Rod Blagojevich

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Biography

Rod Blagojevich was born on December 10th, 1956. Rod Blagojevich was immersed in his family’s culture from a young age. His father was a steelworker from Serbia and was a Nazi prisoner of war in World War II. His mother was the daughter of two immigrants from Bosnia-Herzegovina. The family grew up as a typical working-class family in Chicago. After graduating high school, he attended the University of Tampa and then transferred Northwestern Illinois University. After receiving his bachelor’s degree at Northwestern Illinois University he enrolled in law school at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. After graduation he began work as a private attorney. In 1986 he joined former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s team as the Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney. After working for Daley for two years he returned to his private practice. Blagojevich met Patricia Mell at a fundraiser and in 1990 they got married. They had two daughters, Anne and Amy.

Accomplishments

Throughout Rod Blagojevich's career, he obtained a few successes. He became a member of the Illinois House of Representatives in 1992 after his short lived time as the Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney. He then won the Illinois 5th district seat in the House of Representatives. In 2002, he won the race for governor of Illinouis.


Downfall

In 2005, Blagojevich was in a dispute with his father-in-law. Richard Mell accused Blagojevich of “using him and his daughter” to get ahead in the political world. This very public dispute put him under a very scandalous light. In 2005, Blagojevich was then under public scrutiny when several scandals including the selling of contracts, jobs, and senate seats.


Nature of his Corruption

The former governor is notorious for using his powers as governor for personal gains. In December of 2005, he was accused of giving fast-food contracts for a renovated highway oasis to his campaign donors. A few months later, he was under investigation for receiving a $1,500 check from Mike Ascaridis. Ascaridis’ wife received a job at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources days after the check was sent to the former governor. The governor said that the check was only a gift from Ascaridis to his children, but Beverly Ascaridis claimed it was for her job. Blagojevich then faced accusations of connections to Tony Rezko. Rezko was a key fundraiser in the Blagojevich campaigns. The two were accused of extorting money from businesses for personal gain. He was also accused of selling former Illinois Senator and President Barak Obama’s Senate seat.


Results of Corruption/Scandal

In April of 2009, Blagojevich was indicted by the Federal Grand Jury on criminal corruption charges. He was found guilty on all 17 counts of of 20 charges of wire fraud and was sentenced 14 years in a federal prison in Colorado (12 years at a minimum). Blagojevich's brother was also found guilty on one count of wire fraud and one count of extortion conspiracy, one count of extortion and one charge of bribery conspiracy. These charges against his brother were then dropped. Jurors said that they tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, but were unable to find him not guilty since all the evidence was right there. The charges that he had against him could have put him behind bars for the rest of his life.

Where is He Now

Blagojevich is still in the federal Colorado prison serving his 14 year sentence. He is a prisoner teachers, teaching his fellow inmates on the civil war a couple of times a week.

Best Ever Quote

“I’m blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where we lived. I saw it all growing up.”


“Dec. 9 to my family, to us, to me, is what Pearl Harbor Day was to the United States.”


“I don’t believe there’s any cloud that hangs over me. I think there’s nothing but sunshine hanging over me.( the day after he said this, he got arrested)