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Yet another coinkydink?

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Dan Curry is a blogger, but he also works for the Topinka-Birkett campaign. With that in mind, have a look at his latest entry.

Does the Rod Blagojevich family regard state government as its personal ATM? […]

What about Rod’s brother, Robert Blagojevich?

Once Rod became governor, Robert’s employer, Fifth Third Bank, got a turbo boost in state business.

One of the biggest boons was a no-bid exclusive contract to provide ATM services at the newly redesigned tollway oases. That same pile of no-bid oases contracts already has been subpoenaed by the feds because of ties to Blagojevich’s top fundraisers Tony Rezko and Chris Kelly through companies such as Subway and Panda Express. Another contract in that pile went to the official pizza of the NY Yankees, Famous Famiglia, a company with a corporate connection to convicted felon Eddie DeBartolo Jr. ABC 7’s Chuck Goudie did a three-part series on the Famous Famiglia contract in early 2005.

Although I don’t have the paperwork on it, the State Board of Investments also gave Fifth Third its first ever investment contract right about the same time Robert Blagojevich reportedly was leaving the company, in late 2003 or early 2004.

And guess who brought that contract to the State Board of Investments? A company connected to Nick Hurtgen. Go read the whole thing.

posted by Rich Miller
Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 10:52 am


  1. “Business as Usual”; what’s new in this State?

    Comment by One_Mcmad Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 11:48 am

  2. Dan,
    Still carrying a grudge I see. Sorry but we kicked your behind last time and will do it again this time. It is pretty funny that you are now working for Judy after she and her friends kicked your boy Petey out of politics. It is too bad Brickhead lost in the primary but at least you were able to get some work with Judy. Some people will do anything for money…and you complain about Rod! Look in the mirror, buddy.

    Comment by Bill Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 11:51 am

  3. Dan - What about Birkett’s cousin, Phil Mesi (President of Subway Development Corp.), and his involvement in rewarding the tollway Subway franchise to a business associate of Rezko? Earlier this year Birkett said he was investigation the matter. Where are the results of that investigation Dan?

    And why did Birkett accept another large contribution recently from Mesi? Wouldn’t you consider that a conflict of interest? Does Birkett make it a habit of accepting donations from those he is investigating?

    Comment by GOPGal Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 12:04 pm

  4. Bill
    your guy is headed for a win only to be followed by investigations, supoenas, more top staff indictments, pleas, trials, convictions and ultimately resignation and indictment of the guv. Not a win I’d be bragging about. It’s not gonna be a pretty 4 years.
    By the way, is there anything factually incorrect in what Dan wrote about the First Brother? With all your bravado I didn’t see a refutation of the facts.

    Comment by Sage Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 12:20 pm

  5. Hmmmmm, looks like a natural story for the Trib and Sun-Times. One more chance to bounce a brick off Blago’s head just before the election.

    Comment by DeepFriedOnAStick Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 12:26 pm

  6. Hey Rich,
    Under the rules you articulated yesterday that prohibit comments from weirdos with strange fantasies about Copley conspiracy theories and so forth, isn’t Bill, with all his delusions about Blago, now barred from the blog?

    Comment by DeepFriedOnAStick Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 12:29 pm

  7. Deep,
    We’ll see who’s been delusional on 11/8.

    Comment by Bill Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 12:32 pm

  8. Great consulting work like this explains why that consulting firm’s client is making less money for its members than TRS or SURS.

    Also explains why the Rezko-connected trustees on both other boards made a move to get that firm hired at there but couldn’t get the job done.
    If you don’t believe old AA, go to the websites and check the meeting minutes. Oddly enough, one can’t do that with ISBI because they don’t have a website.

    Tip of the iceberg, guys. Tip of the iceberg.

    Comment by Arthur Andersen Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 12:32 pm

  9. MY O MY listen to the Blago people.You know we said months ago that when it got close to election the truth about Blago would come out and people would pay attention.His poll numbers would hit bottom and JBT would win.This is just some more truth guys.Heck this should drive him down another 6 to 8 points and that would put JBT in the drivers seat.

    Comment by DOWNSTATE Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 12:48 pm

  10. AA,
    Is this the same iceberg that you were telling us all would tip last Friday?
    Promises, promises.
    Keep dreaming,it is your only hope.

    Comment by Bill Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 12:59 pm

  11. After Tuesday, Dan will just be a blogger.

    Comment by Doug Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 1:00 pm

  12. Every day that goes by, another piece of the puzzle / web seems to surface.
    Now it’s Robert Blagojevich’s!
    When all is said and done regarding Vlad Corruptovich and his administration, friends, confidants, investors, family, etc., etc.
    The Feds will set a record in Illinois, quite possibly the country on how many of individuals from our current State of Corruption get convicted and go straight to prison.
    This whole fiasco is much BIGGER than anyone every anticipated.
    Can you say H-I-S-T-O-R-I-C-A-L!

    Comment by What Me Worry Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 1:00 pm

  13. There was a reason the former head of the Tollway left his job a few months back and it wasn’t for new opportunities. A house of cards was built by this administration and it is very precarious right now.

    Comment by Garp Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 1:20 pm

  14. Bill,
    11/8 will having nothing to do with proving if the Governor is the saint you make him out to be or not.

    Comment by OneMan Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 1:28 pm

  15. And here Robert is supposed to be the smarter, richer, Republican one from out of state. I think it shows Blago and his people ARE non-partisan: when it comes to graft, they’ll take money from anyone, for anything. Now, inter-state deals including banks, oh, the potential for federal investigation grows daily.

    And what kind of name is Fifth Third!?!? What kind of bank can’t do simple fractions? Maybe they sent their financial guys to work with Filan?

    Technical question about these investments and how the investment board works: where in the food chain of oversight and authority do the investment board and the state treasurer sit? Did Judy have any oversight of this investment, or is that a separate channel? I would hate to know that Rod’s treasurer didn’t lift a finger to stop his family’s corruption, after all.:-P

    And don’t say Bill has to go; he’s grandfathered-in, and he and Wyndy and Silverback have to stick around long enough at least to be present when their guy goes down in flames, either next week or sometime soon after.

    Comment by Gregor Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 1:39 pm

  16. Yikes
    I bet everyone forgot about Brickhead’s “loans” from Mesi.
    Let’s see we got the Levine “contributions”
    Mesi “loans”
    Guess that explains why JBT is going down like the rock she is know to be.

    Comment by DuPage Dandy Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 1:48 pm

  17. Garp - This is just the beginning, Jack Hartman among others were in bed with Rezko, Kelly & Cellini from the beginning.
    Here’s the pay off -
    Jack Hartman is now the President of RISE International, LLC, The RISE Group, LLC
    Chicago, IL
    Jack can run, but he can’t hide!

    Comment by What Me Worry Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 1:48 pm

  18. Gregor,
    I never said Rod was a saint. I said that he is an honest man who always tries to do things right. Don’t worry we are not going anywhere and neither is Rod.

    Comment by Bill Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 1:50 pm

  19. Fifth Third is an outfit from Ohio, who has some trouble with some kinky loans to business in Lake County.

    Comment by DuPage Dandy Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 1:52 pm

  20. Maybe this would be a good time for Rod to schedule a trip to Cuba, worked for Ryan.

    Comment by Guy Fawkes Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 1:52 pm

  21. THe current bunch in Springfield is a real good example of “If you give then enough rope, they will hang themselves.”

    The feds had every piece of banking info on everyone of the Ryan staff. I mean every little detail. ATM records, copies of checks, credit card receipts - there was even one that was a darn dentist bill.

    So, Blago “may” win on Tues., but he is the biggest loser, ever. IMO, he can’t escape indictment.

    Comment by Shelbyville Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 2:01 pm

  22. Unfortunately for Topinka, there are so many scandals and corrupt actions by the Blago people, she can’t pick just one and hammer away at it. It would be funny if it wasn’t so disgusting that this guy has spent millions making her look like the corrupt one.

    Comment by Name/Nickname/Anon Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 2:07 pm

  23. Is Curry kidding?

    No one has used the state more as their personal ATM (more like a trough) than Topinka’s friends have, people like Bill Cellini and Bob Kjellander.

    And good lord, Nick Hurtgen was the banker for Bear Stearns that ran the $10 billion pension bond deal in 2003. Bear Stearns is the firm that paid Kjellander the $809,000 fee on that deal.

    Nick Hurtgen is all Republican. He came from Republican Governor Tommy Thompson’s administration in Wisconsin. And some of these Illinois scandals have spilled across the border up there. Same players.

    We’ll all be hearing more about Hurtgen, and Topinka’s friend Kjellander won’t be far behind.

    Curry’s blog, just desperate flailings from a desperate campaign.

    Comment by Real Clear Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 2:22 pm

  24. Real Clear, It doesn’t matter if the people involved are republicans or democrats. It matters that they are making shady deals with a DEMOCRATIC administration. Why is it the Republican party’s and Judy Barr Topinka’s fault when a democrat allows corrupt slime to work for him and give them no bid state contracts??? Damn their political ideology! They are corrupt, period.

    Comment by Lovie's Leather Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 2:36 pm

  25. It’s our understanding the firm of Cordogan Clark did the design work for the Oasis project…after thousands in campaign contributions to Blago.

    Cordogan Clark also was the primary funder of Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner’s race and is involved with various contract deals. John Cordogan is a heavy Democratic donor.

    Probably all just a coincidence, of course :)

    Comment by OpenlineBlog Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 2:52 pm

  26. Ah yes, you Blago lovers/employees/fellow-soon-to-be-indicted can’t stand the message, you attack the messenger. Whether Curry talks about Brother Blago’s dealings, or somebody else does, the facts still won’t change.

    Get ready to leave the Governor’s Mansion Blago……..oops I forgot, you never moved in.

    Comment by KenoMan Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 2:58 pm

  27. The Blagojevich’s are all clean as a houndstooth!
    You’ll never catch them.

    Comment by Just Braggin' Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 3:04 pm

  28. Yeah right Lovie, there were never any shady deals under all the Republican administrations. A lot of people for instance thought the MSI deal was pretty shady under Edgar, especially the juries that sent some people to jail. And yeah right, all those riverboat gambing licenses were issued in the most above board way.

    And I think I remember hearing something about George Ryan heading to prison.

    I’m the one saying it’s the PEOPLE, not the party affiliation per se.

    My point is that both Blago and Topinka are living in glass houses when it comes to shady, greedy friends. And there is a lot of overlap.

    The idea that Illinois will get cleaner gov’t if Topinka wins is ludicrous. Only the location of some of the fundraising events will change.

    Comment by Real Clear Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 3:12 pm

  29. Real Clear, there is a chance for better government under Topinka. I have no reason to believe that Blago is any less corrupt than George Ryan. I think Topinka, even if she had planned on doing shady deals, would end these awful ways of dealing in government because the heat would be on. And all eyes would be watching her. Blago, he just doesn’t care. I am not going to say that everything will be perfect in a Topinka administration. But Blago was the hope in 2002 for ending this corruption and rebuilding Illinois. The rebuilding has got to start somewhere. And God knows that it won’t start with Blago. With Topinka, atleast there is a little hope.

    Comment by Lovie's Leather Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 3:28 pm

  30. I think the tip-off that all was not honest was when the Guv’s entire legal staff quit only 2 years into his term. That is never a good sign. But government that drives the honest out is never a good idea or a new way of doing business.

    Comment by Belle Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 3:45 pm

  31. Speaking of Guv’s past legal staff, wonder what Z. Scott and Mary Leahy have told the feds?

    Comment by Rabbit Hole Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 3:57 pm

  32. Deep Fried,

    Bill may have some biased comments that bug people, but he is never nasty and always good for a chuckle.

    As Rich once stated, you have to admire him for sticking to his guns and staying on message.

    Comment by Buck Flagojevich Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 4:11 pm

  33. Thank You,Buck!

    Comment by Bill Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 4:18 pm

  34. Real Clear,

    It is time to drop the political affiliations of these people being accused of crooked deals. They are ALL getting caught with their hands in the cookie jar. It’s not like the Repubs held a gun to Dem’s heads and forced them into corrupt actions.

    The only “label” they should be wearing now is “allegedly corrupt individual”.

    Comment by Buck Flagojevich Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 4:24 pm

  35. Overheard at bedtime recently:

    “Grannie, do all fairy tales begin with “Once upon a time,…”?”

    “No darling. There is a whole series that begin with “If elcted, I promise…”.”

    Comment by Anonymous, too Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 4:31 pm

  36. What will the outcome be ?
    A U.S. postage stamp of Rod R. Blagojevich or Rod stamping license plates.
    What do they do in federal prison anyway?

    Comment by Rabbit Hole Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 5:13 pm

  37. Well let’s see ther is Leavenworth, Marion Max, and Club Fed. I think Bubba and his twins live at the first two but I don’t know about the last one.

    Comment by Citizen A Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 5:24 pm

  38. Buck, you make two good points.

    Bill is kind and gentle, like George H.W. Bush,
    and always on message, like Bill Clinton.

    Secondly, let’s all agree that no party has a monopoly on virtue or corruption. The R’s and the D’s have plenty of each.

    The controversy comes when a particular “D” acts as if he invented virtue and is holding it in his left hand while he (and his posse) yank your wallet out with the right hand.

    As for Fifth Third, that’s about where they always finished in RFPs around here, if anyone had heard of them, until about…2003.

    If you think this is the hinkiest ISBI deal under Blago, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

    Comment by Arthur Andersen Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 5:36 pm

  39. Isn’t Judy a member of ISBI? Shouldn’t she have at least lifted a finger while she was Rod Blagojevich’s treasurer?

    Comment by Bill Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 5:53 pm

  40. Bill, that has to be the funniest thing you’ve ever written.

    Comment by Rich Miller Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 5:58 pm

  41. Belle - minor correction: the legal staff bailed after only 1 year in office. Between April and June or so of 2004, if I remember correctly. And not just those attorneys with the Gov, but also some at the top agencies - like IDOT’s Sam Ach.

    Comment by Cat Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 6:34 pm

  42. Hurtgen was plenty well known at City Hall as well. Oh, those bonds that bind.

    Comment by Mike Williams Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 6:46 pm

  43. This last week is full of surprises and I’m sure there will be more to come. I imagine that Patrick Fitzgerald will kick it into high gear though if come Tuesday evening he sees that Elvis in in office for another 4 years. I read today somewhere that Elvis has given away over $40M in pork the past few weeks. I’m wondering if that is just promises or if the people have actually received a check yet. I know Carterville High School is still waiting and that promise was made several weeks ago.

    This whole thing just gets curiouser and curiouser now with Brother of Elvis in the mix. I can hardly wait to wake up in the mornings and see what new revelations there are. At this point, if I were Elvis, I would be very nervous.

    Comment by Little Egypt Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 6:58 pm

  44. Will Rod adopt me? Seems like the fastest way to get rich in Illinois is to be a member of his family.

    Comment by Bubs Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 7:26 pm

  45. Oh Billlllll

    You are so quick to answer many questions but yet have failed to respond to my inquiry. Are you still trying to develop an answer??

    Comment by Larry Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 7:48 pm

  46. Bill!

    You beginning to hurt my feelings here.

    I am already very insecure because my gal, JBT, has been getting clowned in this race so far…but now this ….it really hurts

    Comment by Larry Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 7:52 pm

  47. Great article in the Southern Illinoisan regarding GoverNOT Hairdo. Go here:

    Comment by Little Egypt Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 8:08 pm

  48. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 5:58 pm:
    “Bill, that has to be the funniest thing you’ve ever written…”

    Except it was written at 1:39 by someone else first.

    Meanwhile, based on recent events, the First Lady has made an adjustment to her new book reading program for the kids. She’s keeping “I Feel Silly” for obvious reasons but is scratching the D’Toqueville and replacing it with Machiavelli’s “The Prince” on her husband’s advice, and will add “How to Make Millions in Real Estate with no Money Down” by Carleton Sheets. (with a Foreward by Antoin Rezko)

    /I’ll be here all night, tip your waitresses…

    Comment by second citizen Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 8:21 pm

  49. Was Rob added to Rod’s 03 ethics statement after the 2005 visit from the G or was he already there?

    I’ve heard another book on that reading list is “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” with special added text by Todd Stroger and Orlando Jones.

    Comment by Arthur Andersen Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 10:11 pm

  50. Is Bill for real? I often wonder if this isn’t just some law student trying to sharpen up his creative argumentation skills by picking the most ridiculous sides to defend and then seeing how he can try to pull it off.

    Surely this guy is NOT for real.

    Comment by Angie Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 11:18 pm

  51. Rich,

    Wow - you admit Dan Curry is a paid campaign staff member for a candidate and then just print his statement.

    Where should Sheila Nix send her statement ?

    Will you print it - in full - without your commentary ?

    If not, why not ?

    Comment by Scott Fawell's Cellmate Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 11:36 pm

  52. Sorry, but Nick Hurtgen is a GOP operative. Always has been.

    After the Justice Department indicted Hurtgen in May 1996 for his role in pay-to-play deals with state pension funds, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote “[Hurtgen] joined Bear Stearns in December 1995, after a lengthy career as an aide to then-Gov. Thompson [Thompson served as Secretary of HHS under President Bush]. Hurtgen’s last post in state government was under top Thompson aide James R. Klauser. As deputy secretary of administration, Hurtgen’s oversight included state bond deals. Hurtgen also worked for a time as a legislative aide to Thompson in the early 1980s, when he served as an Assembly representative from Elroy…. In addition to his official statehouse duties with Thompson, Hurtgen played a key role in Thompson’s fund-raising apparatus. The two were also personally close; Thompson was an usher at Hurtgen’s wedding.”

    As the online journal stated,
    “Illinoisan Robert Kjellander is a large man, but that’s not why they call him “Big Bob”. Kjellander is a heavyweight Illinois Republican insider. What Kjellander does for his day job is a little hard to pin down, but he and his consulting group have made millions in recent years off his connections to state officials through several deals with state-run pension funds that have sparked a series of state and federal investigations.

    Beginning in 2002, the Republican-connected Carlyle Group hired Kjellander to secure an eventual $500 million investment from the state teacher’s pension fund. Kjellander received a finder’s fee of $4.5 million, which the pension board now says they knew nothing about. The scandal sparked a public uproar that caused the Illinois State Senate to pass legislation banning such payments. Kjellander called the bill an “overreaction.” Federal investigators probing the deal have subpoenaed records on Kjellander, but he has yet to be accused of a crime.

    In 2003, Kjellander was involved in another state pension deal, this time a $10 billion bond deal with the Bear Stearns investment firm that netted him a “finder’s fee” of $809,000. When the deal came under scrutiny by the state General Assembly in 2004, neither state officials nor Bear Stearns could produce any kind of documentation showing what Kjellander had actually done on the deal, which helped sparked ongoing investigations by the SEC, Illinois Attorney General and the governor’s inspector general.

    The scandal began in earnest, however, when a whistleblower lawsuit filed in 2004 alleged that a Bear Stearns broker who had worked with Kjellander on the deal had helped secure the contract for the firm through a criminal kickback scheme. That broker? Nicholas Hurtgen, who also happened to be a Pioneer for Bush’s 2004 campaign. The details in the suit are still sealed, but Hurtgen, who resigned from Bear Stearns in July 2004, also earned his firm a $500,000 consulting fee for a separate $100 million investment from the beleagured teachers pension system that federal investigators are investigating as well. Hurtgen was also indicted on separate criminal charges last year for allegedly extorting hospital officials in Naperville, Ill., into using Bear Stearns to finance their new hospital construction project.”

    Hurtgen - GOP.
    Kjellander - GOP.
    Cellini - GOP.

    Sorry Topinka fans, but your lady lays down with the dogs and has the fleas to show for it.

    So - please - spare us all the newfound demand for clean government.

    Comment by Scott Fawell's Cellmate Thursday, Nov 2, 06 @ 11:55 pm

  53. Sorry, but in the Ethics Board review of Gov. Jim Doyle’s visit to Chicago where Hurtgen had dinner with Rezko and Doyle’s top aide Hurtgen was identified in that report as a “Known Associate fo Gov. Doyle”. So, one could say that he was an equal opporunity opportunist- he was bi-party- meaning that he would do it with either side Repubilcan or Democrat.

    Comment by Hogsinwisconsin Sunday, Jan 7, 07 @ 2:39 pm

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