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Son of Burris Got State Job From Blagojevich

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Feb 26, 2009 4:20PM

The swirl of controversy around Senator Burris gets worse and worse each day. Today's development? The Sun-Times is reporting this morning that Roland W. Burris II, son of Senator Roland Burris, landed a job with the Blagojevich administration last fall, all in spite of some financial troubles for Roland II. Just weeks before, the IRS hit Roland II with a tax lien of over $34,000 and shortly thereafter a mortgage company foreclosed on his South Side home. While officials say there was nothing illegal about Roland II's hiring, it does raise more questions about the relationship between Blago and Sen. Burris prior to the appointment.

Roland II was hired to work as senior counsel for the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) last September. Rebecca Boykin, spokeswoman for the IHDA, said, "Roland Burris II was hired by the Illinois Housing Development Authority's Legal Department based on his qualifications in response to a published job posting." As to Roland II's financial woes, Boykin said. "As an employer, it is not IHDA's practice to request financial information from applicants."

The Sun-Times details those woes like so:

Burris II had resolved two federal tax liens in 2005 before being hit with the $34,163 lien in July. That lien against his property seeks unpaid taxes for 2004, 2005 and 2007.

A month after the IRS filed the lien, Burris II's lender filed its foreclosure suit. Since Burris II and his wife got the $372,000 mortgage on July 18, 2006, they've paid less than $3,000 on it, the suit alleges. The balance due is $406,685, including interest and penalties.

The fact that Burris II faces foreclosure but is working at a housing-related state agency "reeks of hypocrisy," said state Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), who was the first to call on Sen. Burris to testify before the impeachment panel.

"It's probably not the area where he [Burris II] should be counseling Illinois citizens on how to stave off foreclosure," Durkin said. "I guess it just begs the question: Why was he placed there, and to what extent did Sen. Burris have conversations regarding the placement?"

So a guy gets appointed to a high-ranking political position and it turns out his son had also landed a cushy government job that he's probably not properly qualified to handle? No, not in Illinois. We don't believe it.