Rod Blagojevich ‘Difficult To Work With And For’ – Aides

Rod Blagojevich was, it transpires, something of a nightmare to work for. Quelle surprise!

The former Illinois governor (above left), who was jailed for 14 years on corruption charges last month, was exposed as a difficult colleague and employer by a series of letters from some of the biggest names in Illinois politics.

The letters were part of the court defense of John Harris (above right), Blagojevich’s then-chief of staff. Harris, 50, faced lesser charges than Blagojevich, and was sentenced last week to a short 10 days in prison for his role in the corruption scandal that brought down his old boss.

Former U.S. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert and many others wrote to the court to testify for Harris’ character, and many took the opportunity to criticize Blagojevich. Several asserted that the disgraced governor’s reign was so chaotic that Harris could not have avoided getting into trouble.

One letter described the time Blagojevich ordered former chief of staff Clayton Harris III (no relation to John Harris) to hire an unemployed lawyer “[Blagojevich] met in line at Starbucks to be chief legal counsel of the state of Illinois.” Another recounts “an episode where [Clayton Harris III] was directed to fire the entire legal department because they lacked the professionalism that the governor believed should have been exhibited.”

John Harris, who was arrested with his now-incarcerated boss in 2008, was “caught between his superior and chaos,” said Harris III.

Blagojevich’s former state police director Larry Trent wrote how the governor became “displeased” after being told he could not keep a National Guardsman from having to be deployed with his unit to Iraq. Trent described how he and Harris shot down that idea, but noted that “placating the former governor and do something without doing what he really wanted” was often the best solution.

[Via Chicago Sun-Times]

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