Skip to comments.Alexi Giannoulias: Not so transparent (Obama's IL buddy)
Posted on 03/31/2009 5:33:45 PM PDT by STARWISE
Just like that window from the Giannoulias family's Broadway Bank on Chicago's North Side, sometimes what you think is transparent is in fact not something you can easily see through.
Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, 32, is strongly considering a run for the Senate seat currently held by fellow Democrat Roland Burris.
Giannoulias, who prior to his election was a senior loan officer at the bank, had never voted in an election until his name was on the ballot, announced yesterday that he won't be accepting campaign donations from corporate political action committees or federal lobbyists.
Big deal. Will Giannoulias forgo donations from union PACs? Or money from his family members, you know, the ones who own Broadway Bank?
About that bank: Almost half of the $7 million Giannoulias raised for his 2006 race came from "the Broadway family."
And this is not just any bank: Broadway loaned millions to convicted mobster Michael "Jaws" Giorango.
Giannoulias said in 2006 that he met Jaws, who has prostitution and bookmaking convictions on his résumé, a "few times" and described Giorango as "a very nice person."
Because of Jaws and Giannoulias' pathetic explanations regarding his relationship to the felon, Illinois Democratic Party Chairman, state House Speaker Michael Madigan refused to endorse Giannoulias after his victory the 2006 Democratic primary.
One year later, "The Boy Banker" was forced to testify about a 2002 Broadway Bank loan he approved to 83 year-old Loren Billngs. She ended up getting swindled out of that loan money by three business partners. Billings, who owns the Museum of Holography, could lose the museum and her home.
Billings' family sued Broadway, the bank won the suit.
Giannoulias couldn't remember very much about the Billings loan during his testimony.
Just like he forgot to vote each Election Day before 2006.
This being an Illinois political story, do you think there is a Tony Rezko connection? There sure is!
Last year, Nevada officials issued an arrest warrant for Rezko's arrest for writing bad checks at Las Vegas casinos. Those checks were drawn from, you guessed it, Broadway Bank.
In the first half of the decade, Broadway Bank lent millions to the alleged Stratievsky new mayifa family.
Alexi has never given a thorough account of any of these episodes.
National Republican Senate Committee spokeswoman Amber Wilkerson had this to say about Giannoulias:
~~ If Alexi Giannoulias really wants to provide transparency and accountability in Illinois, he should begin by fully explaining his longstanding connections to the mafia, his family's ties to convicted felon Tony Rezko, and his support for disgraced former Governor Rod Blagojevich.
No amount of supposed "reform" can change Giannoulias' sordid past and shady connections, especially as voters recover from the ethical lapses by his friend Blagojevich and Roland Burris. Voters in Illinois are looking for real change not empty rhetoric to conceal Giannoulias questionable past and lack of ethics.
Closer to home, Illinois Republican Party spokesman Lance Trover adds:
If Mr. Giannoulias wants to kick off his campaign by talking about reform then he should begin by fully explaining why, throughout the last six years, he loaned millions of dollars to mob figures and endorsed Rod Blagojevich for re-election in 2006.
Giannoulias is believed to be Sen. Dick Durbin's choice to become the other half of the Illinois U.S. Senate delegation in 2011.
Durbin of course was the first prominent politician to call for a special election to determine Barack Obama's replacement in the Senate--until the Majority Whip figured out a Republican could end up winning. Rod Blagojevich of course appointed Roland Burris to that seat.
Giannoulias accompanied Durbin on trip to Greece last month, giving the treasurer "instant cred" for his expected Senate run.
During the flight there and back, and while in Greece, presumably the pair had plenty of time to chat. Did high-and-mighty-and-pure Alexi scold Durbin for taking money from corporate PACs?
Here is a partial listing of corporate PAC money Durbin accepted, courtesy of Open Secrets.
The mainstream issue should be covering the clouds surrounding Giannoulias. It's a story they can really sink their Jaws into.
Monday, July 07, 2008 Obama, Alexi, and Broadway Bank
Just how and when did Barack Obama and Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias meet?
According to the New York Times, the pair met in the 1990s "on the basketball court." However, that basketball court just may have been at Chicago's elite East Bank Club, which runs contrary to Obama's egalitarian image.
But if Obama and Giannoulias did meet while playing hoops, how does that explain the below news stories? Source: No Quarter USA.
Broadway (owned by Giannoulis and his family) Loaned Rezko Project $11 million:
"Rezko and his then-partner in Chicago-Hudson LLC, Daniel Muhra [sic], purchased the site in 2001. But preconstruction sales for the units, priced from about $300,000 to $600,000, floundered, and construction never proceeded.
In early 2002 the partnership borrowed about $10.9 million from Chicago-based Broadway Bank to carry the land, according to the bankruptcy filing." From the Chicago Tribune on 5/23/06
Broadway Bank (owned by Giannoulis and his family) helped Tony Rezko's Rezmar Corp. finance a 24 story condominium:
"When Mahru was a partner with Rezko, their company Rezmar Corp. was helped by Thomas' Carnegie Realty Partners to obtain financing to build a 24-story condominium complex at Chicago and Hudson, a project that ultimately did not get off the ground. The financial institution that backed that deal was Broadway Bank, which is owned by the family of state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.
Elected in the Democratic sweep last year, Giannoulias has had to answer criticism over loans his bank made to reputed crime figures. "Carnegie brought us to Broadway," Mahru said, and introduced him to Giannoulias father. "We paid Carnegie a 1 percent commission on the loan, which is normal and customary. A spokesman for Giannoulias referred questions to the bank, which could not be reached." From the Chicago Sun-Times, 5/5/07
So did Obama introduce Giannoulias (and Broadway Bank) to his longtime friend Antoin "Tony" Rezko. Or is it the opposite? Is the basketball court story bunk, and did Rezko introduce Obama to Giannoulias?
Or is it just another of those "Chicago coincidences" I like to write about?
October 2008 ... Tony Rezko, who is now singing sweetly to the feds from his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, has been talking about his dealings with a Chicago bank, which has political connections.
The identity of this Chicago bank is thought to be Broadway Bank, which is owned by the politically heavy-hitting Giannoulias family, with whom Rezko and Barack Obama have extensive ties. That by itself proves nothing, but consider this: Obama's dealings with the Giannoulias clan date back to 1996 -- to his first state senate campaign.
Among other things there are rumors that Obama was the recipient of a sweetheart deal on his first town home in the Windy City, which he could not have otherwise afforded. Who financed that house? Broadway Bank.
The quid pro quo came ten years later, when an abysmally unqualified Alexi Giannoulias, then 29, a man who had never cast a vote in any election up until then, decided to run for State Treasurer of Illinois. Amazingly -- or not -- Barack Obama endorsed him -- and put his own political machinery in the service of young Alexi, who won the election. Imagine the political and financial windfall the Giannoulias reaped.
Political circles in Chicago supposedly believe Rezko has or soon will flip on Alexi -- for starters. Standard prosecutorial practice in such matters is to work up the food chain. The links in this particular chain are Governor Rod Blagojevich and Senator Obama. The Prosecutor in question -- Patrick Fitzgerald -- is a political pit-bull (without lipstick). Just ask Scooter Libby.
Hillbuz puts it this way:
Giannoulias leads to Obama through that town house home loan and the quid pro quo political endorsement several years later. And that home loan ties back to Rezko, in that it was the first of two shady home buys Obama made with quid pro quos attached to them.
Just thinking that last paragraph out, Obamas defense in the Rezko business was that he never did anything for Rezko so there was no quid pro quo. What the Giannoulias and Broadway Bank stuff proves is that Obama sits in peoples pockets for a while before the favor is given.
Giannoulias also appears to have lied about the bank's financing of a casino boat marina. And in what may or may not be an ugly coincidence, convicted felon Tony Rezko racked up $450,000 in gambling debts by writing bad checks on his Broadway Bank account.
According to Crains Chicago Business, Obama kept his 2004 Senate campaign funds at Broadway Bank as well.
Giannoulias himself has accepted at least one controversial campaign contribution, from Spiros Naos, an owner of a line of gambling cruise ships, who got ownership of the company after his uncle was gunned down in an execution-style slaying after selling the gambling fleet to a group that included indicted Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to the Chicago Daily Herald.
After initially defending the contribution as one Greek helping another, Giannoulias eventually returned the money once the media began dogging him about it.
We know what Giannoulias has done for Obama. What about the other way around? Why would a man with banking ties to organized crime (and a man who had generally not contributed to Democrats) become such a big supporter of Barack Obama?
Much in the same way that Obama was groomed for his elections by people in power in Chicago, and much in the same way that Obama supported the corrupt Stroger family even when he could have supported a reform-minded (liberal Democrat) opponent to the Strogers, the Obama-Giannoulias relationship seems one of political payback.
~~Chicago Way ........ PING!
No kiddin....Gonna link this one to the CHi crime thread....
b u m p
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