3Jan/150

Alert: Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn caught telling the truth!

Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief

Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn recently was caught doing something that has his employer and the U.S. Attorney's Office very upset.

He told the truth!

In an unguarded moment of honesty, Zorn let fly that the Chicago Tribune did in fact warn Rod Blagojevich that the feds were recording him.

You might say Zorn had a "Gruber" moment, and like Jonathan Gruber, he hoped it would go un-noticed.

Here's what Zorn had to say about IP2P's reporting of what he said:

"Not that it matters, really, but I didn't know I was speaking on the record for 'Ernie Souchak,' the brave blogger who has adopted the pseudonym of a John Belushi character. Next time you might want to say you're seeking a quote for publication. Though scrolling through the last year's worth of entries there is not a single reader comment on any of the posts on this blog, so I'm not sure anyone is going to see what I said anyway."

So Zorn claims he thought he was speaking off the record when he said that the Tribune warned Blago.

And now that he's clearly on the record, he's hoping no one will see what he had to say.

God forbid Zorn print the truth in his own column at the Tribune.

No, instead Eric "Gruber" Zorn is praying for a "Change of Subject."

Hey Eric, here's an idea: let's talk about the sealed Blago wiretap tapes the Tribune won't share with the public.

Developing story...

Related: Chicago Tribune reporters work for Federal Government

 

16Sep/120

“Golden,” the whitewashing of a Department of Justice crime spree

Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief, Illinois PayToPlay & Hugo Floriani, Investigative Reporter

Chicago Tribune reporters Jeff Coen and John Chase wrote a 486-pages book that packs tedious and  mundane details about former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s life, from birth to prison, around one key chapter that documents the role of former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in leaking information about his  investigation of the ex-governor known nationwide as “Blago”.

 

The whitewash begins on the second page of the foreword entitled “Authors Note”: “We quote heavily from the recordings that federal agents made on phones used by the governor and others. All of those quotes come from transcripts of those phone conversations or the recordings themselves. We are grateful to those who provided case material that was outside of the public record.” (For ease of reading, we will italicize all quotations from the book.)

 

Those persons “who provided case material that was outside of the public record” remain unidentified throughout the book. But it soon becomes clear where they worked.

 

In an article written by Ernie Souchak posted on this website last September 14, we noted how the judge’s protective order, covering the  transcripts of Blago’s phone conversations, stipulated that nothing prohibited Blago and his lawyers from telling his version of those recorded conversations. Blago and his attorneys were, though, ordered not to disseminate the transcripts that the feds gave them. Only the feds had permission to do that.

 

So, apparently, Coen/Chase secured those transcripts and recordings mentioned in the “Authors’ Note from the feds. Here’s a question: Why was the information given to them?

 

Hold that thought.

 

The problem for the book’s core narrative – the arrest, trial and conviction of Blago – unfolds in Chapter 14 (pp. 257-295) entitled “I’ve got this thing…”

 

Background  

 

On October 16, 2011, we concluded a ten-article series concerning U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, which first posted here in on September 19, 2011, with this summary:

 

So, what are the facts and circumstances that we know that collectively tend to prove, or sustain by their consistencythe hypothesis that Patrick Fitzgerald is a politically-driven, not jurisprudence-driven, prosecutor whose image as an intrepid, unbiased crime fighter is a media-created fabrication?

Here are a few headlines from Parts 1-9:

Fitzgerald acknowledged that someone leaked information to the Chicago Tribune, via a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, while the reporter, John Chase, sat mute in the front row of the news conference where the arrest of Blago was described as an effort to stop a crime spree. (Chase has told a source known to this writer that he would not identify who leaked him the information on First Amendment grounds.)

In fact, (1) Blago’s crime spree had, with Fitzgerald’s knowledge, been going on for several years. (2) Chase has not been called to account for tipping off Blago that his conversations were being recorded by the feds. (3) Eric Holder’s Department of Selective Justice has taken no steps – like that taken by Fitzgerald when he jailed Judith Miller of the New York Times in the Valerie Plame Case – to force Chase to reveal the source of the leak. And, (4) Fitz’s demeanor in discussing the leak in a press conference can be accurately described as disinterested.

The urgency to arrest Blago was manufactured out of whole cloth. The leak had to originate out of the DoJ. And, the closest outlet for the DoJ to the Chicago Tribune is Fitzgerald’s office. You connect the dots.

In retrospect, we know now that Richard Armitage was the confessed leaker in the Valerie Plame Case. We also know that Fitzgerald knew of Armitage’s confession before undertaking a long and costly investigation that convicted a key staff member of Vice President Cheney of a crime not connected to the Plame leak. And, that this media event, upon which the foundation of the Untouchable myth was built by the main stream media, was politically-driven.

The Plame “investigation” boiled down to a surrogate WWF-like wrestling match between two Big Beltway Boys: Armitage representing Powell – Libby for Cheney. With Fitzgerald as the biased referee. And, it will be so chronicled by unbiased historians in the future.

The arrest of Blago was timed, not to stop a crime spree, or the selling of a Senate seat – since the latter notion is built on the myth that, once Blago got paid for appointing someone, the act was immediate and irrevocable. The arrest was timed to save Congressmen Jesse Jackson, Jr., from criminal prosecution for bribing a governor in order to receive a Senate appointment. Connect the dots. It was about saving J.J., Junior.

Chapter 14 – The Whitewash

 

The narrative here is significant, not just for what it reveals, but more for what it conceals.

 

The authors do not reveal the source for the information that Chase telephonically conveyed to Blago’s Spokesman, Lucio Guerrero, at approximately 10:30 p.m., Friday, December 4, 2008, namely, that the feds were listening in on Blago’s phone conversations.  

 

Consequently, this question remains unanswered: Who leaked the information that Blago’s phone conversations were being wiretapped by the feds to the Tribune and ChasePlus, why was that revelation leaked to the paper?

 

Then, why did Fitzgerald show no interest in tracking down the leaker?

 

We’re no closer today to answers to those questions after the 486 pages of whitewash.

 

Now, for the information in Chapter 14 that substantiates our October 2011 summary above:

 

Page 264: “Again, prosecutors noted the gravity of what Blagojevich had said. They were aware of the Balanoff meeting but had not recorded it.” (Tom Balanoff is president of the Service Employees International Union, Illinois Council, and the Vice President of its International Executive Board.)

 

How did the Coen/Chase know this information unless someone in the U.S. Attorney’s office gave them a blow-by-blow description of the investigation?  Of course that’s what happened. The authors were scripted by the feds.

 

Page 267: “At the FBI’s listening room, there continued to be a mixture of thrilled disbelief and newfound resolve at what was being caught on the recordings. Agents believed they were capturing the sitting governor in incriminating conversations, and they played the calls for supervisors.

 

At one point, the FBI’s national director, Robert Mueller, was in town for a Chicago event. Having heard about the success of the Blagojevich operation, Mueller wanted to hear some of the recordings for himself. He stopped at the FBI’s Chicago headquarters on Roosevelt Road on the West Side near Ogden Avenue and took a seat in Rob Grant’s office. Agents had put together a disc of some of their favorite snippets for Mueller to hear.

 

Who was the guy dropping the F-Bombs? Mueller asked.

 

Well, that was the governor of Illinois, agents explained.

 

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Mueller said, shaking his head, clearly pleased with how investigators were doing.”

 

This sounds like the testimony of an eyewitness to the event, given all the illustrative details. That eyewitness would be an employee of the FBI, or, someone from Fitzgerald’s office involved in the USAO’s investigation of Blago. This information clearly didn’t come from an audio tape or transcript of one of Blago’s intercepted calls, or from the building’s janitor.

 

It comes from a source intimately involved in the investigation.

 

Page 281This portion of Chapter 14 explains the nature of the alleged urgency that caused the USAO to arrest Blago to, as Fitzgerald later claimed, stop an on-going crime spree.

 

“Fitzgerald had grown concerned that they had a sitting governor who had yet to make an appointment after working for weeks to see what he could get for himself in a deal for the Senate seat. They could let things go a little further, but it was starting to get risky that Blagojevichwould actually make a choice. Schar [Reid Schar, an Assistant U.S. Attorney, NDIL] said it would be derelict of those in the room to allow Blagojevich to make a decision. Everyone in the meeting believed the process had been corrupted, no matter how Blagojevich finally acted. To do something before he made a pick and out the investigation would at least make that corruption known, and the political could react to any pick by the governor.

 

In the end, there was agreement. Very soon, they would act, and likely on the morning of December 9, a Tuesday, the day before Blagojevich’s birthday and after a possible meeting the governor had been talking about with Jesse JacksonJr.”

 

What does “at least make that corruption known” mean? The USAO had been investigating Blago for years, and had compiled a substantial amount of evidence of corruption. Aleast, the goal should have been to arrest Blago when he accepted a bribe, and, also, arrest whoever paidthe bribe.

 

The real risk in letting Blago close a deal with the briber(s) negotiating with him on behalf of Jesse Jackson, Jr., was that they, too, would be implicated in a crime along with Blago. Whatever happened to the notion of intent to commit a crime? Blago went to jail – the briber(s) skated. That was the goal.

 

Pages 286-288: “Jackson was the uber African American, Blagojevich reminded Harris.  He would consider what it would mean in black politics and how it would strengthen him, Blagojevich said, and don’t forget, third parties had offered him $1.5 million in fund-raising help.”  (p. 286)

 

There’s tangible, concrete, tangible stuff from [Jackson’s] supporters, Blagojevich said, as Yang [Fred Yang, a pollster hired by Blagojevich] pressed him for more detail. Well like, you know. You know what I’m talking about, the governor finally told him. Specific amounts and everything.’” (p. 287)

 

“When prosecutors heard Blagojevich make the ‘tangible’ remark, they believed the Jackson proposal was in fact the way the governor was going to go.” (p. 288)

 

So, according to Coen/Chase, the feds believed that Blago was about to do a deal that would yield him $1.5 million for appointing Jesse Jackson, Jr. as a U.S. Senator from Illinois. That means that Blago was arrested to stop the commission of a specific crime, rather than to stop a crime spree.

 

If the USAO would have waited, both the bribee and the briber would have been caught and prosecuted. But the trap was sprung prematurely – for a reason.

 

Robert Blagojevich had a meeting scheduled with Jackson's money man  Raghuveer Nayak on Friday, December 5. After learning from Chase, on the evening of December 4, that his conversations were being intercepted by the feds, Blago instructed his brother Robert to cancel that meeting.

 

The Duck Rule

 

If it looks like a duck; waddles like a duck; and quacks like a duck – face it, it’s a duck.

 

As we wrote back in October 2011: “The arrest was timed to save Congressmen Jesse Jackson, Jr. from criminal prosecution for bribing a governor in order to receive a Senate appointment. Connect the dots. It was about saving J.J., Junior.

 

Remember that Jackson was the ’08 Co-chair of Obama’s Presidential Campaign Committee.

 

Conclusion

 

The book entitled Golden, written by two Chicago Tribune reporters who were granted special access to information coming from inside the investigation, is a 486-page apologia in defense of an improbable explanation behind the timing of the arrest of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

 

It is a duck.

 

Was there a quid pro quo deal here? Did the USAO inside-leaker(s) say, “Guys, we’ll give you exclusive access to all this information, and in exchange you tell the story the way we want it told. We gotta deal?”

 

Don’t forget that Roland Burris, the man Blago appointed to the U.S. Senate, was the 60th vote in favor of ObamaCare.  Had Blago, and those bribing him, both been arrested after the money was exchanged, would there have even been a second Senator from Illinois in the U.S. Senate when the ObamaCare vote was taken?

28Mar/120

Further Update: Details of Frawley v. McMahon “Whistleblower” Lawsuit Just Exposed By Sun Times

Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief, Illinois PayToPlay

Further Update:

Apparently, in response to articles recently run by the Chicago Sun Times that state, as fact, that a “Whistleblower” lawsuit was filed by Daniel T. Frawley in July 11, 2011,Mayor Rahm Emanuel is proposing to permanently ban an electrical contracting company with ties to Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th) from getting city work because its owners and their husbands allegedly operated phony women- and minority-owned companies that have gotten millions of dollars in city contracts.”

This proposed ban was announced today, March 28, 2012, in the Sun Times.  

His Honor and the paper must have access to a fully-authenticated, signed copy of a date-stamped lawsuit that we, at Illinois PayToPlay cannot locate. If they don’t, their claims of its existence are specious. But let’s reserve judgment.

We need your help.

If you have proof that such a lawsuit was filed, post here on comment board.

If it was filed and sealed in July 2011, it should be available to the public by now. And, if it was filed and remains sealed, how did the Sun Times get a copy? Are there not illegalities involved in leaking a sealed court document? Lastly, if it was never filed, what’s this assault on the McMahon’s all about anyway?

Developing…

Update:

The Chicago Sun Times has now run the second of what it promises is a three part series concerning a whistleblower lawsuit filed by attorneys representing Daniel T. Frawley.  The Sun Times has yet to provide its readers a copy of that lawsuit.  Is it the same one Illinois Pay-To-Play posted below?  If it is not, it is time for the Sun Times to show its readers the lawsuit on which it’s series is based.  

(Originally posted on Illinois Pay-to-Play  3-25-2012)

In an article dated March 24, 2012, the Chicago Sun Times broke the explosive story of a lawsuit filed July 2011 by Daniel T. Frawley, cooperating federal government mole-informant in Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation of Tony Rezko, and former Rezko business partner.

According to the Sun Times, the lawsuit charges various members of the McMahon family, associated with McMahon-owned businesses, of fraudulent contracting practices.  The reporters wrote that,

“Frank McMahon’s first cousin, Daniel T. Frawley, filed a “whistleblower” lawsuit in federal court last July accusing McMahon Food, C & C and Krystal of actually being run by men, even though the companies are certified as being women-owned and -operated. As a result, Frawley says McMahon Food was able to obtain multimillion-dollar deals with Cook County government, including supplying dairy goods to the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.”

Illinois PayToPlay recently received a copy of a “whistleblower” lawsuit attributed to Frawley, by a confidential source, that fits the description of the document exposed by the Sun Times. Uncertain of its authenticity at the time, we chose not to make it public, but do so now.

Here is a pdf. link to the lawsuit we received. Daniel Frawley Whistleblower Lawsuit (PDF) - We have not yet been able to contact the firm named as representing Frawley for comment.

25Mar/121

Update: Details of Frawley v. McMahon “Whistleblower” Lawsuit Just Exposed By Sun Times

Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief, Illinois PayToPlay

Update:

The Chicago Sun Times has now run the second of what it promises is a three part series concerning a whistleblower lawsuit filed by attorneys representing Daniel T. Frawley.  The Sun Times has yet to provide its readers a copy of that lawsuit.  Is it the same one Illinois Pay-To-Play posted below?  If it is not, it is time for the Sun Times to show its readers the lawsuit on which it’s series is based.  

(Originally posted on Illinois Pay-to-Play  3-25-2012)

In an article dated March 24, 2012, the Chicago Sun Times broke the explosive story of a lawsuit filed July 2011 by Daniel T. Frawley, cooperating federal government mole-informant in Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation of Tony Rezko, and former Rezko business partner.

According to the Sun Times, the lawsuit charges various members of the McMahon family, associated with McMahon-owned businesses, of fraudulent contracting practices.  The reporters wrote that,

“Frank McMahon’s first cousin, Daniel T. Frawley, filed a “whistleblower” lawsuit in federal court last July accusing McMahon Food, C & C and Krystal of actually being run by men, even though the companies are certified as being women-owned and -operated. As a result, Frawley says McMahon Food was able to obtain multimillion-dollar deals with Cook County government, including supplying dairy goods to the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.”

Illinois PayToPlay recently received a copy of a “whistleblower” lawsuit attributed to Frawley, by a confidential source, that fits the description of the document exposed by the Sun Times.  Uncertain of its authenticity at the time, we chose not to make it public, but do so now.

Here is a pdf. link to the lawsuit we received. Daniel Frawley Whistleblower Lawsuit (PDF) - We have not yet been able to contact the firm named as representing Frawley for comment.