Tony Rezko's 10-year friend, Semir Sirazi, said two checks from Rezko in 2003 -- for $48,000 and $66,000 -- bounced. Sirazi provided consulting services for Rezko's Rezmar companies.
Rezko issued another $48,000 check, which cleared.
When the other check bounced, Sirazi said he met Rezko at the Wilmette Walker Bros. Pancake House to talk about it. Rezko gave him a signed, blank check and apologized.
It bounced too.
They talked again, and Rezko said he'd wire Sirazi's company, Mardini Inc., the money.
The $66,000 wire transfer that paid off Rezko's debt did come through. But at tax time, Sirazi said he realized the wire didn't come from a Rezko company.
It came from JAA Enterprises, which was owned by Joseph Aramanda, another Rezko associate.
JAA Enterprises is the same entity that received money from an alleged kickback scheme involving illicit finder's fees through a teachers' retirement system deal.
What Sirazi's testimony showed was that Rezko had repeated money problems and directly links Rezko to JAA. Of course, he's still subject to cross examination.
Sirazi sets up the expected testimony of Ali Ata, who will say Rezko made repeated demands of him for cash.
Sirazi also testified that Rezko warned him that the feds at some point might ask him about the transaction. And they did. In Feb. 2005, Sirazi said an IRS agent paid him a visit at home. He told Rezko.
"He told me I should hire an attorney before I talk to the government," Sirazi said.
Rezko suggested they create invoices between Mardini to JAA to help make the transfers look legitimate. Sirazi noted that JAA never owed him money. Rezko did.
Obviously, Sirazi cooperated with the government.