Obama’s Convicted Partner/Fundraiser to Spill Beans To Prosecutors

Prosecutors Seek to Delay Sentencing of Tony Rezko

CHICAGO: Prosecutors seek to delay sentencing for Chicago money man, suggesting felon linked to Barack Obama has secrets to share.

Federal prosecutors moved Monday to delay indefinitely the sentencing of convicted fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko, sending their strongest hint yet that he is ready to spill his political secrets.

The filing asks for a postponement while prosecutors and defense attorneys “engage in discussions that could affect their sentencing postures.”

Speculation has simmered for weeks that the key fundraiser for Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Sen. Barack Obama was whispering what he knows about corruption in Illinois government to federal prosecutors in hopes of getting a lighter sentence.

Rezko raised more than $1 million for Blagojevich’s campaign fund and was one of the governor’s key advisers. He was frequently by the governor’s side in the early days of his administration and could be in a position to shed considerable light on federal investigations into patronage hiring and a host of other issues involving Blagojevich.

The governor has not been charged with wrongdoing. A spokesman did not immediately respond to an e-mail message after business hours seeking comment.

U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve had set Sept. 3 as a firm date for sentencing Rezko on his conviction for launching a $7 million scheme to use his clout with the Blagojevich administration to squeeze kickbacks out of a contractor and seven money management firms wanting to do business with the state. Then she postponed the sentencing date to Oct. 28.

Federal prosecutors filed a three-paragraph brief late Monday asking for that date to be stricken and the sentencing postponed indefinitely. The wording left little doubt that Rezko offered enough to make the government consider some sort of sentencing break.

Federal spokesman Randall Samborn declined to comment on the latest development. Defense attorneys Joseph Duffy and William Ziegelmueller did not immediately respond to office voicemails left late Monday.

Two attorneys familiar with the investigation, speaking only on condition of anonymity because grand jury matters are secret, said last week that federal prosecutors were contacting the lawyers of a number of campaign contributors and others with information that only Rezko could have given them. One of the lawyers said it was plain the prosecutors were laying the groundwork for questioning Rezko further.

One of the matters that prosecutors have been interested in learning is who paid for the renovation of Blagojevich’s Chicago home. Rezko’s now defunct Chicago Construction Services was the contractor on the project. One person familiar with the renovation contacted Monday afternoon, speaking only on condition of anonymity because of grand jury secrecy, said he was subpoenaed by federal prosecutors and asked about the project.

“They were looking for basic business dealings, who paid, how much, that sort of thing,” he said. He said the governor’s wife, Patti, paid the bill.

At Rezko’s trial in May, former state employee Ali Ata, who got his job as head of the Illinois Finance Authority from Blagojevich through Rezko, testified as the government’s surprise witness that he had to provide $25,000 to Rezko to pay contractors who were threatening to put a lien on the house if the bill was not paid. Ata earlier pleaded guilty to tax fraud and lying to the FBI about how Rezko got him his job.

Besides bankrolling a large portion of Blagojevich’s campaign, Rezko raised substantial funds for Obama’s past campaigns in Illinois — although none for his current presidential run.

Obama’s campaign says it has sent to charity $159,000 traceable to Rezko’s past fundraising.

Unmentioned at the trial was a purchase by Rezko’s wife, Rita, of property adjacent to the Obama home near the University of Chicago on the city’s South Side. Obama and his wife, Michelle, purchased their home the same day that Rezko’s wife closed on her property. And she later sold some of her property to the Obamas to enlarge their lot. Obama later said that allowing Rezko to do what appeared to be a favor was a “bonehead” move.

Rezko was convicted in June of mail fraud, wire fraud, attempted extortion and money laundering. Several of the charges carry 20-year maximum sentences and while Rezko would not be expected to served that much time for a first offense he is still looking at the possibility of years in federal prison. A deal with prosecutors could reduce his time considerably.

Moreover, Rezko faces the prospect of a second trial early next year on federal charges of swindling the General Electrical Capital Corp. out of $10 million in the sale of a group of pizza restaurants.

And beyond that, by his own account his is running out of money and an arrest warrant has been issued in Las Vegas accusing him of failing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in casino bills.

http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/10/07/prosecutors-seek-delay-sentencing-tony-reko/

For More On The Obama/Rezko Connection See: https://mcauleysworld.wordpress.com/2008/10/06/let-barack-obama-help-your-neighborhood-the-way-he-helped-chicago/

For More On Obama / Rezko Favors See: https://mcauleysworld.wordpress.com/2008/09/23/obama-did-favors-for-rezko-claims-to-the-contrary-are-false/

For More On Rezko Illegal Campaign Contributions To Obama: https://mcauleysworld.wordpress.com/2008/09/23/obama-rezko-illegal-campaign-contributions-shady-conduct/

What Obama Did For Property Values In Chicago

Obama’s Grim Record On Housing / Mortgage Crisis – Why We Need To See Obama’s Plan

Posted by: mcauleysworld on: September 23, 2008

WHY WE NEED TO SEE OBAMA’S PLAN TO FIX THE MORTGAGE / BANKING MESS

America doesn’t need a repeat of Obama’s Policies in Chicago

Grim proving ground for Obama’s housing policy

CHICAGO – The squat brick buildings of Grove Parc Plaza, in a dense neighborhood that Barack Obama represented for eight years as a state senator, hold 504 apartments subsidized by the federal government for people who can’t afford to live anywhere else.

But it’s not safe to live here.

About 99 of the units are vacant, many rendered uninhabitable by unfixed problems, such as collapsed roofs and fire damage. Mice scamper through the halls. Battered mailboxes hang open. Sewage backs up into kitchen sinks. In 2006, federal inspectors graded the condition of the complex an 11 on a 100-point scale – a score so bad the buildings now face demolition.

Grove Parc has become a symbol for some in Chicago of the broader failures of giving public subsidies to private companies to build and manage affordable housing – an approach strongly backed by Obama as the best replacement for public housing.

As a state senator, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee coauthored an Illinois law creating a new pool of tax credits for developers. As a US senator, he pressed for increased federal subsidies. And as a presidential candidate, he has campaigned on a promise to create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund that could give developers an estimated $500 million a year.

But a Globe review found that thousands of apartments across Chicago that had been built with local, state, and federal subsidies – including several hundred in Obama’s former district – deteriorated so completely that they were no longer habitable.

Grove Parc and several other prominent failures were developed and managed by Obama’s close friends and political supporters. Those people profited from the subsidies even as many of Obama’s constituents suffered. Tenants lost their homes; surrounding neighborhoods were blighted.

Some of the residents of Grove Parc say they are angry that Obama did not notice their plight. The development straddles the boundary of Obama’s state Senate district. Many of the tenants have been his constituents for more than a decade.

“No one should have to live like this, and no one did anything about it,” said Cynthia Ashley, who has lived at Grove Parc since 1994.

The Obama campaign did not respond to questions about whether Obama was aware of the problems with buildings in his district during his time as a state senator, nor did it comment on the roles played by people connected to the Senator.

Among those tied to Obama politically, personally, or professionally are:

Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama’s presidential campaign and a member of his finance committee. Jarrett is the chief executive of Habitat Co., which managed Grove Parc Plaza from 2001 until this winter and co-managed an even larger subsidized complex in Chicago that was seized by the federal government in 2006, after city inspectors found widespread problems.

Allison Davis, a major fund-raiser for Obama’s US Senate campaign and a former lead partner at Obama’s former law firm. Davis, a developer, was involved in the creation of Grove Parc and has used government subsidies to rehabilitate more than 1,500 units in Chicago, including a North Side building cited by city inspectors last year after chronic plumbing failures resulted in raw sewage spilling into several apartments.

Antoin “Tony” Rezko, perhaps the most important fund-raiser for Obama’s early political campaigns and a friend who helped the Obamas buy a home in 2005. Rezko’s company used subsidies to rehabilitate more than 1,000 apartments, mostly in and around Obama’s district, then refused to manage the units, leaving the buildings to decay to the point where many no longer were habitable.

Campaign finance records show that six prominent developers – including Jarrett, Davis, and Rezko – collectively contributed more than $175,000 to Obama’s campaigns over the last decade and raised hundreds of thousands more from other donors. Rezko alone raised at least $200,000, by Obama’s own accounting. (This number now exceeds $500,000).

One of those contributors, Cecil Butler, controlled Lawndale Restoration, the largest subsidized complex in Chicago, which was seized by the government in 2006 after city inspectors found more than 1,800 code violations.

In the 1990’s Chicago chose a dramatic approach to addressing the issue of Public Housing. Under Mayor Richard M. Daley, who was elected in 1989, the city launched a massive plan to let private companies tear down the public housing projects and build mixed-income communities on the same land.

Barack Obama was among those who shared Daley’s conviction that private companies would make better landlords than the Chicago Housing Authority.

Obama once told the Chicago Tribune that he had briefly considered becoming a developer of affordable housing. But after graduating from Harvard Law School in 1991, he turned down a job with Tony Rezko’s development company, Rezmar, choosing instead to work at the civil rights law firm Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, then led by Allison Davis. (Attorney Davis was actually a business partner of Tony Rezko)

The firm represented a number of nonprofit companies that were partnering with private developers to build affordable housing with government subsidies.

Obama sometimes worked on their cases. In at least one instance, he represented the nonprofit company that owned Grove Parc, Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corp., when it was sued by the city for failing to adequately heat one of its apartment complexes.

Obama translated his belief into legislative action as a state senator. In 2001, Obama sponsored a successful bill that increased state subsidies for private developers. The law let developers designated by the state raise up to $26 million a year by selling tax credits to Illinois residents. For each $1 in credits purchased, the buyer was allowed to decrease his taxable income by 50 cents.

The developers gave Obama their financial support. Jarrett, Davis, and Rezko all served on Obama’s campaign finance committee when he won a seat in the US Senate in 2004.

Obama has continued to support increased subsidies as a presidential candidate, calling for the creation of an Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which could distribute an estimated $500 million a year to developers. The money would be siphoned from the profits of two mortgage companies created and supervised by the federal government, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (DOES OBAMA NOW PLAN ON FUNDING THESE ACTIVITIES THROUGH THE PROPOSED TAX PAYER BAILOUT?) 

One of the earliest public-private partnerships supported by Obama took place in the Woodlawn neighborhood, a checkerboard of battered apartment buildings and vacant lots just south of the University of Chicago.

Grove Parc Plaza opened there in 1990 as a redevelopment of an older housing complex. 

The owner, a local nonprofit company called Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corp., was led by two of the neighborhood’s most powerful ministers, Arthur Brazier and Leon Finney. Obama had relationships with both men. In 1999, he donated $500 of his campaign funds to another of their community groups, The Woodlawn Organization.

Woodlawn Preservation hired a private management firm, William Moorehead and Associates, to oversee the complex. In 2001, the company lost that contract and a contract to manage several public housing projects for allegedly failing to do its job. The company’s head, William Moorehead, was subsequently convicted of embezzling almost $1 million in management fees.

Woodlawn Preservation hired a new property manager, Habitat Co. At the time, the company was headed by its founder, Daniel Levin, also a major contributor to Obama’s campaigns. Valerie Jarrett was executive vice president.

Residents say the complex deteriorated under Moorehead’s management and continued to decline after Habitat took over. A maintenance worker at the complex says money often wasn’t even available for steel wool to plug rat holes

When inspectors returned in 2006, Grove Parc got a final warning. Three months later, inspectors found there had been insufficient improvements and moved to seize the complex from Woodlawn Preservation.

Similar problems plagued the next generation of affordable housing development in Obama’s district.

One of the largest recipients of the development subsidies was Rezmar Corp., founded in 1989 by Tony Rezko, a man who had no prior development experience.

Over the next nine years, Rezmar used more than $87 million in government grants, loans, and tax credits to renovate about 1,000 apartments in 30 Chicago buildings. Rezmar collected millions in development fees but fell behind on mortgage payments almost immediately. On its first project, the city government agreed to reduce the company’s monthly payments from almost $3,000 to less than $500.

By the time Obama entered the state Senate in 1997, the Rezmar buildings were beginning to deteriorate. In January 1997, the city sued Rezmar for failing to provide adequate heat in a South Side building in the middle of an unusually cold winter. It was one of more than two dozen housing-complaint suits filed by the city against Rezmar for violations at its properties. (OBAMA CONTINUED TO ACCEPT REZKO CASH FOR 7 YEARS AFTER – CLAIMING HE WAS UNAWARE OF REZKO’S PROBLEMS – UNAWARE OF 2 DOZEN SUITS?) 

People who lived in some of the Rezmar buildings say trash was not picked up and maintenance problems were ignored. Roofs leaked, windows whistled, insects moved in.

“In the winter I can feel the cold air coming through the walls and the sockets,” said Anthony Frizzell, 57, who has lived for almost two decades in a Rezmar building on South Greenwood Avenue. “They didn’t insulate it or nothing.”

Sharee Jones, who lives in another former Rezko building one block away, said her apartment was rat-infested for years.

“You could hear them under the floor and in the walls, and they didn’t do nothing about it,” Jones said.

By the time Rezmar asked Chicago’s city government for a loan on its final subsidized development, in 1998, the city’s housing commissioner was describing the company in a memo as being in “bad shape.” The Daley administration still made the $3.1 million loan.

Shortly thereafter, Rezmar switched from subsidized housing to high-end development, fueled by the money it had made in subsidized work. Rezko’s companies also stopped managing the subsidized complexes.

After Rezko walked away the Chicago Equity Fund was obliged to maintain the buildings as affordable housing. The Fund found the buildings in terrible condition. In a 2001 plea to the state to temporarily suspend payments on its mortgages, a fund executive wrote that heating problems, lapsed maintenance, and uncollected rent made the buildings almost impossible to manage.

Most of the buildings have since been foreclosed upon, forcing the tenants to find new housing.

All the while, Tony Rezko was forging a close friendship with Barack Obama. When Obama opened his campaign for state Senate in 1995, Rezko’s companies gave Obama $2,000 on the first day of fund-raising. Save for a $500 contribution from another lawyer, Obama didn’t raise another penny for six weeks. Rezko had essentially paid for the start of Obama’s political career.

As Obama ascended, Rezko became one of his largest fund-raisers. And in 2005, Rezko and his wife helped the Obamas purchase the house where they now live.

Eleven of Rezmar’s buildings were located in the district represented by Obama, containing 258 apartments. The building without heat in January 1997, the month Obama entered the state Senate, was in his district. So was Jones’s building with rats in the walls and Frizzell’s building that lacked insulation. And a redistricting after the 2000 Census added another 350 Rezmar apartments to the area represented by Obama.

But Obama has contended that he knew nothing about any problems in Rezmar’s buildings.

After Rezko’s assistance in Obama’s home purchase became a campaign issue, at a time when the developer was awaiting trial in an unrelated bribery case, Obama told the Chicago Sun-Times that the deterioration of Rezmar’s buildings never came to his attention. He said he would have distanced himself from Rezko if he had known. (Even with 2 dozen suits Obama had no knowledge)

Other local politicians say they knew of the problems.

“I started getting complaints from police officers about particular properties that turned out to be Rezko properties,” said Toni Preckwinkle, a Chicago alderman.

Preckwinkle had previously received campaign contributions from Rezmar.

In the early 2000s, she called Rezko to ask for an explanation. Rezko told her Rezmar was “getting out of the business,” she said – walking away from its responsibility for managing the developments. (This is years before Obama’s run for the US Senate).

“I didn’t see him nor have anything to do with him after that,” she said.

Allison Davis, Obama’s former law firm boss, dabbled in development for years while he worked primarily as a lawyer. He participated in the development of Grove Parc Plaza. In 1996, Davis left his law firm to pursue a full-time career as an affordable housing developer, Davis was aided, on occasion, by Obama himself.

Over the past decade, Davis’s companies have received more than $100 million in subsidies to renovate and build more than 1,500 apartments in Chicago, according to a Chicago Sun-Times tally. In several cases, Davis partnered with Tony Rezko. In 1998 the two men created a limited partnership to build an apartment building for seniors on Chicago’s South Side. Obama wrote letters on state Senate stationery supporting city and state loans for the project. (Contrary to Obama’s Claims he did no Favors For Rezko).

In 2000 Davis asked the nonprofit Woods Fund of Chicago for a $1 million investment in a new development partnership, Neighborhood Rejuvenation Partners. Obama, a member of the board, voted in favor, helping Davis secure the investment.

Chicago’s struggles reached a new height in 2006, when the federal government foreclosed on Lawndale Restoration, the city’s largest subsidized-housing complex. City inspectors found more than 1,800 code violations, including roof leaks, exposed wiring, and pools of sewage.

Lawndale Restoration was a collection of more than 1,200 apartments in 97 buildings spread across 300 blocks of west Chicago. It was owned by a company controlled by Cecil Butler, a former civil rights activist who came to be reviled as a slumlord by a younger generation of activists.

Lawndale Restoration was created in the early 1980s. In 1995, Butler’s company got a $51 million loan from the state to fund additional renovations at Lawndale Restoration. In 2000 Butler’s company brought in Habitat Co. to help manage the complex.

The problems came to public attention in a dramatic way in 2004, after a sport utility vehicle driven by a suburban woman trying to buy drugs struck one of the buildings, causing it to collapse. City inspectors arrived in the ensuing glare, finding a long list of code violations, leading city officials to urge the federal government to seize the complex.

In the midst of the uproar, a small group of Lawndale residents gathered to rally against the Democratic candidate for the US Senate, Barack Obama.

The organizers had a simple message: Cecil Butler had donated $3,000 to Obama’s campaign. Habitat had close ties to Obama and Obama had remained silent about Lawndale’s plight.

Paul Johnson, who helped to organize the protest, said Obama must have known about the problems.

“How didn’t he know?” said Johnson. “Of course he knew. He just didn’t care.”

While Obama has belatedly distanced himself from Rezko, Obama has remained close to others in the development community. Jarrett participates in the campaign’s senior staff meetings. Obama chose another close friend, Martin Nesbitt, as his campaign treasurer. Nesbitt is chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority, one of the key overseers of the shift toward private management and development.

People in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods are torn between a natural inclination to support Obama and a concern about his relationships with the developers they hold responsible for Chicago’s affordable housing failures. Some housing advocates worry that Obama has not learned from those failures.

“I’m not against Barack Obama,” said Willie J.R. Fleming, an organizer with the Coalition to Protect Public Housing and a former public housing resident. “What I am against is some of the people around him.”

Jamie Kalven, a longtime Chicago housing activist, put it this way: “I hope there is not much predictive value in his history and in his involvement with that community.”

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/06/27/grim_proving_ground_for_obamas_housing_policy/?page=full

What Fannie Mae Did To America – Obama Did To Chicago

OBAMA’S HYPOCRISY ON THE FANNIE MAE CRISIS

National Review On Line

David Freddosso

Obama’s Real-Estate Bust

He did for Illinois taxpayers what shady mortgage lenders have done for the economy.

By David Freddoso

Last Week Sen.,  Barack Obama compared the Savings and Loan bailout of the late 1980s to the situation of the mortgage-securities markets today:

“Too many S&Ls took advantage of the lax rules set by Washington to gamble that they could make big money in speculative real estate. . . . [T]hey made hundreds of billions in bad loans, knowing that if they lost money, the government would bail them out. And they were right. The gambles did not pay off, our economy went into recession, and the taxpayers ended up footing the bill. Sound familiar?”

Indeed, it does sound familiar — it sounds a lot like what Barack Obama did to Illinois taxpayers as a state senator in Springfield. Using his elected office and his clout, Obama helped Tony Rezko and other unscrupulous low-income housing developers obtain millions of dollars in state grants, tax credits, low-interest loans, and regulatory advantages.

Taxpayers had no serious chance of recouping these “investments” in Rezko and other developers. And many beneficiaries went one step farther, depriving the public of even the benefits they could have gotten. These developers took government help to build low-income housing, and then let their buildings deteriorate into uninhabitable slums.

To date, the most complete account of this sad story is Binyamin Appelbaum’s piece in the Boston Globe. Not only does it demonstrate the monumental failure of the low-income-housing policy that Obama vocally championed as a state senator, it gives a detailed look at how some of Obama’s donors and friends — the beneficiaries of that policy — neglected their own housing developments at the expense of the inhabitants.

There is no indication that Obama approved (or even knew) of the massive and systemic neglect of these properties in his own state-senate district. But there is also no question that he was an enabler in these transactions. He cosponsored at least six bills to give special tax breaks, tax credits, building-and-maintenance subsidies, and zoning exemptions to the developers. In 1998, he wrote letters to state and city officials requesting $14 million for a project developed by Tony Rezko and another close Obama friend — the politician’s old law-firm boss, Allison Davis.

In his Globe piece, Appelbaum describes the low-income Grove Parc Plaza complex, which was developed by Davis:

Mice scamper through the halls. Battered mailboxes hang open. Sewage backs up into kitchen sinks. In 2006, federal inspectors graded the condition of the complex an 11 on a 100-point scale — a score so bad the buildings now face demolition.”

Sewage backups seem to be a common problem in Davis’s low-income slums — another of his buildings, Appelbaum reports, was cited in 2007 “after chronic plumbing failures resulted in raw sewage spilling into several apartments.”

Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s campaign adviser, is the chief executive of the company that managed that Grove Parc slum until just recently. Appelbaum writes that her company managed another housing complex until its condition became so poor that the federal government seized it in 2006.

Cecil Butler, another Obama donor, had his Lawndale Restoration complex confiscated by the government in 2006 “after city inspectors found more than 1,800 code violations.”

Appelbaum’s piece gives some sense of just how closely Obama was, and still is, tied to the slum-lord world. He’s taken contributions from its big players and pushed legislation favorable to them. His closest ally in that sphere has been Rezko, who raised $250,000 for Obama’s campaigns before being convicted on unrelated corruption charges earlier this year. 

Despite all this cheap and free taxpayer money, all of Rezko’s 30 buildings eventually ran into financial difficulties. As of 2007, 17 had gone into foreclosure. Six were boarded up and abandoned.

The City of Chicago sued Rezmar at least a dozen times for failing to heat its properties. During the winter of 1997, Rezmar claimed it lacked the funds to heat a 31-unit building in Englewood on the south side of Chicago — one of eleven Rezmar buildings in Obama’s state-senate district. Tenants there went without heat from late December 1996 through mid-February 1997. Despite his company’s financial hardship, Rezko signed a $1,000 check for the campaign fund of the newly elected state senator Barack Obama on January 14, 1997.

When Barack Obama talks about risky real-estate investments and failures of government oversight, remember how he put Illinois taxpayers on the hook for some of the worst real-estate investments of all — investments in his close friend and in other slum landlords who took the public’s money and betrayed their trust.

David Freddoso is a staff reporter for National Review Online and author of The Case Against Barack Obama. 

Obama “Did Favors For Rezko” – Claims To The Contrary Are False

Chicago Sun Times

Obama’s letters for Rezko

NOT A FAVOR? | As a state senator, he went to bat for now-indicted developer’s deal

June 13, 2007

As a state senator, Barack Obama wrote letters to city and state officials supporting his political patron Tony Rezko’s successful bid to get more than $14 million from taxpayers to build apartments for senior citizens.

The deal included $855,000 in development fees for Rezko and his partner, Allison S. Davis, Obama’s former boss, according to records from the project, which was four blocks outside Obama’s state Senate district.

The deal included $855,000 in development fees for Rezko and his partner, Allison S. Davis, Obama’s former boss, according to records from the project, which was four blocks outside Obama’s state Senate district. http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/425305,CST-NWS-obama13.article

Remeber that after law school, Obama went to work for the firm of Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland. The “Davis” in that Firm is the same “Davis” who benefited from Obama’s letter above. During Rezko’s stint in ghetto rehab, Davis Miner, Obama’s employer, represented three community groups in partnership with Rezmar. Through them, the law firm helped Rezko obtain $43 million in government funds. http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/02/01/rezko/

Obama’s letters for the first time show the Democratic presidential hopeful did a political favor for Rezko — a longtime friend, campaign fund-raiser and client of the law firm where Obama worked — who was indicted last fall on federal charges that accuse him of demanding kickbacks from companies seeking state business. http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/425305,CST-NWS-obama13.article

Obama & Rezko – Illegal Campaign Contributions & Shady Conduct

If you hear about shady loans and illegal activities today – you might think the story is about one of Obama’s Advisors who worked for Fannie Mae.

Not so in this instance – this post is about Obama and his dealings with a convicted felon Tony Rezko ………… OBAMA’S LONG ASSOCIATION WITH REZKO RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT OBAMA’S CHARACTER …..

Obama’s name likely to come up at Rezko trial

 The name of Democratic presidential front-runner is likely to brush up against the impending federal corruption trial of Antoin “Tony” Rezko as the result of a judge’s ruling Monday.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy St. Eve told prosecutors they could introduce evidence to support allegations that Rezko used straw men to make political contributions on his behalf. (“Straw men” is the term used to describe illegal contributions through “front men”.)

Prosecutors have alleged that the money came from fees Rezko illegally siphoned from a state pension board.

In her ruling, St. Eve said the government contends that Rezko directed business associates Joseph Aramanda and Elie Maloof to make contributions to an unnamed political candidate in late 2003 and 2004 because Rezko had already contributed the maximum legal amount.

The only candidate Maloof and Aramanda contributed to during that time frame was Obama, then running for the U.S. Senate in Illinois. Maloof and Aramanda each gave $10,000 to Obama’s campaign.

Maloof of Vernon Hills had supported Obama in an earlier political campaign, and disclosure reports from that effort listed her as a vice president of operations for a Rezko pizzeria management firm. Aramanda is a Glenview businessman whose son received a coveted summer internship in Obama’s Capitol Hill office in 2005.

Rezko had been a longtime friend and financial supporter of Obama’s political career.

Obama’s campaign says it has given more than $150,000 in Rezko-linked contributions to charity, including the money from Aramanda and Maloof.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-obama-rezko_both26feb26,0,5415448.story

One Month Later: The Story Changes & The Amount of Money Increases

Barack Obama acknowledges indicted businessman’s campaign funds

Saturday, March 15th 2008, 10:10 AM

Presidential candidate Barack Obama said Friday that he got more political money from indicted Chicago businessman Antoin “Tony” Rezko than he has previously acknowledged.

Rezko helped raise up to $250,000 for his various political races, Obama’s campaign said. The campaign had previously put the figure at $150,000 but now says that amount was only for his 2004 Senate race.

And in interviews with two Chicago newspapers, the Democrat again said it was a mistake to involve Rezko in his purchase of a new home — not just because Rezko was under federal investigation but because he was a contributor and political activist.

“He never once asked me for any favors, or ever did any favors for me,” the Illinois senator said in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times. “He never gave me any gifts or gave me any indication he was setting me up to ask for any favors in the future.” 

OBAMA’S FAVORS FOR REZKO WILL BE COVERED IN A SUBSEQUENT POST ON THIS WEBSITE.

Rezko was convicted of charges which included mail fraud and attempted extortion. Federal prosecutors say he tried to use his connections to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to demand kickbacks from companies wanting to do business with state government.

Rezko advised Obama on buying a new Chicago home in 2005 and his wife bought a vacant lot next to the Obamas’ house. Rezko’s wife, Rita, later sold part of the lot to Obama so they would have a bigger side yard.

Obama said he got no price break on his new house because Rezko was buying the lot next door from the same sellers. And he said it was Rezko’s idea, not his, to buy the lot.

“He said, ‘Well, I might be interested in purchasing the lot.’ And my response was, ‘That would be fine,'” Obama said. “This is an area where I can see sort of a lapse in judgment, where I could have said ‘No, I’m not sure that’s a good idea.'”

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2008/03/15/2008-03-15_barack_obama_acknowledges_indicted_busin.html

A subsequent post on this WEB SITE will review this claim by Obama – Obama stated “it was a stretch” to buy the house and that “he could not afford the house and lot together”. Are we to believe that Resko came to Obama, out of the blue and said – gee I’d like to buy an empty lot – Barack, why don’t you buy the house next door.

Obama claims that he donated the illegal contributions to charity – however – Obama did not do this until after Obama and Resko got caught.

Even Salon Magazine, the Liberal, pro-Democrat publication had this to say:

“Obama’s dealings … show that, despite his high-minded politics, he was no purer — or no savvier — than Illinois’ biggest hacks in his weakness for a generous contributor. He wouldn’t even say no when Rezko cooked up a deal to help the newly elected senator buy a gracious Georgian-revival home. ”  Why would Obama associate with such a character – Salon also noted, ” Rezko, after all, built part of his fortune by exploiting the black community that Obama had served in the state Senate, and by milking government programs meant to benefit black-owned businesses. But Obama took Rezko’s money even after the businessman was sued by the city of Chicago for failing to heat his low-income apartments, and even after Rezko was caught using a black business partner to obtain a minority set-aside for a fast-food franchise at O’Hare Airport.” http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/02/01/rezko/

Thats right, Obama continued to take Resko money after Resko had been sued for being a slum lord. 

Rezko was also accused of swindling the late Jabir Muhammad, son of Elijah Muhammad, the founder of the “Nation of Islam”, out of his home, several investment properties and cash. Rezko had befriended Jabir Muhammad after he became ill. 

In 2005, a fast-food company that listed Muhammad as its president lost its minority business certification and closed its restaurants after city officials alleged that Rezko was using it as a front. Muhammad and the company’s other principals were disqualified from participating in the city’s affirmative action contracting program. http://cbs2chicago.com/topstories/Nation.of.Islam.2.337922.html

Through all of this  – Obama continued to accept Rezko cash.

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