Blagojevich, wife spent lavishly on clothes
CHICAGO | Rod and Patti Blagojevich were awash in more than $200,000 in consumer debt when the former Illinois governor was arrested, following a lavish, six-year shopping spree on custom-tailored suits and other luxury clothing, a federal agent testified Thursday.
Mr. Blagojevich and his wife spent more than $400,000 on clothes, mainly for themselves and not their children, from 2002 through December 2008 when he was arrested, Internal Revenue Service agent Shari Schindler said at Mr. Blagojevich’s federal corruption trial.
“Sometimes they used credit cards to pay for other credit cards,” Miss Schindler said.
Prosecutors were plainly suggesting that the staggering mound of debt facing the impeached Illinois governor and his wife could explain his alleged plan to get a Cabinet post or high-paying labor union or foundation job in exchange for filling the U.S. Senate seat Barack Obama was leaving to become president.
They spotlighted Mr. Blagojevich’s urgent concern about money, later playing a tape of an angry, profanity-laced tantrum in which the governor tells advisers, “We’re struggling here.”
“I’m stuck,” Mr. Blagojevich says, his voice rising. “The whole world is passing me by, and I’m stuck in the job of governor.” Somebody asks who is passing him by.
“Everybody!” he shouts. “Everybody!”
“I’ve got to figure out a way to take some financial stress off my family,” he says, sounding increasingly frantic. He says he thinks he is letting his family down. “I can’t afford college for my daughter.”
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