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

Blagojevich tells aide to hold up funding for Children's hospital

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Reporting with Sarah Ostman

The questioning of onetime Deputy Gov. Robert Greenlee moves to Children's Memorial Hospital. Blagojevich is accused of shaking down the hospital's CEO for a campaign contribution in exchange for authorizing state funding. When he didn't get his campaign contribution, he allegedly held up the funding.

Greenlee explained that in the fall of 2008, he met with the CEO of Children's Memorial Hospital and others to discuss state funding to help pay for a possible rate increase.

"As a result of that ... it would allow the hospital to provide more services to sick kids," Greenlee said. "One of our stated goals as an administration was to get health care to all children."

Rod Blagojevich then called Greenlee about the possible rate increase.
"I recall that he called me out of the blue and asked if I had talked about Children's Memorial Hospital about rate increases. I told him it would cost $8 million to $10 million."

Greenlee said it represented a tiny slice of the budget.
"When he said we should look into doing it, I understood: 'Get it moving."

Later, Blagojevich calls Greenlee again, on Nov. 12, 2008.
Blagojevich: "Pediatric doctors, the reimbursement. Has that gone out yet, or is that still on hold?"
Blagojevich also asked if the governor's office had total discretion over it.
Blagojevich: "So we can pull it back if we need to, budgetary concerns, right?"
Greenlee: "We sure could."
Blagojevich: "Ok, that's good to know."

Greenlee testified he took the conversation to mean he shouldn't set aside money for the hospital, so he made a call and held it up.

Greenlee said it was an unusual request.
"In the context of health care initiatives I never heard him use budget as a reason not to more forward," Greenlee said.

Prosecutor Reid Schar noted it remained that way as of Dec. 9, 2008 -- the day the governor was arrested.

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why did Blago have budgetary conerns, he spent the state into a 12 billion hole. Send him to prision already

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