The Chicago Syndicate: Mike Madigan
Showing posts with label Mike Madigan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mike Madigan. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Does Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan Run a #Mafia Protection Racket? @GovRauner Says Yes.

Gov. Bruce Rauner went on Fox & Friends this morning and accused House Speaker Mike Madigan of running “a Mafia protection racket.”

Rauner took it up a notch against Madigan by trying to link the speaker’s property tax assessment appeal law firm to corruption this way.

“Basically in the political job he raises property taxes”, said Rauner, “We have the highest property taxes in America. And then on the side, he charges millions of dollars in fees to businesses that are afraid of their property taxes. He reduces them for a fee and then he holds the threat that if they ever cross him, he’ll raise their property taxes. It’s just like the Mafia. It’s a Mafia protection racket!”

Madigan denies this, says he has in place strict ethics rules separating his duties as speaker and lawyer. Also, the legislature doesn’t raise property taxes, local units of government do.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Michael "Jaws" Giorango and Demitri Stavropoulos Receive Over $20 Million in Bank Loans From Giannoulias' Family Bank

Democrats are quietly worrying about whether Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias can win President Barack Obama's old Senate seat. His family's bank is believed to be on the verge of collapse and reportedly made $20 million in loans to two convicted felons.

Republican Rep. Mark Kirk is already accusing Giannoulias of lying to the voters about the loans, and his campaign is guaranteed to be pounding away at the bank's problems in millions of dollars worth of television ads. But the 34-year-old Giannoulias is still electable if he meets the bank embarrassment head on and strikes back at the Republican congressman as more conservative than this Democratic-trending state, Democratic insiders say.

Democrats brush aside any talk of getting Giannoulias to bow out of the race.

"Alexi Giannoulias is running a strong campaign on the issues that matter to the people of Illinois — like job creation and the economy," says Deirdre Murphy, national press secretary of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Giannoulias was not granting interviews Friday as the Chicago Tribune ran a front page story with the headline: "$20 MILLION IN BANK LOANS TO FELONS." The story detailed how Broadway Bank, a Giannoulias family-owned institution in Chicago, had lent large sums to convicted felons Michael "Jaws" Giorango and Demitri Stavropoulos.

The fact that Broadway had loaned the men millions — Stavropoulos was convicted of running a multistate bookmaking ring and Giorango of promoting a nationwide prostitution ring — was a campaign issue when Giannoulias ran for state treasurer in 2006. But the Tribune reported it reviewed court files and other documents that showed millions more — a total of more than $27 million worth of mortgages to Giorango, his land trusts and companies since 1999, $20 million of which was loaned when Giannoulias was a senior loan officer.

Giannoulias spokeswoman Kathleen Strand said he had "no role with these two individuals nor did he sit on the loan committee with these loans." She sought to portray the story as old news, saying Giannoulias has been answering questions about the loans for years.

The bank is fighting to keep its doors open. It is holding some $242 million in bad loans, and in January, entered into a consent decree with the federal government and has 90 days to raise about $85 million. But Giannoulias recently told The Associated Press that he believes it would be "very tough" for it to survive.

Democratic insiders in Washington, who spoke on condition of anonymity so they could freely discuss their views, say they expect the bank to fail eventually but think that will be greeted as "old news" by voters.

The White House's political team, still smarting after the stunning loss of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's Massachusetts seat to Republican Scott Brown, has refocused its attention beyond the Beltway. Though not responsible for all Democratic campaigns, White House officials are aware any Democratic loss will be painted as a referendum on Obama.

The Democratic insiders said they learned lessons from Brown's election and have made sure Giannoulias' team would be unlikely to require a wave of Washington consultants to buttress a flailing campaign, as happened in Massachusetts. In that race, vans shuttled staffers from the Democratic committees around Washington northward for a final attempt to help Brown's Democratic opponent, Martha Coakley.

While the White House isn't keen on saying that Giannoulias stands to recoup only a few million dollars from the wreckage of the bank, internal polls and focus groups show he can win with that approach, according to these insiders.

They say Obama, who remains popular in his home state, will campaign for Giannoulias and top political adviser David Axelrod, a veteran of Chicago politics, is in constant touch with developments in Illinois.

At the Statehouse in Springfield, the hallway whispers are that top Democratic leaders would have preferred Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, whose father, House Speaker Michael Madigan, is party chairman. But she didn't run and some say she probably would prefer to go for governor if she had her choice.

Meanwhile, Kirk capitalized on the fresh attention to his opponent's woes, saying in a statement Friday that Giannoulias has falsely claimed that he didn't know about the criminal backgrounds of Giorango and Stavropoulos.

"Alexi Giannoulias misled voters to get elected state treasurer and continued to mislead voters in an effort to win election as a United States senator," he said.

Chicago political consultant Don Rose said that if the election were now he thinks Kirk would win but sees a good opportunity for Giannoulias make up for lost ground, especially if the economy improves.

"They have to make Kirk unpalatable politically and level the playing field," Rose said. "Of course the best thing would be if they could get him (Giannoulias) to resign and replace him." But that isn't going to happen, Democrats say.

Thanks to Mike Robinson and Phillip Elliot

Monday, June 15, 2009

Ex-Governor of Illinois Accuses Democrats of Ties to The Chicago Outfit

The adjourned session of the General Assembly failed abysmally to come to grips with Illinois’ pervasive state of corruption. Leading the failure were two Chicagoans — Mike Madigan, speaker of the House and John Cullerton, president of the Senate. The Chicago bloc fell in line behind them, demonstrating once again the baleful grip that Chicago’s Democratic machine, now 85 years old, has on this state.

It’s time to state the obvious. The primary cause of endemic corruption in Illinois is the Chicago political machine.

The machine began with “Push Cart” Tony, Anton J. Cermak. He and his successor, Edward J. Kelly, welded the Democratic Party’s 50 ward committeemen and 3,000 precinct captains into a tight, powerful and well-disciplined political machine that on election day regularly delivered the votes needed to elect its candidates — the ultimate goal of the Chicago machine, then and now.

Demanding unswerving loyalty, the machine absorbed many thousands of new arrivals — first, the Irish, Italians, Jews, Poles and Germans, and then the blacks from the South. With few changes in its disciplined methodology, it has now endured for more than 80 years as the available patronage jobs have grown to exceed 40,000.

From the beginning, self-preservation and a lack of ethical standards have characterized the machine’s method of operations. And the machine MO has always included its cardinal credo — “look the other way.” If thy brother is lining his pockets, it’s none of thine’s business.

The credo of toleration and its accompanying lack of ethical standards was hardened when the machine encountered Al Capone’s criminal organization. Sometimes close, sometimes at arms’ length, the political organization with its “look the other way” credo has ever since tolerated what has been called variously the criminal organization, crime syndicate, the Mob, the Chicago Outfit.

The blindness to crime existed in the 11th Ward organization, home for all the Daleys. The precinct captains of that ward organization worked the same streets as the Outfit’s soldiers.

Yet, Daley constantly denied that organized crime existed in Chicago. Significantly, Richard M. Daley looked the other way as state’s attorney, Cook County’s chief law enforcement officer from 1980 to 1989. Ignored during those years were the criminal activities of the Outfit disclosed recently by the Family Secrets trial.

The machine’s political power has extended over the years far beyond Chicago. The machine has also controlled the state’s Democratic Party organization and the selection of candidates for both county and state office. In the state legislature, the machine has constantly controlled a large bloc.

With wheeling and dealing and masterful power brokering raised to an art form, the machine bloc has enabled Chicago machine politics to control both leaders and the flow of legislation in both houses. To get anything accomplished, downstate legislators must bow to the Chicago leadership.

In recent years, money has replaced patronage as the critical fuel for the machine’s operations. So-called “pay to play” has become endemic. Governmental rewards go to those making large contributions. In practical effect, it’s legalized bribery.

Often, the money flows through lawyers — a business desiring governmental results pays high fees to particular attorneys who, in turn, make campaign contributions to the official having the power to grant the favors.

Today, Mayor Richard M. Daley denies that he heads a political machine. He should read the felony indictments of more than 130 officials in his administration. They spell out an MO that is basically no different from that of old-time bosses Tony Cermak and Edward Kelly. And basically, it’s the same MO spelled out in the 75-page indictment of impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the 18-count indictment of former secretary of state and Gov. George Ryan, one a Democrat and the other a Republican.

The columnist Mike Royko once wrote that the City of Chicago’s official motto, “Urbs in Horto” (city in a garden), should be changed to, “Ubi est Mea” (what’s in it for me). That has a strange similarity to Blagojevich’s infamous statement about the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama that he tried to auction off to the highest bidder: “I’ve got this thing and it’s ---- golden and I’m not going to give it away for ---- nothing.”

As the trial lawyers say, I rest my case. The record is clear that it is the Chicago political machine that has brought Illinois, the Land of Lincoln, to its present intolerable state of corruption.

Thanks to Dan Walker, Governor of Illinois from 1973-77.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

State Treasurer Candidate Asked to Explain Mob Allegations

Mike Madigan doesn't get mad. He gets even. And boy, does he get even.

Lobbing another political hand grenade, the state Democratic Party chairman and Illinois House speaker said Tuesday he is withholding his support for Democratic treasurer nominee Alexi Giannoulias until he answers "those allegations of connections to the mob."

"I want some answers," Madigan said. "The allegations are there." The powerful Southwest Side Democrat made the remarks at his annual fund-raiser when I asked him why Giannoulias' photo was still not on the party's Web site.

A North Side banker and political novice, Giannoulias, you will remember, beat Madigan's choice for state treasurer in the primary, Downstater Paul Mangieri. That gave Giannoulias the chance to square off against Republican nominee Christine Radogno in November. But Giannoulias, 30, became engulfed in controversy. The Chicago Tribune published articles about millions of dollars his family-owned bank loaned to two convicted felons and an alleged money-launderer.

Broadway Bank is not accused of anything illegal, but it has been a political embarrassment for Giannoulias, who first called one of the men a "very nice person," then later said he had been too "cavalier."

The bombshell from Madigan recalls his cryptic comments in 2002 about never-explained "indiscretions" of then-Democratic gubernatorial nominee Rod Blagojevich. This time, Madigan is being more pointed. "I mean my history in politics, if you were alleged to be connected to the mob, you were done, but life seems to go on," he said.

Giannoulias told me he feels he has satisfactorily answered reporters' questions about the loans. "I would love to sit down with the speaker at some point," he said. "I've put calls in to his office and see if we could sit down and talk about how we could uh, you know, work together." But Giannoulias conceded he's stumped about what he can do to bring Madigan on board. "You know, I don't know," he said. "I'm a political outsider to some of this, you know, silliness."

Thanks to Carol Marin

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