Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

Operation Board Games

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Operation Board Games

Operation Board Games is a federal fraud investigation initiated by United States Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in December 2003, in order to investigate suspected fraud and extortion activity by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. The investigation's name is a reference to two governing bodies in Illinois: one board controlling the Teacher's Pension System, and the second being the Health Facilities Planning Board.



In summer 2006, Fitzgerald indicated that he was investigating allegations of "endemic hiring fraud" in state agencies under Blagojevich's control as part of the federal Operation Board Games probe. The effort was characterized at that time as locating "a number of credible witnesses" but Blagojevich was not accused of any unlawful activities. The May 2007 indictment of Chicago attorney Edward Vrdolyak for his "alleged involvement in a kickback scheme concerning the sale of a Chicago Gold Coast neighborhood building was another piece of the "Operation Board Games" investigation.

A total of fifteen individuals have also been indicted in the course of the investigation. The thirteenth indictment, of William F. Cellini, Sr., which is seemingly the last one before Blagojevich and Harris, occurred in October 2008:

A longtime political insider in Springfield was indicted today on federal corruption charges for allegedly conspiring with two Chicago businessmen and others to obtain political contributions for a certain public official by shaking down an investment firm that was seeking a $220 million allocation from the state Teachers Retirement System (TRS.)

The focus of the investigation was on Blagojevich, which led to the Rod Blagojevich corruption charges. Blagojevich was convicted on 17 of 20 counts on June 27, 2011.

Obama not involved

U.S. President Barack Obama (a former senator) is not accused of any wrongdoing nor a target or subject of the investigation, as Fitzgerald has emphasized to the media. The President-elect at the time was not mentioned in the initial indictment, other than the explanation that the vacated Senate seat in question was the one he formerly held. His connections to another target in the investigation, Tony Rezko, who was indicted in September 2006 and convicted in June 2008, have attracted more attention, however. The Obama family purchased a strip of land next to their Chicago house from Rezko's wife. The transaction was legal and at market prices, but occurred after Tony Rezko's initial criminal implications.


Operation Board Games Wikipedia

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