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Blagojevich Once Worked as a Bookie Claims Informant

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Dec/17/2008
Blagojevich

Did disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich really work as a bookie?  That's what one informant is telling authorities.

A man who was once a mafia attorney and then became a federal informant claims that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich paid the mob to run a bookmaking operation in Chicago's North Side, according to a Fox News report.

Robert Cooley, a mob attorney who voluntarily turned informant for the FBI in the mid 1980s, says Blagojevich regularly paid the Chicago mob to operate his sports betting ring.

"I observed Rod, the present governor, who was running a gambling operation out in the Western suburbs. He was paying street tax to the mob out there," Cooley said in a Web interview that aired on Chicago's ABC7. He said Blagojevich paid convicted illegal gambling operator Robert "Bobby the Boxer" Abbinanti directly.

Cooley wore recording devises while acting as an informant over a period of three years according to the report.

An ABC affiliate had previously interviewed Cooley regarding his Blagojevich bookie claims.

He told ABC7 that Mr. Blagojevich regularly paid a so-called street tax to Robert "Bobby the Boxer" Abbinanti, a convicted outfit gambling collector. In the early 1980's, Abbinanti was working for convicted West Side mob boss Marco D'amico. Bookies pay street taxes to the crime syndicate in exchange for being allowed to operate such a racket.

"I predicted five years ago when he ran the first time that he was a hands on person who would be selling every position in the state of Illinois and that it exactly what happened," said Cooley.

Cooley, who secretly recorded conversations in a Counselor's Row restaurant near City Hall which brought down the first ward leadership, contends Illinois corruption is unstoppable.

"The biggest problem you have now and reason for what is happening is that the people in power have money and ability to silence the media so it will never be reported and as long as you have that going on, you will never stop it," Cooley.

Blagojevich is accused of trying to sell President-Elect Barack Obama's now vacant Senate seat. 

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher 

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