Rezko’s Plan for a Third Airport

Tony Rezko allegedly tried his hand at starting a “pay-for-play” third airport in Will County.

I had my doubts the first time I read this, but, knowing Rick Bryant, this report is accurate.

Bryant writes in eNews Park Forest:

Two years ago – before Rezko’s indictment and trial – the Congressman and I (as executive director of the Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission) were invited to meet with state officials about the third airport, a project we’ve championed for 14 years.

At the time, the governor was running for re-election and facing angry south suburban leaders who were running a massive ad campaign criticizing Blagojevich for reneging on his promise to build the airport.

Feeling heat from his voter base, the governor agreed to have two of his top aides meet with Jackson and ALNAC.

At the last minute, however, there was a change of plans.  Instead of meeting with the Governor’s aides, we would be meeting with Tony Rezko.

So, on Sunday, June 25, 2006, at the Chicago Four Seasons Hotel, Rezko showed up by himself.  He said he could offer gubernatorial support for ALNAC’s airport plan – if the governor were allowed to make key appointments to ALNAC’s Board.

Wow.  It’s worth it to read Bryant’s entire commentary.

To be honest, I tire of the back-and-forth sniping between Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson.  Both are good people.  That’s not the issue.  But both, at times, have postured unnecessarily over the Third Airport, bringing each other down in the process.  Thankfully, Bryant, a top aide to Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., only takes a backhanded slap at Halvorson in this piece.

ALNAC’s model for building the airport comes with built-in accountability and ethics designed specifically to eliminate kickbacks and graft, thus creating 15,000 private-sector jobs at a low-cost airport that will attract low-cost carriers during this challenging economy.

Rezko’s model and the Senate bill would turn ALNAC’s innovative plan to construct a privately funded, publicly accountable, low-cost airport into a taxpayer-funded, pay-to-play, high-cost airport.

Bryant’s point, however, is clear enough: a third airport would be much less expensive and more accountable to the public under ALNAC.

I simply find it astounding that Rezko tried to put his finger in the third airport pie.