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.


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 Fannie Mae Did To America – Obama Did To Chicago


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 & 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.


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.” 


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.'”


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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