This investigation comes just weeks after high-profile campaign donor and Broadway Bank customer Nick Giannis and his son were implicated in a check-kiting scheme using funds from the bank.
The Tribune found a series loans were made to Demitri Stavropoulos and Michael Giorango during a 14-month period in mid-2004 just after Alexi Giannoulias took over as the bank’s chief loan officer, the Tribune reports.
Stavropoulos and Giorango were given multiple loans despite preparing to serve time in federal prison for running a multistate bookmaking ring and running a nationwide prostitution scheme, respectively, the paper says.
Shortly after receiving the loans the two men began their own lending operation and made more than 40 short-term loans to risky borrowers.
Broadway Bank officials said they were unaware of the lending operation and said they were suing to recover money from the men.
Giannoulias has tried to distance himself from the issue.
His older brother Demetris Giannoulias, the bank’s president and CEO, said Alexi’s only role in the affair was "getting the appraisals ordered, getting the loan documents prepared, coordinating with attorneys, getting commitment letters prepared. All that kind of stuff," he said, meaning Alexi never approved the loans.
Demetris Giannoulias also defended his bank for making loans to felons.
He told the paper that the bank learned of Giorango's bookmaking and prostitution promotion convictions from a spring 2004 Tribune report detailing those cases.
"But we're a relationship bank," he said. "So somebody comes in and in all his dealings with the bank seem to be on the level, everything makes sense, nothing seems illicit or untoward. Just because somebody gets a bad article written about them there's no reason to say, ‘Hey, listen, I'm going to kick you out the door because you don't win a popularity contest.' We didn't think he was doing anything illegal."