SUN-TIMES: Federal criminal trial of GOP power broker begins


William Cellini amassed a fortune by keeping himself close to the state’s political stage while taking care to stand behind the curtain.


His influence with Illinois governors began with Richard Ogilvie and stretched to convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.


For decades, it paid off handsomely.


From landing Illinois’ first casino boat license, to road construction, to a failed hotel venture, to real estate, Cellini, long a Republican political fund-raiser, cut deal after deal tied to state business.


As executive director of the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association, as well as his involvement in the patronage-rich Sangamon County Republican organization, Cellini spent years doling out favors, then spent years collecting on them, said longtime Springfield political analyst Kent Redfield.


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