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Will This Cover-up Sink the Treasurer?

Don Rose 28 December 2009 43 Comments

What may possibly be a major financial blunder followed by what is clearly a cover-up is likely to affect the 2010 race to fill President Barack Obama’s senate seat—and perhaps other seats down the ballot.

Riding high in the Democratic primary polls at present is Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, the president’s youthful basketball-buddy banker. Millionaire Giannoulias waltzed into the treasurer’s office in 2006 by investing several of his millions in a television spot featuring then-Senator Obama.

Having served nearly a full term in that relatively low-profile office, he decided to leapfrog into the United States Senate, where Roland Burris is working as a temp.

It’s hard to really screw up being state treasurer, but Giannoulias and his handpicked crew managed to do so, big time.

No, they didn’t embezzle or pocket any “tips,” as you would expect of your basic Illinois politician. They just managed to lose millions of dollars belonging to thousands of middle-class families who were investing to send their kids to college. Then they withheld the truth about how much was lost and the percentage to be recovered.

Here’s how it all happened.

Bright Start is a federally mandated college-savings plan established state-by-state, known generically as a 529. It permits a youngster’s family to put money into a special investment program where the profits grow tax-free. The rules and benefits differ somewhat in each state but that tax advantage is at the heart of all.

The treasurer’s office administers the program in Illinois. Its role is to find sound, conservative investment vehicles—the kinds that do okay even in an economic downturn. Sort of like doctors’ rules: First, do no harm.

Well, Giannoulias and his entourage, Chief of Staff Robin Kelly and Deputy Treasurer Raja Krishnamoorthi, included among Bright Start’s 21 investment choices an Oppenheimer bond fund called Core Plus Fixed Income Strategy. The fund was about as conservative as Rachel Maddow, and herein lies part of the argument.

Oppenheimer—one of the country’s major investment firms—insists the fund was indeed conservative except a rogue manager got cute late in the game and began investing in wild derivatives—the kind of instruments that helped bring down the economy. Another school of thought says that the treasurer’s office should have been monitoring all those mutual funds all the time to be sure their investments remained within their professed bounds.

So if it wasn’t a total blunder in the treasurer’s office, there’s little doubt they weren’t paying enough attention, which is not a great idea when handling billions of dollars.

The bottom line is the Core Plus fund lost 38 percent of its value in 2008—while other bond funds grew 5 percent. Some 65,000 Illinois families were told they lost a total of $85 million during the year’s last three quarters. Then they were told Illinois would sue Oppenheimer, as did five other states that lost money in the fund.

Early this year the treasurer and the attorney general announced they were on the way to a $77 million settlement with Oppenheimer—a recovery of more than 90 percent. Wow!

So right before Christmas, comes the news that indeed the $77 million settlement was made. Just one problem: The actual loss was not $85 million, but $150 million. A recovery of just more than half. Oops!

The fact is, the treasurer’s office knew the actual size of the loss all along, but chose not to disclose it. Yes, Virginia, they covered it up.

If it looks like a cover-up, if it walks like a cover-up and it quacks like a cover-up…. could it be for political reasons?

Here in Illinois?

Ponder this: not only is Giannoulias a senate candidate, but Kelly is running to replace him as treasurer and Krishnamoorthi is running for state comptroller. Empire building?

Kelly, who ran the office, says publicly the office has never lost any money. When reminded of Bright Star she corrects herself to say “any taxpayer money.” How’s that?

Krishnamoorthi has said nothing about Bright Star but his website says he oversaw all the treasurer’s programs and there was never a scandal. Really?

All three have primary opponents who seem more than likely to raise the Bright Star cover-up as an issue: especially the three running against Giannoulias. Should any of the Giannoulians survive the primary, their Republican opponents will be even more vitriolic and better financed than the Dems. A GOP revival?

Some stars may not be very bright after all.


Don Rose is a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Observer

image watercolor Sinking of the Lusitania


  • Dan Kelley said:

    A good article!

  • Pat Hickey said:

    Don Rose has written one of the absolute best political thought pieces extant!

    Well done, as always, Mr. Rose.

  • Bill Baar said:

    Nice but can we leave poor Professor’s photo out of it? He’s got enough baggage of his own to straddle Alexi on him too.

  • Joshua Boone said:

    Good find Mr. Rose. As a student who is barely scraping by paying tuition, I find this disgusting. If alexi giannoulias and his accomplices had any decency they would fess up and resign. But when has decency ever been apart of Illinois politics.

    There’s no way any of them are getting my vote.

  • John Cass said:

    Article: Rose peddles tainted political data

    Article from:Chicago Sun-Times Article date:February 28, 1991 Author:Raymond R. Coffey Copyright

    Why does a Don Rose bloom so everlastingly in Chicago? Is it something in our political soil?

    Why do political reporters find a Don Rose so enchanting? Especially just-off-the-bus political reporters from out of town? And why do these reporters, or anyone else for that matter, seem to think a Don Rose carries the whiff of straight information?

    I ask because for as long as I’ve been around Chicago a Don Rose, the Don Rose, has been part of the decor for Chicago political campaigns but seldom, if ever, do I find him identified as what he is…

  • georger said:

    The errors of commission and omission by Alexi Giannoulias with regard the Bright Star student savings program are very serious. First, the students and their families lost over half of their “safe” investment; he lied about recovering 90 percent of the funds. Most important, Alexi had a responsibility to closely track the safety of those investments on behalf of the students. He failed to do so. He should have known about the fact that Oppenheimer invested the student’s funds in very risky derivatives and should have acted to immediately withdraw those funds if he was faithfully performing his job. Also, he should have immediately advised the students and/or their families about the status; he did not do either.

    There are several issues here. How can we trust Alexi to act responsibly on our behalf in any elected office? His cavalier attitude about fiscal matters is unacceptable. Do we really want anyone like him to be our Senator?

    Of prime concern, is that the current GOP frontrunner, Mark Kirk, will have ample information to attack Alexi successfully on the student savings issue alone; and then there are other issues like loans to Tony Rezko, a convicted felon, and his bank’s loans to convicted mobsters.

    Another prime democratic candidate, David Hoffman, has a clean record. His experience as Assistant U.S. Attorney with Patrick Fitzgerald, as Inspector General for the City of Chicago, and his finely honed skills as a prosecutor will enable him to win against Kirk and to serve us well in the Senate.

  • John Powers said:

    My rush on the photo Bill. It is evocative, if not appropriate.

  • 10thdem said:

    As a parent who lost money in Bright Start, I find this particularly disturbing. As a Democratic primary voter I find it even more frustrating, as there is such a short window to get out the word on David Hoffman. While both Hoffman and Giannoulias were born to wealth, Hoffman has spent his career in public service, fighting corruption. Giannoulias spent his professional life in his family’s bank and his only other “achievement” was raising boatloads of money for Obama’s campaigns. While he may be a capable guy, he has done little if anything to demonstrate that he’s more than a rich kid with access.

    I encourage you all to support Hoffman – volunteer, donate, and talk him up to everyone you know.

  • jorod said:

    Yes, Something smells very rotten. If it was really a fraud, they should have recovered much more….

  • Pat Hickey said:

    “I ask because for as long as I’ve been around Chicago a Don Rose, the Don Rose, has been part of the decor for Chicago political campaigns but seldom, if ever, do I find him identified as what he is…”

    Now this is dandy. The conceit is hackneyed, and what is the Progressive word? . . . snarky. Jesus, I hate that word – it oozes smug, self- righteous sisified ( “You won’t hit me in public because it is bad manners and I will bring suit . . .”) oiliness of the paid political operative. I remember one dumb as a post such genius who worked on two campaigns in the 19th Ward both ened with his candidate having his fanny handed to him with truffles and greens.

    Josh Kilgore???? Is that Dope working for Giannoulias? Please.

  • Joe Scarry said:

    My gut feeling is that Alexi was simply asleep at the wheel. (Hey, we’ve all screwed up, right?) The Democrats just have to make up their minds . . . is that good enough?

    But they better make up their minds fast. After Feb 2, it’s out of their hands.

  • Pat Hickey said:


    You’ve hit that nail flat, fat and forcefully on its noggin! Don Rose did a splendid job of illustrating that point in this tough and thoughtful article.

  • Cynic said:

    It appears that Hoffman’s staff is working overtime on this site.

    I do not see how anyone that believes in civil liberties could support Hoffman.

    No exaggeration, people accused of murder have more rights than people interrogated by Hoffman’s bullies; at least a person accused of murder has a right to an attorney present during interrogation.

    Not so with Hoffman—his former staff kept city employees on their own and confined to interrogation rooms for hours, browbeating them and asking the same questions over and over—telling them they can’t leave or they’ll be punished for being uncooperative.

    THAT’S the great unreported story, even bigger than political corruption in City Hall, the County Building or Springfield.

    That’s the real man-bites-dog story of 2009. But no reporter in Chicago seems to have the courage to break the story open.

    Having an honest, effective, independent Inspector General is extremely important to government at all levels, including and perhaps especially Chicago. But Chicago doesn’t have that.

    Hoffman and his borderline brutish, unlawful methods are the great untold story. Along with his homogenous staff of mostly young white investigators.

    The other stories of corruption at all level of government (city, county, state, federal) are told—they are there for all to read, see and hear. And that’s great. They need to be exposed, they must be exposed, wherever and whoever they are.

    Personally, I think David Hoffman is a self serving weasel. I believe as part of an administration, there is a responsibility to report investigative findings to the proper authorities. The news media is not the proper authority. I knew he had his own agenda and would not have been around after September (coming from his staffers who felt a lot of pressure to close up cases this year that had previously been languishing).

    Aside from that, he kind of reminds me of Ratso Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy.

    Hoffman has now been basically been exposed as a self serving hypocrite.

    It now appears that his fight against what HE saw as corruption was not some sort of higher moral calling as the media that fawned over him would have the public believe, but rather as a platform for his own self-aggrandizement and positioning for a political office – hoping to use a prosecutorial position for a promotion to higher office in the tradition of former Governor Jim Thompson (from the US Attorney’s Office).

    It will be interesting on the political stump for him to answer several questions about his tenure as IG such as:

    – did he accept pay from his City Job while on his 3 month tour on the State of Illinois “Reform” Commission ? or did he even get permission from his boss to take such a long time off ? Failure to do so would be violation of the City’s personnel rules that he was so strict on enforcing.
    – as a Senator he could be on a committee that would be convened on torture and interrogation techniques used against prisoners (like Gitmo). How did his former office of IG conduct its interrogations of City employees ? Were they read their rights ? Were they allowed to have counsel present ? Were they conducted in windowless rooms for hours at a time ? He is on thin ice on this one.
    No exaggeration, people accused of murder have more rights than people interrogated by Hoffman’s bullies; at least a person accused of murder has a right to an attorney present during
    interrogation. Not so with Hoffman—his staff keep city employees on their own and confined to interrogation rooms for hours, browbeating them and asking the same questions over and over—telling them they can’t leave or they’ll be punished for being uncooperative.

    – as a Senator he would have confirmation authority for nominations to positions such as Justice Department and the head of Civil Rights Division, responsible for Equal Employment and discrimination matters. As the City’s Inspector General, did his hiring reflect the diversity of the City of Chicago or, as according to his website, was the majority of his hires from zip codes along the lakeshore and Lincoln park and other North Side environs ? How many minorities had non-clerical jobs in his office besides his token Aunt Jemiahmah First Deputy ?

    – maybe on the stump he would explain how he could afford a $1,000,000 plus mansion in the City on a salary from all of his working life in the public sector?

    – while campaigning he would also be in a position to explain why in the first three years of his appointment there was very little activity in his office, yet in the last year he was doing a press conference every week ?
    – and maybe a brave soul from the media would ask about the allegations of the type of young, handsome men that his former employer Sen. Boren would hire in his time there.

    Having an honest, effective, independent Inspector General is extremely important to government at all levels, including and perhaps especially Chicago. But Chicago did not have that under Hoffman.
    Hoffman and his borderline brutish, unlawful methods are the great untold story. Along with his homogenous staff of mostly young white investigators.

    The other stories of corruption at all level of government (city, county, state, federal) are told—they are there for all to read, see and hear. And that’s great. They need to be exposed, they must be exposed, wherever and whoever they are.

    But for the press to refuse to have their investigative reporters scrutinize Hoffman (because frankly, news organizations can be just as lazy and/or corrupt as a political organization), is unacceptable—just as unacceptable as it would be if the press winked as political corruption went unchecked.

    I think he had his own agenda and knew that he would not be around after September. Or maybe it is in his “DNA” ?

    All of this is moot however because Mark Kirk will defeat whomever comes out of the Dem primary.

    It is ironic that fighting corruption and political cronyism is Hoffman’s main platform in his bid for the senate. If he were to win and become Senator, it is hard to imagine how he could do much to affect corruption in Illinois or Chicago, even if he wanted to.

    What can federal senators realistically hope to do about Illinois and Chicago based corruption? Hoffman would have to wait to be become senior senator before he would even have a say in who gets appointed US Attorney.
    Fighting corruption is the job of those who actually have jurisdiction to do it, such as IGs, AG, State’s Attorneys, US Attorneys, etc.

    If Hoffman wanted to effectively fight corruption, he should have sought election or appointment to one of those positions.

    Since it has widely been reported that Hoffman planned to run for Attorney General before Lisa Madigan decided not to run for Senator or Governor, we should all view Hoffman’s senate bid, at least in part, as a deference to politics as usual.
    He chose not to challenge the Madigan family, the most powerful intact political family institution left in the state, for the AG position, a position where he actually would have had the power and the mandate to fight corruption.
    Instead, Hoffman seeks to buy (with his daddy’s Geico “scam” insurance money) a high federal office, and we must now believe that fighting corruption in Illinois and Chicago is his goal.
    Instead, fighting low level corruption as Chicago IG was how he made his name, and he is cashing in on that recent press to run for the Senate. His ambition is what is at stake here. That is why nobody knows his other platforms yet. He doesn’t have any.
    And does anyone else think that it’s funny that he’s using the Latin Kings colors (yellow and black) as his campaign colors? I’m sure he’s not in the Kings, but of all the colors for a former gang prosecutor to pick.

  • Offended said:

    Cynic’s comment contain racist remarks “How many minorities had non-clerical jobs in his office besides his token Aunt Jemiahmah First Deputy?”. Please remove from your site.

  • mark said:

    That’s why I support Jacob Meister. He doesn’t have baggage like Alexi & Hoffman. Added benefit — he has excellent ideas too.

  • rich said:

    you can tell when alexi’s people come on sites. they just want to scare but not talk about alexi’s problems. pretty obvious.

  • Mike F said:

    Just a few months ago, Alexi was rationalizing how he could use Bright Star fees to buy a Hybrid SUV. Those were Alexi’s good old days.

    He got elected by having Barack Obama pose on his billboards. Hoffman can win the primary just by using those same billboards for his campaign.

  • Wow said:

    Wow cynic… Somebody sure has an axe to grind.

    Your complete disregard for the facts and the truth and highly offensive racial slurs astound me. You are clearly obsessed and have way to much time on your hands. Your disturbing vendetta has blinded you and have your no clue what you are talking about.

    Go persecute some local high school for having the colors of the latin kings since Hoffman’s colors are no where near black and gold.

  • uberVU - social comments (author) said:

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by WhatIFoundToday: Will This Cover-up Sink the Treasurer? – Chicago Daily Observer http://kl.am/5Wj1

  • JBP said:

    I am going to leave the idiotic racist comment as notice to the type of people who are opposing (but hardly disputing) Don’s story.


  • dmb said:


    you don’t want to talk about Michael “Jaws” Gengreco? Don’t want to talk about Sprios Naos? Who are they? Mobsters that Alexi Giannoulias personally approved loans for. Jaws was running a prostitution ring and Naos cousin was murdered by an assoicate of Jack Abramoff — yep same guy.

    Oh, yeah, he lost a ton of money for middle class families who can’t afford to send their kids to college — it’s nice to have a daddy/banker with mobsters as friends.

    Alexi Giannoulias = Blago with better hair!

  • RobertB said:

    So Alexi Giannoulias lost a little money in the market? So what? He covered somthing up not to look bad? Come on! That is how they do it in Chicago. Just ask the mayor. If you invest your college savings money with the State of Illinois and you should be prepared to lose it. That is the Chicago City Hall way of which Alexi is a proud alumni. Cut the kid some slack, OK? He didn’t do anything different from any other Chicago politician. Stroger, anyone? Stop with all this Bright Start bellyaching…All right!

  • Michelle said:

    Et tu Don? I’ve always associated you with good government types. So when did you start fronting for the same politicians who fought tooth and nail against reform government? Why have you slanted your article like a spin doctor? Is it true you are in bed with the likes of Chicago Alderman Mell–the same alderman who gave us the biggest crook of them all–former Governor Odd Blagojevich? Are you working alongside Mell as a communications consultant to saddle Illinois taxpayers with yet another Chicago alderman’s son–Justin Oberman? How much are they paying you Don to slant the truth? If you are working for Oberman’s campaign and not disclosing that bit of information–shame on you!!!

  • www.buzzflash.net (author) said:

    Will a Cover Up Sink Alexi Giannoulias in his run for Obama’s former Senate Seat in IL?…

    As the Feb. 2 Illinois Primary date nears the overwhelming front-runner in the Democratic race, Alexi Giannoulias, is beginning to take some water into his boat. A major failure in his role as Secretary of State plus the recent admission that the failu…

  • Michelle said:

    Buzz Flash:

    You need to get your facts straight. First, Alexi Giannoulias is not the Secretary of State. That would be Jesse White. Also, what cover up? You need to read the facts. Don Rose seems to have an agenda other than reporting the truth.

  • mark said:

    The wrongful identification of Alex Giannoulias as secretary of state was done by a right winger, which charactarizes the people on this site, so don’t blame buzzflash; we know our politicians.

    It’s the right wingers who live in a parallel Universe fed by the Stalinesque FOX Fraudcasing network.

    mark karlin
    editor and publisher

  • JBP said:


    Some strange parallel universe there. The only mention of the Secretary of State is in your tagline, not in our article.

    You are responsible for editing your own taglines, so either you didn’t (likely) or you don’t know your politicians (also quite likely). In neither case is is relevant, as Don Rose is no one’s idea of a Right Winger.


  • fearless said:

    These comments are very confusing. Please, help a simple reader get through them.

    So the Alexi supporter spends paragraph after paragraph attacking David Hoffman for not going after the Madigan family? That sounds crazy. Unless the writer was a part of the discussion with Hoffman’s advisors, such a comment seems untrue and more of what the internet can do. It makes a commenter become a pundit. Welcome to the 21st Century.

    The problem is that the media will most likely report on the college fund story and the Hoffman crap will not be considered really important.

  • fearless said:

    I did not want to waste my time reading through the Hoffman bashing post. When I did, I wanted to wash my mind out with soap. I feel so dirty.

    There is a line that implies that Sen. Boren hired interns for their gender and attractiveness, but I am not sure how that relates to Hoffman. It’s a dumb line in a nutty comment.

    The poster obviously has not heard of editing his own comments, because there are so many things that seem strange or unusual, but the poster seems to feel that it gets his point across.

  • Phil Krone said:

    I mistrust all anonymous blogs though sometimes they may well be correct.

    First of all, concerning Don Rose, who writes under his own name: he is a person with whom I have agreed and disagreed and have always been civil.

    I have examined what he wrote and I am sorry to say that what he says is true.

    I supported Alexi for State Treasurer and I wish I could support him for the U.S. Senate. Bright Star is not the only reason I cannot support him this time, but I am not interested is being negative. I do believe that Cheryle Jackson and David Hoffman have the ability to be excellent candidates and Senators in a general election, and I think of those two, Daid Hoffman is the more qualified and has the best chance of winning in November.

    I find Don Rose’s facts are verifiable and his conclusions are correct. I will support Justin Oberman for State Treasurer and David Miller for Comptroller on the Democratic ticket as well as David Hoffman for the U.S. Senate.

  • Michelle said:


    I’ve been an admirer of Don Rose as well. But this time, I believe he has lost his journalistic integrity by not revealing his personal interest in slanting the story about Bright Start. He still has not refuted rumors that he is working for Oberman in some capacity. As a journalist, he should at least reveal that he has a special interest as a communications consultant and personal friend of the Obermans, if that is indeed true. Rose refers to the Bright Start issue as “clearly a cover up.” However, the facts of a very complicated matter do not support that conclusion. Even journalists who write under their own name sometimes have hidden agendas.

  • John Powers said:


    Don Rose is friend/acquainted with about 95% of the politicians working in Chicago for the last 50 years. Of course he knows a range of people. If there is some type of “hidden agenda”, writing an article exposing the Treasurer would sure be a strange way to keep it hidden.

    You have not addressed any of the issues Don brings up in his article. Simply attacking the integrity of the author does absolutely nothing to support your position. If you have some facts, type them up and we will print it.


  • Michelle said:


    I’m aware that Don Rose has many friends and acquaintances among politicians and journalists for that matter. I point out again, I am a long-time admirer of Don, which is why I am dismayed and troubled by his reporting of the Bright Start settlement.

    He makes serious allegations against the Bright Start matter, calling it “clearly a cover-up” in his December 28 article when there is no evidence to support that conclusion. For example, turn to Terry Savage’s article in the December 22 issue of the Chicago Sun-Times. Articles written by objective journalists point to the fact that Oppenheimer, an investment management company, recklessly managed funds in the Core Plus fund, one of 21 Bright Start savings plans. Oppenheimer subsequently fired the managers of that fund. Savage reports about 4,400 accounts–or fewer than three percent of Bright Start account holders had all of their college money in Core Plus.

    Secondly, the Attorney General and the Treasurer went after Oppenheimer to recoup losses, which Don does state. The Attorney General and the Treasurer expanded the time line so that more individuals would recover their losses, which explains the difference between the $85 million and the $150 million. Surely, the Attorney General would not be part of a cover up on behalf of the State Treasurer.

    Don certainly is entitled to his opinion, but readers should know he has a horse, if not horses, in this race. He is on record asking friends and acquaintances to support Marty Oberman’s son because Marty is a long-time friend. Individuals also tell me he is working for Marty’s son’s campaign for State Treasurer. He should reveal that fact, if indeed true, to allow readers to judge for themselves whether his conclusions represent an ojbective and fair analysis of the situation. That, frankly, is the bigger issue.

  • John Powers said:


    I’ll stand by the article vs. your incoherent charges of some type of conflict of interest. Of course journalists have conflicts, and they are better informed because of their conflicts.

    But I fail to see how Don’s presumed support of Oberman has anything to do with the facts of the article, which are pretty clear: the Treasurer was asleep at the switch while pursuing improper investments of Brightstart funds and obscured those losses from the public.

    Pursuing a baseless lawsuit to strongarm Oppenheimer out of money is another matter. I don’t see how Giannoulias can sue someone else for his own incompetence, but that is not the substance of Don’s article.


  • Michelle said:


    My charges are not incoherent. You are refusing to admit that Don went overboard by calling the matter a cover-up. The lawsuit was far from baseless. Major financial institutions do not settle baseless lawsuits for $77 million. Yes, it’s true journalists sometimes have conflicts, but responsible ones acknowlege the conflicts in their articles. Don appears to be covering up his connection with the Treasurer’s race and possibly the Senate race. It’s irresponsible journalism to say the least. I think you know that.

  • John Powers said:


    The incoherence is in your juxtaposition of Don’s purported support for Oberman as some type of driving force in exposing Giannoulias incompetence.

    Oberman is not running against Giannoulias. Giannoulias is running aginst Hoffman and Jackson.

    And yes, corporations settle all the time rather than facing marathon litigation (or jail time). The State can make this type of litigation last for years, and can bring criminal charges that are politically popular, even if they are completely trumped up. It is a sign of irresponsible government. Shouldn’t Giannoulias have been aware of the risks with the Oppenheimer fund before he put our money into it?


  • Michelle said:


    You must not have read Don Rose’s entire article. He is not just attacking Giannoulias. Also, you apparently don’t understand that Oppenheimer is the fund manager. The Treasurer’s Office administers the program. Because they monitored the fund, the Treasurer’s Office realized the discrepancy in that one fund. As Savage and others report, once the Treasurer’s Office discovered that Oppenheimer mismanaged the fund, the Treasurer, along with the Attorney General decided to go after Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer subsequently fired the fund managers involved in the Core Plus fund and settled not only with Illinois, but several other states that were affected. I doubt that Bright Start investors would want to wait several years to recoup losses, as you seem to suggest. Although, I must admit I’m not sure what you are suggesting. Regardless, I believe both the Treasurer and the Attorney General acted responsibly. There was no cover up as Don Rose states.

    I still believe it is irresponsible for Don Rose to call the matter a cover up when it is clearly not. By the way, is Don working for Marty Oberman’s son or not? You or he never responded to my original question.

  • John Powers said:


    So if I have this straight, you think Don is exposing facts which may be harmful to Robin Kelly vs. Justin Oberman in the vital Illinois Treasurer’s campaign? Well good then, I will ask Don if he can expand on this. If he is working for Justin Oberman (I doubt it), he will have better information and we can get a bigger audience for his column. Either way, it is good to know that Don’s column is making people look at the way Brightstart was administered.


    Supposedly Giannoulias’ office provides some oversight for funds invested by Brighstart. He failed miserably then along with Lisa Madigan strongarmed Oppenheimer to negotiate some payments to the Brightstart account holders.

    If we are looking for a Senator who is good as looting money from banks, maybe Giannoulias is a good choice.


  • Michelle said:


    No, you don’t have it straight. My question is whether Don is capable of providing objective coverage of the Bright Start settlement if he is working/and or supporting Oberman and, for that matter, Hoffman’s candidacy. Again, where is there evidence there was a cover up? Those are serious allegations not supported by any facts. If Don has special relationships or interests in these races, he should disclose that information just as the Tribune did in endorsing Andy McKenna today. I’m talking about providing reasoned analysis based on facts. I’m speaking to journalistic integrity.

  • John Powers said:

    Spare me the comparisons to the bankrupt bunch of hacks at 435 N. Michigan. There is little to be learned by following the lead of some all time great bumblers.

    I have little to no interest in providing objective coverage. I want a viewpoint in a story. Don has one, that is fact based, and is newsworthy, so we print it.


  • Michelle said:


    So John you finally admit you and your online publication don’t care about the truth. Enough said!!!

  • John Powers said:

    Nonsense Michelle,

    The facts are pretty clear. Giannouilias blew a bunch of Brightstart money because he was asleep at the switch. Don’s viewpoint is that Giannoulias blew a bunch of money and does not want people to know about it.

    Watching Giannoulias’ misleading commercials touting the “peace of mind” provided by Brighstart, is certainly odd given that Brightstart was investing in some reckless schemes. Don’s story stands as written.


  • Alexi Giannoulias' lost Illinois millions | Dennis Byrne's Barbershop (author) said:

    […] are strong. Not that I pay all that much attention, but where did he come from? Now comes a piece in the Chicago Daily Observer by veteran political operative Don Rose that discloses some disturbing information for his handling […]

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