Tuesday, December 09, 2008

FBI Looked into Blagojevich in 1990's

We'll quote an old Chicago Tribune article from October 24,1996 on Rod Blagojevich titled A QUESTION OF IMAGE ROD BLAGOJEVICH which deals with Blagojevich and his father in law Chicago Alderman Dick Mell:
Mell put Blagojevich on his City Council payroll, and in 1990, Rod and Patti married.

Blagojevich stayed on the city payroll, with a short break for campaigning, until joining the legislature in 1993. The stint paid him about $83,000.

The specifics of what Blagojevich did for that money are elusive, and public records provide little clarification.

The issue is highly charged because federal investigators have questioned a handful of Mell's office workers--all of whom have denied wrongdoing--as part of a sweeping probe into alleged City Council ghost payrolling, the time-worn practice of collecting a public paycheck but doing little or no work.

Blagojevich said he hasn't been questioned, but Mell still has collected affidavits attesting to Blagojevich's hard work.

What did Blagojevich do? It's hard to pin down because of the slippery but legal system of City Council employment that lets people be paid by one committee and work elsewhere.

City records show that Blagojevich was paid by four separate council committees within two months in 1989. Records show he worked for the legislative reference bureau for 1 1/2 years.

William Donaldson, head of the Mell-controlled legislative reference bureau, an arm of the City Council that helps draft ordinances, said Blagojevich "did very good work" and filled a full-time position on his staff.

But Blagojevich says he never worked there, not even for a day. Instead, he said he always worked as a part-time aide to Mell out of the ward office, organizing community events and giving free legal advice to constituents.

You'll want to read the whole thing.