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Blagojevich's wife received tens of thousands from Antoin Rezko, prosecutors allege

Updated 6:05 p.m.
By Peter Slevin
CHICAGO -- Illinois businessman and Democratic fundraiser Antoin Rezko was so anxious to help his friend, then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), that he funneled tens of thousands of dollars in payments to Blagojevich's wife, federal prosecutors contend in a document unsealed Wednesday.

Patti Blagojevich did no work for the payments, which were allegedly disguised as real estate commissions and other payments from one of Rezko's Chicago companies. To make it appear that she had earned them, prosecutors allege, she showed up from time to time at Rezko's offices - usually carrying her infant daughter and soon leaving.

"Rezko was willing to do whatever it took to get her money, whether it was from a monthly retainer or through hiring her to work on his development at Roosevelt and Clark," the prosecutors wrote in a 91-page document. The document was made public by U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel, who is due to preside over Rod Blagojevich's corruption trial starting June 3.

"Rezko did not seem to care if she actually did anything to earn the money," prosecutors continued. "Rezko was only concerned about ensuring that Blagojevich did not have to worry about his finances."

Patti Blagojevich is named as a "conspirator" in the document, but has not been charged with a crime. Prosecutors cited her alleged participation amid evidence that her husband worked with Rezko and other insiders in illegal money-making schemes that began soon after he took office in January 2003.

Rezko, currently in prison, is better-known nationally as a friend and fundraiser for Barack Obama during the first decade of Obama's political career in Chicago. He did not contribute to Obama's presidential campaign.

Obama, who said he knew nothing of Rezko's criminal activities, called "boneheaded" his own decision to buy a house in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood in July 2005, on the same day Rezko's wife bought the vacant lot next door.

The document also provides fresh details about Blagojevich's increasingly urgent effort to profit from his authority to appoint Obama's successor following his November 2008 election as president.

On Election Day, Blagojevich complained to one of his deputy governors that serving as a two-term governor had been a financial sacrifice.

"Now is the time for me to put my [expletive] children and wife first for a change," Blagojevich said in a conversation secretly recorded by the FBI.

"Despite repeated warnings from others that he could not personally profit in any way, " the prosecutors wrote in outlining their case, "Blagojevich continued to suggest methods in which he could personally profit from the naming of a senator."

Blagojevich has said repeatedly that the federal authorities who arrested him in December 2008 took his statements out of context and that he will be acquitted of all corruption charges.

Zagel unsealed the document, an evidentiary proffer that lays out the government's case, at the request of a group of news organizations. He disagreed with the objections of Blagojevich's attorneys, who argued that the details could prejudice prospective jurors.

Prosecutors offered new details - and fresh quotes from the irrepressible Blagojevich - about his effort to sell or trade the Senate appointment. At one point, Blagojevich discussed various demands that he could make in return for naming Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to the seat.

Blagojevich first set his sights on being named secretary of Health and Human Services. He discussed ambassadorships with his wife, but wanted to know what they paid, the prosecutors said. He wondered if Obama's supporters would find him a well-paid private-sector or foundation job.

"I'd like to get out - the [expletive] out of here," Blagojevich said in one taped conversation. "The objective is to get a good gig over there."

At one point, he talked on the telephone with Patti Blagojevich about the idea of being appointed to direct Change to Win, the breakaway consortium that now includes five labor unions, including the Teamsters, United Farm Workers and the Service Employees International Union.

While they were talking, Patti tried to find out from the Internet what the job paid.

"Don't worry about it...," he tells her, according to the government transcript. "You negotiate that, 'I'd like a four-year contract for a million a year or something.' ... Or 750 or whatever. It'd have to be good. Obama's got excess money. He just gives them more money."

None of Blagojevich's plans yielded the bonanza he was allegedly seeking. Jarrett announced that she was not interested in the Senate seat. On Dec. 9, 2008, the FBI arrested Blagojevich, who later appointed largely retired Chicago lawyer and politician Roland Burris (D) to the seat.

By Peter Slevin  |  April 14, 2010; 5:11 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Cast of Characters  
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Comments

One of the things that truly astounds me about the Blagojevich's, is that they continually claim that they don't have enough money. I have to guess Patti made a lot of money as a realtor during the bubble years. Their money grubbing ways brought them down because Blago was dumb enough to talk about 'selling' a Senate seat over the phone.

I don't see much similarity between Blago & Obama. If you are going to be in politics, sooner or later you wind up associated with a sleazy operator like Rezko. How you handle that association counts. The Blagos milked Rezko for all they could. The Obamas don't seem to have taken that path.

IMO, Blago has a *lot* more in common with Sarah Palin, as far as doing whatever it takes to gain fame & fortune.

Posted by: Uncle_Joe | April 15, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

WOW ! THIS EX-GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH IS THE MOST INEPT CROOK THAT EVER STEPPED FOOT INTO POLITICS IN CHICAGO ! HE WAS SO CROOKED, THAT AS MY GRANDMOTHER WOULD HAVE SAID " HE WILL HAVE TO BE SCREWED INTO HIS GRAVE " !

Posted by: YANKEE57 | April 15, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Not so surprising. It does leave a nasty taste in the mouth though, when you think of how all these folks are intertwined, including the president and his advisers.

Posted by: Lilycat1 | April 15, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

But Warren Harding did it too.

Posted by: bobilly2 | April 14, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Blago needs to take his medication. His wife needs help also. Otherwise, I do no see a vast left wing conspiracy with Barak Obama. Blago is a jerk, please make him go away.

Posted by: fabricmaven1 | April 14, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Rod Blagojevich, 2008's "Peter Principle Poster Child" (The 'Peter Principal': "In any hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence ...").

Given we know about him now, and how he managed to get elected first to the U.S. Congress, then to very high State office, could "Blago" (as he's called here, with less-&-less affection every passing day) have even gone into politics without the enormous help from his father-in-law?

Posted by: hogsmile | April 14, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Well, the Republicans had Warren Harding...so it's ok that Rezko made illegal contributions to Democrats of Chicago.

Posted by: bobilly2 | April 14, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Obama has concealed all his dirty linen;however,his history of deception and will surface incremently.

Posted by: tsapp77

=================

I swear: half of those who comment on WP appear to be unable to read. This is a Blago story, that's B-L-A-G-O. It is not an Obama story. And by the way, tsapp77, you can't spell either.

Posted by: HydeParker | April 14, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Obama has concealed all his dirty linen;however,his history of deception and will surface incremently.

Posted by: tsapp77 | April 14, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

I made the mistake of voting for Blago once, but have never regretted my 11 votes for Obama from his first state senate primary on. There is no connection between these men and the Blagojevichs' sleazy transactions with Rezko have nothing to do with the President.

Posted by: HydeParker | April 14, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Obama will pardon Blago and make him secretary of state..........if he is convicted.

Posted by: smc635 | April 14, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

-------------------------------------------

This message brought to you by the party of:

Nixon

Warren Harding

The Iran Contra Affair (Reagan)

Making war money off of vested Halliburton stock options (Cheney)

Nepotism on steroids (read Liz Cheney)

"Mission Accomplished" (GW Idiot)

"Let's repeal the Civil Rights and Voting Rights of 65'" (the Republican's campaign promise in 66', sound familiar?)

"LBJ was a failure because he passed the Civil Rights Act" (Newt Gingrich)

The Abranoff Scandal

"Let's get into a fully escalated war with Russia because they had a little skirmish with Georgia" (Sarah Palin)

"Let's nuke Vietnam, if will bring us victory" (Barry Goldwater)

And on and on and on and on..................

Posted by: htruman1 | April 14, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

REZKO HIRED OBAMA AS A LAWYER. REZKO GOT LETTERS FROM OBAMA TO SUPPORT REZKO'S PUBLIC HOUSING PROJECTS WHICH FAILED, SOME IN OBAMA'S DISTRICT; THEY WERE RAT INFESTED AND FREEZING IN THE WINTER AND ROASTING IN THE SUMMER. REZKO CONTRIBUTED 250 THOUSAND DOLLARS TO CANDIDATE OBAMA IN ILLINOIS. REZKO'S WIFE FRONTED THE FULL PRICE PURCHASE OF THE LOT NEXT DOOR TO FACILITATE THE OBAMA PURCHASE OF THE MANSION BEING SOLD AS A PACKAGE BY THE OWNER. 300 THOUSAND WAS TAKEN OFF THE MANSION PURCHASE BUT REZKO'S WIFE PAID FULL PRICE FOR THE LOT, THEN SOLD OBAMA ONE SIXTH OF THE LOT TO ENHANCE OBAMA'S PROPERTY, AND BUILD AN WROUGHT IRON FENCE COSTING 14 THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR OBAMA BEFORE DUMPING THE LOT REZKO NEVER WANTED OR NEEDED. REZKO MADE FIFTY GRAND PROFIT ON THE LOT WHICH IS NOW UNBUILDABLE ANYWAY.

This article doesn't mention the details which are public record. Obama said he was boneheaded for dealing with Rezko as everyone knew the FBI was working on an indictment. Rezko was convicted of 16 counts of fraud and corruption.
DID MR. OBAMA REPORT THE FENCE AND THE DISCOUNT ON HIS SENATE FORM? TED STEVENS WAS INDICTED AND TRIED FOR NOT REPORTING A GIFT FROM A CONTRACTOR. IT IS A FELONY.

Posted by: LETFREEDOMRING2 | April 14, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Obama will pardon Blago and make him secretary of state..........if he is convicted.

Posted by: smc635 | April 14, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Liberalism. Truly a mental disorder.

Posted by: drumcrn1 | April 14, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

"The noose is drawing tighter. Explain this Obamites..."

The only explanation necessary - after being democratically elected by over 60% of the vote, who's your daddy (for the next 2 years and 8 months).

Posted by: apspa1 | April 14, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Ah ha! Yet more malfeasance that took place during the Bush administration!

Posted by: jd5024 | April 14, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

___________________________________________

Rod and Obama had the same circle of corrupt friends, you retard.... It's the Democratic way, and what Obama's all about.

Posted by: RobParker | April 14, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

People should not pick on Blago. It is common knowledge that he is not very bright. This is a perfect example of the famous "Circus Rape Case" where the midget had raped the giant lady. They knew that he did it, but, they wanted to know who put him up to it.

Posted by: hurleyvision | April 14, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Ah ha! Yet more malfeasance that took place during the Bush administration!

Posted by: jd5024 | April 14, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why these two have become television celebrities, and why they are embraced by Hollywood.

Posted by: AnnsThought | April 14, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Give the guy a break. He was likable and enjoyable on the Celebrity Apprentice, so leave him alone.

Posted by: llrllr | April 14, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

She's an economist with a degree from the Univ. of Illinois. Just because she was on a game show and married to Blago people think she is a ditz. She could have performed legitimate business services.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | April 14, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Nice try. Rezco bought the lot so Obama could afford his mansion then sold a small chunk to obama to improve his lot while making Rezco's lot unusable by local zoning standards. Rezco paid $300,000 for a worthless lot....hmmm I wonder why? Obama gave millions of $ to Rezco's corrupt building scemes while a State Senator while Rezco raised hundreds of thousands of $'s for obama campaigns. Thats called CRIMINAL.

Posted by: j751 | April 14, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

The only job Patti and her realestate liscense is good for is a blow job, and it sure isn't worth 10 of thousands of dollars? She should thank God the police had pity on her children and did not indict her. Because she is sure guilty!

Posted by: edwinayala | April 14, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Besides being "boneheaded" it was most likely unethical.

Posted by: shewholives | April 14, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

The noose is drawing tighter. Explain this Obamites...

Posted by: SSTK34 | April 14, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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