In his attempt to extricate himself from a mess, Democratic state Treasurer candidate and banker Alexi Giannoulias did a round of one-on-one interviews yesterday with the news media in Chicago. Giannoulias has been sharply criticized by the press, particularly the Chicago Tribune, for making questionable loans to criminals and not being forthcoming about his knowledge of the loans. In the Tribune story today, he acknowledged he discussed with convicted bookmaker and prostitution ring promoter Michael Giorango his criminal past.
But Giannoulias occasionally strayed across those privacy lines to describe aspects of the loans. On Wednesday, Giannoulias said he once discussed Giorango's criminal past with him. In that conversation, he said, Giorango "may have misrepresented the extent of what took place." Giannoulias declined to answer further questions about that conversation.
Banks, according to press accounts, don't have to make background checks on people they loan money to, but when the bank knows the person is a criminal and loans the money anyway without checking it out further? Giannoulias' interviews didn't put out the fire.
The Barack Obama and Pat Quinn protege still has more explaining to do.