Mar 29, 2023 - Things to Do

Podcast spotlight: "The Felonious Adventures of a Chicago Mole"

podcast photo

Logo courtesy of Crain's Audio Studio

New podcast "The Felonious Adventures of a Chicago Mole" tells of real estate developer John Thomas, who worked with the FBI to take down former Obama and Blagojevich fundraiser Tony Rezko.

Flashback: Rezko was convicted on corruption charges in 2008.

The story: Shady real estate developments mix with larger-than-life stories from a convicted felon. Crain's real estate reporter Alby Gallun narrates and plays cuts from the two separate interviews with Thomas, plus other guests.

The vibe: This is a classic Chicago story, and Gallun does an incredible job hosting and fact-checking Thomas, who has a penchant for telling extremely tall tales.

What they're saying: "It was a challenge," says Gallun.

  • "Given Thomas' track record of dishonest behavior, we couldn't take anything he said at face value. Fortunately, we were able to check out many of his stories by digging up public documents or by interviewing people who Thomas named or implicated."

The production: Radio vet Todd Manley edits and scores the podcast, which is produced by Four-Star Stories for Crain's.

  • His music moves the story forward and keeps you engaged, even with some rough audio clips from the Thomas interview.

The verdict: This podcast is both a Chicago history lesson and a profile of a man who played a big role in Illinois corruption. Dare we say, 4 stars?


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