According to Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed, Tony Rezko may be giving the feds a much longer and broader look at Chicago Machine politics than first thought. Her sources tell her that Rezko has started singing about a politically-connected bank, and that may mean more trouble for Illinois state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, and perhaps Barack Obama as well:
Sneed hears rumbles political fund-raiser/fixer 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.
Hillbuzz breaks this news down:
We just spoke with someone well-connected in Chicago politics who told us that the bank Sneed is talking about has to be Broadway Bank, which is owned by the politically-connected Giannoulias family. We were told that Sneed’s column confirms rumblings people we know heard independently that Tony Rezko is giving up the Giannoulias family to Patrick Fitzgerald — Rezko and the Giannoulias family are as close and tied together as anyone in Chicago could be. If Rezko is turning on them, then Rezko is going to give up Governor Rod Blagojevich and Obama too.
We don’t want to end up in cement shoes for implying anything here, but if you live in Chicago for any length of time, you hear rumors about Broadway Bank, the Giannoulias family, and insert Tony Soprano references here. Kapeech?
Giannoulias has come up before for those looking into Obama’s political dealings. I wrote about it at Captain’s Quarters, and recapped it in August when Giannoulias spoke at the Democratic Convention. Giannoulias approved millions of dollars in loans from his family’s bank, Broadway, to Michael “Jaws” Giordano 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.
So how is Giannoulias connected to Obama? Hillbuzz continues:
One favor political Chicago claims Obama did for the Giannoulias family was in 2006 when, out of the blue, 29 year old Alexi Giannoulias, with no experience, and without ever having voted before, decides to run for State Treasurer of Illinois. Also out of the blue, Barack Obama endorses Alexi Giannoulias for State Treasurer. This was a SHOCK to everyone in Chicago — and Giannoulias would have never become State Treasurer without Obama’s help.
The rest of the post relies on speculation that hasn’t yet been borne out. However, if the feds want to go after Giannoulias, it would be yet another Obama ally in Chicago to come under suspicion of political corruption. And this is one Obama endorsed, despite having no experience at all. At the very least, it again calls into question Obama’s political judgment in selecting his allies and friends.
Keep an eye out for further developments, although they will likely come slowly.