Report: Patti Blagojevich firm under scrutiny

October 19, 2008 6:07:04 AM PDT
A real estate developer's family business reportedly saw a dramatic increase in state deals after the wife of Gov. Rod Blagojevich sold the developer's condos for more than $100,000 in commissions. The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times reported Saturday that between 2001 and 2004, developer Virgil Tiran listed dozens of condominiums with Patti Blagojevich's company, River Realty.

Blagojevich and his wife have not been charged with any crimes, but scrutiny has increased since the conviction of gubernatorial fundraiser Tony Rezko, according to the published reports.

Blagojevich and his wife have been repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

State payments to a company owned by Tiran's parents increased from $183,000 to $1.1 million over the next five years under the Blagojevich administration, the newspapers reported.

The company, Diane Home Care, provided services for the developmentally disabled through a contract with the state Illinois Department of Humans Services.

Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero attributed the spike in the company's state business to a good track record and ability to serve a higher volume of clients. He denied that so-called pay-to-play politics are involved.

Patti Blagojevich "has been in the real estate business for many years -- long before becoming first lady -- and has developed a number of personal relationships just as other real estate professionals do," Guerrero told the Sun-Times. "Her various clients engaged in her services because of her credentials, abilities and her skills. To suggest otherwise does a disservice to Mrs. Blagojevich and other political spouses everywhere who chose to pursue their own careers."

Guerrero did not immediately respond to a message left Saturday by the Associated Press.

Tiran told the Tribune that he hired Patti Blagojevich because she was recommended by his alderman.

"No impact whatsoever," Tiran told the Tribune. "And I believe they sold the whole project. They did a good job."

A telephone listing for Diane Home Care could not be located.


Load Comments