Thursday, May 29, 2008

Coincidences and the Las Vegas Rezko arrest warrant

Earlier today I blogged about the Nevada felony arrest warrant that was issued against alleged political fixer Antoin "Tony" Rezko. This evening I'd like to flesh out the story a bit, starting with CBS 2 Chicago's take on the news:
The warrant claims Rezko wrote $250,000 worth of bad checks at Caesar's Palace and bounced $200,000 worth of bad checks at Bally's, all to cover his gambling debts. The Las Vegas Sun reports he also owes $331,000 to the swank Bellagio casino resort.

CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller says "He's not playing the quarter slots and apparently he's not too good at what he's been doing out there."
Here's a juicy golden nugget:
An interesting footnote, the allegedly rubber Rezko checks were drawn on Chicago's Broadway Bank. At the time those checks bounced, the vice president of the bank, Alexei Giannoulias was running his ultimately successful campaign for Illinois state treasurer.
Time for some dot-connecting, albeit of the cronyism kind. Giannoulias ran against a candidate slated by the state party in the 2006 Democratic Primary treasurer's race. Barack Obama, who once said "I don't want to be the kingmaker," went against his party and endorsed the then 29 year-old political novice for state treasurer. Rock-star Obama appeared in a Giannoulias television commercial, which was enough to give the banker a resounding primary victory. He defeated his Republican opponent in the general election, even though the state Democratic Party refused to endorse him.

While an officer his family-owned Broadway Bank, Giannoulias approved two multi-million dollar loans to convicted mobster Michael "Jaws" Giorango. Convicted of what? Bookmaking and running a prostitution ring.

Giannoulias has not been accused of wrongdoing in regards to his business dealings with "Jaws." And he can hardly be blamed for Rezko's bounced checks--other customers of the bank have written NSF checks to be sure--but it's interesting of all the banks in Chicago, Rezko chose Broadway Bank.

And Obama chose to cross powerful Michael Madigan, Speaker of the Illinois House and Chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party, by endorsing Giannoulias over the slated candidate.

Coincidences? Well, as I've remarked before, Chicago is the land of coincidences.

Related posts:

The Daley family, the Ayers family, and the Land of Coincidences

Obama's state treasurer pal needs a memory upgrade

"Obama's candidate" Giannoulias needs to explain alleged mob ties, says state house speaker

Thanks for the links:


Bill Baar said...

Great post John.

John Ruberry said...

Thanks Bill.

Anonymous said...

Why did Obama agree to support Giannoulias, against party wishes?

John Ruberry said...

The Giannoulias family contributed generously to Obama's 2004 campaign, and Obama has known Alexi since the mid-1990s. Supposedly they met at the fashionable East Bank Club just north of downtown Chicago.

Speaker Madigan is a shrewd politician and not a man to anger.

Anonymous said...

Broadway Bank is a tiny 4 branch outfit spread all over Chicago. Chicago is saturated with banks on every corner. They have no special products, no ATM network, and average rates.

Why would a limo lib bank where is was incredibly inconvenient and miles from their place of residence?

I would imagine an audit from the FDIC is coming very soon.

mike volpe said...

Anyone from the Chicago area knows full well that it is full of seedy politicians. That is why I get so annoyed by Obama's claim that he will "clean up" D.C. In Chicago, Cook County, and Springfield, he didn't merely not clean it up, but in fact, he became a part of the machine that made it the corrupt government that it is.

I would be attacking Obama that way on all of his Chicago connections. I would be pointing out that his history in politics is anything but one of a pure and transcendant politician. Here is how I wrote about it...

Anonymous said...

Great Post.

It is our job as Chicagoans to expose the truth,about Chicago Machine politics,to the rest of our country.

The Indiana primary, w/ Mayor Rudy Clay holding out the vote, is just a sample of what machine politics are all about.

The thought of a stroeger, daley, blago, protege is about as scary as it gets , is my site...keep up the good work.

Mas Triste said...

Boris Stratievsky

El Rider said...

I wrote about Alexi, the Granny Grifter on Flying Debris.

The guy's strange ties to mobsters was well known in Illinois when Obama endorsed him and in fact the post includes a campaign ad featuring Obama.

The Broadway Bank of Chicago made a $1 million loan to an 83 year-old lady who could not fill out the forms and the loan was cosigned by two convicted mobsters including one who has had extensive dealings with the bank (the Feds took one of his properties that Broadway held the note on after he was convicted as part of a nation-wide prostitution ring). The mobsters withdrew most of the money within 24 hours and Broadway successfully sued the now 88 year old lady and took her house which is a few blocks from Chicago's Greektown. Alexi's testimony ("I know nuttin") was either perjury or he has the worst memory of any politician in America. Alexi claimed to not remember the old lady and the mobsters who borrowed the $1 million, he said he was new on the job. I don't know about anybody else but I sure would remember two mobsters and an 83 year-old lady who couldn't even fill out the forms.

Add this to Obama's situation vis-a-vis the Teamsters and I have to wonder what the "outfit" (what we call the mob here in Chicago) has on Barack? Who sent Obama?

Anonymous said...

As an ex Prairie Stater who now lives in New Orleans and used to live in Kentucky, I've pretty much seen it all--just need a stint in N.J. to complete my education. Coincidences? Coincidences? Perish the thought. How could you even begin to think such wildly outlandish things? Shame on you!

Anonymous said...

PS: Come to think about it, I really need to add Miami, Philly, Sacramento, L.A. and S.F. to my travels to truly round out my education. Any other suggestions anyone? Of course I don't mean to slight lots of other cities in my birth state (both large and small--I'm old enough to remember shoeboxPaulPowell[forever one word]) that periodically come in and out of vogue...

Anonymous said...

PPS: I still have a framed certificate hanging on my wall signed by Otto Kerner designating me an "Illinois State Scholar" for being a Nat. Merit scholarship finalist....It's not everyone that can have a personal award signed by a con in Federal stir.

Anonymous said...

While I'm on this jag, anybody wanna hear any stories about corruption in Louisiana and New Orleans? How much time ya got?...better lay in some provisions. And the beauty of it all is that two of the most corrupt cities in America are directly linked by the ICRR umbilical cord. True Karma.

Anonymous said...

Mon Dieu! Both cities have Pere Marquette bldgs and LaSalle Sts.--and both have lake-shore fountains and drives--how karmic can you get?

John Ruberry said...

Fire away, anonymous!

You may want to add Providence, Rhode Island to that list. And Youngstown, Ohio.

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