The phones were buzzing today after Sneed suggested Stuart Levine was wearing a wire the past 11 months.
Nobody seems to know if that rumor is true. Even if it is, the bigger danger for the Blagojevich administration is this sentence in Saturday's Tribune story.
Federal prosecutors have said Levine was recorded on the telephone telling investment firms seeking business from the Illinois Teachers' Retirement System to hire certain consultants. A wiretap placed on Levine's home phone for several months in 2005 captured more than 1,600 calls, according to court records.If Stu was wearing a wire, he was doing it AFTER he was indicted twice -- for schemes at the state board that approves hospital construction and the state teacher pension board. It is unlikely, even if he was wired, that he snared too many accomplices.
However, the phone calls are another story. Here is a timeline of Stu's troubles and where the phone calls fit in.
FALL 2003 -- Rod Blagojevich, Democratic fundraiser Joe Cari and Levine fly together on a private jet to a fundraiser in New York. Cari and Levine would later be indicted.It's clear that the phone calls came prior to any Levine indictments and prior to news reports that revealed Levine's connection to pension board schemes. Seems he would have been much more likely during that time period to get people to talk to him -- rather than after his two indictments.
JULY 2004 -- News breaks that Levine is under suspicion of extortion at the Health Facilities Planning board.
JANUARY-MAY 2005 -- FEDS ARE TAPING 1,600 PHONE CALLS TO AND FROM LEVINE'S HIGHLAND PARK HOME.
MAY 2005 -- Levine is indicted by feds for health board schemes.
JULY 2005 -- News breaks that feds are investigating Levine and Cari schemes at pension board.
AUGUST 2005 -- Levine, Cari and others are indicted in pension board schemes.
SEPTEMBER 2005 -- Feds release Cari plea agreement where he says Levine told him Public Official A and his two close associates are operating a scheme to trade pension fees and contracts to companies and individuals that contribute to Public Official A's campaign fund. The media has reported that Public Official A is Blagojevich and the two close associates are Chris Kelly and Tony Rezko.
SEPTEMBER 2005-AUGUST 2006 -- SNEED SAYS LEVINE MAY HAVE BEEN WIRED AND TALKING TO POLITICAL FIGURES.
We already know that in that collection of 1,600 calls, prosecutors have turned over 50 or so conversations with Nicholas Hurtgen and Jacob Kiferbaum, two co-defendants in the health board indictments.
What about those other 1,550 calls? And I wonder what Cari and Levine told feds was discussed on that airplane ride with Rod in 2003?