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|Former Blago Aide Testifies About Making Money
|A former chief of staff for ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich has testified about money-making schemes during the beginning of Blagojevich's administration.
Lon Monk, a former college roommate of Blagojevich and later his chief of staff, testified Wednesday about a meeting with political fixer Tony Rezko, fund raiser Chris Kelly, Blagojevich and himself to discuss making money off of the state.
Monk told jurors that Rezko had a chalkboard of eight or nine ideas that would require state action to make money for the four of them. Monk remembered one specific scheme: buying or creating an insurance company that would do most of its business with the state. Monk testified that Rezko thought the plan could make at least $100,000 and the money would be split equally among the four. The money would be split after Blagojevich was out of office to avoid any public knowledge.
Asked if Blagojevich knew what the meeting was about ahead of time, Monk said he told the governor it was going to be about "how the four of us could make money."
Monk talked about a second meeting in Los Angeles in the winter of 2004 where the four again talked about ways to make money off of the state. He says the same eight or nine ideas were on the table and Rezko said he was working to advance the ideas. Monk said Blagojevich appeared to be interested in the ideas and believed that Blagojevich knew he would have to "do something in the future to cause the state to do something to bring a number of those plans to fruition."
Monk also testified about Blagojevich's personal financial situation. He says Blagojevich was concerned about not making any outside money because of his position as governor. Asked if the governor wanted to make more money, Monk answered "yes." Asked what Blagojevich spent his money on, Monk replied suits, ties and running clothes.
Monk also testified about the state raising money by selling bonds with kickbacks going to Rezko. In 2004, the state sold $10 billion in bonds through just one firm. Monk testified that Bob Kjellander at Bear Stearns gave Rezko a $500,000 kickback, which Rezko put into an account to be split with the Blagojevich, Monk and Kelly. Monk says it was Kelly who persuaded Blagojevich and his staff to sell the bonds to one firm in one day. Monk says he didn't know there would be a kickback and only found out weeks later when he talked to Rezko. Monk had assumed the sale to one company would somehow enhance fundraising for Blagojevich.
Monk served as Blagojevich's chief of staff from January 2003 through December 2005. Monk resumes his testimony Thursday.
(Illinois Radio Network)
|06 10 10 by Newsroom
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