continuing until he was arrested on Dec. 9, 2008, former Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and a circle of his closest aides and advisors allegedly engaged in a wide-ranging scheme to deprive the people of Illinois of honest government, according to a 19-count indictment returned today by a federal grand jury. Blagojevich, 52, of Chicago, was charged with 16 felony counts, including racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud, extortion conspiracy, attempted extortion and making false statements to federal agents. He allegedly used his office in numerous matters involving state appointments, business, legislation and pension fund investments to seek or obtain such financial benefits as money, campaign contributions, and employment for himself and others, in exchange for official actions, including trying to leverage his authority to appoint a United States Senator, announced Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Also charged as co-defendants in the same indictment are:

John Harris, 47, of Chicago, Blagojevich’s chief of staff from late 2005 until last December after he was arrested along with Blagojevich. Through his attorney, Harris, who is charged with a single count of wire fraud, has authorized the Government to disclose that he has agreed to cooperate with the United States Attorney’s Office in the prosecution of this case;

Alonzo Monk, 50, of Park Ridge, a lobbyist doing business as AM3 Consulting, Ltd., and a long-time Blagojevich associate who served as his general counsel when Blagojevich represented Illinois’ Fifth Congressional District, and later managed his 2002 and 2006 gubernatorial campaigns, was his first gubernatorial chief of staff from 2003 through 2005, and later chairman of his campaign fund;

Robert Blagojevich, 53, of Nashville, Tenn., Blagojevich’s brother, who became chairman of his campaign fund in August 2008;

Christopher Kelly, 50, of Burr Ridge, a businessman and a principal campaign fundraiser who also served as chairman of Blagojevich’s campaign fund from early 2004 until August 2005. The indictment alleges that with Blagojevich’s knowledge and permission, Kelly at times exercised substantial influence over certain activities of the governor’s office; and

William F. Cellini, Sr., 74, of Springfield, a businessman who also raised significant funds for Blagojevich, in part through his role as the executive director of the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association. Cellini had longstanding relationships and influence with trustees and staff members of the Teachers Retirement System of Illinois (TRS), and he was associated with Commonwealth Realty Advisors, a real estate asset management firm that invested hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of TRS, the indictment alleges.

All six defendants will be arraigned on dates yet to be determined before U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel in Federal Court in Chicago. Blagojevich was charged with 11 counts of wire fraud, two counts of attempted extortion, and one count each of racketeering conspiracy, extortion conspiracy, and making false statements. The specific counts and maximum penalties each defendant is facing are listed separately.

The charges are part of Operation Board Games, a continuing public corruption investigation of pay-to-play schemes, including insider-dealing, influence-peddling and kickbacks involving private interests and public duties. The investigation began in 2003 and has resulted in charges against a total of 17 defendants. Today’s charges were brought in a superseding indictment that replaces one brought Oct. 30, 2008, against Cellini alone for allegedly conspiring with others to obtain campaign funds for Blagojevich by shaking down an investment firm that was seeking a $220 million allocation from TRS.

More…

The indictment adds several new allegations to those that were lodged in the criminal complaint filed in December when Blagojevich and Harris were arrested. It includes the previous factual allegations that Blagojevich conspired to sell or trade Illinois’ U.S. Senate seat formerly held by President Obama; threatened to withhold substantial state assistance to the Tribune Company in connection with the sale of Wrigley Field to induce the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members sharply critical of Blagojevich; and schemed to obtain campaign contributions in exchange for official actions – both historically and in a push late last year before a new state ethics law took effect.

Among the new factual allegations are that:

o beginning in 2002 and continuing after Blagojevich was first elected governor, Blagojevich and Monk, along with Kelly and previously convicted co-schemer Antoin “Tony” Rezko, agreed that they would use the offices of governor and chief of staff for financial gain, which would be divided among them with the understanding that the money would be distributed after Blagojevich left public office;

o in 2003, Blagojevich, Monk, Kelly, Rezko and other co-schemers implemented this agreement by directing lucrative state business relating to the refinancing of billions of dollars in State of Illinois Pension Obligation Bonds to a company whose lobbyist agreed to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars to Rezko out of the fee the lobbyist would collect, and Rezko in turn agreed to split the money with Blagojevich, Monk and Kelly;

o After it became public that Kelly and Rezko were under investigation and ceased playing a significant role in raising campaign funds, Blagojevich personally continued to trade his actions as governor for personal benefits, including, for example, delaying a state grant to a publicly-supported school while trying to leverage a U.S. Congressman, who supported the school, or the Congressman’s brother, to hold a campaign fundraiser for Blagojevich; and

o in an interview on March 16, 2005, Blagojevich lied to FBI agents when he said that he maintains a separation, or firewall, between politics and state business; and he does not track, or want to know, who contributes to him or how much they are contributing to him.

While expanding the allegations, the 75-page indictment is cast somewhat more broadly than the 76-page complaint affidavit, which contained excerpts from court-authorized wiretaps of intercepted conversations that Blagojevich had with others in both his personal office and a conference room in the Chicago offices of his campaign fund, Friends of Blagojevich, located at 4147 North Ravenswood, Suite 300, as well as over his home telephone.

Friends of Blagojevich is not a defendant, but, pursuant to the racketeering count, the indictment seeks forfeiture from Blagojevich of all funds and assets held at four banks in the name of, or on behalf of, Friends of Blagojevich. Although Kelly, Monk and Robert Blagojevich at various times held the post of chairman of Friends of Blagojevich, the indictment states that fund’s activities and financial affairs at all times were controlled by Blagojevich personally and the fund operated for his benefit. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of $188,370 from Blagojevich as proceeds of the alleged fraud scheme and racketeering activity, and lists Blagojevich’s apartment in Washington, D.C., and his Ravenswood Manor home in Chicago as substitute assets.

Separate counts of racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud contain similar, overlapping factual allegations. The RICO conspiracy count alleges that Blagojevich personally, the Office of the Governor of Illinois and Friends of Blagojevich were associated and, together, constituted the “Blagojevich Enterprise,” whose primary purpose was to exercise and preserve power over Illinois government for the financial and political benefit of Blagojevich, both directly and through Friends of Blagojevich, and for the financial benefit of his family members and associates. Blagojevich and Kelly, the only RICO conspiracy defendants, allegedly conspired with Monk, Cellini, Harris, Robert Blagojevich, Rezko and previously convicted cooperating defendant Stuart Levine, to conduct the Blagojevich Enterprise through a pattern of multiple acts of mail and wire fraud, extortion, attempted extortion and extortion conspiracy, and state bribery.

As part of the racketeering conspiracy, Blagojevich allegedly permitted Kelly and Rezko to exercise substantial influence over certain gubernatorial activities, as well as state boards and commissions, knowing that they would use this influence to enrich themselves and their associates. In return, Kelly and Rezko allegedly benefitted Blagojevich by generating millions of dollars in campaign contributions and providing financial benefits directly to Blagojevich and his family.

The principle fraud scheme count, which names Blagojevich, Monk, Harris and Robert Blagojevich as co-schemers, together with Kelly, Cellini, Rezko, Levine and others, alleges that they deprived the people of Illinois and the beneficiaries of TRS of the honest services of Blagojevich, Harris, Monk and Levine, who was a member of the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board and the TRS board of trustees.

The alleged fraud scheme provides the most detailed recitation of the various factual allegations in the indictment. It alleges that Blagojevich, Monk, Kelly and Rezko agreed to use Blagojevich’s and Monk’s offices to divide financial gain among themselves, including the kickback from the Pension Obligation Bond refinancing. In addition, the indictment sets forth the following allegations as part of the fraud scheme:

Maintaining Control over TRS

In the spring of 2003, Kelly Rezko, Cellini, and Levine agreed that Kelly and Rezko would use their influence with the Blagojevich administration to assist Cellini and Levine in maintaining influence over the activities of TRS, and in return, Cellini and Levine would use their influence to cause TRS to invest in funds, and to use law firms, selected by Kelly and Rezko, at times in exchange for substantial contributions to Friends of Blagojevich.

The Solicitation of Ali Ata

In late 2002, Ali Ata, a businessman who previously pleaded guilty and is cooperating, and who was solicited by Rezko to make political contributions to Blagojevich, brought a $25,000 check to Rezko’s offices, where Ata met with Blagojevich. Blagojevich asked Rezko if Rezko had talked to Ata about positions in the administration, and Rezko said that he had. In July 2003, after discussions with Rezko about possible state appointments, Ata gave Rezko another $25,000 check payable to Blagojevich’s campaign. Ata then had a conversation with Blagojevich at a fundraising event in which Blagojevich indicated that he was aware Ata recently had made another substantial contribution to his campaign, and told Ata that he understood Ata would be joining his administration. Ata replied that he was considering taking a position, and Blagojevich said that it had better be a job where Ata could make some money. Blagojevich ultimately appointed Ata as the executive director of the Illinois Finance Authority.

The Solicitation of Joseph Cari

On Oct. 29, 2003, Joseph Cari, then a Chicago lawyer and a national Democratic fundraiser who has also pleaded guilty and is cooperating, was traveling on a plane with Blagojevich, Kelly and Levine to a Blagojevich fundraiser that Cari hosted in New York. Cari and Blagojevich spoke about Cari’s fundraising background and Blagojevich’s interest in running for President. Blagojevich said it was easier for governors to solicit campaign contributions because of their ability to award contracts and give legal work, consulting work, and investment banking work to campaign contributors, and that Kelly and Rezko were his point people in raising campaign contributions. Blagojevich said that Rezko and Kelly would follow up with Cari about this discussion.

Sometime after October 2003, Rezko told Cari that Rezko had a close relationship with the Blagojevich administration and a role in picking consultants, law firms and other entities to get state business, and that Monk helped implement Rezko’s choices for state work. Rezko said that the Blagojevich administration would be helpful to Cari’s business interests in exchange for raising money for Blagojevich.

On March 5, 2004, Cari met with Kelly, who said he was following up on Cari’s conversations with Blagojevich, Rezko and Levine. Kelly asked for Cari’s help in raising money on a national level for Blagojevich. When Cari said he was not inclined to help, Kelly pushed Cari to assist and said that helping Blagojevich would be good for Cari’s business interests and that Cari could have whatever Cari wanted if he agreed to help.

Campaign Contributions Solicited for TRS Investments

In March 2004, Lobbyist A met with Kelly to ask how two of Lobbyist A’s clients could become eligible to manage investments for TRS. Kelly told Lobbyist A that TRS was Rezko’s area, and later told Lobbyist A that he had spoken with Rezko, and that it would require a $50,000 campaign contribution to Blagojevich for a firm to get on TRS’s list of recommended fund managers.

The Attempted Extortion of Capri Capital

In April 2004, Levine, Rezko and Kelly agreed that unless Capri Capital or one of its principals, Thomas Rosenberg, arranged to raise or make significant political contributions for Blagojevich, Capri Capital would not receive a proposed $220 million investment from TRS. They further agreed that Cellini would deliver that message to Rosenberg.

In early May 2004, Levine advised Cellini of the plan, which Cellini assisted by indicating to Rosenberg that Capri Capital had not yet received its $220 million allocation from TRS because of its failure to make political donations to Blagojevich. After Rosenberg told Cellini that Rosenberg would not be extorted and he threatened to expose the attempt by informing law enforcement, Cellini ensured that Kelly, Rezko and Levine learned about Rosenberg’s threat.

On May 11, 2004, Cellini, Levine, Rezko and Kelly agreed that in light of Rosenberg’s threat to expose the extortion attempt, it was too risky to continue demanding money from him or to block the $220 million allocation to Capri Capital. They agreed that although Capri Capital would receive the $220 million allocation, it would not receive any further business from any state entity, including TRS. After the discussion, Cellini and Levine took steps to conceal the extortion plan, including using their influence and Levine’s position at TRS to ensure that Capri Capital received its $220 million allocation.

(A separate fraud conspiracy count against Kelly and Cellini alleges that in the summer of 2004, they discussed with Rezko and others moving TRS Staffer A - the Executive Director of TRS – to another job with a different state entity to ensure that he would not cooperate with law enforcement. And, in the summer and fall of 2004, Cellini, Rezko and others allegedly discussed the possibility of removing the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois to stop the investigation.)

Rezko told Cellini and Levine, in separate conversations, that Blagojevich had been told about the attempt to extort Rosenberg, and Blagojevich had said that Rosenberg meant nothing to him.

Benefits Given to Blagojevich and Monk

To ensure that Blagojevich and Monk continued to give Rezko substantial influence regarding appointments to boards and commissions, hiring for state employment, and the awarding of state contracts, grants, and investment fund allocations, Rezko gave certain benefits to Blagojevich and Monk including the following:

o in late August 2003, Rezko directed to Blagojevich’s wife a payment of $14,396 in connection with a real estate transaction involving property at 850 North Ogden Ave., Chicago, even though Blagojevich’s wife had not performed any services;

o from approximately October 2003 to May 2004, Rezko, through his real estate development company, gave Blagojevich’s wife payments of $12,000 a month, purportedly for real estate brokerage services;

o in January 2004, Rezko directed to Blagojevich’s wife a payment of $40,000 purportedly for brokerage services in connection with the sale of property at 1101 West Lake St., Chicago, even though Blagojevich’s wife had provided few, if any, services relating to that sale; and

o from the spring of 2004 until 2006, Rezko provided to Monk a number of $10,000 cash gifts to pay for various items, such as a car and home improvements, totaling approximately $70,000 to $90,000.

The Search for Employment for Blagojevich’s Wife

After Blagojevich’s wife’s real estate business became the subject of critical media coverage, Blagojevich directed Harris to try to find a paid state board appointment or position for her. During several conversations in early 2008, Blagojevich informed Harris that he wanted his wife put on the Pollution Control Board, which pays salaries to its board members. When Harris told Blagojevich that his wife was not qualified for the position, Blagojevich told him to find other employment for his wife.

In the spring of 2008, around the time that Blagojevich’s wife passed a licensing exam that allowed her to sell financial securities, Blagojevich asked Harris and others to set up informational or networking meetings for his wife with financial institutions that had business with the state in hopes that those businesses would assist in getting his wife a job. Harris later arranged meetings between Blagojevich’s wife and officials at two financial institutions that had business with the state. When Blagojevich concluded that officials at these institutions were unhelpful in finding his wife a job, he told Harris that he did not want the institutions receiving further business from the state.

Attempted Extortion of United States Congressman A

In 2006, after Congressman A inquired about the status of a $2 million grant for the benefit of a publicly-supported school, Blagojevich instructed Harris not to release the grant until Blagojevich gave further direction, even though Blagojevich previously had agreed to support the grant and funds were included in the state’s budget.

In response to inquiries by a high-ranking state official as to whether the grant money could be released, Blagojevich informed that official that Blagojevich wanted it communicated to Congressman A that the congressman’s brother needed to have a fundraiser for Blagojevich.

Blagojevich told Lobbyist A that Blagojevich was giving a $2 million grant to a school in Congressman A’s district and instructed Lobbyist A to approach Congressman A for a fundraiser. After Blagojevich learned from Harris that the school had started to incur expenses that were to be paid with the grant funds, Blagojevich initially resisted the release of the grant money, and ultimately agreed to the release of certain grant funds to cover incurred expenses, but only on a delayed basis, even though no fundraiser had been held.

Attempted Extortion of Children’s Memorial Hospital

On Oct. 8, 2008, defendant Blagojevich advised Lobbyist A that he intended to take official action that would provide additional state money to Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, and that Blagojevich wanted to get $50,000 in campaign contributions from the hospital’s chief executive officer.

On Oct. 17, 2008, Blagojevich called the hospital’s CEO to tell him of his intent to increase the Illinois Medicaid reimbursement rate for speciality-care pediatric physicians. Shortly before this, Blagojevich had directed Deputy Governor A to initiate such an increase, which Illinois providers of pediatric healthcare, including Children’s Memorial Hospital, had actively supported for years.

On Oct. 22, 2008, Blagojevich spoke with the Children’s CEO and asked him to arrange to raise $25,000 for Blagojevich prior to Jan. 1, 2009. On Nov. 12, 2008, after the Children’s CEO had not returned additional phone calls from Robert Blagojevich and no political contributions from the Children’s CEO or other persons associated with the hospital had been received, Blagojevich spoke to Deputy Governor A about the increase in the Medicaid reimbursement rates for specialty-care pediatric physicians, asking whether “we could pull it back if we needed to. . . .” As a result of this conversation, Deputy Governor A instructed the Department of Healthcare Services to stop its work on increasing the reimbursement for specialty-care pediatric physicians.

Attempted Extortion of Racetrack Executive

On Nov. 13, 2008, Blagojevich told Robert Blagojevich that he wanted campaign contributions to be made by the end of the year by Racetrack Executive, who, as Blagojevich knew, managed horse racing tracks that would financially benefit from a bill pending in the Illinois General Assembly that would require certain Illinois casinos to give money to a fund that would help the state’s horse racing industry. At that time, as Blagojevich knew, Monk had been trying to arrange a contribution from Racetrack Executive, and Blagojevich had set a goal of raising $100,000 in contributions from and through this individual.

Blagojevich had further conversations with Monk about the horse racing and casino bill after it was passed by the state legislature on Nov. 20, 2008. Blagojevich and Monk discussed whether and when Blagojevich would sign the bill, and whether and when Racetrack Executive would arrange for a campaign contribution to Blagojevich. On Dec. 3, 2008, Blagojevich indicated to Monk that he was concerned that Racetrack Executive would not make a contribution by the end of the year if he signed the bill before the contribution was made. As a result, Monk and Blagojevich agreed that Monk would speak with Racetrack Executive to ensure that he would make a contribution by the end of the year.

After meeting with Blagojevich on Dec. 3, 2008, Monk visited Racetrack Executive and told him that Blagojevich was concerned that Racetrack Executive would not make a contribution to Blagojevich if the bill was signed before the contribution was made. After meeting with Racetrack Executive, Monk reported to Blagojevich that Monk had said to Racetrack Executive, “look, there is a concern that there is going to be some skittishness if your bill gets signed because of the timeliness of the commitment,” and made it clear to Racetrack Executive that the contribution has “got to be in now.” Blagojevich responded, “good” and “good job.”

On Dec. 4, 2008, Monk asked Blagojevich to call Racetrack Executive and to suggest that Blagojevich would sign the bill, because this would be better “from a pressure point of view.” Blagojevich agreed to call Racetrack Executive.

Attempted Extortion of Highway Contractor

On Sept. 18, 2008, Blagojevich, Monk and Robert Blagojevich met with Construction Executive, who was both an executive with a company that manufactured and distributed road building materials and a representative of a road construction trade group. Blagojevich said that he was planning on announcing a $1.5 billion road building program that would be administered through the Illinois Toll Highway Authority and that he might authorize an additional $6 billion road building program later on. Blagojevich then asked for Construction Executive’s help in raising contributions for Blagojevich’s campaign by the end of the year. After Construction Executive left the meeting, Blagojevich instructed Monk to try to get Construction Executive to raise $500,000 in contributions. As Blagojevich knew, Monk later had a series of conversations with Construction Executive about the possibility of arranging for campaign contributions to Blagojevich.

On Oct. 6, 2008, Blagojevich told Lobbyist A that he would make an announcement concerning a $1.8 billion project involving the tollway and that Monk would approach Construction Executive to ask that he raise substantial campaign contributions. Blagojevich further said that he could have announced a larger amount of money for road projects, but wanted to see how Construction Executive performed in raising contributions, and he added words to the effect of “If they don’t perform, [expletive] ‘em.”

On Oct. 22, 2008, approximately one week after Blagojevich publicly announced a portion of a $1.8 billion program to upgrade interchanges on the tollway system, Blagojevich called Construction Executive, spoke with him about the $1.8 billion program, and asked how he was coming with fundraising.

Efforts to Obtain Personal Financial Benefits for Blagojevich

in Return for his Appointment of a United States Senator

Between October and Dec. 9, 2008, Blagojevich, with the assistance of Harris and Robert Blagojevich, and others, sought to obtain financial benefits for himself and his wife, in return for exercising his duty under Illinois law to appoint a United States Senator to fill the vacancy created by the election of President Barack Obama.

Blagojevich engaged in numerous conversations with others, at times including Harris and Robert Blagojevich, certain high-ranking employees of the Office of the Governor, and certain political consultants, to devise and set in motion plans by which Blagojevich could use his Senate appointment power to obtain financial benefits for himself and his wife. At times, Blagojevich directed others, including state employees, to assist in these endeavors, including by performing research and conveying messages to third parties. Blagojevich and his co-schemers devised and discussed obtaining financial benefits in the following forms, among others:

o presidential appointment of Blagojevich to high-ranking positions in the federal government, including Secretary of Health and Human Services or an ambassadorship;

o a highly-paid leadership position with a private foundation dependent on federal aid, which Blagojevich believed could be influenced by the President-elect to name Blagojevich to such a position;

o a highly-paid leadership position with an organization known as “Change to Win,” consisting of seven affiliated labor unions, which, in a transaction suggested by Harris, could appoint Blagojevich as its chairman with the expectation that the President-elect would assist Change to Win with its national legislative agenda;

o employment for Blagojevich’s wife with a union organization, lobbying firm, or on corporate boards of directors;

o a highly-paid leadership position with a newly-created, not-for-profit corporation which Blagojevich believed could be funded with large contributions by persons associated with the President-elect; and

o substantial campaign fundraising assistance from individuals seeking the United States Senate seat and their backers, including from Senate Candidate A, whose associate Blagojevich understood to have offered $1.5 million in campaign contributions in return for Blagojevich’s appointment of Senate Candidate A.

Further, Blagojevich discussed with his co-schemers means by which he could influence the President-elect to assist him in obtaining personal benefits for himself and his wife, including by appointing to the Senate a candidate whom Blagojevich believed to be favored by the President-elect. At times, Blagojevich attempted to further this goal by conveying messages, directly and with the assistance of others, to individuals whom he believed to be in communication with the President-elect.

On Dec. 4, 2008, Blagojevich instructed Robert Blagojevich to contact a representative of Senate Candidate A, and advise the representative that if Senate Candidate A was going to be chosen to fill the Senate seat, some of the promised fundraising had to occur before the appointment. Blagojevich instructed Robert Blagojevich to communicate the urgency of the message, and to do it in person, rather than over the phone. Robert Blagojevich agreed to do so, and thereafter arranged a meeting with an associate of Senate Candidate A.

On Dec. 5, 2008, following the publication that day of a newspaper article reporting that Blagojevich had been surreptitiously recorded in connection with an ongoing federal investigation, Blagojevich instructed Robert Blagojevich to cancel his meeting with the associate of Senate Candidate A, and Robert Blagojevich agreed to do so.

The Government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Reid Schar, Carrie Hamilton and Christopher Niewoehner.

If convicted, the maximum penalty for each offense is set forth in the accompanying chart. The Court, however, would determine the appropriate sentence to be imposed under the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Further, the indictment makes allegations that Blagojevich at times directed others to take various actions, but it should not be read to allege that those other persons carried out those directions unless the indictment specifically alleges so.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

84 Comments
  1. - J boogy - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 4:58 pm:

    WOW


  2. - South of I-80 - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:01 pm:

    Patti’s inditment? Next week?


  3. - Quinn T. Sential - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:02 pm:

    Any insight on this:

    {Blagojevich personally continued to trade his actions as governor for personal benefits, including, for example, delaying a state grant to a publicly-supported school while trying to leverage a U.S. Congressman, who supported the school, or the Congressman’s brother, to hold a campaign fundraiser for Blagojevich;}


  4. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:05 pm:

    There’s that Congressman A again.


  5. - oneman - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:06 pm:

    Wow


  6. - Quinn T. Sential - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:08 pm:

    Any sign of “Individual K” around town today?

    {in 2003, Blagojevich, Monk, Kelly, Rezko and other co-schemers implemented this agreement by directing lucrative state business relating to
    the refinancing of billions of dollars in State of Illinois Pension Obligation Bonds to a company whose lobbyist agreed to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars to Rezko out of the fee the lobbyist would collect, and Rezko in turn agreed to split the money with Blagojevich, Monk and Kelly;}


  7. - Quinn T. Sential - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:12 pm:

    This seems rather slim; given the amounts of money that appear to have been involved:

    {The indictment also seeks forfeiture of $188,370 from Blagojevich as proceeds of the alleged fraud scheme and racketeering activity, and lists Blagojevich’s apartment in Washington, D.C., and his Ravenswood Manor home in Chicago as substitute assets.}


  8. - jimbo - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:14 pm:

    FINALLY! na na na na


  9. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:14 pm:

    BINGO!!


  10. - Joe - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:19 pm:

    WOW! I assume they’ll also go after his book earnings…….


  11. - The Doc - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:19 pm:

    Simply breathtaking.


  12. - Nearly Normal - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:21 pm:

    There is quite a bit about the TRS schemes implicating Cellini in the mix.

    Makes me shudder.


  13. - Lefty - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:24 pm:

    Anybody know who all the parties with an A after their status are? Lobbyist A; Congressman A, etc.


  14. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:25 pm:

    Brazen.


  15. - Concerned Observer - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:25 pm:

    I’m reading this on a Metra train and just got through the whole press release. Rich, thanks for providing that.

    Now…

    Oh. My. God.

    Some of this - especially the parts about Patti and the job hunt - literally made my jaw drop. Absolutely astounding. I’d heard and read bits and pieces of this, but…when you see it all together it really boggles the mind.

    IMO, they had less on Ryan. Even with the Willis family tragedy, they had less. Wow.


  16. - EmptySuitParade - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:25 pm:

    A separate fraud conspiracy count against Kelly and Cellini alleges that in the summer of 2004, they discussed with Rezko and others moving TRS Staffer A - the Executive Director of TRS – to another job with a different state entity to ensure that he would not cooperate with law enforcement. And, in the summer and fall of 2004, Cellini, Rezko and others allegedly discussed the possibility of removing the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois to stop the investigation.)…..

    Perhaps blowhard bill black will review his TRS speech


  17. - Shore - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:29 pm:

    blago+(obama x 4)=major economic stimulus for chicago media

    you have to feel for journalists in other cities.


  18. - Excessively rabid - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:31 pm:

    Let’s hope they can prove it in court, and make it stick. Ted Stevens comes to mind. And thanks for the great coverage on these issues.


  19. - North of I-80 - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:32 pm:

    Is Patty indictment not coming or is she a bargaining chip for Rod to play or discard?

    The funny part [well… ONE of the many funny parts] is that while many of us worked under this guy & we told stories of what he was doing, NO ONE believed the stories & thought we were making it up. This is a GREAT day for IL.


  20. - Toast Man - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:33 pm:

    BOOM!


  21. - South of I-80 - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:39 pm:

    I wonder if or when Blago is going to contact his publishist and hit the TV circuit? I hope for the State that he doesn’t! But, I’ve been wrong before!!


  22. - Amy - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:39 pm:

    well, at least Blago will have a job….in prison.


  23. - Anon - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:40 pm:

    Rich, all, here is a more readable (and search-friendly) version of the indictment:

    http://blogs.sj-r.com/podcasts/wp-content/uploads/040209blagoindicted.pdf


  24. - leigh - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:45 pm:

    Well, I guess now I know why it took so long to come down. Holy smokes. I feel so sorry for those two little girls.


  25. - Levois - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:45 pm:

    *throws book at ousted governor*


  26. - Toast Man - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:45 pm:

    “I have nothing to fear but the truth.” - RRB


  27. - Justice - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:46 pm:

    The Bus has pulled away from the station folks…..with many stops along the way! It’s only the beginning of head count. The list will grow longer every day!


  28. - Former State Employee 2 - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:46 pm:

    Where is the press conference taking place. There are planes in the background. Is he back in the state? If not, where the heck did they get the State Seal. Was he anticipating this in Orlando and actually travelled with it?


  29. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:47 pm:

    It’s not Rod’s presser, it’s Quinn’s. Please pay attention.


  30. - A Citizen - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:50 pm:

    This is just the tip of the iceberg - a shot across the bow for those yet to cooperate . . . or else! There are many more players yet to be dragged into the net of justice.


  31. - Former State Employee 2 - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:53 pm:

    Sorry, my eyes glazed over the Gov Quinn part. RRB is the last governor I worked for (and the main reason I left), so when I see the “Governor” I still associate with RRB.


  32. - Quinn T. Sential - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 6:01 pm:

    {in 2003, Blagojevich, Monk, Kelly, Rezko and other co-schemers implemented this agreement by directing lucrative state business relating to
    the refinancing of billions of dollars in State of Illinois Pension Obligation Bonds to a company whose lobbyist agreed to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars to Rezko out of the fee the lobbyist would collect, and Rezko in turn agreed to split the money with Blagojevich, Monk and Kelly;}

    Does this mean that the “loan” at a “very favorable interest rate” could not be substantively documented by the lender?


  33. - Puhlease - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 6:08 pm:

    Former State Employee 2….you didn’t leave. You were told to go.


  34. - Dan S, a taxpaer, a voter and a Cubs Fan - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 6:11 pm:

    Our patients has been rewarded!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  35. - Deep South - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 6:12 pm:

    Boom goes the dynamite!!!!


  36. - Anon - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 6:13 pm:

    Twit:

    Alert from TPA: Working on statement with reaction to Gov. Blagojevich indictment… to be released asap.


  37. - Levois - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 6:17 pm:

    The link to the indictment isn’t working for me.


  38. - Smitty Irving - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 6:18 pm:

    Well - this is a rather interesting development.

    Are there any clues as to who Congressman A is?

    Any mention of Kjellander, direct or indirect ? Can’t find one.

    How many years are Kelly and Harris facing? Do they get any “consideration” if the talk about Daley / City of Chicago matters?

    Is Dan Webb still Cellini’s attorney? Anyone see the irony of Cellini and Webb and Zagel in the same courtroom?


  39. - Anon - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 6:19 pm:

    @Levois:

    Try this one.

    http://blogs.sj-r.com/podcasts/wp-content/uploads/040209blagoindicted.pdf


  40. - Amy - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 6:22 pm:

    P. 32 of the document….RB further said that he could have announced a larger amount of money for road projects, but wanted to see how Construction Executive performed in raising contributions, and he added words to the effect of “If they dont’
    perform, f…’em.”

    ah, had to get just one of these flashy bits in, but re CBS2 indications are that Holder held Fitzgerald in check on his own flash.

    “The Blagojevich Enterprise” now there’s a title for a book, or a David Mamet play.


  41. - Anon - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 6:26 pm:

    Twit:

    (PRNewsChannel) / Tampa, Fla. / Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich released the following statement, via the PR firm that represents him, responding to the indictment announced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois:

    “I’m saddened and hurt but I am not surprised by the indictment. I am innocent. I now will fight in the courts to clear my name. I would ask the good people of Illinois to wait for the trial and afford me the presumption of innocence that they would give to all their friends and neighbors.”

    The PR firm representing the governor, The Publicity Agency, will send out alerts and advisories as developments warrant.

    The governor is not in Chicago and will not be doing any interviews. He is spending family time with his wife and kids during spring break. They ask that you respect their privacy.


  42. - Hank - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 6:30 pm:

    Breaking news…Blago has rented a white Bronco and is being followed by a news helicopter


  43. - Frank Sobotka - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 6:30 pm:

    Just for the record, 75 pages, 1 F-bomb, and 0 S-bombs…

    Not quite as colorful as the wiretaps.


  44. - Leave a light on George - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 6:31 pm:

    What’s the over/under on the number of supercedeing indictments to follow as some of these nuts start to crack?

    Chris Kelly had better start to cooperate or he is nver going to see the light of day again.


  45. - Gregor - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 6:33 pm:

    Just reading the indictment’s charges makes me want to take a long hot shower. Wash the ikky off.

    Another one wondering why Patti is spared so far, seems a slam-dunk.


  46. - AM drivetime - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 6:37 pm:

    Roe Conn and Judy Topinka had a high old time on WLS this afternoon discussing this. Judy is entitled her schadenfreude, but only so far; she also took Cellini money without much complaint. OTOH, the list of folks from either party who *didn’t* isn’t too long…


  47. - Bobs yer - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 6:39 pm:

    Just so you know, CapFax was well ahead of CST and Trib on this when it finally happened (believe me, I’ve been checking all day). Well done.


  48. - Bookworm - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 6:52 pm:

    Anyone figure out who Congressman A is yet?


  49. - Scooby - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 6:57 pm:

    Politico thinks they have it figured out.


  50. - EmptyHeadParade - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 7:02 pm:

    “EmptySuitParade - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 5:25 pm:”

    A separate fraud conspiracy count against Kelly and Cellini alleges that in the summer of 2004, they discussed with Rezko and others moving TRS Staffer A - the Executive Director of TRS – to another job with a different state entity to ensure that he would not cooperate with law enforcement. And, in the summer and fall of 2004, Cellini, Rezko and others allegedly discussed the possibility of removing the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois to stop the investigation.)…..

    “Perhaps blowhard bill black will review his TRS speech”

    Perhaps your dinner check will get his facts right next time and not screw the wrong guy.


  51. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 7:08 pm:

    Rich, thanks for the excellent reporting. What you’ve published here is draw-dropping in its depth and amazing in how quickly you put it out. Bravo for a job well done.


  52. - Rod sez I'm pork - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 7:17 pm:

    I love Burris’ comment: “To Blagojevich’s credit, he decided as a final act it was important to appoint someone with an exceptional reputation of integrity and superior public service to the U.S. Senate seat.”

    Will all this fit on his mausoleum?


  53. - Quinn T. Sential - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 7:22 pm:

    Rahmbo was being held up for the school grant, but the saving grace for the school was that it was in the center of his political base, and holding it up forever would have been far too directly injurous to him.

    Had the school been elsewhere there is a good chance they would still be twisting in the wind.


  54. - enevlop - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 7:23 pm:

    Where is Jon Bauman in all of this?????? How has he managed -most of the time- to say off the radar screen? You know Jon, TRS exec director, and foremer “friend” of Cellini during Jon’s old CMS days as the guy who ran state leases….


  55. Pingback ALL AROUND TROY » Blog Archive » SB 600 Passes To House - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 7:24 pm:

    […] And, meanwhile, former Democrat Governor Rod Blagojevich was indicted this afternoon. The GOP failed to notice because they were too busy fighting each other. […]


  56. - Jon Bauman - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 7:50 pm:

    “enevlop”, I’m right here. What’s your question?


  57. - Ding! End of Round 2 - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 7:54 pm:

    What about Tusk? He had to know about a lot of this.

    Congressman A - Jesse Jackson Junior?


  58. - Third Generation Chicago Native - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 8:15 pm:

    Rich,
    Thanks for the fantastic coverage.

    And why does Rod B have an apartment in DC after 6 years whe he has home in Ravenswood and well supposidly the Governors’ Mansion in Springfield? Did he think he was going back to DC?

    Patti was spared for now, I wonder if something won’t come down the pipe later, seems like her paw prints are over everything.


  59. - WindyCityGardener - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 8:15 pm:

    Does anyone know what the minimum sentence would be if he is guilty on all charges ?
    How many charges were there against Ryan ? He only got a couple of years.


  60. - enevlop - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 8:22 pm:

    Bauman..how did you get to TRS Jon????? Deep experinece in retirement systems?


  61. - Hank - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 8:33 pm:

    The so called Decatur Mafia’s heart just skipped a beat. Connect the dots!


  62. - Jon Bauman - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 8:37 pm:

    “enevlop”

    I applied for a vacant administrative position that did not require pension experience, but did require management experience and State government background. I also knew how to spell.

    Now, run along. Time for bed.


  63. - PPHS - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 8:42 pm:

    How many charges were there against Ryan ? He only got a couple of years.

    There were 22 charges and he got 6.5 years.


  64. - wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 8:42 pm:

    So Harris flipped for sure. The question is, did he flip just on Blago, or did he do a double-gainer?

    Do the feds allow a single flip when they think you can perform at a higher level of difficulty.

    What’s holding Kelly back? Certain gaming associates, so to speak?


  65. - enevlop - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 8:42 pm:

    Bauman….you cannot possibly expect anyone in this town to believe that you merely “applied” for the director’s job and got it, or that Mr. Cellini’s business interests just coincidentally followed you to TRS. But congratulations on your spell-check abilities..and be sure to note that skill on you resume the next time you “apply” for a job.


  66. - Richard - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 8:49 pm:

    As our old Chicago native Tommy Boy would have said “HOLY SCHNEIKEES” or “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD”, from “Helen you look like a Helen” to “Rod you look like a Helen”


  67. - litebrite - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 9:04 pm:

    Hey Smitty,
    I caught the connection too, ya think c-man will walk. I think he wil be the only one.


  68. - party of one - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 9:06 pm:

    Judy took celini money, huh??? I don’t think so. At least try to be legit about this stuff.

    As for blogo and blogett I hope they both go to prison and Dick Mell gets the kids. Somehow that kind of irony makes me very happy tonight.


  69. - Bookworm - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 9:25 pm:

    Well, well, well. If Rahm is indeed Congressman A, I can only imagine the choice names those two have for one another. It also explains why Blago publicly tossed Rahm under the bus at the impeachment trial.


  70. - Jon Bauman - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 9:32 pm:

    This is the last answer, ‘lop. You are no better at history than spelling.

    I was at TRS for 8 years as the COO before I became Director. The Cellini family firm was already on board when I got there, having been hired 2 years prior.


  71. - enevlop - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 9:46 pm:

    Bauman…well then I guess it’s all just one big misunderstanding. You had no influence on or role in the further enrichment of the celini’s, you didn’t have the power to stop the sweetheart deals..why I bet you didn’t even KNOW celini. You seem to share the same contempt for honesty as does your (now twice indicted) patron. Sleep well….


  72. - Floyd - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 10:06 pm:

    Jon,

    Are you the same Jon who use to hang with a man who drove a Superbird back in Champaign?


  73. - mind-boggled - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 10:07 pm:

    Three years ago Congressman Harold Cunningham was sentenced by a federal court to 8 years 7 months on bribery related charges of comparable magnitude, but with an offense that had a 10 year maximum and he “accepted responsibility” as that is defined by the federal sentencing guidelines. Also, he was older and in poor health. That is, to my knowledge, the longest sentence ever given to a Congressman.


  74. - Anon - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 10:14 pm:

    Rod must have been mentally ill at some level. Disconnected from reality, and spending virtually all his energy with fundraising and self-enrichment schemes. Gotta wonder about anybody who hung aroung that environment.


  75. Pingback Blagojevich indicted « Robert’s Haven - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 11:07 pm:

    […] Capitol Fax gives the entire history of the scheme.  Blagojevich released a statement a few hours later saying he was innocent and would fight the indictment.  Sen. Durbin is hopeful that Blagojevich will not use this opportunity to go on another publicity tour. […]


  76. - Suzanne - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 11:13 pm:

    Just in from work tonight, reading this, glad to know the coverage would be here on CapFax but still so sad. My state, our state, bruised, broken, shamed . . . again.


  77. - anon - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 11:14 pm:

    Now we can see why Madigan never returned his calls!


  78. - Lynn S - Thursday, Apr 2, 09 @ 11:48 pm:

    HOLY COW!!

    Add me to the list of people wondering why Patti wasn’t indicted today.

    Curious to see how early the Tribune sells out tomorrow…


  79. - Jon Bauman - Friday, Apr 3, 09 @ 12:05 am:

    Floyd, and I assume that’s a cheap shot at my late father who knew more about ethics and integrity than most of the GA combined, I did not have a fiend with a Superbird,period.


  80. - steve schnorf - Friday, Apr 3, 09 @ 12:14 am:

    envelop, Bauman has the courage to post under his own name. If only someone as insightful and informed as you had the b—s to do the same.


  81. - Jon Bauman - Friday, Apr 3, 09 @ 12:15 am:

    ‘Lop, if you want just hit the google before pouting off, you may turn out a good post someday. Read up a bit and all your questions are answered about TRS, Cellini, and the investment in land.


  82. - Bookworm - Friday, Apr 3, 09 @ 6:46 am:

    They should have tossed in two more counts of perjury — one for each time Blago took the oath of office.


  83. - Bookworm - Friday, Apr 3, 09 @ 6:53 am:

    The indictments say Blago’s intent was to rake in as much money as possible and divide it up with his co-schemers after he left office. But wasn’t his massive fundraising aimed at an eventual run for president?


  84. - More to come - Friday, Apr 3, 09 @ 6:12 pm:

    Schnorf- Bless you. Weren’t you the same guy professing Hurtgen as an innocent? Saying that people were besmreaching people on this site and all the rest?

    Bauman- Did your kid work for Hurtgen? Or was that someone else on the TRS Board?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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