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

Blagojevich witness: Governor wanted me to shake down contractors

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Lon Monk testified that as a large Illinois tollway expansion, a $1.8 billion road building program, was going to be announced, Rod Blagojevich told Monk he should hit up engineering firms for campaign donations.

"He wanted to put pressure on me to put pressure on them to donate money by the end of the year," Monk said.

Monk told prosecutor Christopher Niewoehner he wouldn't do it, at least not make straight up requests.

"It was just a blatant mixing of fund-raising for state action and vise versa," Monk said.

At one point, the two met with Jerry Krozel, a contractor who was pushing Blagojevich to
approve capital expansion. Though they were talking about state action, they met in the fund-raising office.

Blagojevich asked Krozel for financial "support" at the same meeting. Krozel told Blagojevich would be happy to help.

"It would really incentivize him to really fund-raise for Rod," Monk said.

Krozel was told the expansion would be a boon to the industry and in turn, Blagojevich hoped Krozel would raise $500,000 from others. Rod Blagojevich based that number, which Monk called "unrealistic," on past donations.

As Monk checked up on progress, Krozel said he hit a snag.

"I'm not going to be able to raise money from my members right now because they had been served subpoenas from the U.S. Attorney's office," Monk said.

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With friends like that.......

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What a great summers' entertainment this trial will be.

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on June 10, 2010 4:47 PM.

Blagojevich trial: Talk of Jesse Jackson Jr. on tapes was the previous entry in this blog.

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