Illinois' First Lady mentioned in complaint

December 10, 2008 7:22:26 AM PST
The governor's wife, Patti Blagojevich, is allegedly heard in the background of her husband's taped phone conversation, according to the criminal complaint.She was awakened early Tuesday morning when Governor Rod Blagojevich was taken into custody at their Ravenswood Manor home.

Patti runs a real estate company, River Realty, from their home and over the years, there has been criticism about commissions she was paid by well-connected clients. Some of her recent actions and comments are included in Tuesday's complaint against her husband:

Regarding the Tribune's deal to sell the Cubs and the newspaper's editorial board, the complaint reads on November 3:

  • "During the call, Rod Blagojevich's wife can be heard in the background telling Rod Blagojevich to tell Deputy Governor A "to hold up that f***ing Cubs s***. . . f*** them."
  • "Later, Rod Blagojevich's wife got on the phone and, during the continuing discussion of the critical Tribune editorials, stated that Tribune Owner can "just fire" the writers because Tribune Owner owns the Tribune."
  • "Rod Blagojevich's wife stated that if Tribune Owner's papers were hurting his business, Tribune Owner would do something about the editorial board."
  • "She is part of the conversation with the governor and others making suggestions as to what should happen," said U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald

    On a conference call November 10 about appointing someone to the vacant Senate seat:

  • "Rod Blagojevich's wife suggested during the call that she is qualified to sit on corporate boards and has a background in real estate and appraisals.
  • "Rod Blagojevich asked whether there is something that could be done with his wife's "series 7" license in terms of working out a deal for the Senate seat."
  • "From the sound of it from this complaint, she seemed like a co-equal, co-conspirator," said Cindy Canary, Ill. Campaign for Political Reform.

    Canary said while political spouses may be under more scrutiny in their business dealings, that scrutiny may be in the public's best interest.

    "It is very difficult for them to carry on with their careers, and in many ways that's not fair, but the reason it's fair is because of some of the allegations we have seen today," said Canary.

    Patti had said she would step back from real estate. River Realty is listed as a corporation in good standing with the secretary of state's office.

    In September, Patti became the director of development at the Chicago Christian Industrial League. Her colleagues said she was not at work Tuesday but has been busy preparing to raise money for the nonprofit organization in the last few weeks.


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