Alexi Giannoulias's connections to his family's failed Broadway bank are back in the news this morning, in an above-the-fold story in the Chicago Tribune that focuses on Giannoulias' contradictory statements about when he left the bank to pursue his then-candidacy for Illinois State Treasurer. As you probably recall, when Alexi was running for State Treasurer against Republican Christine Radogno, his banking experience was the primary credential (heck, besides playing basketball in Greece for a year, his only credential) that he touted as to why we were supposed to trust him with the State's safe deposit box.
Fast forward to the collapse of Broadway Bank in 2010, though, and Alexi was singing a different tune, that he had left the bank in September 2005 (although he later explained that he was on "paid leave" into 2006) and therefore the bank's failings, not to mention questionable loans to even more questionable "characters" (including, shockingly, Tony Rezko) were not his fault.
But lo, back in March of 2006, as we first pointed out, Alexi was still acting and talking like he was an active participant in Broadway Bank affairs. He told the Windy City Times that:
My parents founded Broadway Bank; over the past four years, we've more than doubled in asset size. I'm senior loan officer and vice president, so I oversee a $600 million loan department. I'm also chief investment officer and invest about $150 million.
This was even picked up by Fox News a while back.
Today the Tribune uncovers that Alexi got a $2.7 million tax deduction by claiming that we worked at least 500 hours in 2006, when he was supposedly divorced from the bank and on paid leave, according to his many statements when Broadway Bank was in a death spiral earlier this year.
Saying he left in 2005 gives Giannoulias maximum distance from the bank's questionable lending practices, the April takeover by federal regulators and other controversies such as a loan by the bank to convicted influence peddler Antoin "Tony" Rezko in early 2006.
But by reporting that he worked at least 500 hours at Broadway in 2006, Giannoulias was able to get a break that helped him avoid paying federal income tax for 2009.
Giannoulias said he has been clear that he left the "day-to-day" operations of the bank in September 2005 to prepare his first run for public office, but was on paid leave until May 2006 when he left completely to campaign full time for treasurer.
That 2006 work consisted of roughly 30 hours a week closing out his responsibilities before quitting as a bank officer, and didn't involve making new loans, Giannoulias explained in a recent interview. It was more than enough to qualify him for the tax break, he said.
IRS regulations allow taxpayers to deduct business losses from certain types of corporations if they've logged significant hours there for five of the last 10 years. Giannoulias started at the bank in 2002, so working at least 500 hours in 2006 qualifies Giannoulias for the tax break.
So, which Alexi are we supposed to believe, anyway? Or is it simply that Alexi will change his story to fit his priority at the time you ask him?
Even if it's the IRS asking....
UPDATE: NBC-5's "Ward Room" Blog weighs in on this and demands a tax break too, LOL.
UPDATED x2: The Tribune's John Chase is interviewed on WGN news regarding this fiasco.
UPDATED x3: Watch Alexi squirm on this interview video, in which he repeats "nothing has changed" so many times, he sounds like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz repeating "Take me home to Aunt Em!" as if that will create reality for him.
UPDATED x4 Sep. 30th 6:30 a.m.: I watched the local evening newscasts last night and it appears that most stations had a piece on Giannoulias' latest embarrassment. The Associated Press also posted this story yesterday, which I missed, but saw it this morning in the Daily Herald.
UPDATED x5: Watch the Fox News coverage here.