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

Rod Blagojevich to road building exec: Soon I won't be able to "bully you guys"

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Road building executive Gerry Krozel is back on the stand this morning. He's testifying about allegations that Rod Blagojevich tried to shake him down in exchange for rolling out a $6 billion public works project that would benefit his ailing industry.

Jurors just heard a tape from Oct. 22, 2008. Blagojevich, sitting in a room with Lon Monk, calls Krozel on speaker phone to follow up on earlier talks about the road building exec fund-raising for the governor.

Blago on tape: "Lon is here with me, so we just thought we'd say hello. How are you doing? We've got this end-of-the year deadline. The rules change after Jan. 1."

Krozel explains from the stand that Blago is referring to a new ethics bill that would prevent him from raising cash from people doing business with the state.

Blago on tape: "The good news is, we're off and running. We've got something going and there's going to be more."

One week before, Blago had announced a smaller, $1.8 billion project for the Illinois Tollway. The "more," Krozel says from the stand, is the promise of a bigger, $6 billion project.

Blago on tape: "The good news for you guys is -- which is the bad news for us -- after the first of the year this level of ... you know ... we won't be able to bully you guys."

Blago is heard telling Krozel that he will get another call in a couple weeks to check on his fund-raising progress.

Krozel testifies that he had no intention of fund-raising for Blago, especially since his Illinois Road Builders Association had just been subpoenaed for their campaign contributions.

His colleagues were "very very apprehensive" and didn't want to give the governor money, Krozel testified. But he wanted the project to go through, so he kept taking the governor's calls.

"He was the governor," Krozel testified. "I was afraid it could be the end of the program."

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It's very frustrating and discouraging to see when public figures, whether politicians, celebrities, sports figures, etc. don't have the personal integrity and character to take responsibility when they get caught. It's one thing that this scumbag Blagojevich had the audacity to engage in this self-serving activity in the first place. And even more serious that he would use his position of public trust to do this while serving as an elected official. And then on top of that, for him to continue to pretend he's innocent, blame others, say it's all being taken out of context, etc. Mr. Ex-governor, how stupid do you think people are? Own up to the fact, which everybody knows now thanks to your own recorded voice and a long list of witnesses, that the truth is that you acted in complete disregard to integrity and the trust placed in you by the people of your state. Admit it, stop fighting it, take your lumps, pay the price, and stop wasting time, taxpayer money, and the media circus you've created to try and cover up for your pathetic and reprehensible behavior. Just say yeah, I did it, I was wrong, I'm sorry, and I'm ready now to start taking responsibility. How refreshing it would be to finally see someone in your position do the right thing.

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This page contains a single entry by Sarah Ostman published on July 7, 2010 9:35 AM.

Blagojevich trial: Day 20 and recap was the previous entry in this blog.

Robert Blagojevich's attorney: Robert didn't talk to road builder about fund-raising is the next entry in this blog.

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