CEO of Children's Memorial Hospital Testifies in Rod Blagojevich Trial
He had asked if I would be willing to raise $25,000 for the governor from my business associates and board members, and he asked if I would do that by the end of the year.”— Patrick Magoon, CEO of Children's Memorial Hospital
I felt threatened, I felt at risk and I felt a little angry. I felt the commitment could be rescinded.”— Patrick Magoon, CEO Children's Memorial Hospital
After Wyma left the stand, prosecutors called Magoon himself to testify. Prosecutors allege Blagojevich first agreed to increase the rate at which the hospital is reimbursed for caring for children through Illinois Medicaid but then halted the increase when Magoon wouldn’t make a campaign contribution.
Magoon testified that the hospital lost $20 million caring for children through the program in 2007.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Christopher Niewoehner asked if the hospital ever turns away children who can’t pay.
“We try and care for kids irrespective of their ability to pay,” Magoon said.
Children’s Memorial Hospital CEO Patrick Magoon told the jury he felt pressured to raise money for Gov. Rod Blagojevich after the governor promised to make a decision that would benefit the hospital.
Magoon had heard from Blagojevich himself that a decision had been made to increase the rate Illinois reimbursed hospitals for some pediatric care. It was good news for the hospital, which had sought a boost in rates for years.
“I asked if there was anything we can do to be of assistance,” Magoon testified. Blagojevich “suggested we continue to work with his staff,” he said.
Blagojevich did have one odd request though, Magoon said. He wanted absolutely no attention drawn to the fact the decision had been made before Jan. 1, he said.
Magoon sought more money to pay for pediatric specialists at the hospital, a concern he's had for years.
Magoon said he sent Blagojevich a hand-written letter asking for a boost in state funding.
It fell on deaf ears.
Magoon then called on former Cubs manager Dusty Baker to call Blagojevich, saying Baker had done it in the past.
Blagojevich then called Magoon, he said.
Magoon testified that Rod Blagojevich, who had the sole power to give Children's Memorial Hospital more money, called him Oct. 17, 2008, to say the state would give his hospital $10 million to help pay for pediatric doctors.
But then he told Magoon not to say anything public until after Jan. 1, 2009. That's when new ethics legislation would be in effect barring people who do business with the state from giving campaign donations.
Six days or so after the October phone call, Magoon got a call from Robert Blagojevich asking for $25,000 contribution for his brother.
"To receive a call within five or six days from his brother ... caused me great concern," Magoon said. "But what caused me the greatest concern was that the governor had the sole power," to release the money that would help pay for pediatric doctors who treat children at the hospital.
In cross examination, defense lawyers try to show that no one expressly told CEO Patrick Magoon that state money for Children's Memorial Hospital would only flow if he made a campaign contribution Rod Blagojevich..
Magoon was also a member of an Illinois Hospital Association PAC, which in the past had donated $500,000 to Rod Blagojevich, he admitted under questioning by Sam Adam Jr