President Obama has thrown his political weight behind Chicago mob banker and basketball buddy, Alexi Giannoulias, in a brazen attempt to help elect one of the sleaziest Democrat politicians around to his old Illinois Senate seat.
Last week Obama man David Plouffe held a conference call with reporters to reinforce that Obama was “all in” with his support for Illinois State Treasurer Giannoulias over Republican challenger Rep. Mark Kirk. While Plouffe spent much of his time bashing Kirk, “Congressman Kirk has shown himself to be a fan of fiction’‘, there was no mention of Giannoulias’ approval of $20 million in loans to Chicago mob figure Michael “Jaws” Giorango while he was Senior Loan Officer at Giannoulias family owned Broadway Bank.
Among other things, Mr. Jaws intended to use Broadway Bank money to build a casino that would provide not only jobs for the community, but also prostitution, loan sharking, drug trafficking and other lucrative “business” opportunities for a “made man” that would come naturally with owning such an operation.
Soon after Giannoulias approved one of the loans, Mr. Jaws was convicted of running a national prostitution ring and sent to prison. To be clear, I’m not accusing Mr. Jaws of wrongdoing (translation: please don’t hurt me!), only pointing out that he found himself one heck of a patsy in Giannoulias.
In 2006 Giannoulias described Mr. Jaws as “a very nice person” to the Chicago Tribune and rationalized to the AP, “If every time someone got arrested the bank threw them out, I think it would be a problem.”
Not surprisingly Giannoulias now denies any association with Mr. Jaws and insists the loans were made without his direct involvement, which would be a miraculous feat considering at the time Giannoulias’ job title was Senior Loan Officer and he has been quoted as saying “You have to understand that it was the family business – I did everything there.”
Democrat corruption not being very high on the Chicago news to do list, a local CBS reporter threatened Rep. Kirk for reminding voters of Giannoulias’ ties to organized crime: “Channel 2’s made a decision. We’re really not going to cover the Senate race, if it consistently only in your terms is about Broadway Bank. The bank’s been taken over by the government, Alexi’s been pilloried.”
Interestingly enough, being a mob banker is politically survivable in Chicago, especially when local news programs bury the story, as Giannoulias is currently leading in the polls by 2 points. However, this may not last as the 34-year-old Giannoulias has a long history of shady dealings that are finally making it to the light of day.
During Giannoulias’ time as Senior Loan Officer, Broadway Bank was transformed from a local south side stalwart, to a risky loan operator that financed not only Mr. Jaw’s burgeoning criminal empire, but shady real estate dealings throughout the City of Chicago.
Soon after Giannoulias’s departure in 2006, but while he still maintained an ownership stake, Broadway Bank loaned $22.75 million to convicted felon and Obama insider Tony Rezco to finance a condo development project that never got off the ground.
In 2007 and 2008, smelling blood in the water, the Giannoulias family cashed in over $70 million worth of dividends leaving the bank hopelessly under funded. Broadway Bank collapsed in April leaving the FDIC (taxpayers) on the hook for hundreds of millions in losses and the Giannoulias family, ironically enough, eligible for an additional $10-15 million in tax refunds.
Last week Congressional candidate Joel Pollack, who is running for Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s House seat on the north side of Chicago, reported that soon after Giannoulias’ 2007 election as Illinois State Treasurer, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), a state-run college fund whose Executive Officer reports to Giannoulias, invested $12.7 million in another a favorite slush fund for Chicago area Democrats, ShoreBank.
The ShoreBank investment, made under Giannoulias’ leadership, was the only one in a private company by the ISAC. Unfortunately for them, the bank will likely go bankrupt in the next few weeks taking the Illinois student’s money and Chicago Democrat’s favorite political ATM machine down with it.
As explained by Pollack, “There is no way to spin ISAC’s ShoreBank investment. No reasonable investor, not even one working for the government, would choose to buy the largest stake in a business specializing in risky loans as their first investment in a privately held company. The only reasonable conclusion is that ISAC invested in ShoreBank for political, not financial, reasons.”
While Giannoulias would like to position himself as a political white knight whose only interest is to serve the public good, in reality he is a mob banker and thief whose true loyalties lie with the Democrat sleaze-mongers in Chicago and his political godfather, President Obama.
Fred Dardick got a BS in Biology at Boston University and MS in Biology at Stanford University before deciding that science bored him. He now runs a staffing company in Chicago where he is much happier now.
You can find Fred’s political commentaries on his website Political Kryptonite.
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