Stuart Levine isn’t the man he once was.
He’s put on some weight, is divorced, sells electronic cigarettes at a shopping mall and has sold off his Highland Park mansion for a residence in Skokie.
But on Wednesday, the 65-year-old onetime influential political donor, state board member and ex-millionaire found himself in a familiar spot — the witness chair in a high-profile federal trial.
This time, Levine, now reviled by political insiders, was dishing dirt against Springfield power broker William Cellini, claiming Cellini virtually handpicked the power structure of a multi-billion dollar pension fund so it was stacked with loyalists who shielded Cellini’s financial interests. [...]
Levine told jurors on Wednesday that while he worked for at least two different companies — Chicago HMO and Dental Care Plus — he paid kickbacks to insure his companies won more work. Levine said Cellini acted as a lobbyist for each of those companies. Levine testified he paid Cellini and onetime national GOP committeeman Bob Kjellander $1 million in lobbying work for Dental Care Plus.