Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Last of the Blago trials: Powerbroker Cellini found guilty on two of four counts

Illinois' state capitol
In what may be the last of the trials involving the six-year long orgy of graft during the Rod Blagojevich administration, longtime downstate powerbroker, William Cellini, a Republican, was found guilty of abetting bribery and extortion. He was found innocent on two counts, another extortion charge and mail fraud. The charges against Cellini involved attempting to strongarm a Hollywood movie producer into contributing to Blago's campaign fund and a favorite pastime in Illinois: pension chicanery.

Here is what the Chicago Sun-Times wrote about Cellini in 1996:

Governors come and go, but for the last three decades there's been a constant in Illinois government: William Cellini.

The 61-year-old Springfield businessman has amassed clout and contracts that have turned him into a multimillionaire and made him an unelected powerbroker in government.

At various times, he's controlled federal appointments in Illinois, screened the governor's Cabinet choices, and lined up lucrative deals for himself and his associates.

His financial empire of at least $50 million was built on savvy in a political atmosphere in which clout pays big dividends.
Good bye and good riddance.

Related post:

Book review: Andrew Ferguson's "Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe's America"

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