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Who's who in Rezko corruption trial
Associated Press
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Published: 5/12/2008 12:13 AM

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Antoin "Tony" Rezko: Fast-food entrepreneur and real estate developer, and former top fundraiser for Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Charged with scheming to get bribes and kickbacks for favorable votes from the regulatory Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board and the $40 billion state Teachers Retirement System. Proceeds were to go in part to Democrat Blagojevich's campaign fund, according to the government. Blagojevich is not charged with any wrongdoing.

Stuart Levine: Millionaire attorney and longtime Republican donor. Pleaded guilty to money laundering and mail fraud and is the government's prize witness against Rezko. Member of both the health planning and TRS boards; reappointed by Blagojevich to both. Claims the governor told him, "Stick with us and you will do very well for yourself."

Jon Bauman: TRS executive director since August 2001, making $229,000. Allegedly described by Levine as "friendly," suggesting he would cooperate with kickback schemes. But an FBI wiretap also caught Levine in April 2004 discussing replacing Bauman. Not charged with any wrongdoing. According to another taped conversation, alleged co-schemer William Cellini bragged how Bauman referred to Levine as "the rabbi" and Cellini as "the pope" because of their influence over him.

Thomas Rosenberg: Producer of the Academy Award-winning film "Million Dollar Baby" and an owner of a real estate investment firm that had hundreds of millions of dollars of business with TRS. According to prosecutors, Cellini and Levine told Rosenberg in spring 2004 that he would have to make a $1.5 million contribution to Blagojevich's campaign or a $2 million kickback if he wanted new business from TRS, but they backed off when he threatened to expose them.

William Cellini: Former state public works director, decades-long GOP fundraiser and road contractor. Allegedly tried to convince Rosenberg that he needed Levine's assistance, then warned other co-schemers of Rosenberg's adverse reaction. Has not been accused of wrongdoing.

Christopher Kelly: Blagojevich's 2002 campaign finance chairman. Blagojevich made him an adviser on gambling issues. In a separate federal case, charged with hiding $1.3 million in taxable income and illegally using money from his business to pay debts from bets he placed with bookies and in casinos.

Dr. Robert Weinstein: Levine's longtime business partner and friend who, according to prosecutors, agreed to receive bogus TRS finders' fees to deflect attention from Levine. Prosecutors claim he and alleged co-schemer Sheldon Pekin agreed to set up a business to accept the kickbacks, which they would then share with Levine. Has not been accused of wrongdoing.

Ali Ata: Longtime Blagojevich friend who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about how he got his job as executive director of the Illinois Finance Authority. In his plea deal, Ata said Blagojevich was at a meeting in fall 2002 when Ata gave Rezko a $25,000 contribution to Blagojevich and the governor asked Rezko whether he'd spoken to Ata about a state job. He gave another $25,000 the next summer and Blagojevich told him the job he got should allow him to "make some money."

Sheldon Pekin: Associate of Levine's. Testified under a grant of immunity from prosecution that he received a $375,000 "finder's fee" from a TRS investor which he initially was told he would share with Blagojevich's father-in-law, Chicago Alderman Richard Mell. Eventually paid some of the money to another businessman.

Richard Mell: Blagojevich's father-in-law and powerful Chicago alderman. A government witness testified in the Rezko trial that after arranging a $50 million TRS investment deal, he agreed to share a "finder's fee" with Mell because Mell was "upset because he wasn't participating in the spoils." Mell never got the money, and said he had no part in any scheme to split a finder's fee.

Steven Loren: Former outside lawyer for TRS, pleaded guilty to attempting to obstruct the Internal Revenue Service. Testified that he bowed to pressure from Levine to draw up a fake contract to hide the fact that a finder's fee was being split among several people, including one who had done no work.

Robert Kjellander: Springfield lobbyist and former treasurer of the Republican National Committee. Received $809,000 in consulting fees for the 2003 sale of state bonds, much of which prosecutors believe was funneled through a Rezko associate to Rezko "assignees." Not been charged with wrongdoing.

Nadhmi Auchi: Iraqi billionaire whom Rezko hoped would invest in the development of Rezko's 62-acre site near downtown Chicago, according to Levine. Head of the giant Luxembourg-based General Mediterranean Holdings. It was his $3.5 million loan to Rezko last year which, when it became known, prompted U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve to revoke Rezko's bond weeks before his trial, saying Rezko had not updated her on his finances and could flee to avoid trial.

Jacob Kiferbaum: Contractor whom Levine says would pay a $1 million bribe, which he planned to split with Rezko, if the health board approved an $81 million hospital in Crystal Lake that Kiferbaum's firm would build. Levine says he earlier had received a pair of $1 million kickbacks from Kiferbaum, financed by inflated construction bills, for projects approved by a college where Levine served as a trustee. Has pleaded guilty in related case.

Joseph Aramanda: Rezko associate who received from Rezko part of a finder's fee from a TRS contractor, $10,000 of which he contributed to Barack Obama's U.S. Senate campaign. Obama returned the money last summer. Not charged with a crime.

Joseph Cari: Former Democratic National Committee finance chairman. Pleaded guilty to attempted extortion after Levine recruited him to get a kickback from a company seeking TRS business. Told prosecutors that Blagojevich, Rezko and Kelly tried to woo him as a national fundraiser for the governor. Says Blagojevich told him at one meeting that as governor, he "could award contracts, legal work and investment banking" in exchange for campaign fundraising help.