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

Former deputy governor, Bloomberg aide testifies on alleged school shakedown

Reporting with Natasha Korecki

Bradley Tusk, a onetime aide to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is testifying about an alleged shakedown scheme contained in the government's indictment.

Tusk said while he was deputy governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich told him he wanted a message delivered to then-U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel: A $2 million grant for the Chicago Academy, a school in Emanuel's district, was on hold unless his brother, Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel, held a fund-raiser.

Ari is the inspiration for the "Entourage" characte, Ari Gold.

Tusk said he didn't deliver the message but called Blagojevich's lawyer to tell him: "You need to get your client under control."

Tusk also testified that when he came to Illinois from New York to interview for the deputy governor job, he first met with John Wyma and Chris Kelly -- a fund-raiser and a roofer.

When it came to finding Gov. Blagojevich -- that wasn't always easy.

He said he had to hunt him down at his tailor and his daughter's salon to sign bills.

Otherwise, Tusk, now 36, was often tasked with signing or vetoing bills.

Defense attorney Sheldon Sorosky is cross-examining. Tusk tells Sorosky his hire was free of clout -- that Blagojevich hired a bright young man based on merits.

"I'd like to think so," Tusk says, to some chuckles. Rod, though, is not smiling.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Sarah Ostman published on June 21, 2010 2:17 PM.

Blagojevich speaks on possible gag order, Patti's hair was the previous entry in this blog.

Blagojevich trial: Tusk didn't notify law enforcement about alleged scheme is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.