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Report: Feds looking at gift to Quinn lieutenant

Friday, May 10, 2019

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

44 Comments »
  1. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 1:13 pm:

    This case is like political Mad Libs. Awesome.


  2. - Not again - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 1:16 pm:

    This might be the most Illinois story of all time. Thanks PQ.


  3. - wordslinger - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 1:16 pm:

    What’s the rule of thumb on engagement rings? Is it three months of Teamster shakedowns or four months?


  4. - 47th Ward - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 1:18 pm:

    Should’ve gone to Jared.


  5. - lakeside - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 1:19 pm:

    Welp, RNUG, maybe spoke too soon.

    Man, this story has everything.


  6. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 1:20 pm:

    Pat Quinn’s people are gum on Illinois’ shoe.


  7. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 1:22 pm:

    Yikes. You can’t make this stuff up.

    “Whad I tell ya? I talked to ya, right? Don’t buy any-ting.”

    No, dees guys bought da ting?

    Allegedly.


  8. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 1:28 pm:

    == What’s the rule of thumb on engagement rings? Is it three months of Teamster shakedowns or four months? ==

    I believe the actual rule is “a couple, tree monts.”


  9. - Nieva - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 1:30 pm:

    What did they get the couple for a wedding present?


  10. - Leatherneck - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 1:32 pm:

    - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 1:20 pm:

    Pat Quinn’s people are gum on Illinois’ shoe.
    ———

    Yes indeed.

    Ms. Anderson is not the only former Quinnster in the news this week. From Bernie’s SJR column yesterday:

    https://www.sj-r.com/opinion/20190508/schoenburg-former-quinn-aide-ryan-croke-new-chief-of-staff-at-dhs


  11. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 1:33 pm:

    Yes, this is just hilarious. Yet it isn’t. This is standard behavior for too many persons who have run this state. And we see it over and over again. Yesterday another former Quinn official had to payback an entire year’s salary. And if they aren’t doing it they are ignoring those who are doing it. This is politics folks this an entitled class who think they are above the law. And the sad thing is that we keep electing them so, all too often, they are above the law.


  12. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 1:33 pm:

    == What did they get the couple for a wedding present? ==

    An envelope, obviously.


  13. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 1:35 pm:

    Did Coli insisted that the ring was union made ?


  14. - Just Observing - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 1:40 pm:

    === What’s the rule of thumb on engagement rings? Is it three months of Teamster shakedowns or four months? ===

    LOL… that’s the funniest thing I’ve ever read on this blog.


  15. - qv-9] - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 1:44 pm:

    Jokes aside, this is another example of why government should not be in the business of providing grants/tax breaks to individual businesses. Businesses which operate with millions or tens of millions or billions negotiating with government workers/politicians is too fertile for corruption. The concept that government/politicians should pick winners and losers in the private business sphere without accounting for corruption/bribery/campaign contributions, is just daft. Government should do government and stay out of this sort of business altogether. This is a wastefraudabuse practice that should be shut down. Forget the $500, $27 million is money much better spent on schools/roads/sewers. And if you add it all up, its not just decimal dust.


  16. - Cooler bye the lake - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 1:44 pm:

    Ms. Anderson leveraged her time with Quinn into a nice gig at Uber. They just IPO’d today - she may need a bigger ring.


  17. - Fax Machine - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 1:46 pm:

    I will never for the life of me understand why someone would buy off a registry instead of giving cash as a wedding gift. I have never looked at a wedding registry in my life.


  18. - Token Conservative - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    These guys were terrible at campaigns, governing, and being crooks. Goodness.


  19. - Dirty Red - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 1:54 pm:

    If you wrote a punchline last week but couldn’t quite find the appropriate setup, well, this just might be it.

    I’m now even more impressed with Quinn’s staffer(s?) who survived without being the subject of an investigation.


  20. - Billy Batts - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 1:57 pm:

    The only thing this story is missing is a Henry Hill reference.


  21. - wordslinger - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 2:04 pm:

    There’s a “Sopranos” episode where Carmela asks Tony if her engagement ring was hot. His flummoxed denial makes clear that it was.


  22. - Nick Name - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 2:10 pm:

    ===He has an unusual “non-prosecution” deal in return for his cooperation.===

    Who’s his clout?


  23. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 2:12 pm:

    === ===He has an unusual “non-prosecution” deal in return for his cooperation.===

    Who’s his clout?===

    You’re asking the wrong question. The question is… if the deal is in place, who is/are the bigger target(s) to get that deal?


  24. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 2:15 pm:

    ===leveraged her time with Quinn into a nice gig at Uber===

    “Pat Quinn signs ridesharing bill on last day as Illinois governor” https://www.rrstar.com/article/20150112/NEWS/150119870


  25. - wordslinger - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 2:31 pm:

    –Who’s his clout?–

    With the feds? Who are you accusing of what?


  26. - Levivotedfor Judy - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 2:35 pm:

    So…should this be an episode of Chicago PD or Chicago Justice or a crossover?


  27. - Nick Name - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 2:42 pm:

    ===With the feds? Who are you accusing of what?===

    I was being snarky. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.


  28. - LBJ - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 2:42 pm:

    How romantic -allegedly committed graft for a wedding ring.


  29. - Medvale Skool for the Gifted - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 2:45 pm:

    If you want lick on and read the Sun-Times article associated with this article, good luck.


  30. - Cooler bye the lake - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 2:45 pm:

    “Pat Quinn signs ridesharing bill on last day as Illinois governor”

    The husband Lou Bertuca, also landed a nice gig at Turo another ridesharing outfit.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/lou-bertuca


  31. - anon - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 2:46 pm:

    The lobbyist mentioned in the story did no favors for those young quinn staffers. he took that nasty teamster poison and stuck it right into their veins. this thing stinks, and i can only imagine it gets worse for every person mentioned.


  32. - Wensicia - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 2:47 pm:

    If charges are filed, does the ring become evidence?


  33. - lol - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 2:48 pm:

    Ahhh . . . yes. Quinn the reformer. There’s a longer cast of characters involved here. Quinn had Manny Flores, Matt Glavin ram through everything w/o any oversight and Rick Didimenico (GOP’r from the NW side) and Susan Gold yell at meetings “Don’t Put Anything in Writing!!!!”


  34. - Billy Batts - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 2:49 pm:

    == Gov. Quinn denies any knowledge of the alleged gift and nobody else would talk ==

    “never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut.”

    - Jimmy Conway


  35. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 2:56 pm:

    Law and Order — Quinndergarten comedy unit

    And Pat Quinn denying any knowledge might be the most truthful thing he’s ever done.


  36. - Kayak - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 3:02 pm:

    I can hear it now, later this month, in a small county board meeting’s executive session: “times have changed, we’ve got to not only protect our phoney baloney jobs, but our kid’s jobs, out future kids, their spouses and their future spouses. Look, these jobs are golden and we’re not just going to give them away for nothin”.


  37. - SaulGoodman - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 3:06 pm:

    **Yesterday another former Quinn official had to payback an entire year’s salary.**

    Huh? What’s this?


  38. - Centennial - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 3:11 pm:

    The irony being that this storyline would make for a fantastic movie?


  39. - Anonymous - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 3:28 pm:

    Shot across the bow and tip of the iceberg and not the last thing that will have certain ties to Cinespace. Keep in mind that this information was leaked, not contained in any new filings. In the bigger picture, you’re going to see more flipping than at a performance of the Jesse White Tumblers.


  40. - Leatherneck - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 3:56 pm:

    - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 2:56 pm:

    Law and Order — Quinndergarten comedy unit
    ————–

    - Centennial - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 3:11 pm:

    The irony being that this storyline would make for a fantastic movie?
    ————-

    Coming this summer to a theater near you: “Quinndergarten Cop.”


  41. - Cirion - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 4:03 pm:

    “he contributed $500 towards the purchase of the ring.”
    Rings cost a lot more than $500. I wonder if Lou had a fundraiser for the rest. Love, Illinois style.


  42. - 47th Ward - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 4:03 pm:

    ===tip of the iceberg===

    Doubtful. I think the headline on this could have easily been written in past tense, as in, the Feds looked into it.

    They pulled the employment records back in August. Coli changed his plea to guilty last week, meaning there isn’t going to be a trial. It’s hard to imagine the feds using Coli to get Bertuca, lol, so I think this is just some of the no-longer-needed dirt the FBI uncovered during this prosecution.

    It’s definitely restaurant quality dirt though, so no wonder they didn’t want to keep it secret.


  43. - Centennial - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 4:21 pm:

    @47th… Agreed that’s likely the case, unless the Feds were looking at the lot of them for Racketeering.


  44. - Southside Markie - Friday, May 10, 19 @ 4:29 pm:

    The Feds must feel like they hit the jackpot.
    Frankie “the Wheel” Cortese (yes, that’s really his nickname) was in business for a while with Brian Hynes. https://www.ilsos.gov/lobbyistsearch/lobbyistsearch


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