Rod Blagojevich Trial: Former Deputy Governor Testifies To Blagojevich's Low Work Ethic, Unwillingness to Address Illinois' Budget
On the stand is Robert Greenlee, whom Blagojevich promoted to deputy governor in June 2008 -- just months before Blagojevich’s arrest.
Greenlee said Blagojevich rarely came in to the office -- generally just two to eight hours a week.
Like other former top aides and advisers to Blagojevich, Greenlee said that he quickly found he had to tread lightly when telling the then-governor something he didn’t want to hear. Blagojevich froze out advisers who told him bad news, Greenlee said.
One example, Greenlee said, was John Filan, who had long been the architect of Blagojevich’s budgets. Greenlee said Filan insisted on talking to Blagojevich on budgetary issues, and Blagojevich didn’t want to, possibly because the state’s finances were getting increasingly bleak.
At Blagojevich’s direction, Greenlee said the next day he and some other aides laid the groundwork for putting together a search team for a new senator. They also sketched out qualifications for a Senate pick, specifying that he or she would have to be an advocate for health-care spending, infrastructure improvements, economic development, and taking care of senior citizens and veterans.
Greenlee said it was all a sham. “In name we picked a search team, but there was no process instituted” to actually look for a candidate who fit those priorities, Greenlee testified.
During Bob Greenlee's time as deputy governor from June to December 2008, Rod Blagojevich rarely showed up at the governor's office -- he was there just 2-8 hours a week, Greenlee testified.
That meant most of their conversations took place over the phone, with Greenlee in the office and Blago at home or in the car, traveling to an event.
Getting Blagojevich to take action on bills was a challenge, Greenlee said. Often times -- with a bill's 60-day window coming to a close, meaning it would automatically become law without the governor's say-so -- Greenlee would have to track the governor down to review and veto.
He tried to "trap him" at events or in the car -- "where he had nothing else to do," he said.
But on one occasion, getting Blago to look over a stack of 20 pressing bills meant Greenlee had to tag along with the governor and his family when they went to dinner at Chicago's Southport Lanes.