IRS Agent Testifies to Rod Blagojevich's Connection to Rezko, Money Problems and Spendthrift Ways and
The prosecution case is now taking a numbers-crunching turn as Internal Revenue Service agent Shari Schindler, who testified earlier, returned to the stand to describe Blagojevich’s crumbling personal finances.
Schindler is also laying out details of a complex money trail that dovetails with earlier testimony from prosecution witnesses about money siphoned from a state pension deal being diverted for the personal benefit of Blagojevich -- with Blagojevich friend and fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko as the conduit.
By August of 2008, Schindler testified, the Blagojevich and his wife owed more than $90,000 in credit-card debt and were also $220,000 in the red on a home-equity loan. Several witnesses have testified that near the end of his term in office Blagojevich appeared to be obsessed with finding ways to make more money.
Next on the stand is someone we've seen before -- IRS agent and numbers cruncher Shari Shindler.
With charts and graphs, she's explaining a flow of money from Tony Rezko's Rezmar Corp. to Patti Blagojevich's firm, River Realty.
Prosecutors noted that nowhere on the Blagojevich family's tax returns -- which were publicly released while Rod was governor -- is there any indication that Rezko money went to Patti.
The Blagojeviches' income peaked in 2004 at $392,392. By 2008 -- the year we hear recordings of Blagojevich angsting about his cash flow -- it's down to $226,795.
IRS agent Shari Schindler is showing a breakdown of the Blagojevich family's expenditures between January 2002 and Dec. 9, 2008, the date Rod was arrested.
She has 10 categories of expenses, ranging from mortgages to travel to groceries to private school tuition for Blago's two daughters.
But the Blagojevich family spent the most on clothing -- more than $400,000 in that six-year period.
Most was for adult clothes, Schindler said.
Of the top 15 payees from 2002 to 2008, four were clothing-related, including more than $205,000 in spending at Tom James Clothing/Oxxford -- a custom clothing, custom suit maker.
Rod Blagojevich spent more on high-end, tailored clothing, fancy ties, shoes and even underwear, than he did on anything else -- including his mortgage, child care and private school tuition.
That is all according to an IRS agent -- numbers guru Shari Schindler -- who was tasked with crunching the numbers from the Blagojevich family 2002-2008.
Here's just some examples of credit card purchases, according to the governme
You could say Rod Blagojevich’s defense team is trying to dress down an IRS agent who has testified that the former governor and his wife spent more than $400,000 on clothes between 2002 and 2008.
Lawyer Aaron Goldstein pointed out that the Blagojeviches paid $458,492 in taxes during the same period, asking IRS Agent Shari Schindler whether that should be the greatest Blagojevich expense on one of her charts.
Schindler answered that the taxes were simply withheld from Rod and Patti Blagojevich’s paychecks. “It never got into the system to be used,” Schindler said, so it wouldn’t go on an expenditure chart.
IRS agent Shari Schindler is continuing to peel back the curtain of the Blagojevich family’s personal finances, and they reveal a couple that apparently liked to spend, spend, spend.
Schindler reviewed the financial records of Blagojevich during his time as governor and said he and his wife spent more than $400,000 on clothes during that time frame, more than they spent on the mortgage for his North Side home.
Blagojevich dropped $205,706 alone with Oxxford, a tailor with a reputation for sewing high-end custom suits. On one day alone in December 2006, Blagojevich charged $20,000 with the suit maker, his credit card records showed.
In another month, Blagojevich charged $12,000 in clothes and $81 in toys.