* Tim Novak…
A diamond engagement ring that former Gov. Pat Quinn’s campaign manager bought for Quinn’s press secretary has become part of the federal investigation that’s resulted in extortion charges against longtime Chicago Teamsters boss John Coli Sr., the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.
The FBI is trying to determine who paid for the ring, which former Quinn press secretary Brooke Anderson got nearly four years ago from her husband Lou Bertuca, the governor’s 2014 campaign manager.
The key witness against Coli, Alexander S. Pissios, whose Cinespace Chicago Film Studios got millions of dollars in state grants under Quinn’s administration, has told the FBI he contributed $500 towards the purchase of the ring.
Pissios, president of the West Side studio where TV shows including “Chicago P.D.” and “Chicago Fire” are shot, secretly agreed to cooperate with federal investigators to avoid being charged with bankruptcy fraud. He has an unusual “non-prosecution” deal in return for his cooperation.
Pissios told the FBI that he helped pay for the ring at the suggestion of his lobbyist Frank Cortese, who helped convince the Quinn administration to award Cinespace state grants totaling $27.3 million. […]
But the new governor forced Pissios to give back the [last $10 million grant] after the Sun-Times reported that the land Cinespace said in its grant application it needed the money to buy wasn’t for sale. […]
The federal grand jury that indicted Coli issued subpoenas to the governor’s office last August, seeking personnel files for Bertuca, Anderson and John D’Alessandro, another former Quinn official. Pissios has told authorities D’Alessandro was helpful in securing the state grants.
Gov. Quinn denies any knowledge of the alleged gift and nobody else would talk. Background on some of these characters from four years ago is here.