5 Good Reads About Bill Cellini

Well, four good reads and a video on the veteran downstate power broker and his web of connections throughout the state. Plus: his patent for a “shower enlarger.”

PS: If you want to follow along in real time, @natashakorecki is on the scene.

* Tim Novak, Chuck Neubauer, Dave McKinney: “The King of Clout: State deals make William Cellini rich” (must-read 1996 Sun-Times profile):

Cellini’s hotel plays a prominent role in his empire. When road builders come to bid for state contracts, many of them stay in the hotel resplendent with Italian marble, cherry wood and special shower rods that were invented and patented by Cellini - designed to keep the shower curtain from sticking to the backside of his guests.

* Seriously, Bill Cellini has a patent for a “shower enlarger,” filed in 1988. Which looks a lot like the outward-bent curtain rods you see in some hotels, and which honestly are pretty handy:

Bill Cellini shower patent

* Rob Wildeboer, “The Most Influential Illinoisian You Don’t Know”:

“He worked harder than anybody. He was smarter than anybody. He looked around harder than anybody at how to make money under every cover to find a possible way to make money in state government, he scoured it from top to bottom and he did!” says [Rich] Miller. He says there were never allegations that Cellini did anything illegal until these charges related to the long-running pay to play scandal under Blagojevich.

* Elizabeth Brackett talks Cellini on Chicago Tonight, contending that the Cellini trial is actually a much bigger deal than the Blagojevich because his ties go all over Illinois.

Watch the full episode. See more Chicago Tonight.

* Rich Miller, “The Case Against Bill Cellini”:

“Stay with me to the end, but you might wonder when reading this Tribune story if the federal charges against Bill Cellini will actually stick…”

* John McCarron, “Where the Rubber Meets the Road in Illinois”:

This unique interrelationship between Illinois’ highway system and the welfare of its people is not widely understood. Local good-government groups and Washington-based infrastructure think tanks (whatever those are) are especially confused about how the pieces fit together.

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