Tag: Tony Rezko

Alderman Mell Cashes In. So It Goes.

Chicago Alderman Richard Mell stands to take a chunk of a $15 million trial judgment, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Mell is not talking about the case, Cement-Lock v. Gas Tech. Institute, and the Sun-Times had little success turning up anything too specific. Mell’s attorneys, Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon LLP, who also list the Sun-Times among their clients, issued a brief statement:

“We are very pleased with the decision and the jury’s strong finding in favor of our client. Because this is ongoing litigation, we cannot comment further at this time.”

Plaintiffs’ attorneys could not be reached.

The case was heard by Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer. The federal jury’s decision was rendered March 11. By way of background, Attorney R. David Donoghue’s Chicago IP Litigation Blog offered the following in December:

Plaintiffs alleged that defendants permitted defendant Gas Technology Institute (“GTI”) to secure funding for Technology-related activities, despite defendants’ knowledge that GTI had no license to use the Technology and kept knowledge of the funding from CLG. GTI also allegedly claimed to own and have developed the Technology. The Court held that there was no written license between CLG and GTI regarding the Technology. But there was a question of fact as to whether GTI’s efforts to secure finding for the Technology was improper. Additionally, there was a question of fact as to whether GTI misrepresented its ownership or control over the Technology.

“CLG” is the Cement-Lock Group.

“Mell owns a 10 percent share of Cement-Lock Group, a company formed in 1997 to cash in on the remediation technology,” according to the Sun-Times. The suit alleged “massive fraud”:

Defendants in the case included Gas Technology Institute; Institute of Gas Technology; Endesco Services; Endesco Clean Harbors LLC, Stanley Brys, James Dunne and Francis S. Lau.

“What began as a legitimate enterprise to obtain funding to commercialize and market a technology . . . has become a massive fraud with defendants stealing and diverting grant funds through a pattern of racketeering involving acts of mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and more,” the lawsuit states.

Over a seven-year period, the defendants were accused of “contracting for or receiving” $30 million in grant funding without Cement- Lock Group’s permission by “misrepresenting ownership of the technology” they once claimed had a $5 billion world-wide market.

The scheme to “milk the cash cow” by prolonging the research phase — in part, by setting up a New Jersey demonstration facility — ended up “diverting millions of dollars . . . ,” the suit stated.

Of interest in all of this is where Mell might end up next. The Sun-Times again:

Earlier this week, a witness in the federal corruption trial of former Blagojevich fund-raiser Tony Rezko accused Mell of trying to muscle a lucrative kickback out of a deal at a state pension fund, which he denied.

Always looking for more exposure, Chicagoland pols must be hoping against hope no one even whispers their names at the Rezko trial. Yes, this was only one mention of Mell by a witness, but I suspect Rezko’s trial will only lead to more indictments. Is Mell’s name on the short list? No one has alleged anything formally against Mell, and I’ll not do so here.

But all of this raises horribly serious questions.

I really don’t get these Chicago Democrats. I don’t see them as Democrats at all. We have pols like these in the south suburbs. For many of them, the pursuit of ideals and the needs of the people are subservient to their desire for control and power. Patronage government is very expensive, and the feds are hungry to stop it all. But the Chicago machine rages on.

Time to rage back.

Obama Comes Clean on Rezko

Senator Barack Obama gave an extensive interview with the Chicago Tribune Friday answering questions about his relationship with Tony Rezko. The Tribune provided an initial report of the interview where Obama revealed Rezko was much more involved with Obama’s fundraising efforts, but repeatedly chastised himself not showing better judgment:

Indicted Chicago businessman Antoin “Tony” Rezko was a more significant fundraiser for presidential candidate Barack Obama’s earlier political campaigns than previously known. Rezko raised as much as $250,000 for the first three offices Obama sought, the senator told the Tribune on Friday.

Obama also said for the first time that his private real estate transactions with Rezko involved repeated lapses of judgment. The mistake, Obama said, was not simply that Rezko was under grand jury investigation at the time of their 2005 and 2006 dealings. “The mistake was he had been a contributor and somebody involved in politics,” he said.

To my mind, the key issue would be potential for payback. Was there any indication Rezko would come calling and expect something in return? This, after all, is the seedy side of politics, and if Barack Obama was playing this game, his words would be empty as a noisy gong or clanging cymbol. The report continues:

Asked if he ever thought Rezko would expect something from their relationship, Obama was definitive. “No, precisely because I’d known him for [many] years and he hadn’t asked me for favors.”

The rest of the article simply recaps some of the history regarding Obama’s relationship with Tony Rezko.

Obama did the right thing. We called for more on this issue, and we’re pleased to see that the Senator took time to set the record straight. The article gives every indication that Obama answered questions patiently and thoroughly. Reporters had no lingering questions. Instead, we find someone taking himself to task for trusting a person who had earned his trust, only then to discover that trust was misplaced.  That would appear to be the case here.

We’ve all been there before.

There may be may be more to the story, but we don’t see it at this point.  For now, we give Senator Obama credit. It’s not easy to admit you’ve been had, especially in the middle of a political campaign when the only thing that passes many voters’ muster is perfection. But it takes character and an ounce or two of humility to admit a mistake.

This is the man we’ve come to know in Illinois.