Dot to Dot: Cellini, Rezko, Blagojevich, Obama
Sure. It’s just a matter of time until they pressure Cellini to tell everything he knows about the Planning Board legislation. Obama made absolutely sure that turned out the way Tony wanted it to turn out.
During the trial, Stuart Levine testified that when he sought reappointment to the Planning Board, he told Republican co-schemer, Bill Cellini, to tell the Blagojevich administration he would vote however they wanted when approving projects. He told the jury he had the same understanding with the two prior Republican governors, Jim Edgar, and George Ryan, who is now sitting in prison due to Fitzgerald’s successful prosecution of a corruption case against him.
A June 2003 email exchange produced in the trial shows Obama was one of eight officials who received the names of the nominees for the new Board ahead of time, from the office of David Wilhelm, who headed Blagojevich’s 2002 campaign for governor. Tony Rezko’s name does not appear in the email. In fact, his attorney made the point to the jury that the exchange was from Blagojevich’s general counsel, Susan Lichtenstein, and Wilhelm’s office, and indicated the appointees were recommended by Wilhelm and supported by those who received the memo. The memo said, “we worked closely over the past six months” with eight officials including three state senators. Jennifer Thomas, a former aide in Blagojevich’s patronage office, testified that she attended regular weekly meetings at Rezko’s office between the spring of 2003 and November 2004, and Rezko floated names and specifically said Levine should be reappointed to the new Board. … The Senate bill said, the “Board shall be appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate.”
But the Senate Confirmation Hearings were a joke. For instance, the Feds recorded Levine talking to co-schemer, Jon Bauman, the day Levine learned he was approved by the Senate from the executive secretary of the Board. Levine told Bauman he ran into Jeffrey Marks, who said “congratulations on your appointment,” and Levine asked for what. Marks said, “well the Senate Confirmation Hearings on Health Facility Plan Board members.” He told Levine Senate President, Emil Jones, only allowed 2 members to be approved and “that was you and the other person he just put in.” … “Isn’t that hysterical ’cause you know they had this big battle going on,” Levine told Bauman. … Laughing away, Levine said, “don’t you just love it.” … “I’m one of those independents and not part of the block.” … “Well, good, you know it’s good to be just a true independent civil servant,” Bauman said laughing along with Levine.