Blagojevich auction has Elvis, and more

A federal jury found former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich guilty Tuesday of one count of lying to federal agents, and the judge said he intends to declare a mistrial on the remaining counts.
By Jo Napolitano and Pat Curry
Friday, August 20, 2010

CHICAGO -- The small neon sign that read "Governor Blagojevich" was one of the first things to go Thursday as a storage facility in Arlington Heights, Ill., auctioned off belongings of the former governor. The price: $375.

More than 100 people crowded into a parking lot for the auction. Boyer-Rosene Moving and Storage conducted it because, it said, it has not received a monthly payment in more than a year.

The outstanding bill comes to more than $100,000, not including interest.

As the hammer came down, some in the crowd worried that historically significant material might be lost.

Jeffrey Garrett, an associate librarian at Northwestern University, was hoping to buy the governor's most important papers. But Garrett worried that they will scatter across the region as bidders take boxfuls home.

"The man was governor. There is no doubt people will be studying his political career," Garrett said. "He is a Northwestern alum. Historians will probably contact us and ask us what we have."

He ended up buying more than a dozen boxes and said, "I'm a happy man. I think we've done a good job."

An Elvis Presley impersonator opened the event by singing "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Johnny B. Goode" as prospective buyers fanned themselves with their bidding paddles.

Ray Hornkohl, 55, of Buffalo Grove, Ill., said he came looking for Elvis memorabilia and maybe a piece of history.

"I am looking for pictures of him with famous people," he said. "Now that he is a convicted felon, it would probably be worth more." Hornkohl said he'd be willing to part with up to $200.

Jake Sikora, 28, of Chicago said he came to bid on anything associated with the governor, whether it is a picture or a document with Blago's signature.

"I think he's a hoot," Sikora said. "All of my co-workers get a kick out of laughing at his antics. I was hoping to get a trinket or a sweet photo and then track him down and get him to autograph it."

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