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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Obama Business Parter, Friend & Supporter Convicted of Corruption

The Chicago Tribue yesterday declared:
A federal jury Wednesday convicted developer Antoin "Tony" Rezko of corruption charges for trading on his clout as a top adviser and fundraiser to Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Rezko's guilty verdict on 16 of 24 corruption counts could have broad repercussions for Blagojevich, who made Rezko a central player in his kitchen cabinet. . . . U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, who once counted Rezko as a friend and fundraiser . . . "I'm saddened by today's verdict," Obama said Wednesday. "This isn't the Tony Rezko I knew, but now he has been convicted by a jury on multiple charges that once again shine a spotlight on the need for reform. . . . The jury convicted Rezko of 12 counts of wire and mail fraud, two counts of money laundering and two counts of aiding and abetting bribery. He was acquitted of attempted extortion.
Barack Obama seems to always claim that another person with whom he associated is not the person he knew. Considering that Obama knew Resko quite well in his business dealings, became neighbors and was supported by Resko in his rise in Illinois politics leave us in doubt as to Obam's credibility. As past stories related to Resko and Obama seem to be disappearing from the web, consider the following post Jan. 25, 2008 via the John Edwards campaign in the American Election News: “Seems they go back quite a ways in friendship and business dealings of the past that are coming back to haunt Barack Obama today. . . . For years after Rezko befriended Obama in the early 1990s, he helped bankroll the politician’s campaigns. Then, after Obama’s election to the U.S. Senate, Rezko engaged him in private financial deals to improve their adjoining South Side properties. Those arrangements became a source of lingering controversy after the Tribune first reported them in Nov. 2006.”

Dennis Byrne reported in Real Clear Politics reported on Nov 8, 2006:
. . . Obama bought his house in June 2005 for some $300,000 less than the asking price. The same day, Rezko's wife bought the adjoining lot, paying the full $625,000 asking price. One question raised was whether Rezko's wife subsidized Obama's purchase of the $1-milllion-plus home, while providing a next door private preserve that can't be reached from a public street.

Obama first described his dealings with Rezko as ethical and proper, but a couple of days later acknowledged the arrangement might have appeared improper. He said in writing: "It was a mistake to have been engaged with him at all in this or any other personal business dealing that would allow him, or anyone else, to believe that he had done me a favor. For that reason, I consider this a mistake on my part and I regret it." For Chicagoans accustomed to the sound of non-apologies, the statement had a familiar ring: If anyone thinks I did something wrong, I'm sorry I got caught.

. . . During Obama's recent and much-lauded African trip, he gravely criticized rampant government corruption there. Back in Illinois, he had plenty of similar opportunities to criticize what may be the most corrupt city/state government in the nation. But he took a pass, missing a great opportunity to demonstrate integrity and independence from the corrupt Democratic machine. . . . Many in Illinois have watched in amazement at the sudden elevation of a little-noticed state senator whose voting record is somewhat more liberal than the national media care to report."
Evelyn Pringle on March 28, 2008 in Free Republic called "Obama the Wizard of OZ" and reported:
Obama . . . helped slumlords operate in Chicago, while accepting their campaign contributions . . . Obama was a member of the political machine that helped a whole gang of slumlords funnel local, state and federal tax dollars, over the backs of poor people in need of affordable housing, to line their own pockets and fund the campaigns of politicians in positions to recommend and award contracts. The Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland law firm, where Obama worked for nearly a decade, served as a hub for a slew of slumlord deals, many that benefited the firm's founder, Allison Davis, and Obama's claims that he knew nothing about the inner workings of this small firm, represent an insult to the intelligence of the American public.

Tony Rezko was Obama political Godfather. Obama received his first contributions of $2,000, to launch his political career as a state senator on July 31, 1995, from Rezko. Obama started out saying that Rezko only raised $50,000 or $60,000 for his political career but after a year of lying his way through the primaries, the latest total he gave to the Sun-Times and Tribune during interviews on March 14, 2008, adds up to $250,000.

For a year, he also minimized his relationship with Rezko by telling the media that he only had dinner or lunch with Rezko one or twice a year. But when confronted by Sun-Times reporters during the March 14 interview, with the allegation that an FBI mole saw him coming and going to Rezko’s office often and that three sources said he talked to Rezko on the phone daily, Obama changed his tune.

Now the story is that he may have talked to Rezko daily at times during campaigns but sometimes he went for a whole month without talking to him. “I have to say we're talking over the course of 10 years,” Obama said, “there might have been spurts where I talked to him daily.” But then he added: "There might have been stretches over a month where I wouldn't have talked to him at all." . . .

Obama's entering into real estate deals with Rezko, while it was public knowledge that he was under investigation for funneling illegal contributions to Illinois politicians, was not a "boneheaded" move, it was motivated by pure greed. While knowing that he would get caught up in a major scandal, Obama went ahead with the deal because he and his wife wanted that mansion, with four fireplaces, six bathrooms, and a wine cellar, period.

On March 16, 2008, the Boston Globe added an interesting twist to the story when reporting that Donna Schwan, of MetroPro Realty, which listed the mansion and lot next door for the owners, "said it is her recollection that the Obamas may not have made the highest bid, and that other bidders may have matched Rezko's bid," but the willingness of both buyers to close in June 2005, "was decisive." Which logically means had Rezko not been willing to buy the lot in June, the deal was off. According to an article by Edward McClelland in the Feb. 1, 2008 Salon Magazine, when asked who approached her about the house, Donna Schwan told Salon, "I honestly don't remember. Tony Rezko lived across the street, so he'd been interested in the lot." . . .

When it came time for Obama's US Senate campaign, Valerie Jarrett became the campaign finance chairman and worked hand and hand with fellow finance committee members, Rita and Tony Rezko, and his former boss at the law firm, Allison Davis, in fundraising endeavors. The committee raised more than $14 million, according to Federal Election Commission records . . . Jarrett is now the CEO of Habitat Co, a real estate development and management firm which manages the housing program for the Chicago Housing Authority, the entity mandated to administer public housing, and she serves as an unpaid advisor to Obama's Presidential campaign. Mayor Daley's brother Bill also became an Obama advisor. Mayor Daley's chief image defender, David Axelrod, is a top strategist for Obama's campaign and he was also the media consultant for Obama's US Senate campaign. . . .

Obama . . . exhibits no shame, no matter where his money comes from. On Sept. 5, 2007, the New York Post reported that, "Alexi Giannoulias, who became Illinois state treasurer last year after Obama vouched for him, has pledged to raise $100,000 for the senator's Oval Office bid." "Giannoulias is so tainted by reputed mob links," the Post noted, "that several top Illinois Dems, including the state's speaker of the House and party chairman, refused to endorse him even after he won the Democratic nomination with Obama's help."

Tags: Barack Obama, campaign funds, graft, greed, Illinois, organized crime, political favors, Tony Rezko
Posted by Bill Smith at 12:20 PM - Post Link

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