Illinois Gov. Arrested on Corruption Charges
I am just curious……How do you feel Bank of America was involved?
If you click on the "Bank of America" link in my first post, it takes you to this Bloomberg article.
Illinois Threat to Bank of America Is Dangerous, Critics Say
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By David Mildenberg and Brian Louis
Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) — Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s threat to halt the state’s dealings with Bank of America Corp. over a shut-down factory in Chicago extends a “dangerous” trend of politicians meddling with commerce, a former general counsel of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said.
Blagojevich, a Democrat, yesterday said the biggest U.S. retail bank won’t get any more state business unless it restores credit to Republic Windows & Doors, whose workers are staging a sit-in. John Douglas, an attorney with Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker in Atlanta, said Blagojevich and Senator Christopher Dodd — who called on General Motors Corp. to fire Chief Executive Rick Wagoner — can’t tell companies how to run their business.
“This is a very dangerous thing,” said Douglas, who was at the FDIC from 1987 to 1989 and has since represented financial institutions including Bank of America. “There becomes an expectation that these government officials have some say over what the institution does,” he said in an interview.
The Illinois governor met Republic Windows & Doors employees who remained at the factory since Dec. 5, after Bank of America canceled a credit line. The members of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers Union have won support from politicians including President-elect Barack Obama, who said the 250 workers are justified in demanding benefits and pay.
“They’re absolutely right,” Obama, who gave up his U.S. Senate seat from Illinois last month, said over the weekend. “These workers, if they have earned these benefits and their pay, then these companies need to follow through on those commitments.”
Bank of America isn’t empowered to tell a company how to manage its business, spokeswoman Julie Westermann said yesterday. Republic is unable to operate profitably in the current economy, she said.
“Bank of America has worked with the company and shared our concerns about the company’s situation and its operations for the past several months,” she said. “It is unfortunate that the company has been unable to reverse its declining circumstances.”
Robert Topel, a labor and economics professor at the University of Chicago, said it’s “just silly” that a governor or member of Congress would seek to “micro-manage” a business.
“What does Chris Dodd know about running an auto company?” Topel asked. “Is Bank of America supposed to pick and choose which line of credit they want to keep open based on political pressure? It’s not Bank of America’s obligation to make sure the employer has funds to pay its employees.”
Dodd and Wagoner
Dodd, the Senate Banking Committee chairman, made his comment Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, said Wagoner should be replaced if GM is to receive federal aid. U.S. lawmakers may vote this week on a $15 billion rescue of U.S. automakers.
Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley said he’ll introduce an ordinance to block the state’s biggest county from doing business with Bank of America. “I’m usually cautious, but this is an extraordinary example at an extraordinary time,” Quigley said in an interview.
Commercial banks have restricted lending as ripples from the financial crisis that began on Wall Street widen into the broader economy. More than half a million U.S. jobs were lost in November and economists have drawn a direct link between the deepening recession and the seizure in credit markets which has so far resulted in $981 billion in writedowns and losses globally.
Republic told the bank on Oct. 16 it planned to cease manufacturing in January after losing $5.7 million during the first nine months of this year and a total of $12.7 million in 2007 and 2006, according to a press release.
The company faced “the impossible position of not having the ability to further reduce fixed costs, coupled with severe constrictions in the capital debt markets and an unwillingness of the current debt holder to continue funding the operations,” Republic said in the release.
Workers and supporters, warmed by a fire roaring in a trash bin, kept a vigil last night at the plant on Chicago’s north side. Signs mocked Bank of America, with one reading: “You got bailed out. We got sold out.”
Bank of America has received $15 billion from the U.S. Treasury as part of its effort to boost capital, while Merrill Lynch & Co. is receiving $10 billion. Bank of America is buying Merrill, the world’s largest securities brokerage. The taxpayer funds were intended to help Republic Windows and other companies preserve jobs, Blagojevich said at a news conference.
Ricardo Caceres, 39, and father of two, was among the Republic workers outside the factory last night. About 100 volunteers, bundled against the cold, distributed bags of food for the employee sit-in inside the plant.
Caceres worked at Republic for 15 years assembling windows. He said workers were brought to the cafeteria at lunchtime last week, and told they would soon be out of work. “Everyone was in shock,” when the plant closing was announced, said Caceres, who lives in Chicago.
The employees are heartened by the outpouring of support from politicians and people in the community, Caceres said. “I never imagined this.”
Last Updated: December 9, 2008 00:00 EST
I’m "stuck" in Illinois, and I can tell you – this has NOTHING to do with Bank of America.
Rod Blagojovich is a great example of the corruption that’s plagued Illinois (especially C[r]ook county) since the 1920’s.
This kind of swarthy, in your face and we don’t give a S*** political system is not only tolerated here, it’s embraced – which is why this dirtbag was re-elected.
Personally, I think obama is from the same cloth, and I wouldn’t trust ANY politician that came from Chicago, irregardless of party lines or affiliations. Their kind of system changes people, not the other way around.