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Wired for Silence: Patrick Fitzgerald’s Rezko Watchers

Lee Cary and Marty Watters 31 January 2012 21 Comments

Were Bernard T. Barton, Jr. (AKA: John Thomas), Dan Mahru and Dan Frawley used by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to keep tabs on Tony Rezko’s associations with senior Chicagoland politicians, rather than help build a criminal case against Tony?


Considering they weren’t called as witnesses in any trial, considering how long – a decade – it took for Barton to be sentenced, how long it’s taking for Mahru and Frawley to be sentenced, plus how no evidence, from any transcript, of any recorded conversation, involving any of the three, ever made it to a trial – it makes you wonder: Just what were they assigned to do in Rezko’s presence?

You suppose they were wired for silence from the start and tasked to be Rezko Watchers, while they silently awaited, and waited, and wait still, the legal consequences of their respective crimes?

Bernard T. Barton, Jr. (AKA: John Thomas)

On February 8, 2001, Barton, sporting his new name, John Thomas, was arrested in Chicago on charges of mail fraud and money laundering committed in New York. The Criminal Docket for Case #: 1:01-cr-00125 (eventually refilled as 1:06-cr-00900 to include his co-conspirator) indicates that, on February 9, his disposition was “Bond ($20,000 Own Recognizance). He eventually pled guilty and could have received a five-year sentence. But he chose, then or later, to wear a wire instead of a jump suit.

From February 9, 2001 until May 2006, when the Chicago Tribune was preparing to out Thomas as a mole for the feds, Thomas was establishing his commercial real estate creds in Chicago. A sleeper mole.

His cooperation with the feds surfaced in May 2006 when U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald persuaded the Trib to not reveal Thomas’ cooperation with the feds.  On May 4, 2007, Thomas’ undercover activities were revealed in a Crain’s ChicagoBusiness.com article. The next day the Tribune followed up with an article that confirmed Thomas’ undercover role for the feds. The mole had surfaced.

Then along came the Rezko trial in 2008.

A Sun Times article dated February 10, 2008 stated that,

“For the first time, the FBI ‘mole’ who’s expected to be a key prosecution witness [it didn’t happen] against indicted developer and political fund-raiser Tony Rezko is talking [but not saying much]…

Sources said Thomas also logged frequent visits to Rezko from Gov. Blagojevich and U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Blagojevich and Obama were among the many politicians for whom Rezko raised campaign cash. Neither has [yet] been charged with any wrongdoing……

Sources said Thomas helped investigators build a record of repeat visits to the old offices of Rezko and former business partner Daniel Mahru‘s Rezmar Corp., at 853 N. Elston, by Blagojevich and Obama during 2004 and 2005…

Sources said the government had him wear a hidden wire to record conversations with a Chicago alderman — but that he did not record Blagojevich or Obama. [Oh, really? Why not?]

Now fast forward to June 21, 2010.  Judge Elaine E. Bucklo sentences Thomas to “three years of supervised release” and he pays a nominal fine. In June 2011, after serving one year on probation, probation was terminated two years early. He’s home free.

The 109th court action in the docket he shared with his partner in crime, Louis M. Giordano, indicates “Full Satisfaction Action (Release) of Judgment in the amount of $6,100” for Bernard Barton.  On January 14, 2010, Thomas’ partner in crime, Louis M. Giordano, was sentenced to 38 months in prison, 3 years of supervised release, and fined $675,383.65.

He never testified in any trial. And there is no public record of any transcript from his wiretap days.

Hear no evil.

Dan Mahru

On December 7, 2005, the long litany of Dan Mahru’s Criminal Docket began. It continues today. Case #: 1:05-cr-00989-1 currently lists 62 court actions in Mahru’s case, begins with the 2005 complaint signed by Judge Arlander Keys. After pleading guilty on July 7, 2011 of “defrauding his mother and the estate set up to provide for her care,” Mahru was disbarred this January. He reportedly reimbursed his mother’s estate.

Meanwhile, court records indicate that his sentencing date has been postponed four times since October 21, 2011.  It’s now set for May 25, 2012.

A long time business associate of Rezko, Mahru was not called to testify in Rezko’s trial.  It’s been six years after being charged, and he, too, awaits sentencing.

See no evil.

Dan Frawley

According to the Sun Times, Dan Frawley began cooperating with the feds in 2006.  But that’s just the earliest known year.

Now fast forward to December 1, 2010. Frawley is being deposed by an attorney representing his earlier attorney whom he’s suing. In the deposition, as reported by the Sun Times,

“…Weaver’s [Frawley’s former attorney] lawyer, Daniel F. Konicek, asks Frawley about what specific information Weaver is supposed to have told Frawley to withhold from federal authorities.

‘I’m assuming the information is about the payments made by Rezko to Obama, so we know we’re talking about the right conversation, right? Konicek asks Frawley. [The question comes from left field.]

Frawley doesn’t answer. So Konicek presses him: ‘Am I correct it was about Obama being paid by Rezko?’

Frawley replies: ‘I’m not answering that question, based upon my attorney’s instructions.’

Nobody directly involved with the deposition — including Frawley and his lawyers, Weaver and his lawyers, and the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office — would comment.” [The deafening sound of silence.]

Then, nearly two months after that strange exchange, on January 26, 2011, federal prosecutors hit Frawley with an old bank fraud charge that’s past its statute of limitations. He pleads guilty and agrees to pay $4,000,000 restitution. Connect the dots and it looks like the feds weren’t happy with that question coming up in the deposition.

Like Mahru, Frawley’s sentencing date has gone through several postponements and he, too, awaits a new sentencing date.

Hear no evil. See no evil. And, speak no evil – don’t even hint at it.

You suppose maybe the Rezko Watchers were wired for silence from the beginning?


Lee Cary and Marty Watters are special correspondents for the Chicago Daily Observer


  • Whistleblower said:


    In 2001 when Bernard Barton was arrested in Chicago his lawyer was Michael Monico of Monico,Pavich & Spevack. The same Michael Monico that represented Blago’s pal Chris Kelly and fast Eddie Vrdolyak.

    Gee, if Bernard Barton was really wearing a wire ? Do we have any proof that he did ?

  • Instapundit » Blog Archive » WIRED FOR SILENCE: Patrick Fitzgerald’s Rezko Watchers. “Considering they weren’t called as witn… said:

    […] FOR SILENCE: Patrick Fitzgerald’s Rezko Watchers. “Considering they weren’t called as witnesses in any trial, considering how long – a […]

  • Bessie said:

    Is there any chance “60 Minutes” will do a jail house interview of Rezko???

  • Pat Hickey said:

    Bessie said:
    Is there any chance “60 Minutes” will do a jail house interview of Rezko???

    Pat “Mr. Daft Wager” Hickey ( quaffing his breakfast snifter of Cognac Dudognon Héritage HENRI IV )

    “Bessie, my dear woman; it is to laugh.” – falls into his Bergere Chair & Ottoman with Times of London.

    “That scoundral, Prince William! Dashing off to the Falklands after cadding about all over Nevada! . . . ‘Kitchner arrives too late . . .’ poor old Chinese Gordon . . . he was not the worst of them!”

  • John Skookum said:

    This article assumes a lot of inside-baseball knowledge on the part of the reader. Is there an article here or elsewhere that lays this out more comprehensively?

  • John Powers said:

    Hi John,

    Here is a primer on Dan Frawley.


    We cover him a lot at the Chicago Daily Observer. He has a long history of developing property with various politicians and politically connected types. In a deposition, there were claims that money was paid to then Senator Barack Obama by Tony Rezko to assist in a property development involving Iraqi security and Blackwater in Savannah, Illinois.

    The Federal Prosecutors office certainly know about these claims and never made the terms of the plea bargains involving some of those charged in connection with the case.

  • Bessie said:

    Frawley’s new sentencing date is April 16th, 2012…

  • Whistleblower said:


    Thanks, do you know what odds Vegas is offering that it won’t happen April 16th

  • Bessie said:

    Whistleblower: Who would take that bet? I have lost count, is this 5 – 6 or 7 times his court date has been postponed??? Maybe they think that we will all forget and they can sweep this bunch of misfits under the rug… Do you think Vegas will be taking bets on “who” is on the pardon list??? I’m putting my money on Rezko and Blago, not Frawley he can’t be trusted to keep his mouth shut…

  • Whistleblower said:

    Bessie, agreed, I think at this point it might be easier to keep track of how many years have gone by.
    Rezko convicted 4 years ago, Frawley and Mahru still waiting to be sentenced, why ?
    Rezko and Blago, I think the action will be on, pardons or commutations ?

  • Sun Times withholds information about Frawley’s Obama-bribe accusation « said:

    […] Frawley cooperated with U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation of Rezko by wearing a wire. […]

  • Former Rezko partner says he gave Tony $400K for Obama « said:

    […] Frawley cooperated with U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation of Rezko by wearing a wire. […]

  • Mission Accomplished: Blago Joins Rezko in the Silence Chamber of Federal Prison « said:

    […] as soon as the two remaining Rezko Watchers highlighted in a recent piece in the Chicago Daily Observer receive their sentences this spring – unless sentencing is […]

  • Blog: Did Senator Obama Dodge Taxes on a $400,000 Gift from Tony Rezko? said:

    […] Frawley cooperated with U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation of Rezko by wearing a wire. […]

  • pay me said:

    Bernard Barton aka JOHN THOMAS has a new 2013 name and that is, J.EVEREST THOMAS.More info to come.

  • pay me said:

    Hey whistle blower, you asked if there were any proof of John Thomas wearing a wire.You must not know the man.Everyone he meet he brag about the wire .infact it’s the first thing he say when he meet ya. FYI

  • pay me said:

    News flash,John Thomas has a new company Treadwell capitals Partners LLC address 215 West Ontario Street 3rd floor Chicago Illinois 60654.does any of these business men and politicians use google.Try google it works.how can we open our city up to this guy he’s untouchable.

  • Calahan said:

    It is tremendous blog, I desire to be like you

  • Looking for Justice said:

    Pay Me…where are you getting your info?
    He owes lots of folks all over town.
    I haven’t seen any info on Treadwell, etc.

  • Waiting and Watching said:

    I see that John Thomas was sentenced to 5 years in 2015. Finally his get out of jail free card expired. What a trail of disasters he left behind. scams, cons..
    What ever happened to Giordano when he got out?

  • suba suba said:

    I value the article post.Thanks Again. Awesome.

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