Visit from feds drove Ata to state job

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An aside from Ali Ata's testimony.

Ata, former Executive Director of the Illinois Finance Authority, testified he worked for Nalco for years earning five U.S. Patents. That is, until 2001, when he took an early retirement.
"Within days of 9/11, I was visited at work by FBI agents," Ata said, referring to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. Ata, a Jordanian national, came to the country in 1970, "seeking education," he said. Two weeks after the FBI visit, Ata said his employer urged him to take a retirement package with the company.

"Did the events have an effect on you?" Prosecutor Carrie Hamilton asked.
“Yes, they were devastating to myself and my family,” Ata said, pressing his lips hard.

Ata, 56, of Lemont later became a fund-raiser for Blagojevich, he said. He kicked into Blagojevich's campaign some $60,000, according to state records. But he also held two fund-raisers at his home for the governor, he said.

It was in 2002 that Ata started talks with Rezko and the governor about getting a state job, which he later landed and was paid $127,000 a year.

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2 Comments

Ata had an opportunity to serve the country that gave so much to him and his family and he chose to take the road of corruption instead. That is so sad, he should have just gone back to Jordan.

This is really tragic. Makes one wonder what the Arabic community feels they must do in order to get ahead here. The gov. isn't exactly setting a terrific example of how life works here.

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Natasha Korecki

Natasha Korecki is the Federal Courts Reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, covering federal news, corruption investigations and trials.

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on May 1, 2008 12:34 PM.

Rezko trial: Ata takes the stand was the previous entry in this blog.

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