NBC Universal, Inc.
The wife of disgraced ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has emerged from the shadows of political pariah-ville with a new job in the family business.
Patti Blagojevich is helping her father, former Chicago alderman Dick Mell, launch a lobbying firm, the Chicago Tribune reports. Mell, who retired from public office last year, tells the paper that he wants to stay busy and also provide financial support for his daughter. (His other daughter, Deb Mell, took over his city council seat.)
The former Illinois First Lady -- named in state records as an "agent" for the firm -- supervises the paperwork but won't be working as a lobbyist, says Mell, grandfather to her two daughters with Rod, who's two years into a 14-year federal prison sentence for corruption.
Mell, 75, spent 38 years as the influential Democratic alderman of the 33rd Ward and has gotten rich from the sale of his spring manufacturing company. His newly created firm, dubbed the Maytag Group, has two clients: MCZ Development Corp., which paid $3,000 for Mell's lobbying services, and G.A. Paving LLC, which wrote him a check for $950, according to the Tribune.
As it happens, G.A. Paving recently wrote a larger check of $5,000 to the campaign of one of Mell's former aides, Jaime Andrade, to secure the Democratic nomination for daughter Deb's spot in the Illinois House of Representatives.
Patti, meanwhile, has laid low since achieving notoriety during Blago's public meltdown and the media circus surrounding it. Another cringe-inducing brush with infamy: a bad decision five years ago to appear as a contestant on the NBC reality show I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! (She came in fourth, out-lasting Stephen Baldwin, Heidi Montag and Sanjaya Malakar.)
After Rod's arrest in 2008, and the revelation of her F-bomb-throwing rant on federal wiretaps, Patti was fired from her six-figure job as a fundraiser from a Chicago homeless agency. She also stepped away from her work as a real estate agent following probes about how much business, if any, she received because of her husband's political clout. She remains registered with the state as a real estate managing broker.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Patti and the kids visit Rod in prison outside Denver about every three months and that the couple talks by phone on daily basis. Meanwhile, the paper relays, Patti is "working her heart out on her real estate business to help support the family financially."