Big Jim Sticks Up for Mrs. Blago

By Margaret Lyons in News on Dec 10, 2007 4:54AM

2007_12_9.bigjim.gifFormer governor Jim Thompson came to the defense of the current administration this weekend, specifically on behalf of Illinois’ first lady, Patty Blagojevich. Thompson was prompted by a report on Friday that the feds have started sniffing around Mrs. Blago’s real estate deals –- deals that have been worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in commissions brokering transactions for Springfield connected clients such as state contractors and contributors to her husband’s campaign.

So why would Big Jim want to get involved with this -- especially when he’s still reeking from the stank of the George Ryan trial? Does it have something to do with the over $1 million in legal fees received by his firm from the Blagojevich campaign fund? Thompson, inspired by Mayor Daley, decided to blame the media:

"How many times a day do you suppose house sellers in Chicago who have a friend in the real estate business give that friend the chance to sell the house. Are they on the front page of the Tribune?" Thompson asked in his letter to the Tribune's editorial board. "I thought the Tribune was better than this."

He suggested the story was just an excuse to rehash previous stories about the first lady's real estate deals.

And how many times a day do you suppose those friends then just happen to receive a lucrative government contract in return?

One interesting note from the story -- legal fees being paid to Winston & Strawn by the Blago campaign have been increasing steadily, and neither party will confirm or deny whether this is for criminal defense work. And now with probes starting against the governor’s wife, signs are starting to point to perhaps Patrick Fitzgerald bringing the hammer down sooner than later.

--Prescott Carlson

Photo from the Winston & Strawn website