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

Blagojevich denies tollway shakedown

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Reporting with Lark Turner

Rod Blagojevich heads into testimony about the third of five alleged shakedown schemes -- this one involves tollway improvements.

He's accused of shaking down road-building executive Gerry Krozel for a campaign contribution in exchange for pushing through a major tollway improvement.

At least part of his defense to this is that Blagojevich really wanted a massive capital bill to pass -- one that would have improved tollways as well as given a lift to other capital projects throughout the state.

Aaron Goldstein plays an Oct. 31, 2008 call between Blagojevich and chief of staff John Harris where the then-governor is heard pushing for this bill. He's heard dropping an f-bomb, and later apologized for it.

Blagojevich smiles, shaking his head a little bit in apparent, disbelief at his caught-on-tape self.

He's specifically talking about DuPage County Bob Schillerstrom, who wanted state funding to build a western access to O'Hare.

Blagojevich is heard saying that if Schillerstrom wanted it, he'd better "bring all their influence to bear" to get House Speaker Michael Madigan to lift a brick off of it in the Illinois House.

"You're a big, tough guy with a lot of influence, get down to Springfield...Lobby your government there," Blagojevich said he wanted of Schillerstrom at the time. "You'll get your western access road and a lot more. You'll get schools and roads and a lot more."

Judge James Zagel again tells Blagojevich he understands there's a tendency to explain how government works in each of his answers.
However, he tells him to instead: "Just answer the questions."

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1 Comment

I beg to differ with Rod's "Illinois Tollway Shakedown"
All the executives he gave jobs too, to help expedite his madness.
Now they've all disappeared with plum jobs elsewhere or left the state entirely.

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on May 31, 2011 10:24 AM.

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