Thursday, April 13, 2006

Obama on the Spot too

So the winning Democrat candidate for Treasurer, Alexi Giannoulious, continues to be under scrutiny for his bank's funding a "Chicago crime figure", Michael "Jaws" Giorango. See earlier post here.

Now it emerges that the loan financed a casino. The Tribune:
Giannoulias, who is senior loan officer at his family's Broadway Bank, has faced questions about the bank's multi-million-dollar loans to Michael Giorango, a convicted bookmaker and prostitution ring promoter.

Questioned by the Tribune in March about loans made between 1994 and 2002, Giannoulias said those deals were approved before he became a full-time bank employee. But the Tribune reported Sunday that newly discovered public records show Broadway Bank made $11.8 million in additional mortgage loans to Giorango just last year. Giannoulias said he oversaw the servicing of those loans.

In March, Giannoulias said Broadway Bank "never financed any casinos. We never did anything like that."

But newly obtained records show that $3.6 million of the recent loans were used by Giorango and another convicted felon to acquire a casino boat marina in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Giannoulias said he thought that property was for condos.

One supporter, Jesse Jackson jr. advised better spin and PR for the novice politician. Senator Obama, whose support was also instrumental in Giannoulious' election, bucking the party's choice of a downstate candidate, said this:
"I'm going to take a look at what's been going on and I'm going to ask Alexi directly what is happening," said Obama, an early and enthusiastic backer of the first-time candidate, after a town-hall meeting at York High School in Elmhurst.

"I think it is absolutely appropriate for [Giannoulias] to have to explain what exactly the nature of the relationship was, how aware the bank was of some of the illegal activities that this gentleman had engaged in in the past," he said. "I think that is something that, as his campaign goes forward, he's got to explain to voters."

But of course, this news came out before the election. It is not acceptable for Giannoulious to claim ignorance about his own bank's business. How will he manage the state treasurer's office? He sounds "ethically challenged" to me. And the good Senator Obama should have done his homework before supporting a wealthy political novice. Oh yeah, didn't this bank support with $$$ Obama's own upset candidacy?

Senator Obama has questions of his own to answer.

No comments: