Thursday, December 13, 2007

Inner circle

A federal investigation stung another member of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s inner circle without mentioning the governor. Christopher Kelly, the governor’s close friend, former campaign manager and early advisor on gaming issues, was federally indicted for tax fraud by allegedly hiding more than $1 million of income over five years. The indictment says he used corporate funds from his roofing and consulting firms to pay illegal gambling debt and bookies.

The governor issued a statement: “Chris Kelly is my friend. I am saddened to hear these allegations about Chris's personal life. I know the pain it must be causing him and his family. My thoughts and my prayers are with them during this difficult time. In fairness to Chris, I believe it is important to let the legal process play out and not rush to judgment.”

Kelly’s indictment was coupled with an expansion of a separate investigation that indicted Antoin “Tony” Rezko, Blagojevich fundraiser and businessman, in October 2006. Rezko pleaded not guilty to allegations that he received kickbacks and illegal fees from investment firms seeking business with the state.

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