Will William Cellini Finally Get What He Deserves?

Will William Cellini Finally Get What He Deserves?

William “the Pope” Cellini has amassed a large fortune by standing this/close to those in power. Even though his influence has been great, he never wanted to put himself into the public spotlight. I mean what the hell, what better way to avoid undue publicity? And as a result, William Cellini has been able to manipulate every Illinois Governor from Richard Ogilvie to the disgraced Rod Blagojevich. Naturally the movers and shakers familiar with William Cellini would probably view him as a sharp cookie and others, like me, simply view him as a Scheister. His manipulations have cost the taxpayers of Illinois plenty, and given that he has been described as a gazillionaire – and that is saying an awful lot. Cellini must now answer to charges for uncharacteristically coming out from behind the curtains to try and extract a bribe for the disgraced former Governor Rod Blagojevich in exchange for landing the lucrative Teacher’s Retirement System (TRS) fund management business.

The funny thing is, though, he wasn’t your typical Machine Politician. At least not a Chicago Machine Politician. After all he wasn’t even a  Democrat or from Chicago. But as a powerful Republican who knew that you just couldn’t overcome the Chicago Democratic Party and its’ power base he was also savvy enough to accept the old adage that if you can’t beat ’em you may as well join ’em. And Voila’ – Illinois has a Political Combine!

Naturally we shouldn’t be so smug as to ever believe that the State of Illinois has ever had a traditional two-party political system either. The power that Chicago and it’s collar counties exert on the politics of this state are great. The Metro Area, after all, was an industrial mecca since the turn of the century. Union Labor soon became strong enough to dictate what they wanted from government and in turn politicians established a cozy relationship. Of course that also translated into the area becoming the staunchly Democratic stronghold it has.

The Democrats have always been viewed as the champion of the worker and so long as people were gainfully employed – it was very easy for sleazy politicians to take their cut from the top and still convince the populace that their approach to government ensured their well-being. People bought their lines hook, line and sinker. Even going so far as accepting the normalcy of the graft as a cost of doing business. I mean everyone was working and you had to give some to get some. right? Unfortunately, politicians and their cronies took more and more while expanding the number of participants who would have to be subsidized, short and long-term, by the taxpayers of Illinois.

People like William Cellini learned how to pull the strings like a puppet-master when it came to getting state business. And let’s not forget that he also stuck it to taxpayers with a very bad hotel deal in Springfield. Most people probably don’t remember how Cellini and his investers forced the taxpayers into bailing out a very shady hotel deal, but trust me, the taxpayer were stiffed royally. However egregious that incident was, though, Cellini somehow continued to get more and more state business.

In addition to being the Pope – Cellini has also earned the name the Asphalt King of Illinois. That business alone has generated billions for the Asphalt Industry in recurrent business to repair, resurface and rebuild Illinois roadways. While many other states have refined how their roads are built, Illinois has continued to employ a technology that has a built-in failure rate. Sooner or later (and mostly sooner for some reason), those roads would need to be redone. Kinda makes you think what they were putting into that asphalt huh? But the bottom line is that our roads weren’t being built to last.

Still, it kept the few, fortunate and very connected contractors and their union workers employed. And that was whether it was in good times or bad. Let’s face it, the people in Illinois don’t like decaying roads, you know? Now why the lawmakers kept handing out those contracts instead of looking at what other places were doing can only be described as malfeasance on their part. Seems to me that any lawmaker with a logical mind would question the enormous expenditures and demand that our roads be built to last using newer techniques and materials – but then again, this is Illinois.

Spreading the money around to a select few is just how its done around here. As for William Cellini facing charges that he attempted to extract a payoff in return for landing the Teachers Retirement System management contract, well that to me is just the tip of the iceberg with this man. Maybe it is even a bit ironic that he would put himself into a position to blunder so badly along with Stuart Levine, Joseph Cari, Steven Loren and Tony Rezko in order to get a hefty campaign donation kickback for former Governor Rod Blagojevich. Oh well, the Indictment speaks for itself and all the others have been convicted.

Hopefully the jury will show Cellini the same courtesy.

After all, what goes around comes around, you know?


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  • It looks like you got confused on the issue.

    Just as people say Springfield is corrupt without noting that most of them are Chicago politicians, you pretty much ignored that Cellini was an indigenous Springfield politician. Maybe no different than the Chicago politicians, but still not one, sort of like Ryan. Both parties and most areas of the state are about equally corrupt.

    Also, this case seems pretty cut and dry in that either he attempted to extort the Movie Executive or didn't. This case isn't going to get redemption for the Hotel and similar stuff, except in a "finally gotcha on something" sense.

    This was much more interesting before Chris Kelly committed suicide, as the preexisting case against Cellini was the sole means of bringing the other conspirators, including Blago before Judge Zagel, instead of the U.S. Attorney having to go through the usual judicial assignment lottery. However, since Kelly was the link between Cellini and Blago, he got a separate trial when that link was gone.

    The more interesting thing would have been if Cellini had stayed in the original case, but the feds are probably lucky that he didn't, in that they concluded in the second Blago trial that the jurors would never understand the racketeering and conspiracy counts.

    I've commented before how the concrete lobby is only in it for itself, especially when advocating for toll hikes, asphalt lasts for about 2 years, and how ARRA was mostly just asphalt, so that part of Cellini's background is no surprise.

  • In reply to jack:

    Quick finger editing after "he wasn't a Democrat" which now includes the original "and not even from Chicago" - thanks for catching that - it was there before I added the picture. Hmm.

    Anyhow, yes most politicians in this state are corrupt as sin and there are other pockets of Democrats too; i.e. Rockford, Quad Cities, East St. Louis. BUT the power is Chicago and its collar counties, after all when they can beat out some 100+ other counties that are predominantly Republican - you see the enormity of that power. Of course the Metro Area also has the largest concentration of people. Republicans have had to play along if they were getting anything. The fact remains, it was Cellini who deftly engineered the Combine and while this case is in no way indicative of what he should be convicted for - yes there is a measure of Gottcha! Finally! The case may not be as strong without Christopher Kelly, but my guess is that a jury will see the connection to Blago, et al very clearly. Besides, there seems to be a backlash of late by citizens serving on a jury involving corruption. And don't forget even though he will wind up in Club Fed he will exposed to all the indignities associated with prison life; i.e. strip searches and bending over while they inspect his crack.

    Yes it is a small measure of a victory if convicted but a victory just the same.

    p.s. this was the same man who wound up on my former company's (a plastic company!) books that Joseph Cari, Steve Loren and Stuart Levine were "silent partners" in. A conviction would ease my brain after having to shut down that business and lay off the entire company because of these men. There was something wrong from the day and the hour I began working there. hell they even had inventory, that was of zero value, being used as collateral with a now defunct bank - can you guess who the bank officer was? For what it is worth, there is one other person who should be in the mix (another bigwig Republican who was on those books) but isn't. Trust me - any victory here is a good one. But the Feds could have gone further with what they were given and would have explained how monies get redirected in this state under the guise of legitimate business.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    The salient point is that the people you name (Cari, Loren, and Levine), plus obviously Rezko, were playing both sides of the political street for their own personal profit throughout. So long as they could worm their way into either the Ryan or Blago administration, they were able to get what they wanted. Remember that, according to ABC, what started off the Blago investigation was Levine using the Health Facilities Planning Board to steer business to Kiferbaum, about which Edward Hospital complained, as reflected in this summary of the indictment. I'm sure that so long as Levine found a way to wrangle himself onto that board, it really didn't matter who was the governor who allowed it.

    Thus, saying Cellini "wasn't even from Chicago" doesn't explain the enormity of what was happening. After all, Levine was from Highland Park and Kiferbaum was from Glencoe, and neither could be said to be part of the Chicago machine, either.

    BTW--If you want to discuss Chicago political scum, whether or not part of the Machine, it was reported that the Blago mansion was listed for $1 million with River Realty--but the reports I heard did not make the connection that River Realty was Patti Blagojevich's firm, through which Rezko allegedly funneled commissions for not doing any work. Nonetheless, Patti wasn't indicted.

  • In reply to jack:

    I see what your saying - but I believe the salient point is that you either play along with the Machine Politik or you don't get squat. There is no such thing as ideology or party loyalty when it comes to our politics. It has after all been refined into somewhat of a political mafia ever since Chicago came into being.

    So you see - in reality everything (and everyone playing the game) is related to the Machine.

    And BTW - Patti Blogojevich and her ownership of River Realty does not elude me, but I suppose the Feds were content with the roundup they had. Patti, by all right, is in this just as deep as the others but there were the kids to consider too and am sure that was the over-riding consideration with that.

    Look, for whatever it's worth - our corrupt state politics is because of the influence of the Machine. Now that doesn't mean that they don't have there own circles of scum elsewhere - they do. But it really begins here Jack. it is entwined if you will and you just can't escape that. It is like your comment about Springfield - but hey who are those people down there? Chicago Pols overwhelmingly.

    Let's face you haven't got the same numbers when it comes to the corruption Downstate as we have up here. We are the Head!


  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    My main point about Potti was that the news reports missed the River Realty connection.

    In fact, I'm not sure where the news found the website, in that Google doesn't reveal one for River Realty, but indicates that the business address of River Realty is 2934 W. Sunnyside Ave., which just happens to be the property that is for sale. Apparently the news found it on an MLS site.

    As far as whether all graft is machine related or not, I'm sure the word doesn't get up here about what originates in East St. Louis, Cairo, or, as I indicated earlier, indigenous to Springfield instead of imported there from Cook County. For that matter, DuPage County never seemed that clean (remember the Fawells), but most of their shenanigans involved the Tollway, and similarly people from McHenry County had their hooks into Metra. I don't think that they all had to kiss Berrios's and Madigan's posteriors for that.

  • In reply to jack:

    I am not sure which news program I was watching, perhaps it was Channel 7 in the AM broadcast the other day and they brought up River Realty and Potti's ownership of it. I also remember one of the two papers reported it along with the connection to Rezko and Patti's Pay for No Work. But yeah only one really connected it while others glossed over it.

    As for Google, that doesn't surprise me because River Realty is probably a home business created by the Blago's?

    I used to live in DuPage and indeed they were corrupt as sin there too - but I still believe the die was cast even before the Paddy Bauler era (although he and his cronies really helped perfect it). After that - it was just a matter of the usual "I want my piece of the pie" reaction.

    But hey - in Illinois the graft and corruption is a way of life, but I will hold to my belief that the Chicago machine is the principle driver /and impetus. Even Richard J Daley knew the power of Chicago when he was asked eons ago on why he didn't run for governor and he said "why - I have more power than the governor now." That about says it all for me.

  • Of related interest, especially with regard to whether this is connected to the Chicago Machine is this Sun-Times article that he tried to worm his way into the Gerald Ford administration, that far back, in return for "deliver[ing] Republican votes for president."

  • In reply to jack:

    Saw that too - amazing huh?

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