Monday, December 10, 2007

Wiggle room on Sunnyside

As the Chicago Tribune methodically tracks down First Lady Patti Blagojevich's real estate commissions, one little disclaimer in all the stories is being overlooked.

The Blagojevichs refuse to come clean on the extent of her work. What the Governor and his wife are disclosing still might constitute a less-than-complete picture of her commissions, which total more than $200,000 since Rod became governor, as best the Tribune can tell.

The governor's office has characterized inquiries about Patricia Blagojevich's dealings as sexist, saying she was a successful businesswoman long before her husband became governor in 2003.

While releasing their jointly filed income-tax returns that show profits from her River Realty Inc., the Blagojeviches have refused to provide tax documents from the company or her list of clients.

But the Tribune's investigation into Patricia Blagojevich's real estate dealings has documented a steady income -- more than $200,000 -- to the Blagojevich household from key political supporters, campaign fundraisers and state contractors since he was elected.
It's possible, according to accountants I've talked to, for the Blagojevichs to be offsetting the commission with corporate losses. That means the figure the Blagojevichs are providing to the public quite possibly is a subset of the total commissions she is earning.

Good luck getting the real information from the Governor or his spokeswoman. The only consolation is that we all presume the feds already know the real story and someday will tell us.

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