Thursday, May 10, 2007

Vrdolyak indicted.

UPDATE ... Read the full indictment here [pdf]. I won't be able to dig into this until later tonight probably, but I'll post something then.

UPDATE [5/10 11:21pm]... The indictment is all about Vrdolyak's scheme with Stuart Levine to funnel money from Chicago Medical School in the form of $15 million real estate deals. Sweetheart contracts, under-the-table payments, kickbacks all around. By now we all sort of know the drill.

Most of the details in the indictment are things Stuart Levine has already pled guilty to, and the criminal enterprise described is getting awfully familiar. It goes like this:

1.) Levine gets appointed to this or that board of directors
2.) He immediately begins steering contracts or deals or stuff to his politically connected friends -- Robert Kjellander, Tony Rezko, Fast Eddie Vrdolyak. These friends either receive contracts directly (Rezko) or give them to a friendly company (Vrdolyak) which then
3.) Kicks back a few million here and there to Levine and other co-conspirators as necessary.

And everybody's happy. But then Levine finds himself indicted by Patrick Fitzgerald. He eventually pleads guilty to federal charges, and he becomes a cooperating witness. Before the indictments go public, he even wears a wire! And he turns out to be connected to all sorts of schemes and frauds involving powerful people in Illinois.

Vrdolyak is a political figure, of course -- an infamous one -- but in this indictment he's really just a corrupt lawyer. One part of the story that isn't here is the public component of Levine's schemes. In order to keep himself appointed to the right boards, Levine had a step four, which was:

4.) Write fat checks to politicians all the time. Be a part of the state's political establishment.

If you were looking, there's the Blagojevich angle! It's not in this indictment, but let's remember that Levine worked directly with Gov. Blagojevich a lot. The governor is already "a certain public official" in one of Fitzgerald's indictments against Rezko and Levine. And if Levine spilled on Rezko and Vrdolyak, he definitely spilled on Blagojevich, too.

Back to the subject at hand. Truthfully, this indictment feels like one misdeed out of a probable kajillion that could eventually have caught up to Vrdolyak. But then it only takes one.


haahnster said...

Happy birthday, brutha!

Rob said...

Thanks bro!