Tag Archives: Cellini trial

Obama role in corrupting IL Teacher Retirement System pensions, Cellini trial, 2007 NY Times article, Where is Tony Rezko?, Where is House Judiciary Committee?

Obama role in corrupting IL Teacher Retirement System pensions, Cellini trial, 2007 NY Times article, Where is Tony Rezko?, Where is House Judiciary Committee?

“Why was Obama promoting Capri Capital and other investment firms at the same time that Rezko, Levine and Cellini were shaking them down?”…Citizen Wells

“There is enough corruption in Illinois so that all it takes is someone who is serious about finding it to uncover it. If a U.S. attorney is not finding corruption in Illinois, they’re not seriously looking for it.”…Northwestern Law Professor James Lindgren

Before I delve deeper into Obama’s connections to the corrupting of the Illinois Teacher Retirement System pensions, I present an article from the NY Times dated October 1, 2007. This article came out before the Tony Rezko trial and at the beginning of Obama’s campaign for the presidency. Apparently the NY Times staff had not done their homework and connected the dots. If they had read the Joseph Cari, Steven Loren indictment press release from August 3, 2005 they probably would not have allowed Obama’s ties to the IL Teacher Restirement System pension, investment companies and people like John Rogers to come to light.

Perhaps this is the reason that the William Cellini indictment was separated from the Blagojevich indictment and the trial delayed until late 2011.

From the NY Times, October 1, 2007, presented in entirety.

“In 2000, after losing a Congressional race, Barack Obama was looking to revive his political fortunes. And he soon found a springboard — a group of black entrepreneurs also trying to break out.

Month after month, Mr. Obama, then an Illinois state senator, showed up at the Chicago group’s meetings, listening to members’ concerns about the difficulties they faced in getting government and corporate business, and asking them what he could do to help.

And help them he did. Members of the group, the Alliance of Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs, say Mr. Obama checked into their problems and helped start a drive that enabled minority investment executives to win millions of dollars in business from the state’s giant pension funds.

If Mr. Obama was able to deliver by helping the executives overcome some of the historical barriers facing minority-owned companies, he also would subsequently benefit from his ties to the group. Several of the businessmen or their wives would help clear the debts from his Congressional race, and six of the group’s members are now among the top fund-raisers for his presidential campaign, according to campaign finance records.

All told, employees at more than 30 of the 42 companies listed on the group’s Web site and their relatives donated more than $300,000 to help Mr. Obama win his seat in the United States Senate in 2004 and set fund-raising records early in the 2008 presidential race.

In his presidential campaign, Mr. Obama has been running on a platform of reducing the influence of money in politics. But with Mr. Obama, as with every politician, money has been the blood flow of his campaigns. And at a critical point in his career, he greatly expanded an early pillar of his fund-raising network while trying to help the black entrepreneurs secure work with the state.

The senator’s courtship of the Chicago group and its members is a little-known chapter in his political development that shows the inextricable link between money and politics and the different interpretations people attach to it.

Jay Stewart, executive director of an Illinois watchdog group known as the Better Government Association, said that in helping these and other executives as a state senator, Mr. Obama also benefited from the kind of special-interest-driven politics he now decries.

“Raising large chunks from special interests was common in Illinois,” Mr. Stewart said. “Obama did that too. Now he’s talking about chasing away special interests; that’s great. But that doesn’t change the past.”

Mr. Obama says his involvement with the alliance reflects his longtime passion for ensuring that minority businesses are treated fairly, and there is no indication that he helped the businessmen simply to secure their donations.

“The suggestion that these pioneering leaders would need my help or anyone’s help in order to succeed is troubling, to say the least,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “I’m proud that I’ve spent my career fighting to ensure that minority-owned businesses would have a chance to compete, and I will continue to do so as president.”

Mr. Obama also recently pointed to his work on the Illinois pension issue as a model for what he would do as president to promote minority-owned companies.

In that push, Mr. Obama met with three state pension boards and introduced a bill on the executives’ behalf. He also worked closely with the state’s top legislative leaders to encourage the pension funds to increase the share of their investment portfolios managed by minority-owned firms. That share has risen to 12 to 20 percent now from 1 to 3 percent in 2000.

Other alliance members said Mr. Obama also looked into whether they could get state business in other areas, including legal work on bond issues and the printing of official notices. As Stephen H. Pugh, a lawyer who belongs to the group, said, “He wanted to understand what our needs were and how government could help.”

Mr. Obama, Mr. Pugh said, “would be our representative — our advocate — to bring our views back to state government.”

The alliance was founded in 1992 to help Chicago’s top black executives and entrepreneurs share business tips and push for greater opportunities. According to the group’s Web site, the companies — which also include architecture, engineering, transportation and communications firms — average 65 full-time employees and annual revenues of $19 million.

The goal was always “to open up doors,” said John W. Rogers Jr., the chief executive of Ariel Capital Management, one of the investment firms that received state business. “It was, as the Rev. Jesse Jackson has eloquently put it, to force other industries to have their ‘Jackie Robinson’ moment.”

During its early years, the group’s main political patron was State Senator Emil Jones Jr., who later became the State Senate president and one of Mr. Obama’s chief mentors. In 1993, Mr. Jones took the first crack at opening up the pension business, persuading the Legislature to pass a bill encouraging the multibillion-dollar funds to use minority-owned firms “to the greatest extent feasible.”

But by the time Mr. Obama, then a junior state senator, began meeting regularly with the group in 2000, little progress had been made. As a result, said Hermene Hartman, the alliance president, the pension issues got “a lot of attention” in the discussions with Mr. Obama.

The investment firms were also among the largest and most prominent companies in the group, and some of their executives were among Mr. Obama’s closest friends.

Mr. Rogers, who also sits on the boards of the McDonald’s Corporation and other major companies, played basketball at Princeton University with Mr. Obama’s brother-in-law. James Reynolds Jr., the chief executive of Loop Capital, a brokerage firm, had been a top fund-raiser for Mr. Obama’s Congressional race.

Mr. Rogers said the investment managers also solicited support from Michael J. Madigan, the powerful Democratic speaker of the Illinois House. In 2001 and 2002, Mr. Madigan and Mr. Obama — at times joined by the investment executives — made formal pitches before three of the state pension boards.

And after Mr. Jones became the State Senate president in 2003, he assigned Mr. Obama to a committee looking into the pension questions to help raise his political profile.

During this period, campaign finance records show, executives from Ariel, Loop and two other leading Chicago investment firms, Holland Capital Management and Capri Capital, sharply increased their donations to Mr. Obama’s State Senate campaign fund. And once he began his campaign for the United States Senate, they quickly became a fund-raising core that has carried over into the presidential race.

Mr. Rogers, who is one of three people at his company who have each bundled at least $50,000 in donations for Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign, said that his financial support for the senator had “no connection” to his company’s efforts to win state contracts, but that it reflected the broader excitement over what Mr. Obama’s success meant for blacks in America.

Pointing to his parents’ struggles to break into the legal business in Chicago, Mr. Rogers said that pushing for greater opportunities was “in your blood, and when you have a peer come along like Barack, who is your own age and lives in your neighborhood, you can’t wait to help him.”

Mr. Reynolds of Loop Capital, who is also one of the bundlers in Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign, did not return calls for comment.

In the end, Mr. Obama dropped off the State Senate committee in late 2003 as his United States Senate race heated up, and just as the panel began a series of hearings that produced the most substantial changes.

Still, William Atwood, the director of the Illinois State Board of Investment, said Mr. Obama regularly asked about minority participation in the pension funds when their paths crossed. “He would ask: ‘How are we doing? Are we making progress?’” Mr. Atwood recalled.

The changes have generated several million dollars in fees for some of the investment firms, although the complete totals could not be obtained. Loop Capital, for instance, saw its brokerage fees related to one of the pension funds shoot up to $2.4 million last year from just $5,700 in 2001. All told, Loop Capital received $5 million in fees from managers for that fund over those six years.

Still, things have not worked out as well for some of the investment managers. Both Ariel and Holland were given several hundred million dollars to invest.

But one of the funds dropped Ariel and two dropped Holland last year after their investment returns lagged behind those of other firms.

Mr. Rogers, the Ariel chief executive, said his firm’s value-oriented stocks tended to lag in fast-rising markets, and other state funds say they are sticking with Ariel for now because it has produced impressive long-term returns. Officials at Holland declined to comment.

But Mr. Rogers also complained that the Illinois funds, which are free to hire minority managers from anywhere in the country, have given much of their business to out-of-state firms owned by women and Asian-Americans.

And while Mr. Obama recently told the Urban League that if he was elected president he would use the same model in helping black-owned businesses nationwide as he did on the pension issue, Mr. Rogers said, “Actually, it is a model of how hard it is to get sustained traction.””


The article appears to be lauding Obama’s role in helping minority firms. However, indictments in Operation  Board Games and court testimony paint a different picture. One that strongly impacted Illinois teachers and taxpayers.

From the LA Times April 7, 2008.

In 2002, the year after Obama made the pitch, the Illinois Teacher Retirement System reported an 18% increase in assets managed by minority-owned firms. Ariel’s share grew to $442 million by 2005.

In 2006, after the federal investigation became public, the teacher pension board severed its relationship with Ariel, concluding that Ariel’s investment returns were insufficient.


From Natasha Korecki of the Chicago SunTimes tweets from the William Cellini trial courtroom, October 21, 2011.

“Defense now has first witness on the stand, a TRS attorney who is talking real estate investments, like Cellini’s firm.”

“Cellini’s Commonwealth, used by TRS, had a 20 percent rate of return in 2003 vs Capri Capital (Rosenberg) at 7.35 %”


 Obama is doing to the nation what he did to Illinois teachers for many years.

Where is Tony Rezko?

Where is the House Judiciary Committee?

Howard Coble, et al, are you paying attention?


Patrick Fitzgerald agenda, Protect Obama, Rezko testimony withheld, Fitzgerald attacked Republicans Ryan Libby Rove, Cellini trial

Patrick Fitzgerald agenda, Protect Obama, Rezko testimony withheld, Fitzgerald attacked Republicans Ryan Libby Rove, Cellini trial

“Why did Patrick Fitzgerald and the US Justice Department wait until December 2008 to arrest Rod Blagojevich?”…Citizen Wells

The William Cellini trial begins Monday, October 3, 2011. From all indications, and in spite of key Witness Stuart Levine being tainted with a drug use history, the prosecution will not call Tony Rezko as a witness. US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, a prosecutor who aggresively went after former IL Governor Ryan and Scooter Libby and Karl Rove, is the reason.

From Nuclear Chicago May 25, 2011.

“US Attorney Patrick “The Sandbagger” Fitzgerald: Winning Thru Intimidation of Citizen Journalists?”

“As an update to my continuing effort to construct a biography of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald as well as provide special reporting related to the retrial of Milorad Blagojevich, I am writing this morning to officially report upon and inform The May Report and NuclearChicago readership of the following:

At approximately 9:15a this past Thursday morning (May 19th), while en route to the Federal Courts to continue our coverage of USA v. Blagojevich – Nuclear Chicago published the following headline:

USA v. Blagojevich Retrial: US Attorney Patrick “The Sandbagger” Fitzgerald?


Among other factors, the prevailing basis for same sensational headline as well as related analysis was due to the fact that Antoin “Tony” Rezko – Uber Confidante to Blagojevich, Obama and Nadhmi Auchi – had not yet testified as a Federal Government Witness in USA v. Blagojevich.

Same refusal by US Attorney Fitzgerald to place Rezko in the Witness Box to bury Blagojevich further corroborates the brutal realities that US Attorney Fitzgerald has been running egregious political interference to both benefit and protect Team Obama (i.e., Allison Davis, Dr. Eric Whitaker, Marty Nesbitt, et al).

Simply put – Antoin “Tony” Rezko is the only witness that can bury Blagojevich and the Chicago Political Thuggery Machine.  Why is Fitzgerald holding back Rezko?  What has been promised or implied to Fitzgerald as a “reward” for Fitzgerald’s blatant sandbagging efforts.

Same egregious political interference by Fitzgerald can be traced back to as early as 2006 when the Chicago Tribune was preparing to publish an exclusive scoop that convicted felon and Federal Goverment informant John Thomas (formerly Bernard Barton) was parading around Chicago procuring taped conversations and other evidence against politicians that were visiting Rezko’s real estate office on the near north side of the City. Evidently, same surveillance efforts procured damaging information against then US Senator Obama and Governor Blagojevich.

As reported in an earlier update (and according to a well-placed source at the Chicago Tribune), the Chicago Tribune finally capitulated to Fitzgerald’s demands and efforts to stop same exclusive John Thomas scoop only when Fitzgerald informed the Tribune that same exclusive John Thomas scoop would impair a 2008 Obama Presidential campaign. Upon being informed of 2008 Obama Presidential campaign implications – the Tribune terminated its efforts.  Same scoop was ultimately published in May 2007 via Crain’s Chicago Business to serve as a ‘heads-up’ to Obama for America Treasurer and Chicago Housing Authority Chairman Marty Nesbitt.  Same ‘heads-up’ was yet another example of political interference as John Thomas was actively trying to purchase prime real estate owned by the Chicago Housing Authority – 626 West Jackson.

US Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald — a modern day Elliot Ness with a Harvard Law Degree?


Fitzgerald is a dangerous, unaccountable Federal Bureaucrat with highly-charged political ambitions.  Recent history has demonstrated that nothing is sacred for Fitzgerald when it comes to his highly-charged political ambitions (i.e., Journalist Judith Miller, Scooter Libby, Blago-Gate, et al).

To further demonstrate the highly-charged political behavior of US Attorney Fizgerald, within 2-hours of publishing our Thursday morning update – “US Attorney Patrick ‘The Sandbagger’ Fitzgerald”, which was highly-critical of Rezko being surgically-removed from trial by Fitzgerald – I was detained by US Marshal Service, prohibited from re-entering 25th floor courtroom and escorted out of the Federal Courts Building.”

Read more:


We discovered recently that Colin Powell knew that Scooter Libby and Karl Rove were not the source of leaks in the Valerie Plame CIA story.  We also knew the truth from Robert Novak on July 12, 2006.

“Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has informed my attorneys that, after two and one-half years, his investigation of the CIA leak case concerning matters directly relating to me has been concluded. That frees me to reveal my role in the federal inquiry that, at the request of Fitzgerald, I have kept secret.

I have cooperated in the investigation while trying to protect journalistic privileges under the First Amendment and shield sources who have not revealed themselves. I have been subpoenaed by and testified to a federal grand jury. Published reports that I took the Fifth Amendment, made a plea bargain with the prosecutors or was a prosecutorial target were all untrue.

For nearly the entire time of his investigation, Fitzgerald knew — independent of me — the identity of the sources I used in my column of July 14, 2003. A federal investigation was triggered when I reported that former Ambassador Joseph Wilson?’s wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, was employed by the CIA and helped initiate his 2002 mission to Niger. That Fitzgerald did not indict any of these sources may indicate his conclusion that none of them violated the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.”

“In my sworn testimony, I said what I have contended in my columns and on television: Joe Wilson’s wife’s role in instituting her husband’s mission was revealed to me in the middle of a long interview with an official who I have previously said was not a political gunslinger. After the federal investigation was announced, he told me through a third party that the disclosure was inadvertent on his part.

Following my interview with the primary source, I sought out the second administration official and the CIA spokesman for confirmation. I learned Valerie Plame’s name from Joe Wilson’s entry in “Who’s Who in America.””

Read more:


Some more insight into Patrick Fitzgeralds activities from Sweetness & Light May 25, 2006.

“Patrick Fitzgerald Ratchets Up Attack On Cheney
From the DNC’s house organ, the Washington Post:”

“There’s nothing “alleged” about Plame’s sending Joe to Niger. It’s documented in the 9/11 Commission’s report.

But notice that the Washington Post never uses “alleged” when it is leveling the most preposterous charges against Libby and Cheney.

If there was ever any doubt that Fitzgerald is a political whore, this should clear that up. There is no reason on earth for him to have released this information to the press. It is just more of the DNC’s smear machine at work.”

Read more:


May 2006, does that ring a bell with anyone? Like the time when Patrick Fitzgerald began protecting Obama, when Blagojevich dropped any presidential aspirations and Obama began planning his presidential bid.

I am not through with Patrick Fitzgerald!

Blagojevich trial?, Cellini Trial, Where’s Tony Rezko, What ploy to protect Obama used next?

Blagojevich trial?, Cellini Trial, Where’s Tony Rezko, What ploy to protect Obama used next?

“Why did the Illinois Senate Health & Human Services Committee, with Obama as chairman, create and push Bill 1332, “Illinois Health Facilities Planning Act,” early in 2003, which reduced the number of members on the Board from 15 to 9, just prior to rigging by Tony Rezko and Rod Blagojevich?”…Citizen Wells

“I believe I’m more pristine on Rezko than him.”…Rod Blagojevich

“There is enough corruption in Illinois so that all it takes is someone who is serious about finding it to uncover it. If a U.S. attorney is not finding corruption in Illinois, they’re not seriously looking for it.”…Northwestern Law Professor James Lindgren

The is jury out in the so called Blagojevich trial. I have refused to play along with the mainstream media in portraying Blagojevich’s guilt as being primarily in the selling of the senate seat, a well crafted diversion. The William Cellini trial is coming up in August. The next ploy to protect Obama and keep witnesses like Tony Rezko from testifying should be interesting.

From the Blagojevich “trial” coverage of the Chicago Tribune June 9, 2011.

“Hamilton’s narrative capped a day when prosecutors and Blagojevich’s
lawyers quizzed a last flurry of witnesses, including a pair of FBI
agents who interviewed the then-governor in 2005 about his fundraising
activities. That interview led to Blagojevich’s sole conviction last
summer on a count of lying to the FBI.”

Read more:


2005.  Where’s Tony Rezko?

From the first Blagojevich “trial” coverage of Fox News Chicago  June 17, 2010.

“In the Rod Blagojevich trial Thursday, Democratic Fundraiser Joseph Cari and Rezko associate Ali Ata testified about how the Friends of Blagojevich ran their fundraising and alleged pay-to-play schemes.

•Ali Ata described how Rezko dealt with him and told the jury he was named executive director of the Illinois Finance Authority after making two, $25,000 contributions to the Blagojevich campaign.
•Cari testified, “If you did not play ball the way they wanted, there would be repercussions.”   He said Stuart Levine involved him in a deal he was brokering with the Teachers Retirement System (TRS), where the company JER was supposed to hire a consultant of Levine’s choosing. Cari said when you wanted to do business with the state, you were subjected to shakedowns and he once told another individual “that’s the way it’s done in Illinois.”
•Under cross-examination, Cari did admit all threats came from Stuart Levine and not Rod Blagojevich. The defense also caught that when Cari testified at the Rezko trial, he said the “powers that be” were Kelly and Rezko, but did not mention Blagojevich as he did Thursday at this trial. On redirect, the prosecution had Cari read that he mentioned Blagojevich in reference to the same question at his grand jury testimony before the Rezko trial.
•Blagojevich tweeted ( @governorrod ) Thursday morning, “Getting ready for another day. One day at a time.”  The day before, he thanked everyone for their emails of support.
•Wednesday, the prosecution questioned Rezko associate Joseph Aramanda.  Aramanda testified about how when he owed Rezko money, Rezko had him act as a middle man for investments for the Teachers Retirement System (TRS). Aramanda said he became uncomfortable when Rezko wanted him to be involved in a deal worth tens of billions to Rezko , Lon Monk , Chris Kelly and Rod Blagojevich .”

Read more:


Where’s Tony Rezko?

This is where it should get interesting. The William Cellini trial is scheduled for August. Tony Rezko is scheduled for sentencing in October. In the Cellini Indictment, Rezko and TRS, Teacher retirement System, are mentioned every other word. How are you going to keep Rezko off the witness stand. And if you have Rezko talking, you have Obama.

Stay tuned for more.

Rezko sentencing delayed indefinitely, Blagojevich trial, Cellini trial, Obama trial?

Rezko sentencing delayed indefinitely, Blagojevich trial, Cellini trial, Obama trial?

“Why has Obama, for over 2 years, employed numerous private and government attorneys to avoid presenting a legitimate birth certificate and college records?”…Citizen Wells and millions of concerned Americans

Ghosts of Christmas past.

From the Chicago Tribune January 6, 2011.

“Rezko sentencing delayed indefinitely
Former top fundraiser for Blagojevich could still be called as federal witness

With the agreement of lawyers on both sides, a federal judge on Thursday indefinitely postponed the sentencing of Antoin “Tony” Rezko, keeping open the possibility that the government could call the former top fundraiser for Rod Blagojevich at the former governor’s retrial.

Prosecutors didn’t call Rezko at Blagojevich’s trial last year, but the government could be re-evaluating that since the jury deadlocked on all but one count against the former governor. He was convicted of lying to the FBI.

Rezko began to cooperate with investigators after a federal jury convicted him in 2008 of extorting millions of dollars from firms seeking state business. He was scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 28. He also faces sentencing for a separate conviction stemming from a fraudulent loan scheme.”

“Prosecutors gave no indication if Rezko would be called to testify in the Blagojevich retrial or the trial of co-defendant William Cellini, a Springfield powerbroker, in August.”

Read more:


Obama and Blagojevich are still haunted by the ghosts of Christmas past.

From Citizen Wells January 6, 2011.

“Mercy Health System wants to build a 128-bed hospital in Crystal Lake, less than 10 miles from where a similar-sized facility has been proposed in Huntley, raising the question of how many beds are needed in McHenry County.”

“Mercy’s original proposal for 70 beds was shot down by the state board in 2003. Mercy tried again in April 2004 and was awarded a certificate of need as board members became the target of a federal corruption investigation.

A few months later, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and state lawmakers revamped the board. The Tribune reported in June 2005 that then-board Vice Chairman Stuart Levine planned to split a $1.5 million kickback with former Blagojevich fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko from contractor Jacob Kiferbaum, who was to build the hospital.”

This is important and links Obama, who was chairman of the IL Senate committee that changed the number of board members from 15 to 9, to the board rigging.

“Rod Blagojevich and state lawmakers revamped the board.”

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