Sunday, June 08, 2008

Rob Olmstead: Rezko whistleblower still has no hospital, five years after the fact

From Olmstead's column today,
Illinoisans are fond of complaining about political corruption, but what if the businesses and individuals who came in contact with politicians seeking bribes refused to play ball and ratted them out?

If Edward Hospital CEO Pamela Davis of Naperville is any example, the lesson is doing the right thing is a double-edged sword.

Davis was the company CEO who felt she was being shaken down by construction company executive Jacob Kieferbaum when she went to the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board in 2004 to apply to build a hospital in Plainfield.

She was told if she hired Kieferbaum to build the hospital, at a more expensive rate than a company she had already chosen, she'd get her hospital. If she didn't, no hospital.

Davis went to the FBI, and the end result was the conviction of Kieferbaum, health facilities planning board member Stuart Levine and, on Wednesday, former political fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko.

So all's well that ends well, right?

Not exactly.

Five years later, Edward still has no hospital in Plainfield, whereas if Davis had just gone along to get along, chances are it might. The company has applied again for a permit, but there's no guarantee it will be granted this July.
Sharing Phil Kadner's disgust,
I am tired of elected officials who are "saddened" every time one of their corrupt buddies goes off to prison.

Here's what Gov. Rod Blagojevich had to say after his key campaign fundraiser, Tony Rezko, was convicted of orchestrating multimillion-dollar kickback schemes:

"On a personal level I am deeply sad for what's happened to Tony," our governor said.

Here's what U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the Democratic nominee for president, had to say about Rezko, who also contributed money to his campaign:

"I'm saddened by today's verdict. This isn't the Tony Rezko I knew ..."
...then maybe the solution is our leaders saluting the hero Ms Davis instead of the scoundrel Rezko?

Seems the honorable thing to do.

Of course Ms. Palmer's already talked, and Tony Rezko's in jail calculating the gain of starting to talk.

So maybe the incentive is to say nice of Rezko fearing what he could say in return.

Tough luck Ms Palmer.....

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