Giannis: Why Is Everyone Talking Politics? - NBC Chicago

Giannis: Why Is Everyone Talking Politics?

Blackie's co-owner leaves jail, downplays links to Giannoulias



    Chris Giannis walked out the Cook County Jail saying he didn't know what he was charged with and why everyone was talking about politics and Alexi Giannoulias. (Published Friday, March 12, 2010)

    One of the men allegedly involved in a check kiting scheme run walked out of jail saying he didn't know why people were talking politics.

    Chris Giannis, the son of Boston Blackie's owner Nick Giannis, met a throng of reporters when he walked out of the Cook County jail Friday afternoon.

    "I can't understand why everybody's talking politics with regards to whatever issues Boston Blackie's has with any banks right now, and I have to go see what they're talking about," Giannis said.

    A top contributor to Democratic Senate Candidate Alexi Giannoulias, Giannis, his father and business partner, Andrew Bakapoulos, were charged Thursday with writing bad checks to the tune of $1.8 million.

    The bank owned by the Giannoulias family, Broadway Bank, was not charged with any wrongdoing, but was one of the banks the men used to write the bad checks, prosecutors said.  It's alleged that the men would write checks from accounts with insufficient funds to make deposits at other banks and then quickly withdraw that money before the checks cleared.

    "Upon learning all of this, I instructed my campaign immediately to donate all campaign contributions from these individuals to non-profit organizations," Giannoulias said in a statement.
    The campaign did not name the charities that will receive the more than $115,000 received from the Giannis family, other than to say they are 10 different organizations.

    "Reckless Business Relationships"

    Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk used the charges against Boston Blackie's as another opportunity to paint his opponent as ill-equipped for the Senate.

    He said the charges "appears to be part of a disturbing pattern of reckless business relationships, questionable banking practices and potentially illegal activity."

    Kirk alleges that during the time Giannoulias served as chief loan officer for Broadway Bank, from 2002 through 2006, he did not check loan applicants' arrest records, and loaned roughly $52 million to criminals.