Chicago — The man who spent only a few weeks as DNR director
last year and subsequently received a healthy bump in his state
pension has become part of the federal trial of former Gov. Rod
Kurt Granberg, also a former state representative, was
implicated in testimony at the trial, which began earlier this
Blagojevich’ chief of staff Lon Monk testified that Granberg was
appointed to the DNR job in exchange for a monetary contribution
from Granberg’s campaign fund.
Granberg was appointed head of DNR in early 2009 but was never
confirmed. He was pushed out of the job when Gov. Pat Quinn
replaced Blagojevich. But Granberg still received a $40,000-a-year
pension boost because of three weeks in the DNR position.
Granberg’s pension boost created a storm of disgust among many
of the state’s hunters and fishermen who, at the same time, were
being told they would be paying the state more for hunting and
Quinn fired Granberg in February of 2009 and chose Marc Miller
to lead DNR.
Granberg admitted he was questioned by the FBI about his
appointment as DNR chief in the days following Blagojevich’s
indictment. But he doesn’t recall discussions about trading funds
for an appointment.
“I remembered talking to Lon on occasion, but mostly just
generalities,” Granberg told reporters. “I had no recollection of
that whatsoever. I think I would have remembered if he said that.
But I know if he did, I would have certainly said no.”
Granberg, who served as state representative for the 107th
District, resigned as representative one week before the end of
session and the House vote on Blagojevich’s impeachment. A week
after that, Blagojevich announced Granberg’s appointment to lead
DNR, an appointment Granberg said he had been waiting months to