Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief
The Chicago Tribune is at it again - reporting what it knows to be a blatant lie for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago.
The lie this time involves the Tribune's reporting on habitual criminal and former Rezko mole John Thomas' most recent arrest for fraud. And the underreported story of the premature termination of his probation for a previous fraud conviction.
The Tribune was fully aware that in 2010, John Thomas was sentenced to three years probation for crimes he committed in New York. And the Trib also knew that in 2011, Thomas petitioned the court to terminate his probation after only one year.
Here's the catch: Thomas' probation was officially "terminated without objection".
In other words, the U.S. Attorney's Office was perfectly fine with Thomas being released from probation after serving only one year of his three-year sentence.
However, now the Tribune and the U.S. Attorney's Office want you to believe his probation "expired":
"Federal prosecutors alleged that Thomas began scheming in the Riverdale deal just months after his probation for the New York conviction expired." read more...
So after virtually ignoring the fact that Thomas was given a gift of three years probation instead of five years in prison for his crimes...
And then completely ignoring the fact that the feds gave Thomas another gift by allowing his probation to be "terminated without objection" after only one year...
Enabling the Village of Riverdale to gift Thomas hundreds of thousands of taxpayer's dollars...
The Tribune now wants to sell us the blatant lie that Thomas' probation "expired".
Wow! That's brass.
And let's not forget that the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Tribune have a well documented history of telling lies when it comes to John Thomas.
----- Forwarded Message -----
To: "jskass" <email@example.com>
Sent: Friday, December 18, 2009 6:42:03 PM
Subject: Chicago Tribune - John Thomas
To whom it may concern
John Thomas was a mole for the FBI in the case in Illinois against Tony Rezko and others. The Chicago Tribune was aware of the fact and chose not to write a story about him at the behest of Patrick Fitzgerald (U.S Attorney Northern Dist IL). The Tribune eventually wrote a story about John Thomas, however the story they wrote was not accurate. My source at the Chicago Tribune claims that when Patrick Fiztgerald asked the Chicago Tribune to sit on the Thomas story, claiming it could put his life in danger, the Chicago Tribune refused. The Chicago Tribune told Mr Fitzgerald that they were going to run the story anyway. It was only when Patrick Fitzgerald told the Chicago Tribune that if they ran the story that it would affect the Presidential election did the Chicago Tribune agree not to run the story. My source at the Chicago Tribune confirmed this meant Obama. My source also informed me of other information that would be of interest to the people of Illinois that was not being reported in the Chicago Tribune.
The source at the Tribune referred to in the email has since been revealed to have been John Chase.
Truth is - the Tribune and the U.S. Attorney's Office are working their own con.
Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief
Question: What is the American Thinker trying to hide by taking down articles it published years ago?
Answer: The truth about former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.
Recently, former FBI mole and convicted felon John Thomas was arrested for stealing money from Illinois taxpayers.
The only reason that Thomas was able to abscond with taxpayer money this time was because he was no longer on probation.
And the reason he was no longer on probation was because the U.S. Attorneys Office allowed his three-year probation for previous financial crimes to be abruptly terminated after just one year.
As luck would have it for Thomas, the premature termination of his probation came just in time for him to be awarded a multi-million dollar taxpayer funded development contract from the Village of Riverdale, Illinois.
And as anyone with a brain could have predicted, Thomas stole that money too.
Let's hear it for Fitzgerald and his crack team of crime fighters at the U.S. Attorney's Office Northern Dist. Illinois for that brilliant bit of law enforcement.
So now ask yourself this:
Question: Why would the American Thinker remove the following article from its website after two years just right after it became known why Thomas' probation was terminated two years early?
January 12, 2012
Patrick Fitzgerald's Rezko Mole Probation Sentence Terminated Early
By Lee Cary & Marty Watters
The New York felon who U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald wired against Chicago's Tony Rezko got three years probation that ended two years early.
To refresh your memory concerning the mole named John Thomas: in the late 1990s, Bernard T. Barton, Jr. had a billboard business in New York where he rented space on billboards he didn't own or operate. That's illegal.
He defrauded customers out of $350,000, and he used his father's Social Security number to get an American Express business account, where he charged $140,000. Facing a significant jail sentence, he offered to work for the feds. They agreed. His sentence was delayed for about a decade while he cooperated with the FBI.
In 2000, he moved to Chicago, where he became "John Thomas," working undercover for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's office.
He eventually became a close business associate of Tony Rezko.
On May 4, 2007, Thomas' undercover identity was revealed by Thomas A. Corfman, a former reporter for the Chicago Tribune, in an article in Crain's ChicagoBusiness.com.Corfman, who had recently rejoined Crain's, wrote:
"A former New Yorker has been conducting an undercover sting investigation for federal prosecutors while working in the Chicago commercial real estate industry, according to sources familiar with the investigation and documents in the man's own federal criminal fraud case."
The next day, May 5, 2007, Tribune staff reporter David Jackson followed up with an article that reported further on Thomas' undercover activities. Wonder how the Trib could be so quick to follow up on Corfman's outing of Thomas? Here's how:
The Trib had known of Thomas' mole role for a year. In his May 5 piece, Jackson reported:
"When a Tribune reporter discovered that Thomas was acting as a federal operative in May 2006, U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald took the unusual step of asking senior editors at the paper to refrain from publishing a report that would expose the ongoing probe. Fitzgerald offered no specifics but said an article would derail an important investigation and put people in serious danger of harm."
By the way, there's no indication that Fitzgerald, who knew the identity of the leaker of Valerie Plame's alleged identity as a CIA operative before he began his investigation, ever went after the leaker who outed Thomas to the Trib in 2006. If breaking Thomas' cover in 2006 could have put people in "serious danger," why wouldn't it have done so in 2007?
Back to the narrative:
On February 8, 2008, the Chicago Sun Times reported (emphasis in original):
"For the first time, the FBI "mole" who's expected to be a key prosecution witness against indicted developer and political fund-raiser Tony Rezko is talking. ...
Sources said Thomas also logged frequent visits to Rezko from Gov. Blagojevich and U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Blagojevich and Obama were among the many politicians for whom Rezko raised campaign cash. Neither has been charged with any wrongdoing. ...
Sources said Thomas helped investigators build a record of repeat visits to the old offices of Rezko and former business partner Daniel Mahru's Rezmar Corp., at 853 N. Elston, by Blagojevich and Obama during 2004 and 2005. ...
Sources said the government had him wear a hidden wire to record conversations with a Chicago alderman -- but that he did not record Blagojevich or Obama."
Despite the Sun-Times' prediction, Thomas was not called to testify at Tony Rezko's trial. He was the Silent Mole.
On June 23, 2010, writing for ChicagoRealEstateDaily.com, Corfman, still keeping tabs on Thomas-Barton, reported:
"U.S. District Court Judge Elaine Bucklo on Monday gave three years probation to Mr. Thomas, who was indicted under the name Bernard T. Barton Jr., court records show.
Mr. Thomas pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge, which carried a maximum sentence of five years in prison."
In a January 3, 2012 email, Randall Samborn, spokesperson for Fitzgerald's office, stated that Thomas' three-year probation was terminated in June 2011, after one year. The silent Mole is now completely free.
Today, John Thomas is a commercial real estate broker in Chicago.
Meanwhile, a government motion that describes Thomas' undercover activities is sealed. According to Samborn, that's not unusual when records contain "information about non-public law enforcement matters."
There's no indication that the Trib, which went to great lengths to get the sealed divorce records of Jack and Jeri Ryan opened in 2004, against both Ryans' wishes, shows any interest in getting Thomas' sealed file opened.
Ryan was the initial GOP candidate in the race against Barack Obama for a U.S. Senate seat representing Illinois -- that is, until his divorce file was pried opened by efforts led by the Trib, where David Axelrod was once the youngest political editor ever.
Here's a final head-scratcher:
Way back on February 22, 2002, Corfman, then a reporter for the Tribune, in an article focused on Donald Trump's efforts to retain a firm to "handle leasing for his proposed mixed-use skyscraper on the riverfront site of the Chicago Sun Times," wrote:
"John Thomas, a partner in Chicago-based Carnegie Realty Partners, and a Carnegie employee, Louis Giordano of New York, were arrested last year in connection with an alleged fraud scheme that took place over five years in New York[.] ...
Thomas and Giordano are free on bond, according to court records. The U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York would not comment on the case."
What? Rezko let someone whom the Trib had reported as having been arrested in New York in the early 2000s, who then resurfaced in Chicago, get close to him? Didn't Tony read the papers? And where is there any mention of Thomas's real name -- Bernard T. Barton, Jr.? Wouldn't that name, and not "John Thomas," have been in his New York criminal records?
The more we know about the Rezko Mole, the more we realize that there's a lot we don't know.
Answer: Because influential friends of the American Thinker now fear that articles like that will lead to the public knowing what Fitzgerald was really doing in Chicago. And just how cozy his relationship with the George W. Bush administration really was.
Much more to come...
Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief
Chicago Tribune reporter John Chase went on record saying that the reason he made the late night phone call warning Rod Blagojevich that federal agents were recording him was because he "did not want to get scooped on the story".
Chase's ridiculous statement made it very clear that he was not expecting to be asked any common sense follow-up questions.
Big mistake, John!
Keep in mind that the Tribune had been cooperating for 2 months with U.S Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's office and had agreed not to run a story about the wiretap on Blagojevich.
But when Chase was asked what happened on Dec. 4, 2008 for the Tribune to abruptly change from cooperating with the feds to exposing their wiretap, he was at a loss to give a coherent answer.
Chase was then asked if he or anyone else at the Tribune called Patrick Fitzgerald or anyone else at the U.S. Attorney's Office to let them know that the Tribune was going to expose their wiretap that night?
He was stumped, and refused to answer this simple yes or no question.
Here is why Chase could not answer that particular question.
If Chase had called Patrick Fitzgerald and informed him that the Tribune was now going to expose the feds' wiretap on Blago, wouldn't Fitz try to convince the Trib to wait just one more day?
After all, Blagojevich's brother, Robert, was scheduled to meet with Raghuveer Nayak, Jesse Jackson Jr's money man, to discuss the terms of Jackson's purchase of Barack Obama's U.S Senate seat the very next day.
Blagojevich and Jackson would both have been caught red-handed if Chase had not made that call warning Blago.
On the other hand, if Chase had not called the prosecutors office Fitzgerald would have been justifiably furious at the Tribune for derailing the biggest case of his career.
Instead, Fitzgerald thanked the Tribune for its cooperation, and later gave Chase and Jeff Coen access to the sealed wiretap tapes and transcripts even though the two Trib reporters blew his wiretap out of the water.
All indications are that Fitzgerald was quite OK with Chase warning Blago that night. But obviously Chase can't tell us that.
Even more telling: Chase did not deny that he knew Robert Blagojevich and Nayak were going to meet the next day before he made that late night phone call.
It is becoming increasingly clear that Chase is having a difficult time keeping track of his lies. In his book, "Golden", he contradicts himself by saying that he was chosen by Tribune editors to make the phone call to Blago.
So which is it, John?
(A) make the call to inform Blago that the feds' were recording him because you wanted to be remembered as the reporter who blew Fitzgerald's case?
(B) make the call because your editors who had been cooperating with Fitzgerald told you to?
It's the simple questions that often prove to be the most difficult for liars to answer.
When Chicago Sun Times reporter Natasha Korecki was asked why she was not asking these questions, she replied: "No reporter wants to make another reporter look bad."
Even when it means not reporting the truth.
Wow! "Only in Chicago."
Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief
The recent arrest of Chicago Tribune reporter Jeff Coen for deliberately causing $1,500 worth of damage to a CTA train has many asking: Why?
What makes a 43-year-old "adult" do such a bizarre thing?
We at IP2P have every reason to believe the answer is very simple: it's a cry for help. Coen is experiencing his own version of the ageless Edger Allen Poe classic "Tell-Tale Heart" and it is taking its toll on him.
You see, Coen is living a big lie, and he fears his secret will soon be fully exposed.
Coen's troubles started when he agreed to fabricate stories surrounding the Blagojevich investigation and consequent trials.
Remember, Coen was the co-author of the article used as an excuse to warn Rod Blagojevich that his friend and former chief-of-staff, John Wyma, was cooperating with the feds and that Blagojevich was being recorded.
From there, Coen sought to cash in on lies he was asked to tell by telling even bigger whoppers in a book.
You might remember that work of fiction: "Golden". You know, the one in which Coen and his co-author, John Chase, claimed they had copies of all the Blagojevich wiretap recordings and that they had listened to all of the them.
Well as those lies have begun to unravel, so has Jeffrey.
The thought of being exposed for writing a book filled with lies has been weighing heavily on Coen's mind. (We know this for a fact. ) And there is a real possibility that Coen has come to realize that being exposed as a habitual liar is inevitable.
The fear of being found out resulted in Coen's obvious mental breakdown, causing him to go ballistic on a CTA train.
Let's all hope that Jeff accepts the counseling that has been offered to him, and heeds the wisdom of another ageless classic, "The truth will set you free", before it is too late and he seriously hurts someone.
Jeff, we hear your cry for help. Now just tell the truth...
Human Behavior Consultant Virginia Clemm Contributed
Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief
Robert Blagojevich proclaims to have returned all copies of wiretap tapes and transcripts provided to him by the feds in his and Rod's trial.
But he still has a copy.
That's because one set of Robert's transcripts were not provided by the feds. He made his wife, Julie, transcribe all the tapes. Or so he says.
"[She] never one time wavered in her belief in me and worked real hard in doing transcriptions of the tapes, when I could not bear to listen to them. She would sit there with the headphones on so I didn’t have to listen, and she would transcribe for hours and hours" Robert said.
When asked if all copies of Julie's transcripts were also given to the federal prosecutors, Robert refused to answer.
Of course they weren't.
Credit this slick move to Blago attorney Michael Ettinger. Nice try Michael, but no cigar!
Perhaps Julie Blagojevich will tell us about the recorded conversations of Rahm Emanuel and other power brokers that her husband made her transcribe?
How about it, Julie? What do ya say?
Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief
This may come as no surprise, but Rod Blagojevich's get-out-of-jail deal not only involves the federal prosecutors and his defense team, it also included the direct involvement of the Chicago Tribune.
That's because, as part of his deal to get out of prison, Rod Blagojevich agreed to let Chicago Tribune reporters John Chase and Jeff Coen lie to the public about the wiretap tapes that put him there.
Due to some excellent investigative reporting by Barbara Hollingsworth, who now writes for CNS News, we know that the feds gave Chase and Coen copies of court-sealed tapes and transcripts from the Blagojevich case.
Gee, why would the FEDS do that?
Simple. Chase and Coen were instructed to tell the public that they listened to all the sealed tapes and found nothing interesting on them.
We know differently because Blago was caught on tape talking to some of the top power brokers in the country, including Obama and his chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel.
So the real question you must ask is:
Why would Rod Blagojevich and his lawyers, who knew very well the explosive contents of the conversations caught on those tapes, allow Chase and Coen to lie about them?
Facing 14 years in federal prison, Blagojevich should have dragged Chase and Coen in front of Judge Zagel and made them tell the court who gave them tapes and transcripts that he had placed under seal. But Blago didn't.
The $64k question is why?
Blago's attorney, Sheldon Sorosky, has confirmed that there is and never was anything stopping Blago from telling the public what is on the tapes, which he insist to this day prove his innocence.
So why did Blago and his attorneys let Chase and Coen's public proclamation that the contents of the sealed tapes confirm his guilt go unchallenged?
And why is Blago pretending he wants the tapes to be unsealed when he is completely ignoring the fact that the Chicago Tribune claims to have copies?
More importantly, why are the feds insisting the tapes stay sealed nearly 2 years after they gave copies to the two Chicago Tribune reporters-who have refused to make them public?
What possible reason could Chase and Coen have not to release the transcripts?
The answer is that Chicago Tribune reporters John Chase and Jeff Coen are lying to the public, the feds put them up to it, and Blago agreed to go along with the deception as part of his get-out-of-jail deal.
Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief
The real reason the Blagojevich tapes won't be unsealed is because it would expose the widespread corruption at the highest levels of our government.
Like we at IP2P have been telling you for a long time, Blago will be set free. In other words, he is successfully blackmailing his way out of prison!
Here's how it will work:
A three-judge panel hearing Blago's appeal has already taken the first step by announcing that the Blagojevich tapes would remain sealed.
Next, the same three-judge panel will find that Blago did not try to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. The court will say that Blago was just engaged in "political horse trading."
Blago's conviction for trying to sell the Senate seat will be overturned, and combined with a few other slick legal maneuvers, his sentence will be drastically reduced. Instead of spending 12 more years in federal prison, Blago will most likely be home for the holidays this year.
Time served! Which will make Dick Mell's daughter, Patti, very happy.
But more importantly for people like Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel, the court will have bought the silence of Rod and Patti Blagojevich.
As IP2P has been pointing out all along, the issue has never been whether or not the wiretap tapes would prove Blago's innocence. From the very beginning, the real issue for Blago has been leverage, and who else would go down with him if the tapes were played.
And that's why Blago never really wanted the tapes to be played. If they were, he would lose his leverage. It's that simple.
If not for the fact that Patrick Fitzgerald was protecting other guilty parties, Blago would have most certainly faced even more charges and most likely would have been found guilty of them as well.
Playing the tapes would not prove Blago's innocence or get him out of prison. It would just get him company in there.
However, not playing the tapes ensures that those who would join Blago in prison if the tapes were played will do everything in their power to get him out of prison so the tapes won't be played.
And just as we expected, there was no objection to the tapes remaining under seal from Blago and his attorneys. Even though all we've heard for years from them was "Play the tapes, play all the tapes."
There's nothing complicated about it. This is BLACKMAIL 101.
And clearly Eric Holder and the DoJ is onboard.
Much more to come ..... including how John Chase and Jeff Coen of the Chicago Tribune are complicit in this corruption cover-up. And wait until you hear Blago attorney Sheldon Sorosky's incredible explanation of why Chase was never called to testify in the Blagojevich trial.
You won't believe what Shelly had to say!
Hugo Floriani, Investigative Reporter
Rod Blagojevich continues to insult the people of Illinois. He obviously thinks we are stupid.
That is the only way to explain Blago's ridiculous behavior when it comes to the subject of federal wiretap recordings in his case.
Here's the latest:
Rod Blagojevich's attorney's recently filed a motion objecting to prosecutors' request to have the tapes continue to remain under seal.
No kidding, Blago apparently thinks that the people of Illinois will believe the fairytale that he actually wants the tapes and transcript to be made public.
Rod, let me try to put this delicately for you.
In a pigs eye! We already know that there is not a snowball's chance in hell that you want those tapes in the public domain.
Because if you did, your lawyers would be filing motions to drag Chicago Tribune reporters John Chase and Jeff Coen into court to explain who gave them copies of tapes and transcripts that were under court seal.
And Rod, you and your attorneys sure as hell would not have just sat there silently as Chase and Coen told your potential jury pool that the contents of the "sealed tapes and transcripts" prove your guilt rather than your innocence.
Which is exactly what they did while touring Illinois promoting their book, Golden.
In addition, Blagojevich's attorney, Sheldon Sorosky, has admitted that there is nothing legally stopping the former governor from revealing to the public the full details of conversations that were captured on tape. But so far Blago has chosen not to do so.
However, we know for a fact that he has been using the tapes to blackmail his way out of prison.
We also know that Blago, the prosecutors, and an untold number of other miscreants want the tapes to remain sealed forever.
So Rod, contrary to what you think, we are not that stupid. Either drag Chase and Coen into court and start telling us what is on those tapes, or shut the hell up about them!
Thomas Barton, Investigative Reporter
Today, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility and Office of the Inspector General are looking into the circumstances surrounding the Chicago Tribune's role in the Blagojevich case.
The federal government granted Chicago Tribune employees John Chase and Jeff Coen the power to decide whether the public gets to hear the court-sealed Blagojevich wiretap tapes, or read any of the transcripts.
So far, they’ve decided that we can neither listen to the audio tapes, nor read the transcripts, of any of them.
Oh, they did refer to a couple of inane, innocuous conversations in their book. However, so far, they’ve decided that they, the Keepers of the Blago Tapes, and only they, should hear the tapes or read the transcripts.
They don’t want us to hear, for example, the conversation Blagojevich had with former Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert on November 5, 2008.
They don’t want us to hear the conversation Blago had with former Obama Chief of Staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on November 8, 2008.
They don’t want us to hear the conversation Blago had with Obama's political consultant Bill Knapp on November 12, 2008.
Rod Blagojevich’s lawyers consider these conversations important enough to be included in their Appellate Brief filed on behalf of their client. Curiously though, Blago's attorneys are not asking that those conversations be made public either.
If Appeals Attorney Len Goodman believes these conversations are important enough to include in an Appellate Brief for his client Rod Blagojevich, why wouldn’t the two fed-appointed Keepers of the Blago Tapes take advantage of the public’s interest in those conversations and increase the circulation of their employer’s newspaper by printing the transcripts?
Instead of digging for the truth, the “Keepers” have gone underground. Meanwhile, Blagojevich’s legal team has essentially endorsed the idea that the tapes should never be played for the public.
What’s up with that?
The DoJ investigators are on the case: Don't expect much from them.
However, IP2P has learned of a developing front that should concern those who have colluded to keep the truth from We the People.
Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief
On May 6, 2013, veteran reporter Barbara Hollingsworth, who now writes for CNS News, reported that Chicago Tribune reporters John Chase and Jeff Coen revealed that the feds were their source for the sealed Blagojevich wiretap tapes and transcripts the reporters refer to in their book "Golden."
Following that story, IP2P has just learned this:
Months before Chase and Coen's source was revealed, Randall Samborn, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office, insisted that the government did not give Chase and Coen access to the Blago tapes or transcripts. That claim was documented in the email below.
To: < redacted >
Sent: Wed Dec 5 07:28:01 UTC 2012
Subject: RE: Media inquiry re USA v Blagojevich
Let me be clear, the government did not provide the authors access to any non-public materials and I reject your assertion. As I said, we are done with this.
From: < redacted >
Sent: Wednesday, December 05, 2012 1:25 PM
To: Samborn, Randall (USAILN)
Subject: Re: Media inquiry re USA v Blagojevich
Are you refusing to give me the same access that was given to John Chase and Jeff Coen?
Imagine Samborn's surprise when he learned that Chase and Coen "burned" their source by revealing that it was, in fact, the U.S. Attorney’s office that gave them access to the court sealed documents they refer to in their book. Below is Samborn's response when asked about the new development.
From: Randall Samborn (USAILN)
To: < redacted >
Sent: 2013-05-14 18:01:35 +0000
Subject: RE: Media inquiry (Tribune reporters)
From: < redacted >
Sent: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 12:49 PM
To: Samborn, Randall (USAILN)
Subject: Media inquiry (Tribune reporters)
Mr. Randall Samborn
Tribune reporters John Chase and Jeff Coen have revealed that the federal government was the source that provided them with the Blagojevich wiretap tapes and transcripts that were under court seal and never made public.
What is your response to Chase and Coen exposing the Federal Government as their source?
Chicago Tribune reporters work for Federal Government
So, after the feds insisted they did not provide access to the Tribune reporters, and Chase and Coen revealed that the feds did, the federal government has now changed its position to "No Comment."
It’s obvious that the feds gave Chase and Coen access to sealed material, and then lied about it. And that begs this question: Why the lie?
The Tribune won’t ask that question because they’re part of the lie. And the Sun Times won’t ask because they’re complicit in the lie. So we ask it here. Why the lie?
As well as: What other lies during the Blago saga were told by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and advanced by the Tribune?