Monday, June 16, 2008

Giannoulias on Rezko: "I would love to, but I can't,"

Kristen McQueary on our ernest but naiveTreasurer in the SouthTown HT Rezko Watch. I guess there are some limits to Yes we can.
Before being elected state treasurer, Giannoulias was vice president of his family's North Side bank, Broadway Bank. Rezko was a client. In addition to at least one loan secured through the bank, Rezko held a checking account there. Rezko is accused of writing nine bad checks from the account totaling more than $400,000 to Las Vegas casinos, Nevada authorities revealed last month.

Wouldn't you know it? Rezko liked to gamble, just like his pal Christopher Kelly, who faces federal charges in a separate case alleging he hid gambling debts and cheated the IRS. Both men were close advisers to Blagojevich.

Giannoulias could not, and would not, elaborate on his specific financial dealings with Rezko because as a banker, that information is private, Giannoulias said.

"I would love to, but I can't," Giannoulias said.

As for Rezko's bounced checks, Giannoulias said they simply show "the bank did the right thing." In other words, the bank didn't help Rezko by covering the losses. Giannoulias said he oversaw the loan portfolio of the bank anyway and would not have been aware of Rezko's bad check-writing habits.

In short yes-and-no answers to my questions, Giannoulias said Rezko never asked him or Broadway Bank to help with the gambling debts; Rezko wasn't steered to Broadway Bank by Barack Obama, a mutual friend; and Rezko had no personal connection to Giannoulias, other than as a bank customer.

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