Alexi Giannoulias is the favorite to win the Democratic nomination for Senate in Illinois, but first he'll have to beat back some pesky questions about his time as a chief loan officer at Broadway Bank. Among them: a $12.9 million green light he gave to a South Florida businessman, Michael Giorango, AKA "Jaws."
It was 2004, and Jaws had been recently convicted for involvement in a prostitution ring. That on top of his felony bookkeeping conviction and ties to organized crime made him a rather curious choice for a bank loan. Giorango was part of a group that had bought the Martha's Restaurant space in downtown Hollywood and was looking to develop it. The plan went belly up, and the bank is currently in a suit against Giorango in hopes of recovering that money.
David Hoffman is hoping to use Giannoulias' checkered history as a way of flipping the campaign. For his part, Giannoulias has maintained that he was merely negligent in checking out the background of his lenders, not acting in cahoots with them.