Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar

Latest Post | Last 10 Posts | Archives

Previous Post: That Toddlin’ county
Next Post: Question of the day

Franks at the bat

Posted in:

The folks who run Gov. Blagojevich’s office tried to throw Rep. Jack Franks under a big bus a while back. Big mistake. Ever since then, Franks has whacked the governor on the shins every chance he could get. This week was no exception.

A suburban lawmaker is asking the Illinois attorney general to investigate how a California company that employs the sister of one of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s top political aides ended up with a multimillion-dollar state contract.

In a letter sent Tuesday, Woodstock Democrat Rep. Jack Franks says more details are needed to ensure taxpayer dollars have been spent wisely. “I believe that we need additional information because of the administration’s murky answer over whether the contract was competitively bid and how the process was conducted,” Franks says in the letter. […]

According to state officials, only two companies - PacifiCare and United Healthcare - sought the $100 million contract, and they were in the process of merging. The contract was to administer a state senior prescription drug program. Franks’ request was spurred by a recent Daily Herald report revealing that Lon Monk’s sister Nancy is a vice president at PacifiCare.

posted by Rich Miller
Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 5:14 am


  1. It’s Rod’s/Chicago Democrat machine’s game and they are going to play by their rules. It’s their turn, dammit!

    Rod said he would bring a new level of ethics to Illinois. Rod never said he would raise the level of ethics, just bring a new level. I believe Rod has done exactly that. It’s the only campaign puffery he has kept.

    It’s just too bad Rod and the Chicago Democrat machine don’t care about Illinois.

    Comment by Anonymous Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 6:42 am

  2. If this group of nincompoops is so blatant about this type of give-away, right under all our noses, just imagine what they would do if no one was watching. Pond scum, all of them.

    Comment by Disgusted Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 6:58 am

  3. Verrrry well put, Anonymous. Blago the great nagician — notice that at no time does his hand leave the end of his arm.

    Comment by Truthful James Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 7:39 am

  4. It makes me proud to see Franks standing up, calling a spade a spade and calling for further investigation of another obviously corrupt dirty Blago deal.

    Anyone Remember where the company who administered the new round of ethics testing was from? Correct me if Im wrong Rich but wasnt it California?

    I certainly look forward to the day when Lon Monk has a diffrent job underwritten by the tax payers…Making 7 cents an hour stamping license plates.

    Comment by prairiestatedem Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 7:41 am

  5. I’m certain this news will instantly knock away any morning exhaustion from the eyese of U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald!

    Comment by Randall Sherman, Secretary/Treasurer, Illinois Committee for Honest Government Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 9:21 am

  6. Nancy Monk is a LOBBYIST. Not that there is anything wrong with that. However it seems that all the media continues to call her a vice-president. He didn’t know she didn’t know, BS. “They either knew and looked the other way or were asleep at the switch and now they want…”
    It seems to me this isn’t on blago’s radar or the media because the kids are just about to get outed on a boatload of dirty contracts worth even more.

    Comment by chinman Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 9:46 am

  7. Chinman 9:46 has a good idea. How about a list of “dirty contracts” that need to be investigated.

    Are there any? If so, let’s see the list commentors. Otherwise, this is just campaign dribble from one side or the other.

    Comment by Anon Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 10:44 am

  8. I really thought this story would have brought the townspeople a-running with the tar and feathers when it first came to light. It is a simple, easy to understand story.

    While I don’t pretend to know the details of everything my siblings do, I am at least familiar with the name of their companies and their titles.

    And I should think if was the governor’s right-hand-man and my sister worked in some capacity for a company that was trying for a high-profile, multimillion-dollar contract with my state, WE WOULD FREAKING TALK ABOUT IT. Especially after my sister’s employer won the freaking contract. But certainly beforehand.

    Anybody who believes these conversations never happened, and the contract was awarded totally blind is a complete idiot. How much more blatant an example of collusion do you want? Monk at the very least should be suspended pending an investigation.

    “Reform and Renewal” my sweet pettootie!

    Comment by Incredulous Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 10:49 am

  9. I think everybody talking about this story needs to put their pinkie finger longside their mouths each time they say “100 MILL-ion dollars”, like the movie character Doctor Evil does.

    So we can at least have a laugh while we cry at these shennanigans.

    Comment by A. Powers Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 10:52 am

  10. anon 10:44,
    Like all thinks with this admin there is a list. I hear it is part of what the trib is sitting on. “Some very strange bedfellows.” This is what I was told. This list goes into to 10s of billions. It is not union friendly either. Huge no-bid contracts to out of state non union contibutors. She is not the only person in cali that lon is setting up. The fact is there are dozens.
    Hey Lon and Brutus/Bradley,
    The wheels on the bus go thump, thump, thump,
    thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.
    Enjoy it.

    Comment by chinman Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 11:06 am

  11. From the very beginning, it looked to me like Blago was trying to establish relationships with vendors across the country. Mostly involving contactors in big states with lots of Electoral College votes.

    Pro-bono contractors that led to multi-million dollar contracts with those same contractors, often to be followed by multi-million dollar amendments. Multi-million dollar contracts with vendors from across the country with prior relationships with high level administration offials.

    I always saw it as part of a plan to use state contracting practices to lay the groundwork for relationships to support a national campaign for Blago.

    George Ryan and his cronies were small time compared to Rod Blagojevich and his bad apples. Ryan’s abuses would enhance his family and friends in Illinois. Blagojevich’s contract abuses are to enhance his chances of getting to the national stage.

    Comment by Anon Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 12:28 pm

  12. The real shame of all this is that Blago has a number of really talented and smart people working for him. The real people behind the scenes in the Governors office and in agencies who work like true public servants – creative, hard working, actually dedicated. These people crafted good ideas like All Kids, I-Save, ORT, protecting women’s access to birth control, pre-school expansion, student tax credits, wage protection for workers, etc… Rod didn’t think of these. Real reforms and changes have also been made at IDOT, DHS, Tollway, DOC, IDFPR, and other agencies. Changes necessary because of the abuse and lazy years under GOP rule. If this heats up and Blago losses we’ll be no better off with JBT. I have no faith that she and the GOP insiders waiting to get their hands back on state government are honest about reform. Many of the same insiders under GRyan and company will be back… and look what they did.

    Before any of you rapid GOP bloggers freak out about me being a state employee or something, I’m not.

    Comment by ThePiper Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 12:31 pm

  13. ThePiper 12:31, every Governor has smart talented people with good ideas working for them, and every Administration over time does some very good things. Blago’s team is not unique in that regard. People of good faith can argue about the merits of their good works.

    The question voters will have to decide is whether of not Blago’s policy ideas are being implemented by unethical, corrupt bad apples.
    Good ideas, even great ideas, do not counter balance corrupt, unethical, or illegal behavior.

    Blago said he would cleanup state government. Despite the sophisticated rhetoric, it looks like his people may have taken corruption in Illinois to a new high level.

    Comment by Anon Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 12:57 pm

  14. The Piper….how about naming some of those “real reforms” and other (good) changes at DHS and IDOT - none come to my mind.

    Comment by FORMER STATE EMPLOYEE Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 12:59 pm

  15. debbie franks will be heading up the democrats of topinka. looks like two democrats will not be voting for blagojevich.

    Comment by ron Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 1:02 pm

  16. PIPER all those things you mentioned just like the flu shots went boom with very little results.Sorry but that doesn’t much talent to come up with a plan that does not work.Now if you want to talk working the press for a few headlines that they have talent for.Franks isn’t the only legislator that doesn’t like the Gov. I heard one from up north speak last fall{off the record} and his words were”he hasn’t done that much for Illinois as governor.’

    Comment by DOWNSTATE Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 1:18 pm

  17. A. Powers — That was hilarious.

    Will the stories about this administration looting and pillaging never end? Is it possible that the folks Blagojevich has surrounding him never intended for him to win a second term, but just wanted to get as much for themselves and their family and friends in four years as they could?

    Comment by Yellow Dog Democrat Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 1:41 pm

  18. P.S. Going after Jack Franks was indeed a dumb move. He’s the chair of the State Government Administration Committee, with just about the broadest oversight authority of any Committee Chairman in the legislature. And he never forgets a friend or an enemy.

    Comment by Yellow Dog Democrat Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 1:43 pm

  19. It is apparent that people need to be reminded that U.S Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s June 20, 2006 letter to Attorney General Lisa Madigan basically informed her that she has conflicts of interest in investigating the Office of the Governor.

    If she was asked to forward her investigation regarding alleged improprieties in hiring in Illinois Government, this latest investigation should also be conducted by the federal government.

    In fact, any lastest allegations of improprieties in the Office of the Governor should be forwarded to the U.S Attorney’s office.

    Lisa Madigan should also forward her probe of the Governor’s offices’ alleged attempts to allow politics to interfere with the closing of a land fill.

    My opinion is: at this point the Illinois Attorney General has too many conflicts of interest in investigating the Office of the Governor and a Special Attorney General should be appointed by the Circuit Court of Cook County to take on any and all investigation involving the Attorney General’s Office and the Office of the Illinois Governor.

    Comment by One Man Can Make A Difference Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 2:38 pm

  20. The piper, I disagree and the proof is in the puddin.

    As always there are always good people everyone. Both those running this Office of the Governor are not “really talented and smart people”.

    Comment by One Man Can Make A Difference Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 2:44 pm

  21. thank you justice

    Comment by chinman Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 3:10 pm

  22. Now there’s a great subject, their inordinate pay increases over the last 3-1/2 years. Unless you were connected you got zilch not even a cost of living or merit raise. If the Governor has nothing to hide let’s publish all the raises he and his administration have doled out to all the state agencies under investigation.
    Oh ! I forgot, that’s none of our business.

    Comment by Timbuktu Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 3:33 pm

  23. Timbuktu 3:33 is correct about salaries for Blago hacks. Compare salary data for merit comp employees by name at several points in time with their date of hire.

    Salaries are public information. Agencies, CMS, and the comptroller’s office would have salary data.

    It it clearly unethical. Making salary raise decisions based on politics is also illegal. Hard to prove, but welcome to Blago world.

    Comment by Anon Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 4:14 pm

  24. YDD is right on in his post. Most everyone should know by now that Blago isn’t very bright. I have thought all along that he is just the puppet with Tusk pulling the strings.

    Comment by Downstater Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 4:50 pm

  25. As the old saying goes, “what goes around comes around”. You create enough enemies and sooner or later it will come back to haunt you. Blago has done a good job of painting himself into a corner.

    Comment by Downstater Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 4:50 pm

  26. Thepiper-What did you have for lunch? I don’t know where you got that load of malarky??? I speak for the Tollway and Open Road Tolling was on the design tables long before Blago took office! I am surprised you didn’t throw the North/South Extension in there as well-before you get any ideas those plans were on the table 10 years before he took office. Our consultants from CTE did the ORT presentation when Art Phillips and Tom Cuculich,who were in charge of the Tollway at the time, were proposing a ten cent toll increase for all vehicles.

    I don’t know what changes to the Authority you think were good, the no bid contracts?; total disregard for state legislation regarding purchasing?;creative bookeeping in budget?;bringing in more consultants (HNTB) than GOD needs and even GOD probably doesn’t know what they do-I do know one gal that makes copies-is that consulting?;bringing in more chiefs than Rome had Gods?;releasing Rutan employees under the illusion that it was to cut the fat and then turning around and creating jobs and bringing more of their hacks than what they released?;screwing up every inch of our roads to have ORT in place before the election?;putting his name on every ORT plaza and construction site at the Authority’s expense?;placing a wage freeze on employees for a better part of 3 years-correction the majority of employees that includes no cost of living increase-FOIA it is a beautiful thing some employees (theirs) got up to 24% increases?. I could go on forever. To the Thepiper stay away from whatever you had for lunch!

    Comment by angry and outraged Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 6:00 pm

  27. To ‘The Piper’, you stated that “Real reforms and changes have also been made at IDOT”. What exactly are you referring to? We are in the midst of a ‘reorganization’ that was never fully thought out and has been going on for 3 years. There is no organizational chart to show how this plays out. With the exception of District 1, all the other Districts were merged (D2 & D3; D4 & D5; etc). The Department of External Affairs was created and disassembled all within 2-3 years, however at our District we still have the office sign up outside of their office where the former liaisons sit. We have no idea what they do, they come and go as they please (one has a state car assigned to him). Management has had their vacation policy changed to where it is no longer family friendly. We never received a logical explanation – not that there is one considering for years the State had encouraged employees to saved their vacation days and now we can only carry over 5 days. We have seen positions that required a Professional Engineering license switched over to Technical Manager positions and political people with high school diplomas or GED’s (no lie) were placed in that position. Our copy rooms were removed to make new offices for political people who insisted that they have an office even though they had no real duties. (I could go on, but this should get the point across).

    Comment by state worker Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 6:08 pm

  28. another great move by those savvy strategists who work for Blago. Now it will come back to get them. East coast advisors said, “who the heck is Jack Franks? Woodstock? Gee, didn’t your dad go to that, Brad?” So they underestimated him and now look. Franks is going to kick their rears.

    Comment by Minion Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 6:36 pm

  29. State Worker we at the Tollway can related our consultants HNTB, who I might add contributed quit a bit to Blago, have to have cubicles, computers, telephones etc. We never provided consultants with all the bells & whistles, because we pay a fee for their main facilities. CTE who has been with us since the 1950s,they represent the bond holder’s interest, under one name or another had office spaces equivalent to a closet, they had to bring in their own office furniture or use what the Authority did not want, etc. With HNTB Toll Authority employees work days have been disrupted to accommodate them-they are actually in charge of Authority employees? Again I know of one consultant? that makes copies all day is that consulting??? I hope Franks and others continue to pursue! The public should be aware of this, BUT they are not interested!

    Comment by angry and outraged Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 7:03 pm

  30. Chinman, I notice they deleted my blog. Too close to the truth regarding those soon to be in jail.

    Comment by Justice Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 7:38 pm

  31. I ordered an Illinois hunting and fishing license at the DNR website and it came in the mail from a company in ….. Kentucky?????

    Comment by ??? Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 8:20 pm

  32. I’ve seen rich pull alot of posts that are right on the money. He doesn’t like to many names. He also pulls stuff that he wants to use for the rag, uh, oh, I mean fax.

    Comment by chinman Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 8:27 pm

  33. ThePiper..get serious!IDFPR is a wreck..licensees can never, never, talk to a human. Boards now hold meeting via conference call to limit outside input. They sweep funds that have a surplus because they do not let the boards or units do their job.

    Comment by Benny Wednesday, Jul 19, 06 @ 9:22 pm

  34. How funny that Franks is suddenly so concerned about corruption about the same time his wife heads up Democrats for Topinka.

    Franks had better worry about cleaning up his own act. Talk about the pot lecturing the kettle…

    Comment by Anon Thursday, Jul 20, 06 @ 8:18 am

  35. TO: U.S Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald
    If you and your staff read this blog, please INVESTIGATE the Illinois Tollway!
    Do Not Trust and I emphasize Do Not Trust Mr. Brian McPartlin or any of his mouthpieces!

    Comment by Timbuktu Thursday, Jul 20, 06 @ 12:40 pm

  36. So, how much did the “reformed” Tollway spend on the Open Road Tolling (ORT) signs (which by the way the current tollway adminstration DID NOT invent)with Blago’s name on them………..can you say $250,000?…….how many tolls is that?

    How about asking Tollway Chairman Mitola about their toll increase proposal…….which he said “was just a new bow on the previous administration’s proposal”…..

    What’s next? Taking credit for the Oases redevelopment? Sorry, that contract was signed in 2002…..

    Alos, somebody ought to check into the HUGE rise in consultant costs over at the tollway………

    Comment by KenoMan Thursday, Jul 20, 06 @ 2:48 pm

  37. why was Frank’s thrown under the bus?
    O’yea I remember he used his position as a legislator to threaten the Health facilities Planning Board on behalf of his client. Shouldn’t he ask the Attorney General to investigate himself?

    Comment by HMMMM? Thursday, Jul 20, 06 @ 9:55 pm

  38. So what we are getting so far is not Open Road Tolling but rather Open Toad Rolling — take the 83 interchange, please.

    Somebody tell me why a Blago son or daughter should not be the next governor so we can save money on changing the signs. That’s a great reason.

    Comment by Truthful James Friday, Jul 21, 06 @ 8:40 am

Add a comment

Sorry, comments are closed at this time.

Previous Post: That Toddlin’ county
Next Post: Question of the day

Last 10 posts:

more Posts (Archives)

WordPress Mobile Edition available at

powered by WordPress.