Monday, March 31, 2008

Rezko trial: The color of purple and drugs

One of the most hideous eyesores near where I live is the Purple Hotel in Lincolnwood. The now abandoned property, which was a Radisson, and before that a Hyatt, is just five miles from me, I haven't had the occasion to drive past there in months, but I believe it's now Lincolnwood's largest abandoned building.

After a week hiatus for a de facto spring break, the corruption trial of Democratic political insider Antoin "Tony" Rezko picked up where it left off--with testimony from Republican insider Stuart Levine.

First came Levine's detailing of how Rezko allegedly stacked the board of the Teachers Retirement System so it achieve a majority and vote against the wishes of the teachers and retired teachers bloc on the board.

Then came the sordid stuff at the Purple Hotel.

From AP:

Stuart P. Levine testified that he would pay $1,000 to snort both crystal methamphetamine and kaetamine, also known as Special K, drugs that made him feel "euphoric" and lowered inhibitions.

Levine said he attended such parties at hotels in Springfield and other cities while lying to his family and business associates about his use of drugs, which he said began in the 1970s and ended in early 2004 when FBI agents investigating corruption in state government visited him.

"I would stay out all night" when attending out-of-town drug parties, Levine testified. He said he would visit a place in suburban Lincolnwood "known as the purple hotel" in the morning and go home in the evening.

"In order to deceive my family," he confessed. He said he used drugs at home "on very rare occasions" because "I didn't want to be caught."

His guests at these parties were male.

Rezko's defense team will use Levine's admitted drug use to challenge his credibility.

Back when it was a Hyatt, the hotel achieved notoriety when Chicago mob financier Allen Dorfman was gunned down outside the property in 1983.

Did you see the movie Casino? Alan King played the Dorfman character, and towards the end of the film, King gets shot, and ends up face down in the snowy parking lot.

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