Monday, August 17, 2009

Senate candidate Cheryle Jackson tied to Blago embarrassment

Cheryle Jackson, the head of the Chicago Urban League, was the deputy chief of staff for communications for disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was indicted on corruption charges in April.

Three years ago, Pilgrim Baptist Church, the work of famed architects Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler, was destroyed in a fire. There were immediate and widespread calls for the historic structure to be rebuilt, and Blago, sniffing headlines during an election year, inserted himself into the center of the story.

The Chicago Sun-Times has an update, one that Jackson won't like:

But a series of previously undisclosed e-mails between Blagojevich staffers call that assertion into question. The e-mails were flying as the then-governor's staff scrambled to fulfill his promise to give $1 million in state aid to Pilgrim Baptist Church, a Bronzeville landmark destroyed by fire.

Blagojevich's promise, made with TV cameras rolling in January 2006 as he was seeking re-election, blew up in his face last year when the Chicago Sun-Times revealed that the money intended for the church went instead to a clout-heavy private school, the Loop Lab School, that had rented space from the church in a building next to its sanctuary at 3300 S. Indiana.

Jackson no longer was on Blagojevich's staff at the time the story was published March 3, 2008. But Blagojevich aides discussed her involvement in the matter in e-mails retrieved by Illinois Auditor General William Holland and reviewed by the Sun-Times.

"Cheryle Jackson ... indicated that Loop Lab School -- an entity that leased space from the Church -- would be the actual recipient" of the money, then-Blagojevich deputy chief of staff Kristin Richards wrote that same day.

Jackson, a Democrat, announced last week that she is running for the US Senate. She denies the allegations in the Sun-Times article.

Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is the other announced major Democratic candidate for Barack Obama's Senate seat. I can't foresee him making much of an issue about the church bait-and-switch, since Blago's pal, Tony Rezko (scroll down one post) was a customer of Broadway Bank, which his owned by the Giannoulias family.

Related posts:

Hannity's report on Alexi Giannoulias

Ethically challenged Chicago Democrat Giannoulias announces Senate run

Louis Sullivan's National Farmer's Bank of Owatonna

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