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Alexi Giannoulias’ ever-changing story changes yet again

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010

* The AP sums up today’s big Tribune story

Alexi Giannoulias tells voters he left his family bank in 2005, but he got a major tax break by telling the IRS he continued working at the bank the next year. […]

By telling the IRS he worked at least 500 hours in 2006, Giannoulias qualified for a $2.7 million income tax deduction.

That $2.7 million was his reported business loss. He ended up getting $30,000 in tax refunds, which wiped out his income tax liabilities for the year.

* Anyway, on to the Tribune story

Saying he left in 2005 gives Giannoulias maximum distance from the bank’s questionable lending practices, the April takeover by federal regulators and other controversies such as a loan by the bank to convicted influence peddler Antoin “Tony” Rezko in early 2006.

But by reporting that he worked at least 500 hours at Broadway in 2006, Giannoulias was able to get a break that helped him avoid paying federal income tax for 2009.

Giannoulias said he has been clear that he left the “day-to-day” operations of the bank in September 2005 to prepare his first run for public office, but was on paid leave until May 2006 when he left completely to campaign full time for treasurer.

That 2006 work consisted of roughly 30 hours a week closing out his responsibilities before quitting as a bank officer, and didn’t involve making new loans, Giannoulias explained in a recent interview. It was more than enough to qualify him for the tax break, he said.

IRS regulations allow taxpayers to deduct business losses from certain types of corporations if they’ve logged significant hours there for five of the last 10 years. Giannoulias started at the bank in 2002, so working at least 500 hours in 2006 qualifies Giannoulias for the tax break.

As the article points out, Giannoulias’ campaign has been claiming he took a paid leave of absence in September of 2005. But a guy taking a paid leave worked 30 hours a week? That’s some raw deal.

Of course, when he was running for treasurer Giannoulias said in December, 2005 that he “currently serves as vice president and senior loan officer at the four-branch Broadway Bank in Chicago.” In March of 2006, he said this about his position at the bank: “I’m senior loan officer and vice president.”

First, he was a bigtime banker in 2005-06. Then he was on a paid leave of absence. And then we find out he told the IRS he worked 30 hours a week through May of 2006. He did mention that month back in September of 2006 when he was interviewed by the American Banker magazine…

He left his job at Broadway in May to focus on his campaign.

Focus on his campaign? His real campaign was the primary that year. He stomped a woefully under-funded Christine Radogno by 432,000 votes in November.

My head is spinning from all these story changes.

Hint to Alexi: Try telling the truth from the beginning and then sticking with it. That’s a whole lot easier.

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- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - OneMan - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 3:11 pm:

    This is going to make a heck of an ad….

    It’s hard to toss the liar stuff at the other guy when you have this.

  2. - Ghost - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 3:14 pm:

    So basically we have no honest canidate to choose from, we have to decide whose dishonesty we are most able to tolerate.

    Machiavelli is smilling up at us.

  3. - Living in Oklahoma - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 3:15 pm:

    This reminds me of the famous anti-drug commercial from the 1980’s. Alexi can now say to Kirk “I learned it by watching you!” concerning there ever shifting stories.

  4. - A.B. - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 3:17 pm:

    This is going to drive a reluctant base further from AG. More than anything, this (soon to be) ad will further depress voter turnout for the Dem ballot. Talk about an exponentially bad turn of events for state Dems.

  5. - Aldyth - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 3:20 pm:

    All this election needs to make it complete is clown costumes.

  6. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 3:21 pm:


    - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 12:43 pm:

    Looks like we may be in for another round or “Mob Banker” since WGN is again questioning Alexi’s resume. He either worked at the bank when the most controversial loans were made, or claimed he worked there when he actually didn’t so he could claim a huge IRS deduction. See here:,0,7764777.story

  7. - view from the cheap seats - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 3:22 pm:

    He was for Broadway Bank before he left it.

  8. - OneMan - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 3:22 pm:

    The GOP didn’t have a ton of other options in the primary besides Kirk, on the other hand the Dems did, this has to drive them nuts.

  9. - phocion - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 3:23 pm:

    And here’s the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion. Didn’t they get Al Capone on this charge?

    Alexi, dude, you may easily end up more toxic for the Democratic side of the ballot than Governor Toast.

  10. - Quinn T. Sential - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 3:23 pm:

    Alexei, Alexei, mustn’t run and mustn’t play, mustn’t jump and mustn’t climb, must be careful all the time.

  11. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 3:25 pm:

    Just as Quinn should whale on this issue with Brady, so should Kirk with Alexi.

    How big a self-loathing Johnny Paycheck chump do you have to be not to get a little honked about millionaires gaming the system to not pay taxes?

  12. - Responsa - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 3:25 pm:

    Now wait a minute. Just hold the phone here. To be fair about this we should hear some of Alexi’s supporters such as bored now’s take on this before we jump to any conclusions.

  13. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 3:26 pm:

    In addition to blunting his own attack on Kirk as a liar, Alexi has now negated one of the most effective points Quinn uses on Bill Brady, his tax deductions on his recession-effected business.

    So in a single blow, Alexi manages to damage his own campaign, and that of the other person at the top of the ballot.

    Now THAT’S effective campaigning!

  14. - 42nd Ward - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 3:29 pm:

    Just when the “Mob Banker” story was getting old, a fresh new angle!

  15. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 3:34 pm:

    This wouldn’t even be a race right now if Kirk had just stood on his real military record. He ended up making this race far harder on himself than it had to be. Even though I still expect this race to be somewhat close, I think the balance is tipping more and more to Kirk. Perhaps Alexi should be calling Obama for a job (at least he can work for 2 years, maybe more) come January.

  16. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 3:36 pm:

    No wonder David Hoffman isn’t running for Mayor. He must still be depressed after losing to this guy. So close to being a Senator.

  17. - JCIII - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 3:37 pm:

    Wait so his defense is he lied on his taxes?

  18. - sue - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 3:40 pm:

    liar, liar pants on fire- Kirk may have some issues but at least he isn’t a tax evader

  19. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 3:40 pm:

    Anonymous, the same non-mayoral logic may apply to Dan Hynes. Just sayin…

  20. - Responsa - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 3:50 pm:

    Rich and Anonymous, and both of those candidate debacles trace back to the too-early primary date, don’t they?

  21. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:01 pm:

    –This wouldn’t even be a race right now if Kirk had just stood on his real military record.–

    Demoralized, you’re absolutely right. There’s a weirdness about Kirk that makes him very inaccessible.

    Before the race, I thought his resume made him a slam-dunk. But he’s a Washington dude, and he really doesn’t connect. His nemesis, Dan Seals, is the same way.

    After all his problems, and in this economy, Alexi still has a puncher’s chance. If I were the NRSC, I would be very wary about chasing it in Illinois.

  22. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:03 pm:

    It’s a shame Leader Radogno didn’t have an extra, ahem, few hundred thousand to push her message against Alexi in areas like the Quad Cities, the suburbs and the Metro East. If people would have listened then, this clown wouldn’t be in now. And to all the Kirk bashers who bopped him over the head for “misremembering” his service?! Alexi deserves a nice whack for this. A good lesson would be a 10 point loss on November 2nd.

  23. - Deep South - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:04 pm:

    ===Kirk may have some issues but at least he isn’t a tax evader===

    I’ll take a good ol’ fashioned tax evader over a guy who told a bunch of lies about his military service and his military honors, or lack thereof, anyday of the week.

    Kirk’s serial fibbing is a much, much bigger issue.

    So it comes down to who’s telling the bigger, more serious lie(s). I mean, those are our options, right?

  24. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:04 pm:

    Word, I must disagree. These revelations should make the NRSC even more apt to drop cash.

  25. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:04 pm:

    I disagree on Hynes/Quinn, Responsa. He almost did it. Another six weeks and the DoC controversy could’ve died down and who knows what else could’ve happened. Giannoulias may be a different story, however.

  26. - Anon - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:10 pm:

    ==I’ll take a good ol’ fashioned tax evader over a guy who told a bunch of lies about his military service and his military honors, or lack thereof, anyday of the week.==

    Yeah, keep telling yourself that stating the wrong name of a military honor is worse than tax fraud. It’s a slam dunk, easy hit ad for Kirk, especially against someone who supports tax increases.

  27. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:12 pm:

    Easy on the tax fraud stuff, people. Nobody’s made that allegation yet.

  28. - Anon - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:12 pm:

    Timing also makes this a worse issue for Alexi. People have been hit over the head for months on Kirks issues, but this is fresh meat against Alexi during the last 30 days.

  29. - Anon - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:14 pm:

    Rich, I just say that because, well, it’s one or the other. This wasn’t a minor deduction. So, either he lied to the IRS and committe tax fraud, or he’s been lying to voters the last 4 years about his role with the bank. Legally, the latter would be better for him, but politically neither are good.

  30. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:32 pm:

    Boy oh boy, I can’t wait for polling that takes this new angle on Alexi into account. I believe it will be the poll that predicts the winner of this race, and I believe we will see the need for a two slice toaster…

  31. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:48 pm:

    So, which candidate runs the ad: I haven’t been caught in as many lies as my opponent?

  32. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 5:13 pm:

    Team Sleep, the biggest story in this election cycle is that Kirk couldn’t put away Alexi early.

  33. - Ghost - Thursday, Sep 30, 10 @ 1:47 am:

    This was defiently Kirk’s race to lose, and Kirk is working hard to lose it.

    From shifting to a strong right position to exagerating his resume.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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