Rod Blagojevich is a fan of Elvis. But as a student of rock and roll, he probably knows that Johnny Rivers once sang: “They’ve given you a number, and taken away your name.”
The former governor’s number is now 40892-424. For the next 14 years, that’s how he will receive his mail and conduct all business at the Federal Correctional Center in Englewood, Colo.
One piece of trivia even the history-savvy Blagojevich may not know is that he is now a member of an exclusive group known as "424’s." Those numbers, the last three of his inmate number, are a geographical designator for inmates from the Chicagoland area.
Thus, fellow former governor George Ryan is 16627-424. Convicted former alderman Edward Vrdolyak? He was 19511-424. Scott Fawell, Ryan’s former aide-de-camp, served as 14418-424. Notorious Chicago Police Detective and friend of jewel thieves William Hanhardt was 13236-424.
Another Chicagoan who served at Englewood said the designator was so familiar, inmates would actually greet new arrivals, “Hey, you’re a 424!”
It goes without saying that Rod Blagojevich will already have substantial name recognition when he arrives next week. But at least he’ll be able to spot new friends, with whom he can discuss his beloved Cubs.
Blagojevich was convicted over the summer of 17 counts of federal corruption. He was sentenced to 14 years in December by Judge James Zagel.
He reports to prison a week from Thursday.