The Chicago Syndicate: Giannoulias Laying Low After Bank Loan To Mobster - Family Bank Loaned Money To Operator Of Call Girl Ring

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Giannoulias Laying Low After Bank Loan To Mobster - Family Bank Loaned Money To Operator Of Call Girl Ring

Friends of ours: Michael Giorango

Questions about loans to a convicted mobster are dominating the race for Illinois state treasurer. Alexi Giannoulias is laying low while studying the millions in loans his family’s bank made to the operator of a national call girl ring.

Christine Radogno is the Republican candidate for state treasurer. A veteran of the General Assembly, she faults her Democratic opponent for the confusing twists and turns he's taken trying to explain how he came to do business with a mob-connected ex-convict.

"You need someone who, one, knows what's going on, and, two, has the experience to handle the job," she said. "And I think both of those things are lacking based on what we've seen from the latest press release."

Alexi Giannoulias won a hotly contested Democratic primary for state treasurer last month by campaigning, in part, on the financial expertise he said he gained as a top banking executive.

Both before and after the election, Giannoulias claimed to know little or nothing about $15.4 million in loans his family's privately owned Broadway Bank granted to Michael Giorango, who's been convicted of running gambling and prostitution rings.

Of those mob-connected enterprises, Giannoulias said in a prepared statement: "What they did was wrong...inexcusable. If I had known...I do not believe...we would have approved those loans. (But) there was nothing illegal. I admit...I mishandled some questions."

His most prominent supporter, Sen. Barack Obama, wants answers, but is still on board. "I continue to believe Alexi is a person of good character and his experience will serve him in good stead as treasurer," Obama said.

Sen. Obama told CBS 2's Mike Flannery that he's advised Giannoulias that he needs to be sure the public statements he makes are accurate.

An aide to the candidate said Giannoulias is going to avoid making any public statements for the next week and will study his bank's loan portfolio, something Sen. Radogno finds very strange, since Giannoulias supposedly has been overseeing those very same loans for sometime now.

Thanks to Mike Flannery

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