Rod Blagojevich sentencing, Don't let Blago's sentencing distract you from other political theatrics, Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board

Rod Blagojevich sentencing, Don’t let Blago’s sentencing distract you from other political theatrics, Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board

“Why did the Illinois Senate Health & Human Services Committee, with Obama as chairman, create and push Bill 1332, “Illinois Health Facilities Planning Act,” early in 2003, which reduced the number of members on the Board from 15 to 9, just prior to rigging by Tony Rezko and Rod Blagojevich?”…Citizen Wells

“Why did Patrick Fitzgerald and the US Justice Department wait until December 2008 to arrest Rod Blagojevich?”…Citizen Wells

“I believe I’m more pristine on Rezko than him.”…Rod Blagojevich

From John Kass and the Chicago tribune December 1, 2011.

“Don’t let Blago’s sentencing distract you from other political theatrics”

“Former Gov. Dead Meat is scheduled to be sentenced at a hearing scheduled for next Tuesday and Wednesday, as Illinois taxpayers watch another corrupt governor head to prison.

Rod Blagojevich has been convicted on 17 counts of corruption, including trying to sell a U.S. Senate seat. In a court filing on Wednesday, federal prosecutors asked that Dead Meat sit in federal stir for the next 15 to 20 years.
During his machinations surrounding the appointment of a United States senator, and the shakedowns of hospital and racetrack executives, the defendant revealed his corrupt, criminal character,” federal prosecutors said in their court filing.

But this is still Illinois, where politics is often about distraction. So with our second consecutive governor doing the long goodbye in federal court, try to keep your eye on the shell with the pea inside.

The deadline for petitions of candidacy for judges and legislators is 5 p.m. Monday. So let’s not forget all those who get the petitions signed, all those patronage and union workers, precinct captains, guys who owe guys for favors, and just plain decent citizens who care about goodness and honesty in government.

Before it’s over, Dead Meat’s nemesis, House Speaker Mike Madigan, D-Lisa’s Daddy, will certainly exert his influence here. The Lord of Madiganistan doesn’t want you to look too closely, but he always has something to say about who gets to wear the black robes. He’s chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party, and those boys still decide who wields the gavel from the county level to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Then on Tuesday, as the Blagojevich hearing begins, more unrelated theatrics are scheduled at City Hall. City Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino, the airports czarina, has been invited to appear before the Chicago City Council’s Committee on Aviation.”

“Then on Wednesday, as Blago is likely to be standing before U.S. District Court Judge James Zagel to plead for mercy, there will be yet another important hearing in another government building.

This time, it’s a state panel, a meeting of the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, which OKs new hospital construction.

And here’s the irony. The state board is scheduled to consider a proposal by a Wisconsin hospital group — Mercy Health System — to build a medical facility in Crystal Lake. (Mercy Health System is not affiliated with Mercy Hospital and Medical Center of Chicago.)

In 2003, Mercy Health System sought the state board’s approval on a similar project.

As federal testimony in a number of cases has explained, there was much behind-the-scenes intrigue. FBI agents got involved and by the time they were done, the federal Operation Board Games probe had exposed Republican and Democratic corruption throughout state government and led to Blagojevich’s indictment.

The feds brought down Stuart Levine, a member of the state hospital board, who pleaded guilty to extortion, bribery and money laundering. Levine rolled over and testified against others, including the recently convicted Republican boss, William Cellini.

In April of 2003, Mercy Health System hired a Levine confederate, Jacob Kiferbaum, of Kiferbaum Construction, to build the hospital. Levine testified that he thought he’d get his kickback from Kiferbaum. The state hospital panel controlled by Levine gave Mercy Health System the go-ahead for the Crystal Lake project.

Soon the feds were all over it. In 2005, a judge overturned the state board’s ruling. Kiferbaum pleaded guilty to attempted extortion in an unrelated hospital shakedown.”

Read more:,0,286190.column

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