Back on February 2, 2003, I wrote an article for Illinois Leader entitled, “I’m Rod. Fly Me…For Free.”
The fruits of part of what I found—horse race track owners flying gubernatorial candidate Rod Blagojevich around the state—were harvested last Friday. That’s when Governor Rod Blagojevich signed legislation awarding the industry $36 million a year from Chicagoland’s four casinos over two years.
A company controlled by Richard Duchossois (who owns a big part of Churchill Downs, to which he sold Arlington Park) provided one fly-around on October 23rd. Add to that $25,000 in cash from Churchill Downs that had an Octobler 25th date and you have a big chit.
Cicero’s Sportsman’s Park spent $75,990 on nine free plane trips from August 18th through September 21st. That’s a lot of “face time.”
On May 28th, Sun-Times Springfield Bureau reporter Tracy Swartz quoted Cindi Canari of the Illinois Committee for Campaign Reform as saying the industry had contributed $250,000 to Blagojevich.
May 8th, Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief Dave McKinney reported the beneficiaries:
· track owners 40 percent…, leaving the rest for breeders, farmers and others in horse racingWhether one uses the $250,000 contribution-to-date figure or the $81,322 spent on the fly-arounds or the $106,322 contributed at the end of the 2002 campaign, the horse racing industry got a huge return on it “investment.”
· Arlington Park - $4.2 million
· Hawthorne Race Course - $4 million
· Balmoral Park Racetrack and Maywood Park to split $4.09 million
Somewhere between 132-1 to 405-1.
The odds for the tracks were lower, a bit over 11-1, if one goes with the $106,322 pre-election figure I found.
Here are the details of the fly-arounds:
Duchossois Industries Inc, Elmhurst $5,332 10/23And, the story of Pegasus:
Sportsman’s Park, Cicero $5,524 8/18
Sportsman’s Park, Cicero $8,760 8/23
Sportsman’s Park, Cicero $24,812 8/26
Sportsman’s Park, Cicero $5,512 9/2
Sportsman’s Park, Cicero $10,254 9/4
Sportsman’s Park, Cicero $5,202 9/14
Sportsman’s Park, Cicero $5,799 9/15
Sportsman’s Park, Cicero $4,964 9/16
Sportsman’s Park, Cicero $5,163 9/21
Bellerophon tried to use Pegasus to fly to Mount Olympus, but Zeus was not amused and sent an insect to bite Pegasus. Pegasus then bucked off Bellerophon, who fell to earth and died.Another reference mentions that Pegasus is most closely related to Corinth.
Moral:Don't try to crash Mount Olympus without an invite.
Are there parallels today?
This article originated at McHenry County Blog, where today you can learn which Illinois politician is responsible for May 30th not being celebrated as Memorial Day, plus how McHenry County resident George Dunne, who died Sunday, helped State Rep. Penny Pullen pass her HIV public protection bills.