Thursday, October 12, 2006
Top Advisor Of Illinois' DEMOCRATIC Governor Rod Blagojevich Involved In SCANDAL!
A top adviser and fundraiser for Gov. Rod Blagojevich was charged in an indictment unsealed Wednesday with scheming to collect millions of dollars in kickbacks from companies seeking to do business with the state.
Businessman Antoin ''Tony'' Rezko was charged in the federal indictment with operating a fraud scheme in which he, millionaire political contributor Stuart Levine and other insiders used Levine's position as a member of two state boards to pressure companies to pay kickbacks in exchange for state business. Levine is among those previously charged in the case.
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said federal investigations interrupted the plan, and Rezko and Levine only collected $250,000 despite seeking much more. He said Levine plans to plead guilty and is cooperating with the investigation.
From ABC News:
Rezko, 51, is also accused of trying to squeeze a company seeking to do business with the state for a $1.5 million contribution "to a certain public official." Prosecutors declined to name the official or to say whether anyone in the Blagojevich administration, including the governor, might be a target in the corruption investigation.
"This basically involved a pay-to-play scheme on steroids," U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said. Rezko and Levine engaged in "a frenzied effort to collect kickbacks," he said.
The indictment accused Rezko and Levine of hatching their scheme in 2003, when they agreed to divert $250,000 out of a $375,000 "finder's fee" paid by an investment firm that received $50 million in assets to invest for the state's Teachers Retirement System.
Levine was a board member of the system, which has $30 billion in assets and pays the pensions of 325,000 retired teachers. The indictment also charged that Levine, who was initially named to the board by Ryan, got reappointed thanks to Rezko's influence.
Levine has indicated he plans to plead guilty to felony charges at the end of the month a week before the election. Three other men have already pleaded guilty in the case.
....here comes the punchline....
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