Jimmy De Leo:The Guy behind the Guy

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass tells us about Jimmy De Leo, the state senator who runs Rahm Emmanuel's Congressional District, the guy behind Governor Rod Blagojevich:
It's reasonable to assume that if there's one fellow Rod would talk to about the Senate seat, it's Jimmy. And given their relationship, Jimmy could talk to Rahm. I'm not suggesting money was offered. There is nothing illegal about politicians horse-trading to fill seats. Only when such deals are monetized -- as the governor is alleged to have done -- is it illegal.

I'm just talking about putting political pieces on the board the Chicago Way. A vacant Senate seat and a soon-to-be vacant House seat in Illinois would be a package deal. Consider this mathematical equation: Jimmy/Rod + Jimmy/Rahm = Happy Rod, Jimmy and Rahm. Get it?

Before he became so powerful, Jimmy was a lowly traffic court bailiff making a measly $20,000 a year. Yet he was able to own shiny new Cadillacs, Jaguars and Mercedes, astounding federal agents, who in 1989 charged him with taking bribes to fix tickets in the Operation Greylord probe of judicial corruption.

Later, his former roommate told a federal grand jury that there was $35,000 in cash in their freezer, carefully wrapped in butcher paper so the bills wouldn't get freezer burn. But the roommate came to Jimmy's defense, saying the money was his, not Jimmy's, and that it came from the roommate's stolen-car business.

At Jimmy's trial, Outfit gambling boss Ken "Tokyo Joe" Eto emerged from the witness protection program to testify that he passed cash to Jimmy via handshakes. Eto had been hiding since Outfit hit men tried to kill him. They used cheap bullets, and three slugs failed to fully penetrate Eto's diamond-hard cranium.

The jury didn't believe the feds. They believed Jimmy and acquitted him, so he rose to political prominence, and now Obama's chief of staff is the congressman in the district Jimmy controls.

h/t: TS9
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