Giannoulias family loaned $20 million to felons

posted at 12:15 pm on April 2, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Does this really count as a scandal in Chicago?

The family bank of Democratic Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias loaned a pair of Chicago crime figures about $20 million during a 14-month period when Giannoulias was a senior loan officer, according to a Tribune examination that provides new details about the bank’s relationship with the convicted felons.

Broadway Bank had already lent millions to Michael Giorango when he and a new business partner, Demitri Stavropoulos, came to the bank in mid-2004. Although both men were preparing to serve federal prison terms, the bank embarked on a series of loans to them.

Alexi Giannoulias took a senior position at the bank at about the same time and used it as a launching pad for his political career. But as he campaigns to step up from state treasurer to the U.S. Senate, he has tried to distance himself from the bank’s business with the pair and has been reluctant to detail his role.

If not in Chicago, it counts as a scandal in the rest of Illinois.  Starting three years ago, I’ve been keeping tabs on the mob loans approved by Giannoulias as his family bank’s loan officer.  The family bank made a series of loans to Michael “Jaws” Giorango after the latter got convicted on federal charges relating to bookmaking and prostitution in 2004.  The loans paid for a casino fleet in Florida in 2005, an odd risk to take for someone who had a record as a pimp and a bookie.

It also qualifies as a federal scandal.  Broadway Bank is on the verge of an FDIC takeover, thanks to severe undercapitalization linked to its lending practices.  The Giannoulias family has taken almost $70 million out of the bank over the last several years, but now says they have less than $1 million to reinvest.  However, a federal rescue could put $10 million back into their pockets.  But Illinois voters should be asking what happened to the $70 million the Giannoulias family pulled out of Broadway while doing business with mobsters like Giorango.

This scandal smells bad, even for Chicago.  There’s a lot of missing money, and a years-long relationship between the family and mobsters.  It’s not unreasonable for people to conclude that those are linked — and since Broadway appears ready to get rescued with taxpayer dollars, we all have a stake in getting the answers.

Seriously, though — what were Illinois Democrats thinking when they backed Giannoulias?  This makes Jack Ryan’s divorce papers look like a letter to the editor.


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The man is a perfect Democrat candidate. Looks like he’s giving Blago a run for his money.

AUINSC on April 2, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Our future America, if we don’t take it back in November

Oil Can on April 2, 2010 at 12:19 PM

The IL GOP will be reborn from the ashes of the IL Dem party. The good news is that we have a crop of young gun candidates to sustain the momentum.

WashJeff on April 2, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Funds 4 Felons… the sequel to Cash 4 Clunkers.

Coming to a federal government near you very soon…

ajacksonian on April 2, 2010 at 12:22 PM

Please Illinois voters. Do NOT vote for this lowlife in November. He should join Rezko behind bars. And Blago and Daley and all the rest of the Chicago Machine. Let 2010 be the year that Illinois says- enough.

journeyintothewhirlwind on April 2, 2010 at 12:23 PM

In Chicago, this counts as a feel good story.

rbj on April 2, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Hey, it’s Chicago.

Realist on April 2, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Our future America, if we don’t take it back in November

Oil Can on April 2, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Ding, ding, ding! We in Chicago have gotten so used to this that we tend to forget that it’s not the way it’s done in most of the rest of the nation. Unless, we allow it.

kbfntc on April 2, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Rahm to the rescue. Look for him to step down as Barry’s COS as soon as they get all the pieces in place.

a capella on April 2, 2010 at 12:25 PM

“Pfffft. Piker.”

-Obama

Bishop on April 2, 2010 at 12:25 PM

So its an article about the day to day Chicago political process?

Wolftech on April 2, 2010 at 12:28 PM

The Democratic party is an Organized Crime Syndicate.

rob verdi on April 2, 2010 at 12:29 PM

In a sane world 70 million would be an enormous amount of money, now it seems it is chump change for the chumps that stole it.

fourdeucer on April 2, 2010 at 12:31 PM

He will not allow us to be rid of him. Ever.

ButterflyDragon on April 2, 2010 at 12:16 PM

A shakedown racket for sure.

saiga on April 2, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Democrats are the ethicalist.

daesleeper on April 2, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Giannoulias still up +6 in latest RCP poll average..

Unreal.

aquaviva on April 2, 2010 at 12:32 PM

The Democratic party is an Organized Crime Syndicate.

rob verdi on April 2, 2010 at 12:29 PM

A shakedown racket for sure.

saiga on April 2, 2010 at 12:31 PM

saiga on April 2, 2010 at 12:33 PM

Fuggetaboutit!!!!

portlandon on April 2, 2010 at 12:33 PM

The Democratic party is an Organized Crime Syndicate.
rob verdi on April 2, 2010 at 12:29 PM

+20

It’s thugs like this that make me glad I no longer live in Illinois.

Lurking Vet on April 2, 2010 at 12:34 PM

Ayyy…dis is a nice little blog ya got here. It’d be a shame if something happened to it, if you know what I mean.

/sarc

Sefton on April 2, 2010 at 12:35 PM

Funds 4 Felons… the sequel to Cash 4 Clunkers.

Coming to a federal government near you very soon…

ajacksonian on April 2, 2010 at 12:22 PM

A++
Classic I tell ya.

screwauger on April 2, 2010 at 12:35 PM

Giannoulias still up +6 in latest RCP poll average..

aquaviva on April 2, 2010 at 12:32 PM

Yeah that sux, but the trend is a shrinking gap. Ras was the only poll in March. The campaign is not front and center at this time. Overcoming the financial death wish voters have in this state will be tough though.

WashJeff on April 2, 2010 at 12:37 PM

I reallly hope IL wakes up, but it probably won’t. Too many people will vote for him because there’s a D after his name.

Lothar on April 2, 2010 at 12:38 PM

Giannoulias still up +6 in latest RCP poll average..

Unreal.

aquaviva on April 2, 2010 at 12:32 PM

+6. You know people hate on us Californians for our politics. But once in a while we get it right (Props 209, 227, 8, eleventybillion GOP governors, the most conservative GOP congressional delegation anywhere, Orange and San Diego counties, and of course, Reagan). There are states in this country that manages to have crap weather AND blind devotion to Democrats. I can’t think of a worse place than that, I can’t think of a worse place than Illinois.

Apologetic California on April 2, 2010 at 12:38 PM

Rahm to the rescue. Look for him to step down as Barry’s COS as soon as they get all the pieces in place.

I’m willing to bet than Obama got a cushy loan for his house from Broadway. Some might recall that it was Obama’s endorsement that got Giannoulias his job as IL treasurer. Likelihood of a quid pro quo? Extremely. It won’t be so easy for Team-O to throw this guy under the bus since he’s probably got dirt on them. We’re talking about someone who regularly deals with the mob here, not an amateur like Richardson or Daschle.

year_of_the_dingo on April 2, 2010 at 12:38 PM

He could shoot up the neighborhood and the nitwits in Chicago/Illinois would still vote for him. Makes no difference….I know…I live in Illinois.

PatriotRider on April 2, 2010 at 12:39 PM

Were there loans to SEIU too?

booter on April 2, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Does this really count as a scandal in Chicago?

standard operating procedure

ted c on April 2, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Is Obama linked to this guy? That’s worth investigating.

BottomLine5 on April 2, 2010 at 12:41 PM

And a million Illinoisians (what the hell is someone from there?) turned their heads.

I doubt any of this will really matter, they have Bambi and the Dems telling them who to vote for, they have a fraud army to create votes and if all else fails they’ll just make the results up.

I had a bit of hope that we’d vote in Christie in NJ due to recent track record but these guys have a whole new level of stupid.

Rbastid on April 2, 2010 at 12:42 PM

I heard a couple of years ago from friends in Chicago that Broadway Bank was the model for the bank that is robbed at the beginning of The Dark Knight. Its mob connections are among the worst-kept secrets in Chicago.

rockmom on April 2, 2010 at 12:44 PM

Is Obama linked to this guy? That’s worth investigating.

BottomLine5 on April 2, 2010 at 12:41 PM

Yes.

rockmom on April 2, 2010 at 12:44 PM

From Ross Kaminsky, 8/26/2008:

Last night, Illinois’ State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias addressed the DNC, talking about his “friend and mentor”, Barack Obama, and calling for “a new type of leadership.” Giannoulias said that Obama has great integrity, yet the association between the two men raises questions along the lines of (and related to) convicted felon Tony Rezko.

Obama and Giannoulias have been mutual supporters, politically and otherwise, for at least five years, with Giannoulias having contributed $7,000 to Obama’s campaign for the Illinois State Senate seat in 2003 and 2004, an interesting choice for a man who was simultaneously giving $17,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Giannoulias, who was called Obama’s “protégé” in a Chicago-based publication, has also served as the National Chairman of Greeks for Obama Committee. The organization’s Vice Chairman, Michael Karloutsos, also has a history of supporting Republicans, including a donation to Rick Santorum and Bush-Cheney ’04. He was also a Pioneer for President George W. Bush, meaning he raised at least $200,000 for the Bush-Cheney ’04 ticket. In the past year, he switched his party affiliation “from R to D”.

Giannoulias also hosted a fund-raiser for Obama in Chicago in September, 2007, omitting it from his public schedule and keeping it closed to the press. Could it be that Obama didn’t want the press asking questions about a New York Post article published that same morning entitled “Obama’s Mob-Tie $idekick”?

The NY Post story references the many questions about Giannoulias’ ties to organized crime through Broadway Bank, a Chicago bank that his family owns and where Alexi Giannoulias listed himself both as President and as Chairman of the Board on FEC filings surrounding the campaign contributions mentioned above.

According to a Chicago Tribune article from 2006, Giannoulias “has faced questions about the bank’s multi-million dollar loans to Michael Gioranago, a convicted bookmaker and prostitution ring promoter.” Barack Obama was quoted in the article as saying that he “is concerned by revelations that the bank owned by Illinois Democratic treasurer nominee Alexi Giannoulias’ family gave loans to a Chicago crime figure and said the candidate owes him and the public a full accounting.”

And while Giannoulias claimed that the loans to Gioranago were made “before he became a full-time bank employee”, “newly discovered public records show Broadway Bank made $11.8 million in additional mortgage loans to Giorango just last year. Giannoulias said he oversaw the servicing of those loans.”

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 Crain’s 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.

Obama endorsed Giannoulias for State Treasurer when the latter was just 29 years old, but the NY Post reported that “Giannoulias is so tainted by reputed mob links that several top Illinois Dems, including the state’s speaker of the House and party chairman, refused to endorse him even after he won the Democratic nomination with Obama’s help.” Obama remained a big supporter and is credited with having been an important factor in Giannoulias’s victory.

But, as Crain’s asked, “[J]ust why did Sen. Obama last week endorse for Illinois treasurer an unknown 29-year-old whose financial experience is limited to working at a family-owned Chicago bank, and who, as recently as five years ago, was shooting professional hoops as point guard with team Panionios of Athens, Greece?”

Media reports say that Obama was grateful for Giannoulias’s early support of Obama, including the six-figure fund-raising for Obama’s first campaign. But what about the mutual connection to Tony Rezko, and could there be other connections we don’t yet know about?

Giannoulias has clearly believed he had something to gain. As someone who lived in Chicago for 15 years, I know that politics general and Chicago politics in particular is about who can help people make money or gain power. One way in which Obama could return the favor of political support to Giannoulias would be to support the possibility that Giannoulias could be selected to fill Obama’s US Senate seat if Obama wins the presidency.

Link

rockmom on April 2, 2010 at 12:50 PM

Is Obama linked to this guy? That’s worth investigating.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duzPVxRPhBI

year_of_the_dingo on April 2, 2010 at 12:53 PM

what were Illinois Democrats thinking when they backed Giannoulias?

What were they thinking when they backed Obama?

The debate is over – worst president in American history and he’s already lapped the field.

We should kick the entire state out of the union. Let Canada have Illinois, not that they’d be stupid enough to take the basket case.

NoDonkey on April 2, 2010 at 12:55 PM

Why hasn’t Obama named this guy as his banking czar?

ihasurnominashun on April 2, 2010 at 12:56 PM

rockmom, thanks for the informative post.

Mason on April 2, 2010 at 12:56 PM

I’m amazed that Zero hasn’t replaced Geithner yet with this jerk…by recess appointment no less…hah!!

PatriotRider on April 2, 2010 at 12:58 PM

rockmom on April 2, 2010 at 12:50 PM

Good info.

fourdeucer on April 2, 2010 at 12:58 PM

But we swears Obama alone emerged from the Chicago Machine untainted! We swears…on The Preciousss!

*Gollum* *Gollum*

Christien on April 2, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Hope and Change. The three long distance runners for corrupt state politics now have La. sitting on the sidelines and Illinois lapping New Jersey. Looks like Illinois will take this prize easily.

Thank you Jindal and Christie.

DanMan on April 2, 2010 at 1:01 PM

It shows he has the right connections to advance in his area.It is akin to Federal politicians having the proper Saudi connections to get by in the larger world.

BL@KBIRD on April 2, 2010 at 1:01 PM

I’m amazed this guy isn’t already working somewhere in the Obama administration. Just look at his ‘credentials’!

GarandFan on April 2, 2010 at 1:05 PM

The only votes that matter in Illinois come from Chicago and/or Springfield. It’s been that way for decades. Remember, this is the political apparatus that’s given us such luminary figures as Carol Mosely Braun and Dick (Nazis!)Durbin. Giannoulias is as slimy as they come but because he’s a Democrat and a crony of both Mayor Daley and Obama, he’ll breeze to victory. The only thing that could stop him is a federal indictment.

The Jack Ryan thing brought back memories. If he hadn’t had his senate campaign derailed by a hyperventilating Chicago media, Barry Soetoro would still be a mediocre back bencher in the Illinois senate.

RobertE on April 2, 2010 at 1:07 PM

“The Chicago way…”

Khun Joe on April 2, 2010 at 1:26 PM

I can’t think of a worse place than that, I can’t think of a worse place than Illinois.

Apologetic California on April 2, 2010 at 12:38 PM

Sigh. Guilty as charged, your honor. I just hope those polls showing him up +6 change a lot in the other direction by November. This guy is really, really, dirty.

jwolf on April 2, 2010 at 1:31 PM

I’m glad this is being reported but it won’t make one bit of difference to “Obama Zombies”. They’d gladly lay in the gutter and allow Obama to step on them so he wouldn’t get his shoe muddy. DD

Darvin Dowdy on April 2, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Sadly this is not much of a story here in Chicago either. The blowtorch 890 WLS is pushing hourly the jobs data and Obama’s speech in NC. Thank God for outlets like HA.

Angry Dumbo on April 2, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Heh, has anyone ever heard of a Republican mobster?

crosspatch on April 2, 2010 at 2:07 PM

Heh, has anyone ever heard of a Republican mobster?

crosspatch on April 2, 2010 at 2:07 PM

Most mobsters tend to be pretty darn right wing in their political views. Some of it has to do with their Catholic upbringing on social values, some of it has to do with the belief that a smaller government will allow them to get away with more. Many of them do business with Democrats though because of Union corruption. I’ve read some articles on this, I wonder if there is a good book which researches this.

As for Giannoulias, if he drops too much in the polls, what is to stop Illinois from pulling a New Jersey and throwing in a Lautenberg at the last second?

Daemonocracy on April 2, 2010 at 2:30 PM

If Alexi drops out, does that mean Roland changes his mind? He was pushed out in the first place.

Angry Dumbo on April 2, 2010 at 2:38 PM

Giannoulias still up +6 in latest RCP poll average..

Unreal.

aquaviva on April 2, 2010 at 12:32 PM

When the GOP ‘strategists’ and know-it-alls quit pushing RINOS in blue states, then this would cease happening.
In politics, when people get tired of the status quo they look for genuine alternatives not lesser evils.

TheRightMan on April 2, 2010 at 2:44 PM

Giannoulias still up +6 in latest RCP poll average..

Unreal.

aquaviva on April 2, 2010 at 12:32 PM

First, ignore RCP “average”, which is a clownish poll. The real stunner is Rasmussen showing Giannoulias up 3, after Kirk was up 6 in his last poll.

The notion of Kirk trailing this corrupt-o-clown is a testament to his astonishing weakness as a Republican. His ACU ratings for the past two years show him as a net asset to Crazy Aunt Nancy and the fringe left Democrats, and instead of tacking right, he has run ads in which he proudly declares himself to be an independent centrist.

Two problems with that:

1) This is the best year to be a conservative since 1994, and he doesn’t have a single argument to make that he is one, and

2) Illinois doesn’t give a rat’s a$$ about centrism. The Democrats are all partisan hacks controlled by the union mobs and the race-victims — they are not going to vote for Kirk, no matter how left he appears to be. He needs to find a way to get conservatives to vote for him, and yet he continues to flip them off.

Bad, bad candidate.

Jaibones on April 2, 2010 at 2:55 PM

Didn’t Obama endorse Giannoulias for something awhile back?

aikidoka on April 2, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Guess I should have read the thread first – oops

aikidoka on April 2, 2010 at 3:08 PM

Say, isn’t this guy a FOB(friend of Barack). Maybe we should talk about this behind closed doors.

Kissmygrits on April 2, 2010 at 3:27 PM

Jaibones on April 2, 2010 at 2:55 PM

+1000.

TheRightMan on April 2, 2010 at 3:58 PM

Does this really count as a scandal in Chicago?

Obama’s stomping grounds?

It was probably an article meant for the paper’s business section, a feel-good story about how to run a successful business.

malclave on April 2, 2010 at 4:17 PM

Chicago politics is traditionally more corrupt than even a devotion to the Democrat party can justify.

Never forget that the last Republican Governor, George Ryan, is in the Federal pen on a corruption rap. The public leader of the effort to forgive and forget his transgressions is that noted pillar of decency Dick Durbin.

The Combine has never been about party labels. That’s what corruption means, boys and girls.

warbaby on April 3, 2010 at 3:03 AM