Asphalt mogul to Blagojevich: Help me out with regulators
| January 13, 2009
The political corruption in Illinois has now trickled down into the construction industry.
Michael Vondra, a construction mogul and top dog in the asphalt industry, allegedly asked Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to help him with environmental regulators on a new business deal he’s working on with BP, according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times.
In return, the Illinois governor, who was impeached by the House on Jan. 9, supposedly hit up Blagojevich to help $100,000 in campaign contributions before Illinois’ new campaign-finance rules kicked in at the beginning of this year, according to the report.
Blagojevich is under investigation for political corruption charges for allegedly trying to sell the Illinois Senate seat that was left empty (but recently filled by Roland Burris) by President-elect Barack Obama.
Vondra, who hasn’t been charged with any wrongdoing, has been named as “Individual B” in the criminal complaint against Blagojevich.
These allegations are part of a criminal complaint against the governor, but they haven’t drawn much attention because Vondra’s identity was concealed in court records, according to the report.
Records show Vondra, his family, and the companies which which they are affiliated have contributed more than $109,000 to Blagojevich’s campaign since 2002, the newspaper reports.
More interestingly, the report notes, Benchmark Construction, one of these companies, has been given millions of dollars in state business since 2004, records show.
Vondra co-owns Bartlett, Ill.-based Asphalt Operating Services. The company plans to build an asphalt-distribution terminal that would handle asphalt produced by BP, according to BP spokesman Scott Dean, the newspaper reports.