Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

"The Tollway Was Connected to My Campaign Contributions": Witness

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Former Illinois Roadbuilders chief Gerald Krozel told the jury this morning that he always assumed Rod Blagojevich's administration was a 'pay to play' entity.

    "The tollway was connected to my campaign contributions," Krozel said during testimony Wednesday.  

    Krozel listened as prosecutors played a taped conversation he had with Rod Blagojevich Oct. 22, 2008. 

    "We've just got this end of year deadline," a chipper Blagojevich said on the call concerning new law which would severely restrict contributions from state contractors. "The rules change after January 1."

    Krozel had already testified that he felt pressure from Blagojevich to raise campaign cash, in exchange for a massive expansion of a construction program planned for the Illinois Tollway.

    Blagojevich then speaks about the tollway program.  "We've got something going," he says.  "And there's going to be more!"

    After that, Blagojevich shifted back to his campaign fund.  "The good news for you guys--which is bad news for us--after the first of the year, we won't be able to bully you guys!"

    Krozel said he had no intention of raising money for Blagojevich, but was afraid to tell him that.  "He was the governor," Krozel said.  "It was his idea for the program.  I was afraid it could be the end of the program."

     On cross examination, during a heated exchange, Blagojevich lawyer Aaron Goldstein attempted to punch holes in Krozel's testimony.

     

    "You never felt pressure from Rod Blagojevich, DID you?"

    "I sure did! When somebody asks you continually about money, you feel pressure!"

    Asked if Blagojevich ever made a direct link that if Krozel raised money and he would expand the tollway program, Krozel said, "It was obvious!"

    "Did he ever say it?"

    "He didn't say it. It was obvious!"

    Asked why he never told the FBI about such allegations during his first meeting with them the day Blagojevich was arrested:  he said, "I was afraid!"