William Cellini trial, Chicago businessman, The Pope of Illinois politics, Bill Cellini 101, Cellini 101, Cellini Blagojevich Rezko Levine Obama
“Why was Obama in constant contact with Tony Rezko in 2004 when Rezko was conspiring with William Cellini to use TRS, Teacher Retirement Fund, assets for political gain and personal enrichment?”…Citizen Wells
“Illinois is Six Degrees of Bill Cellini.”…John Kass, Chicago Tribune
“There is enough corruption in Illinois so that all it takes is someone who is serious about finding it to uncover it. If a U.S. attorney is not finding corruption in Illinois, they’re not seriously looking for it.”…Northwestern Law Professor James Lindgren
The William Cellini trial is scheduled for October 3, 2011. Tony Rezko and Stuart Levine have not been sentenced. Until recently, the major news sources have been mostly quiet about Cellini even though, as John Kass of the Tribune stated “Illinois is six degrees of Cellini.” Here are some recent articles.
From the Chicago Tribune July 3, 2011.
“The marquee event in a federal investigation into Rod
Blagojevich’s governorship, Blagojevich’s own trial, is over — but the
legal saga that stretches back nearly a decade isn’t quite at an end.
The last big trial in the case is that of businessman William Cellini,
a Springfield Republican dubbed “The Pope” of Illinois politics for
his influence in the halls of state power dating back to the 1960s.”
“Both Blagojevich and the jailed Rezko are expected to be sentenced
toward the end of the year. Two former chiefs of staff for
Blagojevich, John Harris and Lon Monk — both of whom testified against
their former boss at his retrial — must also be sentenced.”
From the Rockford Register Star July 3, 2011.
“Cellini’s trial for fraud and extortion conspiracy, set to start Oct.
3, is the next case related to Operation Board Games, a sprawling
probe by federal prosecutors in Chicago into corruption in the
administration of disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.”
“The trial had been scheduled for Aug. 22, but in a motion agreed to by
Cellini, prosecutors said they had “unforeseen personal conflicts”
with that date and asked that it be delayed. In its filing, the
government estimated the trial could take up to four weeks.”
“Cellini lost a bid in 2009 to suppress wiretapped conversations.
However, motions regarding that request have been sealed or heavily
redacted, so it’s unclear what the substance of those conversations
Spring 2003: According to the federal indictment, William Cellini and
Stuart Levine agree to ask Chris Kelly and Tony Rezko to use their
influence in the Rod Blagojevich administration to defeat a plan to
consolidate the Teachers’ Retirement System with other state
Spring 2004: Blagojevich reappoints Levine to the TRS board.
April 2004: Levine tells Rezko they could force Capri Capital to pay
to get $220 million in TRS funds to investment, according to the
indictment. Levine is to have Cellini tell Capri principal Thomas
Rosenberg that Capri will not receive the investment allocation unless
Rosenberg contributes to Blagojevich’s campaign.
May 2004: Cellini agrees to deliver the ultimatum to Rosenberg,
according to the indictment.
May 7, 2004: Cellini allegedly tells Rosenberg that Capri has not
received the investment funds because it had not made campaign
May 8, 2004: Cellini tells Levine that Rosenberg threatened to inform
law enforcement of the alleged extortion attempt, according to the
May 10, 2004: Cellini tells Kelly about Rosenberg’s threats, the
indictment says. Cellini and Levine talk about ways to convince
Rosenberg not to go to law enforcement.
May 11, 2004: Cellini, Kelly, Levine and Rezko agree that it’s too
risky to withhold investment funds from Capri Capital, according to
the indictment. But they agree that Capri Capital will not receive
May 25, 2004: The TRS board agrees to give Capri Capital $220 million to invest.
Summer 2004: Cellini, Kelly and Rezko discuss having TRS executive
director Jon Baumann moved from his position so that he won’t
cooperate with law enforcement, according to the indictment.
Summer and fall 2004: Cellini and Rezko discuss having Chicago-area
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald removed from his position to stop a
criminal investigation, the indictment says.
June 4, 2008: Rezko is convicted on 16 of 24 charges. However, the
eight charges on which Rezko is found not guilty include those
involving Cellini, Rosenberg and Capri Capital.
Oct. 30, 2008: Cellini indicted for the first time. He faces four counts.
April 2, 2009: Cellini indicted for a second time, along with Rod and
Robert Blagojevich, Lon Monk, John Harris and Kelly. Cellini faces
three counts in the new indictment.
Sept. 12, 2009: Kelly commits suicide.
Nov. 16, 2009: Cellini’s case separated from the trial of the
Oct. 3, 2011: Cellini case scheduled to go to trial.”
In the Chicago Tribune article, Paul Green, who teaches politics at Chicago’s Roosevelt University, states “Very little is known about him except by inside players,”.
My hat is off to the Rockford Register Star for posting an article about William Cellini with substance. However, there are a few items from many mentions of Cellini at the Tony Rezko which should be noted.
March 6, 2008
“Prosecutor Carrie Hamilton talks about how Highland Park businessman
Stuart Levine is central to the government case “
“She also explains how William Cellini, a powerful Republican power
broker, was also allegedly central to many of the alleged kickback
schemes at the Teacher’s Retirement System.
Hamilton finished remarks after an hour. She did not mention the name
of Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama, whose U.S. Senate
campaign in 2004 allegedly was the beneficiary of $20,000 in campaign
cash from intermediaries in the kickback schemes the government says
were orchestrated by Rezko.”
March 21, 2008
“That’s where Levine’s testimony is headed right now as he details how
he and Republican insider William Cellini staged a coup to take
control of the Teachers’ Retirement System, the $30 billion pension
fund for most Illinois teachers. Cellini had worked with Levine in the
past on corrupt business deals, Levine has testified. Prosecutors say
Levine and Rezko corrupted the pension fund, plotting to steer tens of
millions of dollars in investments to favored money managers in
exchange for a secret split of finder’s fees for those investments.”
To learn more about William Cellini and Chicago corruption.