Some are predicting that south side Eddie will beat the indictment. If you are only reading the rather bland recitation of the indictment, it would appear that is possible. But, acccording to press accounts, Fitzgerald's wild card is a series of personal conversations between indicted insider Stuart Levine and Vrdolyak in which Levine was wearing a wire. The indictment does not give us many clues to the existence or extent of those conversations. Instead, we are relying on press leaks.
However, previous articles indicate that those conversations may not be as pivotal as is being portrayed. The timeline doesn't fit logically. The wired conversations started approximately September 2005 and ended in August 2006, according to Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed. But Levine already had been indicted by then and it would have a major mistake for Eddie to speak candidly to Levine at that time, if he indeed had something to hide. Here is a previous timeline of Levine's actions, with the Vrdolyak scheme inserted in bold type according to the indictment.
2002â€”Levine, Vrdolyak scheme is hatched.Although this is complete conjecture on my part, it seems more logical that if Eddie was tripped up by conversations with Levine, it might have happened earlier than November 2005. What may be pivotal are taped phone calls of conversations from Levine's home phone between January and May 2005. Levine was known to have preferred to talk via hardline phones. At that time, Levine was under suspicion of wrongdoing but had not been indicted. I wonder if Vrdolyak is on the receiving end of at least one of those 1,600 calls.
JANUARY-JUNE 2003â€”Deal by Levine's hospital board is cemented to sell downtown parcel to Vrdolyak connected firm.
FALL 2003 â€” 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.
JULY 2004 â€” News breaks that Levine is under suspicion of extortion at the Health Facilities Planning board.
NOVEMBER 2004â€”Sale of hospital property to Vrdolyak connected firm is consummated.
JANUARY-MAY 2005 â€” FEDS ARE TAPING 1,600 PHONE CALLS TO AND FROM LEVINE'S HIGHLAND PARK HOME.
MAY 2005 â€” Levine is indicted by feds for health board schemes.
JULY 2005 â€” News breaks that feds are investigating Levine and Cari schemes at pension board.
AUGUST 2005 â€” Levine, Cari and others are indicted in pension board schemes.
SEPTEMBER 2005 â€” 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.
JUNE 2006â€”Last conversation between Levine and Vrdolyak about hospital property and commissions.
SEPTEMBER 2005-AUGUST 2006 â€” SUN-TIMES GOSSIP COLUMNIST MICHAEL SNEED SAYS LEVINE MAY HAVE BEEN WIRED AND TALKING TO POLITICAL FIGURES.