Chicago Sun-Times
Inside the Rod Blagojevich investigation and related cases

Blagojevich trial: Board seats were Blago's "ambassadorships," Monk said

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Prosecutor Chris Niewoehner is questioning Lon Monk about appointments that Blagojevich made to a list of unpaid positions on state boards and commissions in 2003 and 2004.

Tony Rezko and Chris Kelly brought forward a list of recommendations for these at positions -- mostly people who had made sizable contributions or could be counted on to make sizable contributions, Monk testified.

They were "people who would support the governor's agenda, potentially donate money," Monk said. The appointments were a fund-raising tool, he said.

Rezko said that "some of these board spots were high-profile enough and prestigious enough ... that at a minimum some of these people ought to be donating $25,000," Monk said.

These were positions like trusteeships at the University of Illinois, the State Board of Investment, and the like, Monk said.

Blagojevich called these positions his "ambassadorships," Monk said -- referring to the notion that ambassadorships are appointed by presidents as a thank-you for big campaign contributions.

One of those most publicized appointments was that of Ali Ata, former director of the Illinois Finance Authority. Niewoehner is questioning Monk on that appointment.

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This page contains a single entry by Sarah Ostman published on June 10, 2010 10:15 AM.

Blagojevich Trial: Rod reprimanded for "gesturing" was the previous entry in this blog.

Blagojevich trial: Monk questioned on pension board proposal is the next entry in this blog.

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