As jury selection gets underway for the corruption trial of political fundraiser Tony Rezko, people in Naperville are left to wonder what role will Edward Hospital play in the proceedings.
The Naperville-based hospital, you'll recall, has repeatedly been denied permission to build a hospital in Plainfield. Edward sued, saying the denial was because Edward refused to bow to pressure from corrupt operatives, some of whom have since been indicted. Edward CEO Pam Davis cooperated in the corruption investigation, even wore a wire to gather evidence. It remains unclear whether that evidence will be needed or used by prosecutors in the Rezko trial.
Stuart Levine in the former Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board member who is cooperating with prosecutors in their case against Rezko. Another indicted individual, former investment banker P. Nicholas Hurtgen, allegedly told Pam Davis that Gov. Rod Blagojevich (then known as Public Official A) wanted hospital projects steered to a preferred contractor, the also-indicted construction magnate Jacob Kiferbaum.
The trail of indictments, the allegations by prosecutors that the defendants engaged in "pay to play on steroids," and Edward's own situation all seem to indicate that the Naperville hospital would be a key example of the type of corruption that prosecutors hope to prove. One version could depict Pam Davis as a heroic whistleblower, a key player who exposed powerful political operatives. Then again, the role of Davis and Edward may end up being greatly diminished during Rezko's trial.
The question is whether Edward is still paying the price for its cooperation in the investigation. Edward Plainfield Hospital, after all, is yet again recommended for denial by Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board staff that includes David Carvalho, deputy director of the Illinois Department of Public Health and Jeffrey S. Mark, executive Secretary of the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Blagojevich may have replaced the entire Health Facilities Planning Board, but those staffers were on board when Davis blew the whistle on corruption, and they still play an important role in determining the fate of Edward Plainfield Hospital.