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May 20, 2005 - 01:35 PM

Dirty Money in the Windy City (view the invite)

by Douglas Heller
Monday -- a work day for most Californians -- is a day out of the office for Arnold. Way out. Click here to view the invitation to a "Salute to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger" in Chicago. While in Chicago, Arnold is hardly conducting the People's Business: the "Salute" is a high-priced fundraiser headed by two fellas with less than the California people's interests in mind.

Patrick Ryan, the Co-Chairman of the Chicago fundraiser, is the head of AON, one of the world's largest insurance brokers, which just had to pay a $190 million fine in the wake of an Elliott Spitzer investigation into shady practices. And, Aon is deeply involved with California's workers' comp market. (Could this fundraiser be a thank-you for last year's workers' comp law?)

Co-Chair #2 is real estate magnate Sam Zell. Zell was recently described in the Monterey County Herald as a "vulture investor" for what he is doing to mobile home residents in California. According to the Herald, Zell has dramatically raised rents on residents in Castroville, despite a local effort to resist the rent increase. One resident said: "We've gone to everyone in the state pleading for help but no one is willing to go up against this company." Click here for more info.

Now, it's not fair to say that Arnold is spending his entire day fundraising in Illinois. He is flying to Texas for another money grab that evening.

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