Tony Rezko story is making headlines in Illinois because of his powerful web of connections to most of Chicago area politicians, thanks to his donations to their political campaigns.
Since he was indicted last week, no one knows for sure where Rezko is. The FBI said that he was in an Amman Hotel; he also was reportedly in Qatar, where he is believed to be the Emir’s pal.
Rezko could go to his native Syria, and simply not comeback. In addition to his legal troubles, Rezko is in really big financial trouble. His house in the ritzy suburbs of Wilmette has over 3 million dollar lean to GE Capital after defaulting on payments. His businesses are faltering.
Rezko is also being sued by his former friend, also a native Syrian, Semir Serazi for defaulting on a million dollar loan, Serazi secured for Rezko.
Serazi, who heads the Semir and Liyla Serazi educational foundation,a businessman and a noted philanthropist, www.Serazi.com, is seeking 10 million dollars in his lawsuit.
( Semir Serazi)
Joe Duffy. Rezko’s attorney said that Rezko would be back to answer the charges mounting against him.
The question is that if Rezko goes to Syria and end up becoming a fugitive, would the Syrian government turn him in to the US despite that there is no extradition treaty with Syria.?
My guess is that the draconian Syrian government, eager to please, will gladly turn any Syrian in to any government, and might even torture him as a bonus, and a sign of good will to the Americans!
Tony Rezko is in a lot of trouble. The man has accumulated a confusing maze of companies and shell businesses that requires days of connecting them together to get a clear picture of those companies.
Rezko was awarded the "Entrepreneur of the decade " award from the Arab-American Business and professional Association.
( "Entrepreneur of the decade" Tony Rezko)
The main dough in Tony’s business is Pizza, but he was sued by the parent company,. He is also owns 7 Subway sandwich shops on Illinois toll way, thanks to his chummy connections to the governor.
Blagojevich administration was not very friendly to Arab Americans; perhaps it was to Rezko and his friends and associates whom all have gotten cushy jobs after “ donating “ some cash to the political campaign.
During the previous Republican Administration, an Arab American lady, Safia Shillo headed former lieutenant governor, Colleen Wood’s office of ethnic affairs. Safia Shillo was instrumental in helping the community to get access to government to solve social and political problems
Blagojevich came and abolished that office and fired Shillo. But to his credit he appointed other Arab Americans to state boards and commissions!!
The difference however was that those appointees were self-serving and interested in enriching themselves, and have rarely if ever helped or served the Arab American community.
The Blzko scandal is not even new in Chicago politics, which is still basically work the way it worked during Al Capone times but with heavy make-up.
Patrick Fitzgerald the assistant US attorney in Chicago, who is investigating the White House leak of Plame CIA connections, is also investigating City Hall as well as the Governor Mansion in Springfield.
( Governor Blagojevich and Rezko, ABC-7 picture)
Former Governor George Ryan is due to report to prison after the New Year to serve out his jail sentence after being convicted for corruption early this year.
Fitzgerald office has charged over 30 people for corruption in hiring schemes in the City Hall and 20 have been convicted so far.
Also this was not a very unique in the Arab American community. I mean, the City of Chicago has for many years what is called the “ The Advisory Commission on Arab affairs and Human relations” The problem is however is that the overwhelming members of the community, and the average Arab American “Billy Joe Mohammad” have never heard of it, nor have seen its “ helping hand” it’s a ghost Commission.
It is basically Daley’s men! Hardly have they done anything worthy for the community despite the major social, economical, and political upheavals the community had went through in the past few years.
( Mayor Daley)
Rezko’s scandal is just the beginning for the Governor Rod Blagojevich whose trouble started when his own father in law Alderman Richard Mill, one of Chicago's fossilized king makers accused him of corruption and money for jobs schemes after a family feud over business and political turfs.
After all, this is how it all started for former governor Ryan, whose corruption and subsequent conviction looks like a chum change comparing to Blzko scandal.