'Blago's' dad-in-law now says accusations false

| 1/21/2005

Just days after he accused Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich of possible wrongdoing, Chicago Alderman Richard Mell has backed away from the charges.

According to press reports, the alderman – who is also the governor’s father-in-law –accused one of the governor’s fund-raisers of accepting $50,000 in campaign contributions in exchange for jobs with the state.

But The Chicago Sun-Times reported Friday, Jan. 21, that Mell had issued a letter saying the charges were false and apologizing to the fund-raiser for making them. The newspaper said the letter was approved in advance by an attorney working for the fund-raising official.

Nonetheless, the Illinois Attorney General is investigating the charges leveled against the Illinois governor.

Melissa Merz, the spokeswoman for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, told Land Line that the state is conducting an investigation “based on allegations made by Alderman (Dick) Mell.” The probe is being conducted in conjunction with the Cook County State Attorney’s office, she added.

Merz said the investigation was in the early stages, and that she could not comment further.

Blagojevich has been a frequent target of truckers. He has vetoed several bills that would have ended the state’s split speed limit, and under his administration, significant increases in fees paid by truckers in Illinois were enacted.