A new article on Politico this morning suggests that U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias is taking a lot more credit for saving jobs at Hartmarx then he deserves. Given the importance of job creation this election cycle and Alexi's very thin resume, his claim to have intervened and used the power of the State Treasurer's office to convince lender Wells Fargo to back off on its pressure on Hartmarx, resulting in saving 600 jobs in Chicago, has been a centerpeice of his campaign. Maggie Haberman at Politico did a little digging, though, and concluded the following based on an interviews with a Hartmarx official:
I spoke to a former Hartmarx official, who agreed to speak on background and suggested that Giannoulias was making more of his role in the crisis than may have been the case. The official said that Giannoulias had just one contact with the company, and heavily credited other officials, including Schumer and Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), with working to get the bank to agree to a plan to save the jobs.
The company "had relationships with politicians," the former official said. "Schumer ...and Louise Slaughter were exceptionally helpful." The official said company honchos spoke with Schumer and Slaughter "several times."
They played a role "sort of persuading or suggesting" or, in some cases, threatening Wells Fargo, the source added.
"I can't say he did nothing," the source added of Giannoulias, but insisted that much of the work came from elsewhere.
Politico contacted the Giannoulias campaign which quickly backpedaled and stated that 'the campaign had never claimed that Giannoulias was the only force involved in saving Hartmarx, and that it was an effort of labor groups, elected officials and others.'
Sure looked like at the time Alexi was taking full credit:
Also not noted in the article, but brought up elsewhere, is that the Hartmarx tale doesn't end with the saving of 600 jobs in Chicago, because apparently they lost 300 jobs in Rock Island as a result. So, net score -> 300 jobs "saved". Only problem is, it looks like Alexi has been taking a lot more credit that he deserved. And I betcha the folks in the Quad-Cities are not huge Giannoulias fans now in any case.