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January 2022


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: Sam Zell

Gov. Blago Campaign Targeted Chicago Trib Owner for $25,000

The feds are interested in this part of the case and have interviewed Sam Zell, owner of the Chicago Tribune. Interestingly, it was the Chicago Sun-Times, the competing newspaper in town that broke this story. Thank goodness for two-newspaper towns.

Chicago Sun-Times
CHICAGO — Tribune Co. chairman Sam Zell was targeted for $25,000 by the Blagojevich campaign last November while the company’s Wrigley Field deal was under consideration and two weeks before the ex-governor was arrested, internal campaign documents obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.

Zell’s name appeared on a Nov. 25, 2008, document titled “Focus List” among a group of 33 potential donors.

Alongside Zell’s name was the $25,000 figure and a notation that read: “Rod to follow up.” On a Sept. 22, 2008, fund-raising document titled “Call List,” an entry noted “Sam Party on 9.27.”

In another campaign document dated Dec. 3, 2008, Tribune Co. sports consultant Mark Ganis is listed among 143 names of potential donors for tentative or scheduled fund-raising events. Next to Ganis’ name are the notations “New York Event” and “Rod went to dinner on 9/19. Rob needs to follow up.”

The Tribune Co., parent of the Chicago Tribune, hired Ganis to help structure a sale of Wrigley. His name also appeared on the September call list next to a notation that read: “Patti and Rod dinner.”

Lawyers for the former governor and his brother, Robert, who headed his campaign fund, told the Sun-Times on Thursday they did not solicit Zell for cash during that time.

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Feds Interview Chicago Tribune Owner Sam Zell in Blagojevich Case

Sam Zell, the rather unpopular newspaper baron who took over the Chicago Tribune Co. at one of the worst times in the industry’s history, now finds himself involved in the investigation into ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Zell gave Blagojevich a gift in 2008. Is that some innocent gesture or something more? Maybe Zell’s paper the Chicago Tribune will be able to find out.

Sam Zell/ucla photo

Sam Zell/ucla photo

By Todd Lighty and Robert Becker
Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO — Tribune Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Sam Zell hired well-known defense lawyer Anton Valukas and was interviewed in January by federal prosecutors as a “potential witness” in the criminal investigation of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the company acknowledged Wednesday.

Zell could not be reached for comment, and company officials did not respond to questions about details of his interview with the U.S. attorney’s office.

Valukas is a former U.S. attorney who specializes in white-collar criminal investigations and major civil cases at Jenner & Block. He declined to comment.

Donald Liebentritt, Tribune Co. executive vice president and general counsel, provided a statement that said the firm has represented the company for many years in a number of matters.

“Mr. Valukas was recommended to work on the matter because it involved a subpoena issued by the U.S. attorney’s office,” according to the statement from Liebentritt, which came in response to questions from the Chicago Tribune.
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