Blagojevich Closes Campaign Office | WBEZ
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Eight Forty-Eight

Blagojevich Closes Campaign Office

A 2,500 square foot office on Chicago's North Side will soon be ready to rent. It boasts high ceilings and a parking lot, and some rather interesting history. Until late last week 4147 N. Ravenswood, Suite 300, was the office for the Friends of Blagojevich campaign fund. And it's the office where federal authorities planted two bugs to secretly record the then-governor's conversations before he was arrested. 

John Figlioli owns the building, and yesterday morning was the first time he's been able to get in to see the place since the former governor vacated it. He meets up with the property manager and a realtor to walk through and see what they need to do before finding a new tenant. The three of them go up to the third floor, open the door and go to the large room that spans the entire front of the building.

ambi: So this was the governor's office...kind of Prairie style.

Figlioli walks to the back of the building, through double french doors into a large room with a kitchenette.

FIGLIOLI: So this is where all the big meetings happened, Rob, in here where's the light switch?

Prosecutors put a bug in this room like they did in Blagojevich's office.

FIGLIOLI: They had a big conference table in here, and another big screen TV so they could watch the news. So as far as we know, this is just garbage that they never took out?
BENDER: Campaign contribution envelopes. There's some cords. Some videotapes.

There are piles of paper garbage around the conference room intermingled with useless old office supplies. Figlioli walks over to a closet and pulls out a bound document, a little less than an inch thick and he reads through the table of contents.

FIGLIOLI: Blagojevich, Madigan, Poshard margin of victory comparison. Blagojevich, Madigan vote comparison with map. Oooh, this is entertaining stuff.

On the floor of the closet is a box with a couple thousand copies of a letter.

FIGLIOLI: This is from friends of Blagojevich, or actually it's written by Rahm Emanuel, oooh, interesting. He's writing to tell you the untold story of the Blagojevich administration under governor Blagojevich Is there a date on this thing? There's not.

The letter goes on to state, "under Governor Blagojevich, Illinois has done more than any state in the nation to make health care more accessible," and the letter ends saying, "I am proud that Rod Blagojevich is our Governor. Sincerely," and then it's signed with the name of "Rahm Emanuel."

Rahm Emanuel is now President Obama's Chief of Staff. His office didn't immediately respond to our inquiry as to whether he had actually signed off on the letter. Leaving the letter behind, Figlioli goes out to the hallway and finds a box of cards that are about 5 by 7 inches. The writing on them is blue ink in a stylized cursive.

FIGLIOLI: You are cordially invited to attend a reception honoring governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Tuesday October 18th two thousand and seven at the loft. Holy cow! No wonder I didn't get one of these.
BENDER: How much?
FIGLIOLI: 20 thousand for co-chair, 15 for benefactor, 10 for patron, 5 for sponsor, and one thousand for two tickets, which means you probably didn't even get a chair. Can't believe...So speak clearly.

Figlioli says that before he rents the place out, he's going to have to check with the FBI to make sure they've removed the bugs so he can reassure the next tenant.

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