Why is Antoin “Tony” Rezko under lock and key at an undisclosed location, like some sort of CIA-renditioned al Qaeda operative? And why hasn’t he been sentenced yet?
As the June 3 corruption trial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich for allegedly trying to sell Obama’s former Illinois Senate seat approaches, the whereabouts of the former Blago and Obama fundraiser is literally a state secret.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Rezko was moved from Chicago’s downtown Metropolitan Correctional Center on December 16th, even though it’s right across the street from the federal courthouse where Blago will be tried.
Rezko’s not listed on the federal Bureau of Prisons’ inmate locator, either.
“Nobody knows where he is,” a source in Chicago told The Examiner.
The other big question: Why hasn’t Rezko been sentenced yet? It’s been almost two years since the Chicago restaurant and real estate developer was convicted on bribery, fraud and money laundering charges.
After months of unexplained delays, Rezko’s January 6th sentencing date was canceled again – this time indefinitely – by U.S. District Court Judge Amy St. Eve, a former Whitewater prosecutor. Reporters were initially told that Rezko was cooperating with prosecutors, but he apparently stopped talking and demanded to be sentenced as soon as possible. That request was obviously denied.
Randall Samborn, spokesman for Fitzgerald, told The Examiner that Rezko “remains in federal custody,” although admitting that he didn’t know exactly where the convicted businessman was being held. Samborn also confirmed that “there is no sentencing date,” but would not elaborate. Sources in Chicago tell us that the long delay is “very unusual.”
A call to defense attorney William Ziegelmueller was not returned.
Is Rezko being held at another prison facility for his own safety? There are plenty of people in Chicago and Washington who might not want Rezko on the witness stand. They include:
Democratic Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias.
Rezko was such an enthusiastic customer of Giannoulias’ failing Broadway Bank that he wrote $450,000 in bad checks against his account to pay off gambling debts.
Alderman Eddie Burke
Rezko hired Burke’s law firm to get a 77 percent reduction in the real estate taxes of a 62-acre property along the Chicago River he planned to develop using $140 million in city subsidies. After assuring the Chicago Board of Ethics that he would abstain from any Council votes on Rezko’s project, Burke voted for it anyway, blaming his conflict of interest on “an error.” The project was later abandoned.
President Barack Obama
Rezko was the president’s “real estate fairy,” as one Chicago columnist likes to put it. Remember how they bought a house together in Chicago? Rezko was one of Obama’s earliest and biggest fundraisers and donors. Obama was one of his go-to guys for housing legislation in the Illinois state Senate.
If I were Tony Rezko, I’d be hiding, too.