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

Owner of landfill at the center of Blagojevich-Mell feud indicted

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The onetime owner of a Joliet landfill that was the subject of a legendary feud that turned federal authorities' attention to Rod Blagojevich in 2005, has been charged with tax evasion.

Frank Schmidt, 40, of Glenview, was charged with five counts of tax evasion tied to allegedly failing to pay $2 million in taxes owed on more than $11 million in income over the last five years.

Schmidt was the sole owner of Land Reclamation Services landfill.

In January 2005, then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich ordered state environmental workers to shut down the owned by Schmidt -- a relative of Blagojevich's wife, Patti, and of his father-in-law, powerful Chicago Ald. Richard Mell (33rd).

Blagojevich's administration had accused Schmidt of accepting illegal waste and of "using his ties to the Blagojevich family to solicit" business for an illegal-dumping operation.

Mell, in turn, publicly accused his son-in-law of trumping up the charges against Schmidt so Blagojevich could ride in like a political "white knight" at a time when his top campaign fund-raisers were -- as the fund-raisers' subsequent convictions would prove -- trading plum state-government appointments for hefty contributions to his Friends of Blagojevich campaign fund.

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Alderman Mel was out to get Rod! As crazy as that sounds! And, he dumped information into the press, to gain the advantage. Did he know we'd all be here, today, talking about the government's ability to "get Rod?" Nah. I don't think so.

And, Patrick Fitzgerald is still operating. And, no judge saw fit explain to people that the First Amendment does NOT give the press permission the right to the prosecutor's evidence, hang people. It's that simple.

As to horse trading, Abraham Lincoln horse-traded. Back in 1862, he went on record saying he didn't care which way the slave issue got resolved; all he wanted to do was SAVE THE UNION. To "free the slaves" wasn't his issue. To keep states that had not joined the Confederacy OUT of the Confederacy ... yes. Lincoln was there. Cold horse-trade with the best of them. Yup. Politics has its hard-ball examples.

Is Rod Blagojevich a nice guy? Fairness does not depend on your being likable. (You expect saints and nice guys to get elected?) You haven't noticed who actually runs? And, that it takes money to run? You thought it was free? Or for only those who already had money?

Our Founding Fathers knew men were scoundrels. They also knew they didn't want a monarchy. And, yet? Even back then, there were politically well connected families. (Andrew Jackson was the first man who won an election, who wasn't well connected. So, what happened in 1832, huh?) John Quincy Adams got one term. Because Henry Clay "found" Electoral votes from Florida. (And, what followed? The Whig party died. Lincoln had to find a new home.)

Poor Rod Blagojevich. He talks so much the FBI could just tap his phone calls, and build a case by sticking "hot words" together. Rod Blagojevich probably sealed his fate on the word "fucken." As if a governor's ability to appoint someone to fill a vacated senate seat is chopped liver. (As a matter of fact, aren't you surprised the call didn't come from Obama?)

At least there was one juror! (About on par of what you'd get if you just opened a phone book, and randomly chose out names.)

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on August 30, 2010 11:28 AM.

Robert Blagojevich on testifying against his brother: "I've got nothing bad to say about him." was the previous entry in this blog.

Patrick Fitzgerald on Blagojevich: My lips are sealed is the next entry in this blog.

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