Blagojevich Bids Farewell to Chicago

March 14, 2012

On Thursday, March 15, ousted Governor Rod Blagojevich moves out of his Chicago real estate and into his new home at a prison in Littleton, Colorado, where he will begin serving his 14-year sentence for political corruption.

Blagojevich, 55, addressed the media outside his Ravenswood Manor home on Wednesday, his last day of freedom.

He thanked all of his supporters, especially the people who have sent him and his family food, bibles and good wishes.

He thanked the people of Illinois for electing him governor twice and talked of how honored he was to serve. He listed his achievements as the state’s leader while also addressing some of his failings.

He talked of having a blessed life but called the next chapter in his life a “dark and hard journey,” stating how difficult it was going to be to leave his wife and two daughters behind.

“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” said Blagojevich. “But it is the law, and we follow the law.”

He said he was appealing the case and has faith in the legal system.

Blagojevich's new home.

Blagojevich’s next home will be the Federal Correctional Institution Englewood, a Level One or low-security facility¬† situated on 320 acres in the Rocky Mountain foothills, about 15 miles southwest of Denver.

Built in 1938, the prison currently houses just under 1,000 male inmates. It also includes an administrative detention center and an adjacent satellite prison camp.

Blagojevich requested this prison because it is considered one of the less violent and less crowded federal prisons.

Once admitted, Blagojevich will live in either a two- or four-man room. His days will start at 6:30 a.m., and he will be assigned a job that has nothing to do with politics. In fact, his first job will most likely be latrine duty, the assignment most often given to new prisoners.

He will receive 300 minutes a month in phone calls, and those calls will be limited to 30 people he will have pre-chosen. All his mail will be read before he receives it.

Blagojevich doesn’t have to worry about other prisoners learning his name. He will now be referred to by his prisoner number 40892-424. At least he’ll be able to find some local friends: The last three numbers, 424, are designated to inmates from the Chicago area.

Rod Blagojevich, 55, is required to serve 85 percent of his sentence at this facility, which means he will spend a little over 12 years at the Colorado prison. He will be 67 years old.

Blagojevich’s family, who has been trying to unload its Chicago real estate since the ousted governor received his prison sentence, has yet to sell the Ravenswood Manor home but is reportedly not moving to Colorado. Maybe that will change, however, as the family found out Wednesday that their daughter Amy’s school, St. Scholastica, is going to close down.

Blagojevich spoke from the heart outside his Chicago home on Wednesday, with wife, Patti, by his side with tears in her eyes and neighbors surrounding them chanting, “free our governor.”

Despite his wrongdoings, this is a sad day for Illinois.

“I’ve had many blessings in my life,” said Blagojevich, “and it’s not over.”

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