Former Head of Illinois Paving Association Testifies That Rod Blagojevich Linked Awarding Construction Projects With Campaign Contribution Commitments

I understood that a fundraiser would probably determine the validity of the project. The monies that I could possibly raise for him would have a bearing on the project.”

— Gerry Krozel, former head of Illinois Paving Association

It was Sept. 2008 when Rod Blagojevich summoned Gerry Krozel into his campaign finance office.

Blagojevich told Krozel, executive with Prairie Materials Sales Inc., former head of the Illinois Paving Association and also a representative to road builders, that he would push a $6 billion tollway program as well as a $1.5 billion infrastructure program.

Blagojevich then told Krozel about new ethics legislation that would prohibit top contributors to the governor from getting state work.

Krozel said he attended a meeting in September 2008 at the Friends of Blagojevich with the governor, lobbyist Alonzo “Lon” Monk and the governor’s brother, Robert Blagojevich, head of Blagojevich’s campaign fund. The governor did most of the talking, eventually moving to a proposed tollway project, he said.

The project called for $1.8 billion in construction at first, possibly followed by $6 billion more.

“And the tollway would not need legislative approval,” Krozel said. “That was something he could do very easily.”
The governor asked him not to publicly discuss the second phase, Krozel said. He recalled telling Blagojevich that the money was badly needed. Prairie Materials, where Krozel was then a vice president, had closed a cement plant and laid off employees.

At the meeting, Blagojevich then switched topics to the ethics bill that would become law at the start of 2009, severely limiting the governor’s ability to raise campaign funds from companies that did business with the state, Krozel said. The governor asked him to raise campaign funds before the end of the year from the construction industry, he said.