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Blagojevich's name still towers over a bit of Chicago

A sign near the top of a 41-story grain elevator listing the disgraced politician as governor is too costly to remove, says a state official. The good news? 'It's flaking off.'

August 02, 2009|Kristen Schorsch

CHICAGO — At least one sign in Illinois -- welcoming drivers to the state's International Port District -- still proclaims Rod R. Blagojevich to be governor.

After Blagojevich was impeached and ousted from office following his arrest on federal corruption charges, Gov. Pat Quinn called for a cleansing of the Blagojevich name from signs across the state. The 32 such signs above Illinois Tollway plazas were removed immediately.

Yet the painted sign near the top of a 41-story grain elevator near Lake Calumet still bears the disgraced former governor's name.

"The good news is it's flaking off," said Tony Ianello, executive director of the port, which moves about 35 million tons of cargo a year, mostly steel. "The bad news is it's still up there."

Why so?

Because it's too expensive to remove, Ianello said.

Setting up scaffolding on the roof of the grain elevator to repaint the entire sign would cost about $5,000, and who knows who will be governor next year when Quinn's term is up, Ianello said.

"It would be fine if you could tell me who's going to win," Ianello said with a laugh.

He plans to repaint the sign next year anyway.

Until then, "Rod R. Blagojevich" remains a bit flaky.

--

kschorsch@tribune.com

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