Stuart Levine sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison, Rezko Blagojevich Obama crony, Levine involved in massive corruption and drug use, Levine activity leads to Obama
“Why did the Illinois Senate Health & Human Services Committee, with Obama as chairman, create and push Bill 1332, “Illinois Health Facilities Planning Act,” early in 2003, which reduced the number of members on the Board from 15 to 9, just prior to rigging by Tony Rezko and Rod Blagojevich?”…Citizen Wells
“Thomas said Rezko floated the names of several people to sit on the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, which the government claims Rezko corrupted with the help of board member Stuart Levine. And Thomas said Rezko at one point made it clear that he wanted to see Levine reappointed to the panel, which was being overhauled by the governor in 2003.”…Rezko trial March 11, 2008
“Why did Patrick Fitzgerald and the US Justice Department wait until December 2008 to arrest Rod Blagojevich?”…Citizen Wells
“At Rod Blagojevich’s December sentencing Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar called Levine one of the most significant cooperators the Dirksen Federal Courthouse had ever seen.”…Natasha Korecki, Chicago SunTimes
From the Chicago Tribune July 20, 2012.
“Stuart Levine stood before a federal judge Thursday in an ill-fitting suit eight years after FBI agents knocked on his door with news that they had undercover recordings and other evidence of his massive criminal scheming with top Illinois officials.
His day of reckoning had finally come. Swinging in the balance was the chance for a significantly reduced 51/2-year prison sentence that his attorney and prosecutors had agreed on after his extensive cooperation helped unravel the corrupt Blagojevich administration.
U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve was left to reconcile how the former Republican fundraiser became one of the most significant government informants in Chicago’s sordid history of public corruption in part because he was also one of the most corrupt political insiders the city has known.
“You defrauded the good people of the state of Illinois. You stole from close friends. You stole from charities. The havoc that you wreaked is certainly substantial,” St. Eve declared. “You were certainly one of the most corrupt individuals this district has ever seen.”
Yet minutes later the judge imposed the 51/2-year prison term on Levine, saying she was convinced that he was not the same arrogant and egotistical defendant she met four years ago when he testified in her courtroom.
“I have thought long and hard,” she said. “And I don’t grant it lightly.”
Of the cast of characters to emerge in the government’s eight-year federal investigation, Levine was among the most infamous because of the sordid details that came out about his personal life.
Before his arrest, Levine appeared to the public to be a successful businessman living in a North Shore mansion who served on the boards of charities and key state agencies.
But behind the scenes he was using the access and influence he had amassed to steal from a long list of victims. He teamed up in kickback schemes with some of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s top advisers, squeezing millions of dollars from people seeking to do business with the state. And he stole $2 million from the estate of a close friend.
The total take in his illegal schemes would have been more than $20 million if he had gotten away with them.
And all the while, Levine also was living a secret life fueled by the abuse of cocaine and other narcotics. He hosted 24-hour drug binges at the former Purple Hotel in Lincolnwood.
Levine, who pleaded guilty in 2006 to one count each of mail fraud and money laundering, testified about it all at the trials of Blagojevich adviser Antoin “Tony” Rezko and Springfield power broker William Cellini. As a government witness, he explained to juries how pay-to-play worked in Illinois.
On Wednesday, prosecutors called Levine’s testimony essential to securing convictions not only on Rezko and Cellini but also on former Chicago Ald. Edward Vrdolyak; Dr. Robert Weinstein, Levine’s longtime business partner; and the biggest catch of all — Blagojevich.
“All of these people could not have been convicted” without Levine’s assistance, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Niewoehner assured the judge. “It is really a hall of fame of public corruption.”
Niewoehner argued for leniency also because it could send a strong message that “honorable” cooperation can pay off.
“There will come a day when another Stuart Levine is confronted by the FBI,” he said.
His sentencing Thursday marked the first time that Levine publicly addressed his extensive crimes in his own words and not in answer to questions from prosecutors. In brief remarks he expressed regret and remorse to the people of Illinois, to the various boards and charities he served on and to the friends he hurt.
He broke down when he addressed his adult children, who have stood by him.
“I deeply regret the crisis and difficulty I caused my own dear children,” he said. “I thank them for their continued love, which has sustained me.”
In the eight years since he was arrested, Levine has traded the North Shore mansion for a small apartment. He has had to borrow money for groceries and hit three-for-one sales for suits.
His wife served him with divorce papers during the Rezko trial. While he was cooperating with the government, a threat was made against Levine, forcing federal authorities to investigate. Levine also contemplated suicide.
In arguing for leniency, Levine’s attorney, Jeffrey Steinback, pointed to all those consequences. He also pledged that his client has embraced a new life.
“He prays every day,” Steinback said. “Nor for leniency but for forgiveness and redemption and the ability to be compassionate and think of others first.”
Levine is scheduled to surrender to prison Sept. 27.”
“and the biggest catch of all — Blagojevich.”
That is incorrect.
The biggest catch is Barack Obama.