At a recent debate, Illinois Senate Candidate and Obama friend Alexi Giannoulias was asked about about using his family’s now defunct bank to make loans to mobsters. His answer was not acceptable, notes the Chicago Tribune:
Giannoulias was responding to a question from NBC’s David Gregory about his bank’s loans to organized crime figures back when he was a loan officer at the family business. As the Tribune reported in April, Broadway Bank had lent millions of dollars to Michael “Jaws” Giorango and his business partner Demitri Stavropoulos by the time Giannoulias arrived at the institution. During his time as a loan officer, the bank kept giving them loans — even when they were about to go to federal prison on felony convictions.
Confronted with these embarrassing facts, the candidate has squirmed to put the best face on them. “If I knew then what I know now, these are not the kind of people that we do business with,” he said Sunday. But when Gregory asked, “Did you know that they were crime figures that you were loaning to?”, Giannoulias couldn’t fudge his way to safety. “I didn’t know the extent of their activity,” he said.
That is a roundabout way of saying: “Yes.”
It’s probably true that Giannoulias was not fully briefed on their illegal activity, which is the sort of thing felons rarely publicize even to their financial enablers. But he and his colleagues did know — or should have known — enough to show these clients the door. Not only had Giorango served prison time in the 1990s for his involvement in illegal bookmaking, but he and Stavropoulos had been convicted, in 2004, of new felonies for which they later served prison time.
Ouch. It’s amazing that a guy like Giannoulias was selected by his party to run for Senate. Only in Chicago…