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Carol Felsenthal

Carol Felsenthal

Posted April 15, 2009 | 06:41 PM (EST)

What do Blagojevich and Nancy Kerrigan Have in Common?


The answer is Lon Monk, Rod Blagojevich's law school roommate, marathon companion, wedding groomsman, former chief of staff, favored running partner through the streets of Chicago after Blagojevich was elected governor and, now, his fellow indictee.

Monk, who is said to be cooperating with the feds, was a sports agent and general counsel for a sports management company before he made the decision he must hugely regret. That decision--made after his sports management company was sold--was to go to work for his buddy Rod, first in Washington when Blagojevich was a congressman, and then in Chicago when he became governor.

As a sports agent/lawyer, one of Monk's clients was Olympic bronze and silver medalist figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, whose dreams were literally smashed at the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships when she was clubbed in the knee by a man allegedly hired by the ex-husband of rival Tonya Harding.

Both Kerrigan and Blagojevich have been invited to be contestants on the NBC summer "Survivor" clone reality show, "I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here," to be filmed this June in Costa Rica. (According to a press release, the celebrities will be "dropped into the heart of the Costa Rican jungle to face challenges designed to test their skills in adapting to the wilderness..." The pay is good for the financially ruined Blagojevich--$50,000 to $80,000 until he's voted off.

The gig will be up before it starts if the judge decides Blagojevich is a flight risk and refuses to allow him to travel to the Central American paradise. I wonder if Blago will bring his hairbrush and his hairdresser.

Oh, and have the producers considered inviting Tonya Harding to participate?


Or You Can Be A Gentleman . . .

The Chicago Tribune's Mary Schmich has a
touching column Wednesday--"What would Rod and Rob Blagojevich's parents say?" is the headline-- the day after the brothers Blagojevich were arraigned on federal corruption charges.

Their parents are dead now and they were when I wrote a long profile of Blagojevich for Chicago magazine. I interviewed both brothers and scores of other people who knew their father and mother and told me that the boys were the center of their world and the pride of their lives.

When I interview the then governor in 2003--the piece was titled "Governor Sunshine" so obviously life looked much brighter then--he told me that his father, Rade, worked killer jobs so that his sons could go to college. (His mother worked as a CTA ticket taker.) For a time, Rod told me, his father worked as exterminator and would come home every night smelling like the chemicals he used to kill cockroaches. Rod also recalled the August night when his father, who spent years working at A. Finkl & Sons, the North Side steelmaker, took his sons to Finkl so they could feel the heat of the furnaces. "This is how hard I work," he said to them in Serbian (he spoke very broken English). "This is how hot it is here. You guys can choose to work like this. It's honorable work. You can make a good living. Or you can choose to be good in school and be a gentleman."

"Gentleman." Gentlemen, indeed.