Lest we forget about crime and corruption in Chicago
and the involvement by
and Obama’s ties to these corruption figures
Alonzo Monk Guilty Plea
In part I of this two part series on Alonzo Monk’s guilty plea, the Citizen Wells blog presented background on Monk’s involvement in corruption and how it impacted health care in Chicago and Illinois.
October 26, 2009
“It was further part of the conspiracy that defendants ROD BLAGOJEVICH and KELLY, along with Monk, Cellini, Robert Blagojevich, Harris, Rezko, and Levine, and others, used and attempted to use the powers of the Office of the Governor and of certain state boards and commissions subject to the influence of the Office of the Governor, to take and cause governmental actions, including: appointments to boards and commissions; the awarding of state business, grants, and investment fund allocations; the enactment of legislation and executive orders; and the appointment of a United States Senator; in exchange for financial benefits for themselves and others, including campaign contributions for ROD BLAGOJEVICH, money for themselves, and employment for ROD BLAGOJEVICH and his wife.”
The article reveals:
- Just as Obama is politicizing now, Blagojevich touted health care for all in IL.
- The IL Health Planning Facilities Board was rigged thanks to Obama.
- Mercy Hospital construction was rigged for kickbacks.
- Children’s Memorial Hospital was a corruption target.
- Michelle Obama’s hospital pay nearly tripled after Barack was elected US Senator.
Now for more background on Alonzo Monk’s involvement in corruption.
From the Chicago Tribune, December 23, 2007.
“For years, Rod Blagojevich has projected two distinct images that define his tenure as Illinois’ governor.
In one, he is a populist champion with an agenda of “putting people first” by pushing causes like health care for all. In the other, he is a consummate politician with cronies who offer advice while raising campaign cash and asking for favors.
Now, under the lights of a federal investigation, the distinctions are blurring, and the crony image is threatening to wash out the populist one.
Federal prosecutors for the first time have put Blagojevich inside their widespread investigation of pay-to-play in his administration. Blagojevich told one convicted federal informant, “You stick with us and you will do very well for yourself,” according to a court document prosecutors filed.”
“Nix, however, disputed that Knapp’s influence is overriding. Instead, she said Blagojevich long has used a team approach to politicking and governing. In this vein, he is a public official heavily reliant on his aides. His team has a core nucleus of Nix, chief of staff John Harris, former chief of staff Alonzo Monk, longtime political aide John Wyma, state Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville), state Sen. James DeLeo (D-Chicago) and campaign spokesman Doug Scofield.
But Monk, Scofield and Wyma are lobbyists, and their clients have won millions in state contracts under Blagojevich’s stewardship. And Kelly, another close adviser and friend, was indicted this month on federal tax fraud charges.”
Citizen Wells Note – I found this next statement interesting
Remember, originially, Blagojevich was going to be the presidential candidate, not Obama.
“Instead of concentrating heavily on winning votes for his health care plan, Blagojevich crafted a strategy to initially sell his idea via a media blitz—a strategy that quickly fell on its face. Critics, and even some of his allies, said the fatal flaw in this plan was funding the expansion through a gross receipts tax on businesses. True to political form, Blagojevich found his enemy—corporations—and railed against them.”
From the indictment of
ROD BLAGOJEVICH, CHRISTOPHER KELLY, ALONZO MONK, WILLIAM F. CELLINI, SR., JOHN HARRIS, and ROBERT BLAGOJEVICH
“Alonzo Monk was a long-time associate of defendant ROD BLAGOJEVICH, and among other things served as his general counsel while a Member of Congress, as campaign manager for his 2002 and 2006 gubernatorial campaigns, on his transition team after his election in November 2002, and as his Chief of Staff from in or about January 2003 until in or about December 2005. Beginning in or about early 2007, Monk worked as a lobbyist, doing business as AM3 Consulting, Ltd. As a lobbyist, Monk principally represented businesses with interests involving Illinois state government, including businesses in the horse racing industry. In addition, Monk served as Chairman of Friends of Blagojevich from in or about December 2006 to in or about July 2007.”
“Means and Method of the Conspiracy
6. It was part of the conspiracy that defendants ROD BLAGOJEVICH and CHRISTOPHER KELLY, as well as co-conspirators Alonzo Monk, William
F. Cellini, Sr., John Harris, Robert Blagojevich, Antoin Rezko, and Stuart Levine, and others, engaged in a scheme to deprive the people of the State of Illinois and the beneficiaries of TRS of their intangible right to the honest services of defendant ROD BLAGOJEVICH, Alonzo Monk, John Harris, and Stuart Levine, as more fully described in Count Two, paragraphs 3 through 44 of this indictment.
It was further part of the conspiracy that defendants ROD BLAGOJEVICH and KELLY, along with Monk, Cellini, Robert Blagojevich, Harris, Rezko, and Levine, and others, used and attempted to use the powers of the Office of the Governor and of certain state boards and commissions subject to the influence of the Office of the Governor, to take and cause governmental actions, including: appointments to boards and commissions; the awarding of state business, grants, and investment fund allocations; the enactment of legislation and executive orders; and the appointment of a United States Senator; in exchange for financial benefits for themselves and others, including campaign contributions for ROD BLAGOJEVICH, money for themselves, and employment for ROD BLAGOJEVICH and his wife.”
“Defendants ROD BLAGOJEVICH and KELLY, along with Rezko and Monk, agreed to direct lucrative state business relating to the refinancing of billions of dollars in State of Illinois Pension Obligation Bonds to a company whose lobbyist agreed to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars to Rezko out of the fee the lobbyist would collect, and Rezko in turn agreed to split the money with ROD BLAGOJEVICH, KELLY, and Monk;”
Citizen Wells – Note Ata contributions to Obama below
“Rezko arranged for a total of $50,000 in contributions to Friends of Blagojevich from Ali Ata, a Chicago-area businessman, and in exchange for those contributions discussed with Ata, ROD BLAGOJEVICH, and Monk obtaining a high-level state appointment for Ata, whom ROD BLAGOJEVICH ultimately appointed as the executive director of the Illinois Finance Authority;”
“At times, ROD BLAGOJEVICH acted with the assistance of others, including Monk, Harris, and Robert Blagojevich. These efforts included, but were not limited to, attempts to:
a. withhold a state grant to benefit a publicly-supported school until a campaign fundraiser for ROD BLAGOJEVICH was held by a United States Congressman who supported the school, or by a relative of that United States Congressman;
extort a campaign contribution from Children’s Memorial Hospital, a not-for-profit children’s hospital located in Chicago, Illinois, and its chief executive officer, in return for official action on state reimbursement for pediatric care;”
“It was part of the scheme to defraud that defendants ROD BLAGOJEVICH, MONK, HARRIS, and ROBERT BLAGOJEVICH, together with Kelly, Cellini, Rezko, Levine, and others, used and attempted to use the powers of the Office of the Governor, and of certain state boards and commissions subject to influence by the Office of the Governor, to take and cause governmental actions, including: appointments to boards and commissions; the awarding of state business, grants, and investment fund allocations; the enactment of legislation and executive orders; and the appointment of a United States Senator; in exchange for financial benefits for themselves and others, including campaign contributions for ROD BLAGOJEVICH, money for themselves, and employment for ROD BLAGOJEVICH and his wife.”
“It was further part of the scheme that to ensure that defendants ROD BLAGOJEVICH and MONK would continue to give Rezko substantial influence regarding matters such as appointments to boards and commissions, the selection of candidates for state employment, and the awarding of state contracts, grants, and investment fund allocations, Rezko gave certain benefits to ROD BLAGOJEVICH and MONK, including the following:
In or about late August 2003, Rezko directed to ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s wife a payment of $14,396, purportedly in connection with a real estate transaction involving property at 850 North Ogden Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, for which transaction ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s wife had not performed any services.
From in or about October 2003 to in or about May 2004, Rezko, through his real estate development company, provided ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s wife with payments of $12,000 a month, purportedly for real estate brokerage services.
In or about January 2004, while Rezko’s real estate development company was paying ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s wife $12,000 a month, Rezko directed to ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s wife a payment of $40,000, purportedly for brokerage services in connection with the sale of property at 1101 West Lake Street, Chicago, Illinois, even though ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s wife had provided few, if any, services in relation to that sale.
From in or about the spring of 2004 until in or about 2006, Rezko provided to MONK a number of $10,000 cash gifts to pay for various items, such as a car and home improvements, which cash gifts totaled approximately $70,000 to $90,000.”
From the Tony Rezko Trial
“March 10, 2008; 12:46 a.m.
The government alleges that Antoin “Tony” Rezko and Stuart Levine worked together to try to rig decisions on where to invest tens of millions of dollars in state pension funds. Prosecutors worked Monday to link the two through the testimony of Jill Hayden, the former director of boards and commissions for Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Levine had been appointed to the teacher’s pension fund board by Blagojevich’s Republican predecessors, but his appointment expired in 2004. In mid-May 2004, Blagojevich reappointed him. Hayden testified that a few days before that appointment was finalized, she got a call from Rezko urging her to speed things up.
“He called me and he said we need to move on Stuart Levine,” Hayden testified. Hayden said Rezko told her he had already spoken to her boss, Blagojevich chief of staff Lon Monk, about the Levine reappointment and been assured the appointment would go through.
Hayden said Rezko laughed when she said she would have to check with Monk herself. “I took that to mean that I could go ahead and ask him, but it was already a done deal,” she recalled.
Government filings in the case suggest a reason behind the alleged rush. The government claims that Levine and Rezko were arranging to take kickbacks from investment firms in exchange for pension business that was to be voted on within days of Levine’s reappointment.
Hayden also testified that Rezko had at one point sought to have Ruth Rothstein, then the longtime head of the Cook County health system, appointed to the Health Facilities Planning Board, another regulatory panel prosecutors allege Rezko was involved in corrupting.”
“March 19, 2008; 11:21 a.m.
Prosecution witness Stuart Levine is walking jurors through the evolution of his relationship with defendant Tony Rezko. The two met at a dinner party shortly before the 2002 election in which Rezko’s close friend Rod Blagojevich was elected governor.
At the dinner, Levine said he learned that Rezko was holding up a lucrative real estate deal that would have rendered a hefty kickback for Levine. Rezko promised to back off and was true to his word, Levine said.
With the assistance of political insider Robert Kjellander, Levine said he set up a meeting with Rezko about a month later to discuss an insurance deal Levine was trying to get for a client with Cook County. Levine said Kjellander had told him Rezko held considerable sway in Cook County government.
Levine said he met increasingly with Rezko in early 2003 after Blagojevich was sworn in as governor. On occasion, Levine said, Rezko described his close relationship with Blagojevich.
“He said that he had raised a great deal of money for Gov. Blagojevich and that he had great hopes and expectations that Gov. Blagojevich would run for president,” Levine recalled. “And although he knew it was a long shot, he was working toward that end.”
Levine also said that Rezko told him that he and fellow Blagojevich fundraiser Christopher Kelly “exercised the most influence” in Blagojevich’s kitchen cabinet. And Levine said Rezko told him that “all the major decisions in the governor’s office were cleared through [chief of staff] Lon Monk and through Mr. Rezko.”
“Mr. Rezko told me that he was able to have individuals appointed to state boards and was able to have individuals hired into state agencies and that he spoke very often — and in fact went over decisions — that Lon Monk would put into place,” Levine said.
In summer 2003, Levine said he met with Rezko at his office on Elston Avenue and the two talked over the notion of Levine’s position on a state pension board to make money for themselves.
“Anything that I, Mr. Rezko, decide to do at TRS [the pension board], you’ll be a part of it,” Levine said Rezko told him.
Levine said Rezko made it clear that Levine’s assistance was required, and “any moneys that would be earned in doing that he would share with me.”
Levine said that as he left the meeting, he told Rezko he was “extraordinarily pleased to know him and I thought we could do a lot of business together.”
Asked by a prosecutor to elaborate, Levine said, “I meant there were illegal deals that I could bring to TRS and perhaps to the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board,” on which Levine also served.”
Chicago Tribune Rezko trial transcripts
Evelyn Pringle Curtain time for Obama part 1
“Even in 2006, he said, Rezko assured him that things were going to turn out all right because of a plan to get rid of Fitzgerald. When asked why he believed Rezko could get him removed, Ata said, “Mr. Rezko has the influence and power to do that.”
Ata told prosecutors he lied to the FBI in December 2005, because he was encouraged to be a “team player” by people he believed to be acting on Rezko’s behalf. When he received a grand jury subpoena in late 2005, he said, people contacted him in an effort to stop him from cooperating.
After he met with Federal agents the first time, Ata said, he got a voice-mail from Michael Rumman. The voice mail said Rumman was traveling with “our friend,” meaning Rezko, and asked Ata to delay meeting with investigators.
On his final day on the stand, Ata told the jury he finally agreed to cooperate with the Feds in April 2008, after an unnamed person delivered a threat. He testified that prosecutors once had him wear a wire to make a recording after the person threatened him.
Ata told the jury he delivered one $25,000 contribution to Blagojevich at Rezko’s office in the latter part of 2002, and the three men discussed the prospects of Ata getting an appointment in the administration. He said people at the office that day included Blagojevich’s campaign chief and later chief of staff, Lon Monk, Christopher Kelly, and state Representative Jay Hoffman.
“I learned that Mr. Hoffman was part of a select group of advisers that were referred to as the kitchen cabinet,” Ata told the jury.
“The way Ali Ata described it, the waiting room in the North Side office of Antoin “Tony” Rezko seemed as busy as an airport terminal,” the Tribune noted on May 1, 2008.
Ata brought another $25,000 check to a fundraiser on July 25, 2003, and he was appointed to lead the Finance Authority.
Ata made a $5,000 donation to Obama less than a month earlier on June 30, 2003. Ata is also an investor in Riverside Park. Almost without fail, the people identified in the Board Games cases as investors in Riverside Park contributed to Obama’s US senate campaign.
According to the Sun-Times, to raise the $8 million to spring Rezko out of jail in April, in addition to the $2 million worth of property pledged by Alsammarae, six people who are “current or former state employees,” also put up property.
The list has three current employees from Rumman’s former Department of Central Management Services, including Jenan Shamoun, Donald Lynch, and Mustafa Abdalla.
A state employee familiar with the hiring of the employees told the Associated Press that CMS personnel were pressured by then-director Rumman to hire them
Campaign records show Mustafa Abdalla gave Obama $1,000 on June 30, 2003.”
Evelyn Pringle Curtain time for Obama part 2
“Feds track Obama’s visits to Rezko
In the media, Obama always made it sound like he rarely saw Rezko, saying they met for breakfast or lunch once or twice a year. However, the FBI mole John Thomas helped investigators “build a record of repeat visits to the old offices of Rezko and former business partner Daniel Mahru’s Rezmar Corp., at 853 N. Elston, by Blagojevich and Obama during 2004 and 2005,“ according to the February 10, 2008 Sun-Times.
During his March 14, 2008 interview, the Times told Obama, Thomas is an FBI mole and he “recently told us that he saw you coming and going from Rezko’s office a lot.”
“And three other sources told us that you and Rezko spoke on the phone daily.”
“Is that true?” the reporter asked.
“No,” Obama said, “That’s not accurate.”
“I think what is true,” he said, “is that, it depends on the period of time.”
“I’ve known him for 17 years,” Obama stated. “There were stretches of time where I would see him once or twice a year.”
He told the Times, “when he was involved in finance committee for the U.S. Senate race, or the state senate races, or the U.S. Congressional race, then he was an active member.”
“During the U.S. Senate race, there’s be stretches of like a couple of weeks – for example prior to him organizing the fundraiser that he did for us – where I would probably be talking to him once a day to make sure that was going well,” he said.
“But the typical relationship was one that was fond,” he added. “We would see each other.”
“But there would be no reason for me to be seeing him that often,” he stated.
This issue may be sorted out soon enough because Fitzgerald’s charts matching up Obama’s contributions, visits and calls are bound to be every bit as thorough as the ones produced to prove Rezko is guilty as charged in the first trial. They simply were not produced because they were not needed to prove the defendant guilty in the first case.
As an example of what records might be squirreled away, consider that an FBI agent presented a chart to the jury on April 28, 2008, showing 257 calls from Rezko’s phones to Blagojevich’s chief of staff, Lon Monk, between March 2004 and May 2004 alone.”
Evelyn Pringle articles
We may never know the full extent of Alonzo Monk’s role in crime and corruption due to his guilty plea. One thing is certain, just as in the case of Blagojevich, Rezko and Obama, what we do know is just the tip of the iceberg.