Chicago Patronage Chicago Politics Rezko Trial Networking Politician Illinois Gambling – No

The state of Illinois is an intricate web of networks from Chicago to Springfield. It’s difficult to identify the good guys from the bad guys, but lately with the trial of Tony Rezko, we’ve learned that Illinois politicians have multiple relationships with all kinds of people. The expansion of gambling would open an additional avenue to the networking system.

Let’s explore some of these multiple relationships:

Rod Blagoyevich, Governor of Illinois is said to be under federal investigation because of his relationship with Tony Rezko and the testimony at Rezko’s trial implicating him in state appointments. The Rezko court documents may be found at: [http://blogs.suntimes.com/rezko/2008/07/rezko_here_are_blago_and_obama_1.html]

Tony Rezko has a long term friendship with Barack Obama. One publication, and maybe more than one, suggests that Obama was instrumental in helping Rezko obtain Chicago City contracts for his housing rehab business in addition to their joint real estate buy. [Case Against Barack Obama, by David Freddoso]

Alexi Giannoulias, comes from a family of bankers who allegedly gave (or gives) loans to the mob. He is currently the Illinois State Treasurer and he was a speaker at the DNC in August. He’s a good friend of Obama and they used to shoot hoops together.

Mayor Richard M. Daley, son of Richard J. Daley, said not long ago, “There’s no crime in Chicago,” and more recently said, “There is no Chicago machine.” Chicago City Hall provided more than a million dollars worth of contracts to Tony Rezko for his Rezmar business. The buildings he “rehabbed” are boarded up and abandoned.

Illinois has sent more than one governor to jail from both parties, and some of the Mayor’s aides have been indicted on mail fraud charges.

Freddoso writes about the late John Stroger and a patronage system where friends and families benefited in his Cook County Board of Commissioners. Contributions to his campaign were the key to getting ahead in the organization. Stroger’s son Todd, with the endorsement of Senators Dick Durbin and Barack Obama, stepped into his father’s shoes when he left the race.

Expansion of gambling in Illinois is not, in my opinion, the best way to balance the state budget. Given the history of Illinois and politicians that populate the present government system, it would exacerbate the problems that already exist. The network of multiple relationships could grow even larger.

If Illinois truly wants to ease it’s state budget problems, the governor should take a good look at all the political networking practices of patronage and special interests in Illinois and make some changes that would direct the money to where it rightfully belongs. It would also put qualified people in positions instead of political contributors.

Reform is needed but it’s not possible as long as the network perpetuates itself by nepotism and patronage.

Gambling brings undesirable elements to the best environment, but to expand it in Illinois is tantamount to waving a red flag in front of a bull.