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

Krozel: Blagojevich wouldn't pass tollway bill without campaign contributions

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Reporting with Natasha Korecki

The prosecution closed out the day with questioning of Gerry Krozel, a consultant for the construction industry. Krozel took the stand to discuss alleged shakedowns of the construction industry in exchange for Blagojevich approving a $6 billion tollway bill.

Krozel, testifying under an immunity agreement with the government, said prior to 2006 he helped raise significant amounts of money for the governor each year, climbing into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. But in 2006, that money stopped when word spread of a possible investigation into the governor's administration. Krozel started to explain this but Zagel disallowed it.

In 2008 Krozel said he was rather unwillingly called to a meeting with Blagojevich and some of his associates at Friends of Blagojevich headquarters. Krozel said Blagojevich told him he was publicly announcing a $1.8 billion tollway plan and had another, in the amount of $6 billion, on deck to go into effect January 1. But first, Krozel said he understood Blagojevich wanted him to raise some money for campaign coffers.

"I felt there was a connection between the two," Krozel said. "If I couldn't raise money, there wouldn't be a tollway bill."

A pending ethics bill that went into effect January 1 dictated that Krozel donate any money to Blagojevich's campaign before it became illegal for companies with government contracts to donate at the beginning of 2009.

Zagel ended court a bit early to talk about why he wouldn't allow any of the questions defense lawyer Aaron Goldstein asked Children's Memorial Hospital CEO Patrick Magoon with the jury out of the room, which included details like Magoon's $600,000+ yearly salary in 2008.

Zagel told the defense they "cratered" in their questioning.

"Are we the meteor or the crater?" Goldstein asked.

"Either one," responded Zagel, adding that the defense had elicited "nothing of conceivable use" to their case.

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This page contains a single entry by Lark Turner published on May 16, 2011 4:45 PM.

Children's CEO wanted state help. CEO's annual salary: "North of $600,000." was the previous entry in this blog.

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