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The Great Taste of Illinois

By Kevin Robinson in News on Dec 19, 2006 5:30PM

Rod Blagojevich has made much about his fantasy of selling parts of the State to private companies as a revenue stream for Illinois. Daley started this trend by selling a 99-year lease of the Chicago Skyway to foreign investors for $1.8 billion. Blago has seen dollar signs in his eyes, ever since, floating the idea of selling the Illinois Lottery as a financial source for "education". Now he's turning his sights to vending rights in state facilities. Promising that a deal giving exclusive vending rights to a particular brand could generate millions of dollars for the state, now he's looking for a single company to take over nearly 2,400 vending machines in state facilities, and to become the sole vendor of non-alcoholic beverages at both the Illinois State Fair and at University of Illinois sporting events.

2006_12_taste.jpgTeam Services LLC, a Maryland-based business that specializes in naming rights and corporate sponsorship consulting, has not only given $4,000 to Blagojevich, but also had a business relationship with Blagojevich's former Chief of Staff, Lon Monk. Team Services stands to take a 15% cut of any revenue this deal generates, and was criticized in a state audit for helping shape a contract proposal that it later won.

While this doesn't go quite as far as New York's choice of an official drink (it's Snapple), it does suck if you are blind. Like all things Illinois, a friend of the Governor will also make a tidy profit off this deal as well. (We can't confirm the state of his vision as of this writing). The Governor's office expects the deal to be finalized by April. We wonder if this means we have to want to be a pepper too ....