Ex-Cubs manager Baker went to bat with Blago

July 21, 2010 9:06:23 AM PDT
After receiving a pep talk from former Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker in 2008, then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich allegedly made a pitch to shake down Children's Memorial Hospital for a five-figure campaign donation.

"Dusty Baker called me. I'm going to do $8 million for them. I want to get Magoon for 50," Blagojevich allegedly said during a 2008 meeting with his chief of staff according to newly filed documents in federal court. The Magoon referred to Children's Hospital CEO Patrick Magoon according to the defense filing. Translated, according to the Blagojevich indictment, that meant that the hospital would get $8 million in state funds if Mr. Magoon would kick back $50,000 to the governor's campaign.

Mr. Baker was in between managing jobs at the time. He was with the Cubs and is now managing the Cincinnati Reds.

According to a defense filing in federal court late on Tuesday, the Blagojevich quote took place during a meeting with his former chief of staff John Wyma, who restated it to the government.

"According to (Wyma), as a result of his efforts and the efforts of others associated with Children's Memorial, including Dusty Baker, Governor Rod Blagojevich has recently committed $8 million from the state of Illinois toward this particular issue. It is my belief that the conversation as related by CS indicates that Governor Rod Blagojevich expects a quid pro quo of $50,000 from Children's Memorial in exchange for his commitment of money to Children's Memorial" states the motion filed by Robert Blagojevich's attorney, Michael Ettinger.

Robert Blagojevich is the impeached governor's brother, and is also charged in the corruption case. "Rob" as he is known, was the chairman of the Friends of Blagojevich, the defrocked governor's campaign arm. The point of the motion filed Tuesday by Mr. Ettinger was to have all FBI tapes pertaining to Robert Blagojevich thrown out because the government didn't have probably cause to record them.

Ironically, the motion by his brother to toss all tapes from the case came just as ex-Gov. Blagojevich predicted that those same secret recordings would vindicate him.


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