Gov. Blagojevich: May 2008 Archives

Witness: Rezko shook me down for cash

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Witness Ali Ata testified that Tony Rezko asked him for cash four different times for a total of $125,000.
Ata went to his brother-in-law's company, Jenin Distribution, and removed huge sums of cash from the safe. On the first occasion, Rezko told him he needed $25,000 for Gov. Blagojevich's home. Contractors were going to slap a lien on the home if the money didn't come through, Ata said.

Another request for money came in the fall of 2004.
"He needed $100,000 ... he was being pushed, he had a lot of obligations and he needed $100,000 in cash," Ata said Rezko told him. Ata had half of that.
Rezko allegedly showed up at Ata's Lemont home and told him to get in the car. With $50,000 in a bag in the car, the two drove to the house of Blagojevich fund-raiser Chris Kelly.


In the months before Ali Ata was appointed to a state post, Tony Rezko hit him up for a $50,000 campaign contribution for Blagojevich. " I said: 'No, I can only give $25,000.' ”
That was on top of previous contributions totaling $60,000.

Later, Ata spoke with the governor at a summer fund-raiser at Navy Pier.
“Mr. Blagojevich thanked me for my continuing support. He indicated he was aware of myself making another contribution and said he understood I was considering a position with the new administration. (He) said that it better be a job where I could make some money.”
Ata later told Rezko of the conversation with Blagojevich.
"I said I was surprised that the governor would make such a statement," Ata said. "Mr. Rezko said he wasn’t surprised."

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 is a archive of entries in the Gov. Blagojevich category from May 2008.

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