Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Personal Aside: Blago’s Committee Owes Almost a Million to Big Jimbo’s Firm says “Crain’s” Hinz.


Big Jimbo the Magnificent.

The thin-lipped giant, 5-term governor and architect of the bipartisan one-hand-washing-the-other between the political parties which the “Tribune’s” John Kass aptly has called the “Combine,” James R. Thompson, seemingly has allowed his law firm Winston-Strawn, to hold the bag on a $965,352.04 bill for representing the unofficial defendant in the Rezko case, Citizens for Blagojevich, the governor’s campaign committee—so reports Greg Hinz of “Crain’s Chicago Business” in a brilliant piece of journalism.

The ex-governor who has become the state’s prime lobbyist, ostentatiously put his law firm on a pro-bono basis to carry the $10 million plus legal carriage encumbered by corrupt ex-governor George Ryan. According to Hinz, the pro-bono was to accommodate Ryan for rewarding Thompson’s firm with lots of legal business. Whether that is the case or whether Thompson felt a need to keep Ryan cozy and a friend for fear of what he might disclose in anger is unknown. After the Ryan case ended with a horrific loss for Ryan, Thompson decided to step down as chairman. Now larded with the taste for a lifestyle approximating Suileman the Magnificent, Thompson with a patch of prematurely orange hair atop his head, is busily trying to sell Sam Zell on a token of mercantilism similar to the state’s buying in to the White Sox for which he became famous—using state clout (he says no tax monies will be used but he frequently won reelection pledging no tax hikes and then reneged) to “save” Wrigley Field.

As Hinz writes, Ryan got a $10 million freebie in from Big Jimbo in part because the feds restricted his campaign fund from paying Thompson by charging it with racketeering. He points out that this could repeat itself with Blagojevich.

An excellent story from one of the city’s preeminent reporters and analysts.

1 comment:

  1. Most enjoyable! I laughed aloud when you compared the former governor to the leader of the Ottoman Empire.