Balmoral Park president John Johnston made the NBC and MSNBC national television newscasts on Tuesday night when his name was mentioned by Rob Blagojevich, brother of embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, in regard to making a cash donation, allegedly to be made in exchange for favorable treatment with legislation. The legislation was the bill which was passed that gives racing a percentage of casino revenues.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews moderated the news story and in introductory remarks said tapes of a conversation between the two Blagojevich brothers mentioned “a harness racing business guy,” John Johnston.
MSNBC and the NBC Nightly News both played the section of the taped conversation that referred to Johnston. The MSNBC piece also included Rob Blagojevich telling his brother Rod in regard to Johnston coming up with money, he said he “gotta just decide what accounts to get it out of.”
To view the NBC Nightly News item, click here.
Click here to view the MSNBC video.
John Johnston is also the focus of a Wall Street Journal story about his name coming up in the conversation between the two Blagojevich brothers. Johnston's attorney said Johnston did not make any contribution to the governor, although the story also notes that according to Illinois campaign records, the Johnston family, which owns Balmoral and Maywood racetracks, contributed $95,000 to the governor's campaigns from 2002 through 2007.
Click here to read the Wall Street Journal story.