The Blagojevich's spent more on their clothing than on their mortgage, as the family's credit card debt spiraled out of control.
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his wife Patti spent more than $400,000 on clothing in the six years the governor was in office.
IRS agent Shari Schindler on Thursday testified in Blagojevich's federal corruption trail, reading off a list of the who's who among clothiers and retail outlets. The governor spent $205,000 on suits from Tom James Clothing/Oxxford — a custom clothing, custom suit maker. But that was just one component of his well-kept wardrobe. The governor spent $2,000 for custom shirts and once left Sak's Fifth Avenue with four ties worth $773.
The credit card statements also showed a lengthy list of returns shortly after some shopping sprees. One $763 trip to Bloomingdale's for ties was followed by a $359 return.
If Patti was behind the return trip, her frugality only went so far. Patti paid around $3,000 for Maximilian Furs at a time. Maximilian salons are located in Bloomingdale's stores and offers premiere designer furs.
Schindler testified that by August 2008, the Blagojevich family owed more than $90,000 in credit-card debt, as well as $220,000 on a home equity loan.
The Blagojevich family had serious money issues despite the governor's six figure income. Schindler said Rod and Patti's moneymaking peaked in 2004 with salaries amounting to nearly $400,000. They never made less than $226,000—in 2008—during Blagojevich's time as governor. Still, the first family managed to consistently spend more money than they were bringing in, leaving them with six-figure debt levels at the time of his arrest.
The prosecution is trying to paint a picture of a desperate man, willing to risk corruption to preserve his financial well being and exorbitant lifestyle.
Schindler also testified that Patti Blagojevich and her company, River Realty, received several payments for real estate deals involving convicted influence peddler Tony Rezko. One $40,000 payment came to River Realty in January 2004 and was immediately transferred to Patti's personal account. The former first lady then sent $38,000 to pay off various bills and home construction.
Schindler admitted in cross examination that the report does not necessarily prove any impropriety and she noted that the Blagojevich's did consistently overpay on their taxes.
Schindler' testimony followed the conclusion of former Deputy Gov. Doug Scofield's cross examination. The Scofield seemed relieved to finish up his testimony. He said he was happy to testify against his former boss.
Cross examination will continue this afternoon.