Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief, Illinois PayToPlay
Since last February 27, Illinois PayToPlay (IP2P) has posted five emails sent to Robert “Bob” Cooley by Daniel T. Frawley. Here are links to the five articles that highlighted those emails: February 27; March 1; April 8; April 17; and April 19.
There are more to come in the days ahead.
IP2P readers know that Cooley was the star witness in a series of Chicago trials in federal court in the early 1990’s that, as part of Operation Gambat,resulted in over a score of convictions involving a sitting Federal Judge, prominent Illinois politicians, and the Chicago City Council’s 1st Ward Alderman, a member of the Chicago “outfit”.
IP2P readers also know that Daniel T. Frawley was once a Chicago cop, then a business partner of Antoin “Tony” Rezko, and is now a sentenced felon who pled guilty to bank fraud. They also know that Frawley cooperated, for years, with the U.S. Attorney’s office in the investigation of Rezko and, although not called to testify against Rezko, helped put Tony behind bars.
Frawley was recently sentenced for one year and one day, after multiple sentencing delays. The judge tainted his sentence by questioning Frawley’s mental stability. At IP2P we believe his sentence was as much, perhaps more, about what he knows than what he did. And, that the timing of the jail time is aimed to keep him quiet until after the November election.
We suspect that the reference to Frawley’s potential mental instability by the sentencing judge was aimed at impugning his credibility in these emails, even after the feds used Frawley to gather information on Rezko, and in “at least a half-dozen different criminal investigations”. Although Frawley has committed to making restitution of over four million dollars, probation was never in the cards for him. (or was it ?)
Meanwhile, the two big Chicago daily newspapers, the Tribune and the Sun Times, have displayed no interest in pursuing multiple story leads that have surfaced from Frawley’s emails to Cooley.
IP2P asks - Why is that?
We think Steve Bartin, writing for the website NewGeography.com, in an article entitled “Blago’s Historic Sentencing: Organized Crime in Illinois,” may have hit upon the Tribune-Times problem when he asked, “Could a more vigilant press have stopped the amazing political career of Rod Blagojevich?”
The answer to Bartin’s rhetorical question is – Yes, of course.
That endemic Chicago corruption continues to exist is due, in no small part, to the complicity of the city’s two major daily newspapers, be that complicity benign, malignant, or a blend.
Nationally, Chicago is recognized as synonymous with corruption.
IP2P asks - Where’s the shame at the Tribune and Times?
In the future, IP2P will release more Frawley-Cooley emails, providing the two papers more leads to ignore. Until, perhaps, the citizens of Chicago begin to pressure their two major newspapers to take their jobs seriously.
A somnolent press cannot long remain free.
Hugo Floriani, Investigative Reporter
This claim comes through Frawley’s emails to, and conversations with, Robert “Bob” Cooley, former Chicago mob lawyer turned government informer and author of the book on Chicago corruption entitled “When Corruption Was King”.
Cooley was the star witness in a series of trials in the early 1990’s as part of an F.B.I. investigation named Operation Gambat. Those trials led to the convictions of over a score of Chicago crooks, including First Ward Alderman Fred Roti, a made-man; the Chief Judge of Cook County’s Chancery Court; the Assistant Majority Leader of the Illinois State Senate; and the only Federal Judge in U.S. history convicted of fixing a murder trial.
About April 2011, Frawley, along with Daniel Mahru, a former business associate of Rezko dating back to 1989, and a former business partner of current White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett, began conversations with Cooley concerning collaboration on a book about Chicago corruption.
Frawley’s claim that the money he gave Rezko went to Obama is alluded to in a December 1, 2010 deposition executed in the context of a legal malpractice complaint filed by Frawley, on July 9, 2010, against his former attorney and long-time friend, George Weaver.
Frawley alleges that Weaver was not representing his best interests when Weaver interrupted a March 2006 phone conversation, supervised by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, between Frawley and Rezko who were scheduling a face-to-face meeting.
Frawley cooperated with U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation of Rezko by wearing a wire.
On page 21 of the deposition, this exchange is recorded between Weaver’s attorney, Daniel F. Konicek, and Frawley:
Konicek: And Tony Rezko was where when you were speaking to him?
Frawley: He was on the other end of the phone. I don’t recall where he was.
Konicek: Okay. Now, that answers one part of the question is who was present when Mr. Weaver made a gesture across his neck with both hands [signaling that the conversation should cease]. But my question was a little different because your complaint specifically alleges he [Weaver] told you to withhold certain information, right.
Konicek: I’m assuming the information is about the payments made by Rezko to Obama, so we know we’re talking about the right conversation, right?
Franklin: (Charles Franklin, representing Frawley.) I’m not going to make any objection. I think that’s – you may make that assumption, but I think it’s unfair to make the – to have Mr. Frawley make the assumption. Also, it doesn’t go to who or where or the forum non conveniens issue.
Konicek: There’s going to be multiple conversations, I want to make sure I understand where each occurred. So you said he (Weaver) withheld information. Am I correct it was about Obama being paid by Rezko?
The Witness: (Frawley) I’m not answering that question based upon my attorney’s instructions.
Less than two months later, on January 26, 2011, the feds charged Frawley with bank fraud, although the statute of limitations on his crime had expired. He pled guilty on February 14, 2011 and was ordered to make restitution of $4,000,000. He awaits sentencing in mid-April after four previous sentencing dates were postponed.
Frawley’s claim, that he passed money to Rezko that went to Obama, is referenced in an email to Cooley dated May 31, 2011, wherein Frawley outlines his thoughts on how to bring “this” to the public’s attention.
From: Dan Frawley (address deleted)
Date: Tue, 31 May 2011 08:08:15 -0500
Subject: Frawely [sic] vs Weaver
To: Robert XXXXX (Cooley address deleted)
I think the best way to bring this to the public and media is to fact plead the malpractice case against Weaver.
I have discussed this with my attorney's and they are willing to do it at the right time and way. Instead of a news conference being called like the gay guy did with Obama.
PUT AS THE GUTS OF THE SUIT THE MEETING AT THE FOUR SEASONS AND THE 4OO GRAND GOING TO YOU KNOW WHO AND THE USE OF THE MONEY.
I would bring this out in the for [sic] of a legal action not a personal vendetta. The media with the right reporters would make sure that was national news. When the usual denials are made or the old I don't remember I hit him with the second naming names dates and places.
Punches are always more effective when thrown in combination. know [sic] we figure out the best timing.
Cooley confirmed to a source that “YOU KNOW WHO” refers to then U.S. Senator Barack Obama.
Cooley also told a source that, “Dan was wearing a wire for a couple of years on Tony Rezko, and he told the feds he was giving money to Rezko for Barack Obama. They told him over and over again never to discuss Obama and wires with the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s office, and never even mention Obama’s name.”
Another undercover operative for the feds in the investigation of Rezko, Bernard T. Barton, Jr., alias “John Thomas,” was also prohibited from taping conversations concerning Obama.
According to the source, Cooley added that Frawley told him in several emails, during multiple phone conversations, and in a face-to-face meeting in Chicago, that he gave more than $1 million to Rezko “who said that he wanted it for Obama.”
Cooley speculated to the source that the indictment of Frawley ten years after the commission of bank fraud was intended “to keep him quiet, to keep him from talking.”
Despite his long association with Rezko, Frawley was not called as a prosecution witness in Rezko’s 2008 trial.