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Note: I'm the author of a new book, Barack Obama: This Improbable Quest, but I'm not part of the Obama campaign.

There’s been a huge amount of misinformation and rumor about Barack Obama’s dealings with Tony Rezko. This is not a new story. At the first Democratic debate in 2007, Brian Williams of NBC asked Obama about his connections to Rezko. The same thing happened on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos. But it’s a complex set of charges, and a lot of details have been falsely reported on blogs and in the mainstream press.

Here are 10 myths debunked about Obama and Rezko:

Myth #1: Obama did legal work for Rezko

Claim: Hillary Clinton during a debate denounced Obama for "representing your contributor, Rezko, in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago."

The truth: According to Factcheck.org, "Obama was associated with a law firm that represented the community groups working with Rezko on several deals. There's no evidence that Obama spent much time on them, and he never represented Rezko directly. So it was wrong for Clinton to say he was ‘representing ... Rezko.’ That's untrue."

Myth #2: Obama knew Rezko was a slumlord

Claim: The Chicago Sun-Times reported that in 1997, Rezko’s company failed to turn the heat back on in one of his buildings, while giving $1,000 to Obama’s campaign fund.

The truth: There’s no evidence that Obama knew about problems with Rezko’s buildings. A state senator doesn’t deal with tenant complaints, and the Chicago newspapers never reported on Rezko’s problems as a landlord until after he was indicted. According to the Chicago Tribune, "in the years before 2005, Rezko enjoyed a reputation in Illinois as an up-and-coming, even enlightened entrepreneur with a strong interest in the risky low-income and affordable housing markets." http://www.chicagotribune.com/...

Myth #3: Obama underpaid for his house in a deal with Rezko

Claim: Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass wrote: "Rezko paid more than the asking price for the side lot, and Obama paid less than the asking price for the big house. It’s the Chicago way." Kass claimed that Rezko was "Obama's Real Estate Fairy" and this is "the story of the dream house the Obamas wanted and couldn't quite afford and how the Rezkos helped."

The truth: None of this is true. The seller decided to divide the lot in offering it for sale, not Obama or Rezko. Rezko had paid the list price for his lot, not an excessive amount (as the resale value later proved). The owner reportedly had already been offered $625,000 for the side lot, so Rezko didn’t offer any more money and there was no way Obama could have gotten a special deal this way. The only special arrangement Rezko provided was selling the two lots on the same day, which simplified matters for the seller. Obama paid $1.65 million for a house originally priced at $1.95 million. His was the higher of two bids for the main property. It’s not unusual at all in the Chicago real estate business to see a 15 percent price cut on an expensive house that’s been on the market for four months. Nor is it unusual that a vacant lot next door would sell to a condo developer without such a discount. In the Hyde Park market, there are a lot of upper-middle-class residents making six figures, but not very many millionaires (it’s not Lincoln Park or the Gold Coast). Therefore, a pricey mansion is very difficult to sell, while a $300,000 townhouse is very common.

Myth #4: Rezko’s lot was a front (yard) deal

Claim: One blogger declared it was "a $925,000 favor to a sitting US Senator" because "the Rezko property was never intended to be a separate piece of land."

The truth: It’s insane to think that Obama arranged for Rezko to buy the lot as his front yard, and never intended for anyone to develop it. If Obama had arranged such a deal, it would be crazy for him to spend $104,500 to buy part of the land from Rezko. There is not even the slightest evidence to support this notion.

Myth #5: Obama underpaid (or overpaid) for the slice of Rezko’s lot

Claim: John Kass declared: "Obama’s appraiser told him the fair market value of that slice was $40,500. Since that’s one-sixth of the Rezko side, it means Rezko paid $625,000 for property that was actually worth $243,000. That would make Rezko a complete fool. But he’s no fool." Fox News Channel incorrectly reported that Rezko "sold half that lot to Obama for 1/3 its original value."

The truth: The appraiser was clearly wrong (probably basing the low value on the fact that 1/6th of the lot was too small for any house, which would dramatically reduce its value standing alone). That’s why Obama decided to buy 1/6th of Rezko’s lot for 1/6th of what Rezko paid for it ($104,500). A year after the 10-foot-wide strip of land was sold to Obama, a Rezko business associate bought the rest of the lot for $575,000, resulting in a profit for the Rezkos of $54,000 from the two land sales. This sale proved that Obama paid fair market value for his portion of the land.

Myth #6: Obama hasn’t returned all the money linked to Rezko’s donations

Claim: The Chicago Sun-Times accused Obama of downplaying the $50,000–$60,000 in donations he received from Rezko (Rezko, before his legal troubles started, had cohosted a fundraiser for Obama). The newspaper claimed the actual amount was $168,000.

The truth: The Sun Times came up with that figure by counting every donation to Obama from anyone ever associated with Rezko, even if there was no evidence Rezko prompted the donation. Obama donated additional money to charity, but he’s under no obligation (legal or even moral) to return every dollar ever linked to Rezko. If you play a game of "six degrees of separation" with Rezko, he’s linked to almost every politician in Chicago.

Myth #7: Rezko had a special relationship with Obama

Claim: The Clinton campaign denounces "Sen. Obama's 17-year relationship with the indicted influence peddler."

The truth: Rezko attached himself to lots of politicians. Rezko donated money to every major Democratic politician in Illinois, then helped organize a $3.5 million fundraiser for President George W. Bush in 2003. After giving large campaign donations to Democratic Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, Rezko arranged to have his buddies appointed by Blagojevich to state boards such as the Teachers’ Retirement System Board and the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board. With his friend Stuart Levine, Rezko threatened to hold up a $220 million deal to invest teachers’ pension fund money unless $2 million was paid to Levine or $1.5 million was donated to Blagojevich’s campaign. Rezko and Levine also demanded a $1 million cut from a developer to build a hospital. Rezko was indicted for pretending to sell his Papa John’s pizza restaurants while secretly maintaining control of them, and fraudulently using the transaction to get $10 million in loans. It is Blagojevich, not Obama, who did favors for Rezko. Rezko’s eye for scouting political talent was amazing, but he did not capitalize on Obama’s influence. Obama said he had known Rezko for twenty years and "he had never asked me for anything. I’ve never done any favors for him."

Myth #8: Obama did favors for Rezko

Claim: Chicago Sun-Times revealed that in 1998, Obama wrote a letter endorsing a low-income housing development for which Rezko was a codeveloper. As the Sun-Times put it, "NOT A FAVOR? As a state senator, he went to bat for now-indicted developer’s deal." Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass wrote, "No favors? When you transcend politics and walk on water, I guess it all depends on what your definition of favor is."

The truth: The common definition of a favor in this context is a political action done in exchange for donations. Rezko’s lawyer reported that Rezko had not asked Obama to write the letter. Instead, Obama (along with a local state representative and an alderman) endorsed the project because it had widespread community support. It’s difficult to imagine any politician on the south side of Chicago who wouldn’t have a routine letter written to endorse government funding for affordable housing and social services for low-income senior citizens in that area. When it came to political influence, Obama didn’t do any favors for Rezko. The Chicago Tribune reported, "when Rezko pushed for passage in Springfield of a major gambling measure, Obama vocally opposed it."

Myth #9: Obama should have known about Rezko’s sleazy background

Claim: The Chicago Tribune, although endorsing Obama, wrote: "His assertion in network TV interviews last week that nobody had indications Rezko was engaging in wrongdoing strains credulity: Tribune stories linked Rezko to questionable fundraising for Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2004."

The truth: At the time Obama bought his house, there was no public indication of Rezko’s problems. When Obama bought a small strip of Rezko’s land in 2006, rumors were swirling around Chicago that the federal government was investigating Rezko, but he wasn’t indicted until October 2006. The Tribune stories before 2006 reveal that Rezko was a tightly connected political player, but the evidence of criminal misconduct wasn’t proven.

Myth #10: Obama hasn’t been forthcoming about his mistakes with Rezko

Claim: The Chicago Tribune editorialized, "Obama has been too self-exculpatory."

The truth: Obama has been honest about the mistake he made, and the fact that Rezko was trying to buy future influence with him. Obama declared, "I am the first one to acknowledge that it was a boneheaded move for me to purchase this 10-foot strip from Rezko, given that he was already under a cloud of concern. I will also acknowledge that from his perspective, he no doubt believed that by buying the piece of property next to me that he would, if not be doing me a favor, it would help strengthen our relationship." Obama’s mistake was in allowing the appearance of impropriety. He never actually did anything wrong. And that’s the key issue here.

Despite all of these rumors about Obama and Rezko, none of the evidence indicates any actual wrongdoing. Conservative Republican Tom Bevan called the evidence against Obama "pretty darn weak." Conor Clarke of the New Republic reported that Obama’s real estate deal with Rezko was a "nonscandal." According to Clarke, "journalists have followed the smoke and haven’t found the fire. At that point, accusing someone of something that looks wrong stops making sense."

Crossposted at ObamaPolitics.

Originally posted to JohnKWilson on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 02:20 PM PST.

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  •  Tip Jar (312+ / 0-)
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    Obama Politics (www.obamapolitics.com)

    by JohnKWilson on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 02:20:40 PM PST

  •  re (23+ / 0-)

    I wish I could print this out and tape it on a certain "diarist's" forehead.

    "Steve Holt did not applaud, when Bush stated the Surge was working during the SOTU." - Steve Holt

    by cookiesandmilk on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 02:27:23 PM PST

  •  Chicago. (11+ / 0-)

    It breaks my heart knowing my fair city is so corrupt.  

    I don't think Obama would be foolish enough to run if he wasn't sure that he had done the right thing.  People dig too deep, and find out too many things if you've had a dirty past.

    I think we all learned that in the 90s.

  •  Quite an incredible summary. (22+ / 0-)

    Just wait until SusanHu comes along with some YouTubez and hysterical shouting.

    Non-scandals are incredibly tedious.

    "We're trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."

    by Grass on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 02:30:46 PM PST

  •  No spin will take the legs away from the story (8+ / 0-)

    about the house. However, the strong pushback shows me that the Obama camp is worried---as well they should be. There are a couple of details I want nailed down, but at the moment what's clear beyond a doubt is that Obama got a sweetheart deal through cooperation with Rezko. Was it illegal? No reason to think so, based on available evidence. Does it smell? Hell yes.

  •  The truth can never be suppressed! (14+ / 0-)

    God Bless you!!!!  

    As soon as I stop worrying, worrying how the story ends, I let go and I let God, let God have His way. "It's the soldier, not.."

    by Lady Bird Johnson on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 02:32:01 PM PST

    •  Ha, how's that for honesty. (10+ / 0-)

      Crikey, people have been screaming for honest, ethical politicians for decades, and one comes along and suddenly he's naive and held to standards twice as high as everybody else.

      "We're trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."

      by Grass on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 02:50:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, the irony. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TracieLynn, highacidity

        Oh, the bitter irony!

        [Shakes head and exits stage left]

        [Curtain closes]

        THE END

        (PS- Don't mind me.  I'm just loopy)

      •  Reminds me of a scene from the West Wing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Grass

        I just looked for this quote and realized that one of the politicians in the anecdote's last name was Barrack. Total coincidence. Anyways, here's the quote:

        LOU
        I did the Merrianhoff Senate campaign. You know those charges that he had weird financial dealings with Taiwanese businessmen?

        JOSH
        He did.

        LOU
        Those were the charges. Anyway, we ran against Barrack, clean as a bar of soap. We hit him first with everything we could find. By the time he hit back, the voters thought it was just another ugly campaign; a pox on both our houses.

        JOSH
        You're proud of that?

        I can't say for sure, but it seems to me like that's what's going on here. From everything else we know about Obama, it seems unlikely that he would have done anything wrong here, and this seems like an attempt to muddy the waters.

    •  But, in that article, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kkjohnson, xgz, Lura

      it says:

      The transaction occurred at a time when it was widely known Tony Rezko was under investigation by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and as other Illinois politicians befriended by Rezko distanced themselves from him.

      The diarist says, in Myth #9, that "At the time Obama bought his house, there was no public indication of Rezko’s problems."  That doesn't sound like it is the case if other politicians were backing away from him.

      What also bothers or puzzles me about it is:

      (from the same article)

      In the Sun-Times interview, Obama acknowledged approaching Rezko about the two properties being up for sale and that Rezko developed an immediate interest. Obama did not explain why he reached out to Rezko given the developer's growing problems.

      Why would Obama approach Rezko about this property?

      The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. - 9th Amendment

      by TracieLynn on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 04:15:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  thxs Norm (0+ / 0-)

      It answers my questions up thread and in other threads.

      Q: Did you approach Rezko or his wife about the property, or did they approach you?

      A: To the best of my recollection, I told him about the property, and he developed an interest, knowing both the location and, as I recall, the developer who had previously purchased it.

      Obama needed help because of the sellers conditions not related to price.  He went to someone he knew was involved in real estate development thinking that Rezko would be able to use the lot in his business.

  •  Okay, now that you've said all that (7+ / 0-)

    do you really think any of it changes what we need to be prepared to hear from the gop?

    Some people want to jaw about this to tear down Obama.  But what about those of us who simply want us all to be aware that the gop will stop at nothing to tear down our nominee - no matter who it is.

    And in this case it's Obama and Rezko and history shows us the msm will NOT let it go.  

    There has been a backlash here against Obama supporters who try to claim he's "the only one" who the gop can't smear.  They smeared Kerry's military record, they smeared the Clintons with whitewater (and they LOST money on that deal), they WILL smear whoever our nominee is, even it it's Obama.

    So, that being said, how do we proceed?  Do we say "that's bullshit" and expect it to go away?  

    We have to be prepared for this.  Obama should come out at an opportune moment and make this clear, maybe a 60 Minute interview or something, where it's all aired at once - pro-actively.  Otherwise we get some slimeball "for truth" on Tweety's show every day for a month repeating the name Rezko and saying Obama was joined to the hip with him.

    The "nonsense" will not "go away once and for all".  If it isn't this nonsense, it will be some other nonsense, or something wholly invented (with well-backed "witnesses").  

    We will have to work diligently to protect our nominee from the slime machine.

    "Balance" does not mean giving the same weight to a lie as you do to the truth.

    by delphine on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 02:38:50 PM PST

  •  Slight Correction on the Assessment (11+ / 0-)

    The assessed value of the land depends on how it can be used. 1/6 of a lot cannot be developed on it's own so to the market it is worth less than 1/6 of the property.  The assessment was correct in other words, but Obama chose to pay more to avoid the appearance of a favor.

    I don't have a handy cite, but this is definitely true of you are familiar with assessments.  The value of something is determined partially by what you can do with it. Since the strip was not buildable on itself, and the rest of the plot was still developable, the value of that strip is lower in terms of an assessment.  

  •  Questions: (6+ / 0-)

    Re the 10-foot-wide slice of land that was part of the Rezko purchase and that the Obamas bought has a driveway on it.  (I saw the property on the MSNBC video.)  Was that driveway there, on the other lot but serving the house lot, before the Obamas bought it?

    And the video shows that the current owner of the lot, another lawyer who worked for Rezko, cannot go on his land.  He says it is because of the fencing that the Obamas put in around the lot, with a gate on the side that can only be accessed from the Obama land -- and the Secret Service will not allow others to go on the Obama land.  Is there another gate to the other, non-Obama lot now fenced in by the Obamas?  

    And is the non-Obama lot still ruled buildable by the city, is it still wide enough without the 10-foot-wide strip that the two Obamas purchased?  There is a for-sale sign on the lot now, so I presume that it is buildable.  But just to be sure.

    Thanks for answers to these questions, diarist, as they could clarify the situation and clear the air on this.

    "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

    by Cream City on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 02:44:56 PM PST

    •  some answers (11+ / 0-)

      ===Re the 10-foot-wide slice of land that was part of the Rezko purchase and that the Obamas bought has a driveway on it.  (I saw the property on the MSNBC video.)  Was that driveway there, on the other lot but serving the house lot, before the Obamas bought it?

      Yes, and the carriage house has an easement to use it.  The lot does not.  

      ===And the video shows that the current owner of the lot, another lawyer who worked for Rezko, cannot go on his land.  He says it is because of the fencing that the Obamas put in around the lot, with a gate on the side that can only be accessed from the Obama land -- and the Secret Service will not allow others to go on the Obama land.  Is there another gate to the other, non-Obama lot now fenced in by the Obamas?  

      Small point--Rezko put in the fencing because it was the law regarding vacant lots.  Obama did work with him on the design because Michelle worked for Landmarks. I don't know the specifics, but the guy who owns the land should be able to put in another gate seems to be the easy answer.

      ===And is the non-Obama lot still ruled buildable by the city, is it still wide enough without the 10-foot-wide strip that the two Obamas purchased?  There is a for-sale sign on the lot now, so I presume that it is buildable.  But just to be sure.

      Yes.  

    •  Responses (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ArchPundit, Albatross, Zulia, marcoto

      Remember, the two lots were one before this. I think that Obama bought the extra land in part to have more space for the driveway.

      The MSNBC video is very bad and confusing. I think what's happening is that the Secret Service won't let anyone go on Obama's property to access the new land.
      However, the new owners of the lot can simply remove the fence that separates their property from the sidewalk.

      Yes, the non-Obama lot is definitely buildable. The only debate is how much will be built on it, that's been the only controversy.

      Obama Politics (www.obamapolitics.com)

      by JohnKWilson on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 02:52:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Incorrect (8+ / 0-)

        Subdividing lots is not all that easy.  This land was always two lots, but in the past it was sold together.  It is a legal distinction but an important one.

        As to the driveway:

        Q: A Nov. 21, 1999, Chicago Tribune story indicates the house you bought "sits on a quarter-acre lot and will share a driveway and entrance gate with a home next door that has not yet been built." Is this shared driveway still in the mix? Will this require further negotiations with the Rezkos?

        A: The driveway is not shared with the adjacent owner. But the resident in the carriage house in the back does have an easement over it.

        http://www.suntimes.com/...

        •  Thanks (5+ / 0-)

          I haven't been clear on this when I've written, but you are exactly correct that it is an important distinction.  

          •  I once investigated (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ArchPundit, Cream City, Empower Ink

            a real estate deal for a client for $5M+ for .27 acres in Hawaii.  I killed it because of easements.

          •  Do you know anything about Obama's (0+ / 0-)

            relationship with this guy?

            Alexi Giannoulias—a "man who has long been dogged by charges that the bank his family owns helped finance a Chicago crime figure" and "who became Illinois state treasurer" in 2006 after Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) "vouched for him"—"pledged to raise $100,000 for the senator's Oval Office bid," Charles Hurt reported September 5, 2007, in the New York Post.[1]

            The September 5, 2007, Chicago fundraiser was omitted from Obama's public schedule and the event was closed to the press," Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times reported.[2]

            "Before he promised to raise funds for Obama, Giannoulias bankrolled Michael 'Jaws' Giorango, a Chicagoan twice convicted of bookmaking and promoting prostitution.

            "Giannoulias is so tainted by reputed mob links 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

            .
            Link

            Is this anything to worry about?  

            If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy

            by Boston Boomer on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 03:39:23 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  He endorsed Alexi for Treasurer (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Boston Boomer, ChiGirl88

              Alexi was not the preferred candidate of the state party (ie, "the state's speaker of the House and party chairman" who is one person: Mike Madigan) but most of the progressive wing liked him -- it's very inside Illinois baseball.

              Madigan refused to endorse because he was miffed that someone else in Illinois Democratic politics held sway. Madigan wanted a downstater on the statewide ballot since everyone else was a Chicagoan (gov, lt gov, atty gen, comptroller).

              Giannoulias was another Chicagoan, which meant the 2006 Dem slate of statewides was all from Chicago. A legit concern for the state party chair, but it also swirled a lot around basic personality politics. (The state's atty gen by the way is Mike Madigan's daughter, Lisa Madigan. She has surprised a lot of folks with how well she's done, if not how she was slotted for the office...)

              The Giannoulias family runs a bank and the bank has given loans to reputed mobsters. But, Giannoulias has never been found to have done anything wrong and, since taking office last year, has wowed supporters and critics alike with how well he's running the State Treasurer's office.

              He recently announced several programs ranging from scholarships for soldiers' children to helping Illinoisans buy "green" cars. He also, finally, dumped a bad property deal that had been slogging through the state capital's politics for nearly forever.

              Could Obama's endorsement of Giannoulias be made into an issue? Sure. So could the number of grains of sand on Chicago's beaches.

              But Giannoulias has turned out to be a very good treasurer so far (he's mid-term) and, like with Rezko, once one bothers to actually take a look and review the info there's not much there there.

              •  OK, thanks a lot. (0+ / 0-)

                What I've read about is not so much Obama's endorsing the guy, but that he is a campaign bundler for Obama who has mob ties.  And Obama supposedly deposited his campaign funds in Giannoulis' bank.  I appreciate the reply.  I realize that Chicago politics is pretty messy at times.  I grew up in Indiana.  Actually, politics everywhere is messy at times.

                If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy

                by Boston Boomer on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 04:42:53 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Heck, Six Degrees of Silliness is getting lame (0+ / 0-)

                  ...I have a long-dead great uncle that I never met who had a bar and brothel that Al Capone went to. Does that mean I have "mob ties"?

                  We just need to take time to find the facts.

                  •  It was just a question. (0+ / 0-)

                    I asked "Arch Pundit," because he seemed to have done so much research.  I accept the answer.  It doesn't sound like a problem to me.

                    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy

                    by Boston Boomer on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 06:07:00 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I understand. No facial expressions in email... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Boston Boomer

                      Had you seen me typing you would've seen the grin on my face.

                      My little allegory was just an effort to point out the ridiculousness of these stretches the campaigns (a campaign?) is trying to make in order to see what sort of mud might stick (fingers crossed).

                      •  I see. (0+ / 0-)

                        Thanks.  I'm a little hypervigilant at this point.  I've gotten used to being attacked for asking what I think are reasonable questions.  I appreciate your reasonable answers.

                        If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy

                        by Boston Boomer on Wed Jan 30, 2008 at 04:43:00 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                •  Mob Ties Is an Overstatement. (3+ / 0-)

                  Alexi approved a loan to a woman which was probably unwise, but legal and she was taken by some mobsters in the deal. The bank also had done some business with some people with connections to the mob.  Technically a mob tie, but I think the bank actually lost money on the deal so not like they were in league with the mob.

                  I actually endorsed Alexi's opponent in both the primary and the general election because I thought he was too green and didn't have good experience.  Interestingly enough, that appears to be a good defense in these cases.  He largely was simply being a loan officer.

                  They were unwise deals, but not in the sense of Alexi or the bank being in on them.

                  On the flip side, Alexi has been a very pleasant surprise and is doing a great job.

                  Most of this was drug up by Speaker Mike Madigan to torpedo Alexi in the primary and put in the very worst light.  I think they made a reasonable case that he needed more experience, but his performance as treasurer is kind of proving that wrong.  

            •  The Irony (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Boston Boomer, ChiGirl88

              Alexi is the only statewide elected to not have taken money from Rezko ;)

      •  the strip (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DelRPCV, thesill, Ignacio Magaloni, Zulia

        was actually to keep the architecural integrity of the lot as I recall. There had to be a fence and a fence too close would have downgraded the appearance and perhaps violated the Landmarks rules.  

    •  Oops. Should have read your comment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cream City

      first before asking a similar question.

      If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy

      by Boston Boomer on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 03:19:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think we can all agree (8+ / 0-)

    that Obama would rather have never met Mr. Rezko.

    This message has not been approved by the corporate media.

    by jre2k8 on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 02:47:09 PM PST

  •  I suspect that this diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ReEnergizer, marcoto

    will become an email deluge if Senator Obama wins the nomination.  We'll need all the ammunition we can get.

    Damn it. Enough. I've had enough. And boy, does that word enough look weird when you type it enough times.

    by klnb1019 on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 02:47:46 PM PST

  •  I wonder if the book would make more money (0+ / 0-)

    if he is the nominee?

    Oh well, this will be hammered in the corporate media if he is.

    "It takes a Clinton to clean up after a Bush"

    by gotalife on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 02:47:57 PM PST

  •  I don't like BO, but not cuz of this (5+ / 0-)

    Dig this.  Just a few of the many reasons this guy is not on my short list.

    1. Merit pay for teachers.  He told the NEA convention this.   Bad idea. Doesn't work.  Been tried; doesn't work.  Old school.
    1. Open to nuclear power.  Wrong.  Greatest financial disaster in history.  If he were, say, audacious, he'd be with Edwards.
    1. Not a reliable fair trader.  Too much triangulation here.
    1. Race accomodator.  Don't go telling me blacks have 90% equality with whites or that there was no discrimination at Katrina.   Stop the denial.

    Issues, issues.   He fails my litmus test on the issues; I want someone from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Paryt.

    get it?

    I oppose the man on the issues

    "As a friend...I say to you: keep going. Keep fighting. My father would be proud." --MLK, III to JRE

    by formernadervoter on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 02:50:18 PM PST

    •  I disagree... (9+ / 0-)

      on all your points, but I commend you highly for actually disagreeing on actual substantive differences, rather than empty canards.

      If only all the disagreements here were as reasonable.

    •  I am a teacher and (5+ / 0-)

      100% in agreement with you on the idiocy of merit pay.  The other stuff you listed, I'm not so into.

      Obama doesn't get education - at least not K-12 education.  Thing is, no one else does either!  Dean was the best, but...oh, well!

      Thanks for listing what you disagree with.  I also respect the fact that some in the GLBTQ community have a difficult time with him.

      I do think that he will be much more outspoken about some things after he gets in.  I think he is being rather reserved so as not to scare anyone away.

      Just my 2 cents.

    •  I don't like him because (0+ / 0-)

      Even when the projects failed he blamed the neighborhood and the tenants.  Took no responsibility and did not criticize his donor, blamed the tenants and the neighborhood.  Not very honorable.  Further, he uses the common myth against affordable housing, no self respecting community organizer would say what he says.  

      Q: Many Rezmar government-financed housing deals have ended up in legal battles, including foreclosure. Several Rezmar buildings are now boarded up, and others are in need of major repairs. Taxpayers have lost millions of dollars on these deals. While Senator Obama has called Mr. Rezko a legal client, campaign contributor and a friend, there's ample evidence that Mr. Rezko was a slum landlord. Was the senator aware then that Mr. Rezko's projects were deeply mired in physical and financial problems? Does the senator think it is fair to characterize Mr. Rezko as a slum landlord?

      Obama's anser: Housing partnerships in which low-income-housing tax credits are syndicated frequently struggle financially. The reasons for the problems such partnerships struggle are complex but frequently include urban crime, demographic changes and social factors outside the control of any developer or owner. Senator Obama was not otherwise aware of financial and physical problems attributable to misconduct by Mr. Rezko

      http://www.suntimes.com/...

  •  that clinton chose to offer a transparent lie... (10+ / 0-)

    ...in the very first instance in which she publicly raised rezko suggests to me that there's nothing to the whole thing.

  •  You've failed to identify (10+ / 0-)

    the real problem:  In politics, perception is reality.

    The perception on this is bad, bad, bad.  Fuck the reality.  It's the perception that needs fixing.

    This message has not been approved by the corporate media.

    by jre2k8 on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 02:55:52 PM PST

  •  Question about one please (5+ / 0-)

    Myth #7: Rezko had a special relationship with Obama

    and you write:

    The truth: Rezko attached himself to lots of politicians. Rezko donated money to every major Democratic politician in Illinois, then helped organize a $3.5 million fundraiser for President George W. Bush in 2003. After giving large campaign donations to Democratic Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, Rezko arranged to have his buddies appointed by Blagojevich to state boards such as the Teachers’ Retirement System Board and the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board. With his friend Stuart Levine, Rezko threatened to hold up a $220 million deal to invest teachers’ pension fund money unless $2 million was paid to Levine or $1.5 million was donated to Blagojevich’s campaign. Rezko and Levine also demanded a $1 million cut from a developer to build a hospital. Rezko was indicted for pretending to sell his Papa John’s pizza restaurants while secretly maintaining control of them, and fraudulently using the transaction to get $10 million in loans. It is Blagojevich, not Obama, who did favors for Rezko. Rezko’s eye for scouting political talent was amazing, but he did not capitalize on Obama’s influence. Obama said he had known Rezko for twenty years and "he had never asked me for anything. I’ve never done any favors for him."

    Wasn't Rezko on Obama's Campaing Finance Committee?  You seem to have left that out, and that WOULD be a more direct relationship than merely donating money, wouldn't it?

    If you refuse to vote for OUR PARTY'S nominee in November, the blood of a thousand back-alley abortions will be on your hands.

    by dhonig on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 03:02:30 PM PST

    •  Yes (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kpardue, Albatross, MJ via Chicago, Zulia

      Rezko was one of several fundraisers on his campaign finance committee.

      No one's claiming Tony Rezko was a nothing nobody crook that happened to give money to Obama.  Tony Rezko is a MAJOR Chicago developer and political fundraiser.  Just check him out at opensecrets.org -- it's a veritable who's who of Illinois politicians.

      It doesn't change the fact that there has been accusation or even honest insinuation that Tony Rezko ever got any favors or promises for favors in exchange for his Obama fundraising.

      I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

      by zonk on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 03:13:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fundraisers (5+ / 0-)

      Yes, but I regard those kind of finance committee "memberships" to be kind of routine, in the sense that anyone who raises a lot of money gets put on them. We already know that Rezko was a fundraiser, so it doesn't change anything for him to be on a fundraising committee.

      Obama Politics (www.obamapolitics.com)

      by JohnKWilson on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 03:18:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You've done us all a service (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ChiGirl88, Zulia

    thanks

  •  Thanks for the hard work and the coherent post (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MJ via Chicago, marcoto

    This story will be the Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth/Willie Horton ad after Obama wins the nomination.  So let's keep debunking it so the MSM does not have anything to hang on to.

    What people will do for ratings!!!  And then they wonder why we don't trust the corporate media.

    Go to MyDD for the more incoherent postings on these deals.  You would have swore that Obama and Rezko were working together since childhood.  Maybe Rezko was also a community organizer. ;)

  •  Obama's going to be (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TracieLynn, BoringDem, PhilW, DebzLogic

    crucified.

    I will make them have it. I will stuff their mouths with Gold!--Aneurin Bevan (on the NHS)

    by Salo on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 03:05:52 PM PST

  •  Another one... (5+ / 0-)

    from my stepdad, who said that Obama has "all these ties to the syndicate." He then went on about how he got donations from one guy, and did legal work for another guy, and another bought his house, etc. I told him that all the separate incidents were the same person, and he didn't believe me.

    The whole discourse kinda reminded me of this exchange

    •  tip for the simpson ref (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MJ via Chicago

       Isn't that the Simpson where Homer says "You don't win friends with salad!, you don''t win friends with salad!" .. Fav line in Simpson of all-time.....  As for you step-pops I'd tell him he's not being truthful about Obama's record and he should stop saying that.. But that's just me..  

      It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong. Voltaire-1694-1778

      by ebbinflo on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 03:22:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I can't remember the other quote... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ebbinflo

        but the "magical animal" quote has stuck my head ever since I first heard it. Its the episode where Lisa decided to go vegetarian, if that helps.

        As far as my stepdad goes, I'll bring him around eventually.

  •  Obama's (5+ / 0-)

    Biggest problem in this whole matter was saying:

    "I am the first one to acknowledge that it was a boneheaded move for me to purchase this 10-foot strip from Rezko, given that he was already under a cloud of concern. I will also acknowledge that from his perspective, he no doubt believed that by buying the piece of property next to me that he would, if not be doing me a favor, it would help strengthen our relationship."

    He broke the cardinal rule -- he didn't parse, he didn't bob and weave -- he had the audacity to admit it looked bad.  He had the audacity to be upfront about the matter.  He had the audacity not to "play the game" like our governor, Rod Blagojevich (or other elected officials who shall remain nameless).

    I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

    by zonk on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 03:10:01 PM PST

    •  will be plead ignorance as a president? (0+ / 0-)

      That is the real question.  If something happened on his watch while in the WH I hope he doesn't use the I-didn't-know excuse.  
      Not saying the other candidates wouldn't, just saying if he does he's not better than them.

    •  And THIS (0+ / 0-)

      is why I'm starting to fear that Obama is too honest to win this thing.  Just like his thoughtful, measured responses in debates are starting to make me fear that he is too smart to win this thing.  And I am a Obama supporter.  Wouldn't it be ironic if these qualities did him in?

    •  Obama's gaffe: having standards. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      earwulf

      HRC has none: that's why when she lies at the debate about Rezko being a client of his, none of her fans feel obligated to give a shit.  She's made being a slime part of her appeal.

      [Obama endorser X] is a naive childish Reagan worshipper that has no experience with the right wing attack machine.

      by Inland on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 03:30:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Slum. That was the key part of what she said. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        earwulf

        It was a way to sling the word "slum" in a really nasty, accusatory manner right to Obama's face.

        •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

          ...and lord knows I feel distasteful defending Rezko, but it's not even an accurate description.

          Rental properties are actually a small part of the "Rezko Empire".   His money mainly comes from a bunch of Panda Express and Papa Johns franchises.

          I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

          by zonk on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 04:41:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  He became a slumlord (0+ / 0-)

            but that wasn't really understood until the investigations started.  

            •  OK (0+ / 0-)

              I'm ceasing and desisting my silly defense of Rezko as "not a slumlord".

              I was - apparently alone - thinking that one must derive a majority (plurality?) of one's business from substandard and poorly maintained rental properties.

              I was arguing against the definition simply because I didn't think a majority or even plurality of Rezko's income or assets came from such holdings.

              I think I'm alone in that regard -- and it would seem that there is universal agreement that having businesses/assets that involve substandard or poorly maintained housing qualifies one as slumlord, no matter the degree of portfolio.

              Fair enough....

              I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

              by zonk on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 06:13:08 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Because he was forced by circumstances into (0+ / 0-)

      buying the strip, to create the appearance of separate lots by installing a fence. Ask yourself why Obama needed to buy the strip at that time? What was the reason? He's not dumb. He wouldn't have entered into a deal with such a terrible appearance without a need. I believe the need was to cover up an even greater appearance of impropriety.

  •  Yeah... (6+ / 0-)

    When I cannot afford a house, my political patron greases the skids for me by buying the lot next door on the very same day.

    Of course, those letters I wrote where my political patron and ex-boss make $850,000 in management fees are completely forgotten.

    That's why I write everything down so it can be discovered and held against me later.

    People, when things don't look so good, don't leave obvious tracks.

    For example:

    The cocktail party Rezko hosted in 2003 came at a critical time for Obama. He and Rezko timed it to help Obama show he had enough money to compete in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate against millionaire Blair Hull and state Comptroller Dan Hynes.

    "This was discussed a lot. They wanted to have a good showing," said a source familiar with the fund-raiser, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    "Tony was one of the biggest fund-raisers."

    At the time of the party, the state was in the process of foreclosing on a low-income apartment building Rezko's company rehabbed in Obama's state Senate district -- a rehab project on which Obama's law firm worked. Rezko had also abandoned many other low-income apartments, leaving numerous vacant units in need of major repairs.

    Rezko was indicted in October 2006 in unrelated fraud schemes.

    Between 75 and 80 people attended Rezko's cocktail party, according to Burton, but he said the campaign has no list of the guests.

    More than half a dozen people who were there said between 100 and 150 guests were treated to an open bar and food served by Jewell Events Catering, run by renowned Chicago caterer George Jewell. Valets parked cars for the guests, who each were asked to donate at least $1,000.

    Rezko picked up the tab. The exact cost of the party has never been disclosed to the Federal Election Commission, which allows hosts to pay up to $2,000 for fund-raisers held in their homes and not report the expense. If a party costs more than $2,000, the candidate must tell the FEC about it.

    Burton said, based on a conversation a former Obama staff member had with Rezko, that the party didn't cost more than $2,000.

    Three days after the cocktail party, Obama got donations from several Rezko associates, Obama's campaign records show.

    http://www.suntimes.com/...

    Yeah, it only cost $1,999.99.  Of course it did!

    There will be no smoking guns when it comes to Obama and Rezko.  But to pretend that these men were not there to help each other in ways that are different from what average people get is nonsense.

    •  Smoke Matters (5+ / 0-)

      Obviously, politicians (especially ones like Obama who don't have a wealthy background or family name) need money. And sleazy guys like Rezko are out there to pile up friends by giving money. We can't know if Obama would have ever sacrificed his principles by doing favors for Rezko, because Rezko apparently never asked him. I suspect strongly Obama wouldn't do that. But the key is that Obama never did anything. The key thing I think Obama has learned from this is how essential campaign finance reform is.

      Obama Politics (www.obamapolitics.com)

      by JohnKWilson on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 03:23:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He wrote the letters, did he not? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Boston Boomer, StonedontheSofa, xgz

        Rezko may not have asked him directly, but that does not mean that Obama was not asked, or the matter was not brought to his attention.

        Obama did not ask Rezko to buy the land either, but somehow it was bought.

        So many coincidences.

        The Rezko fundraising party in 2003 is a great illustration of how all this stuff works.

        •  Again (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          malharden

          Yes, he wrote the letters, but so what? If a housing project has public support, developers collect letters of support for their applications.  Writing a letter is casework for your constituents. You earmark (member initiative in Illinois) something if you are trying to get someone something tangible.  

    •  Did you get your facts from a Cracker Jack box? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ChiGirl88, malharden

      Obama could afford the house. That's the point.

      He was the highest bidder on the house.

      The house had sat on the market for months. Obama was still the highest bidder, even though he didn't pay the asking price.

      You're criticizing him for being shrewd enough to talk the seller down from their asking price? That's called getting a good deal on your new home, not participating in a conspiracy to buy a bungalow.

      Heck, I guess then I'm guilty too since my wife and I talked the folks we bought our home down from their asking price too.

      Or perhaps you're trying to insinuate some sort of ... something... because Rezko's wife bought the parcel of land next door on the same day from the same seller.

      Guess what? Rezko and his wife are developers. They develop properties for profit. So does Donald Trump; you may have heard of him.

      The Rezkos saw a good deal and it was a legit and legal win-win for all three parties: the Rezkos got land they later turned around for a profit; the Obamas were the highest bidders and got a good deal; the sellers were able to finally sell their property and get some money for it.

      Where's the "bad"?

      •  He could not afford it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xgz

        Even a cursory view of the facts shows that.

        In sharp contrast to his tough talk about ethics reform in government, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., approached a well-known Illinois political fixer under active federal investigation, Antoin "Tony" Rezko, for "advice" as he sought to find a way to buy a house shortly after being elected to the United States Senate.

        The parcel included an adjacent lot which Obama told the Chicago Tribune he could not afford because "it was already a stretch to buy the house."

        On the same day Obama closed on his house, Rezko's wife bought the adjacent empty lot, meeting the condition of the seller who wanted to sell both properties at the same time.

        http://abcnews.go.com/...

        In other words, but for the Rezko purchase, Obama would have not been able to buy a house he could not otherwise afford.

        He sure got some great "advice" from his friend Tony.

        •  You might actually read the reporting (0+ / 0-)

          done by the Chicago Sun Times and Trib that actually know something about the story.

          There were two pieces of property owned by one couple. They then put them on the market separately.

          The vacant lot had a bid only $25,000 under what Rezko bid.  The house only had two bids and Obama's was the highest.  

          Deal in the actual facts and not bad summaries by ABC which is about 8 months behind in their reporting on all aspects.

          •  Where are your cites? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kkjohnson

            If it does not matter, why was Rezko even involved?

            Why did Obama even mention this to Rezko?

            Why did Obama tell the Tribune that he could not afford  both parcels because the house was already a stretch?

            Why does the story say it was a seller's condition that both parcels be bought at the same time?

            Since you seem to be the expert, I would appreciate your replies, along with substantiation.

            •  You mean the Rezko Primer (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              thesill

              Here

              Scattershot questioning is a bullshit tactic to try and get one to shut up.

              ===If it does not matter, why was Rezko even involved?

              The general assumption is that Rezko thought it would be a good way to get in with Obama.  

              ===Why did Obama even mention this to Rezko?

              Because Rezko had done a fair amount of development in the area Obama didn't know much about real estate. It turned out one of the contractors for some of the work on the house was someone who worked with Rezko At that time in 2005 the extent of Rezko's problems were unknown, though it was still stupid to do.

              ---Why did Obama tell the Tribune that he could not afford  both parcels because the house was already a stretch?

              Because he couldn't.  

              ----Why does the story say it was a seller's condition that both parcels be bought at the same time?

              Because it was. They were moving and didn't want to be stuck with one property and so they wanted to have the closing at the same time to ensure they weren't stuck in the end.  

              ===Since you seem to be the expert, I would appreciate your replies, along with substantiation.

              I'd appreciate it if you'd read what's already been done on the subject and deal in facts.  You get your wish, I don't apparently.  

              •  I've read your link... (0+ / 0-)

                and I have read virtually all the works cited therein.

                Your way of answering questions is like my kids.  Because he couldn't?  Sorry, that is not very convincing.

                You admit that sale of both properties was necessary and that Obama could not afford to buy both.  This has an appearance of impropriety all over it.

                You stated:

                The vacant lot had a bid only $25,000 under what Rezko bid.

                Where is that information?

                In the end, you have provided facts that are no more persuasive than me.  The crafted responses of Obama were not subjected to follow up.

                Based on the overall history of his relationship with Rezko, a large patron, it is not at all unreasonable to apply scrutiny.  Rezko did profit greatly, and so did Obama.  A wink here or a nod there is sometimes all it takes.  Neither you or I were there for any of this.  Just as we were not at that bargain of a party Rezko threw for Obama in 2003, the one with between 100 and 150 guests, treated to an open bar and food served by Jewell Events Catering, run by renowned Chicago caterer George Jewell, where valets parked cars for the guests, who each were asked to donate at least $1,000.

                Rezko picked up the tab. The exact cost of the party has never been disclosed to the Federal Election Commission, which allows hosts to pay up to $2,000 for fund-raisers held in their homes and not report the expense. If a party costs more than $2,000, the candidate must tell the FEC about it.

                http://www.suntimes.com/...

                According to that same article, based on a conversation a former Obama staff member had with Rezko, the Obama campaign says the party didn't cost more than $2,000.  Cough, cough.

                Please don't assume that because you have cut and pasted from numerous articles that some of us are unaware about what we speak.  You did not refute the abc story in the slightest so far as I am concerned.

                •  Are you a Problem Reader? (0+ / 0-)

                  ===The vacant lot had a bid only $25,000 under what Rezko bid.
                  Where is that information?

                  For someone who claims to have read everything, you don't appear to have read very much.

                  Q: Who was your Realtor? Did this Realtor also represent Rita Rezko?

                  A: Miriam Zeltzerman, who had also represented me in the purchase of my prior property, a condominium, in Hyde Park. She did not represent Rita Rezko.

                  Q: How do you explain the fact your family purchased your home the same day as Rita Rezko bought the property adjacent to yours? Was this a coordinated purchase?

                  A: The sellers required the closing of both properties at the same time. As they were moving out of town, they wished to conclude the sale of both properties simultaneously. The lot was purchased first; with the purchase of the house on the adjacent lot, the closings could proceed and did, on the same day, pursuant to the condition set by the sellers.

                  Q: Why is it that you were able to buy your parcel for $300,000 less than the asking price, and Rita Rezko paid full price? Who negotiated this end of the deal? Did whoever negotiated it have any contact with Rita and Tony Rezko or their Realtor or lawyer?

                  A: Our agent negotiated only with the seller’s agent. As we understood it, the house had been listed for some time, for months, and our offer was one of two and, as we understood it, it was the best offer. The original listed price was too high for the market at the time, and we understood that the sellers, who were anxious to move, were prepared to sell the house for what they paid for it, which is what they did.

                  We were not involved in the Rezko negotiation of the price for the adjacent lot. It was our understanding that the owners had received, from another buyer, an offer for $625,000 and that therefore the Rezkos could not have offered or purchased that lot for less.

                  The Illinois press tracking this story haven't found any inconsistencies in the above.  

                  •  Once again... (0+ / 0-)

                    Please show me where there was a bid of $600,000 for the vacant lot.

                    Since Obama's agent only dealt with the seller about the house, how does Obama know the specifics of other offers for the lot?  Such information is generally confidential.

                    Also, the answers Obama provided were in writing.  No documents were provided to my knowledge.  Has he ever provided additional responses?  You seem so certain that all this was not discussed in a phone call.  The fact is that Obama mentioned this to Rezko.  If he wanted the house, and there was already a bid on the lot, then Rezko's participation was not needed.  Also, if Rezko bought it to develop it, why would he sell some it back to Obama?  Has the lot been developed?

                    I notice that you ignored the cocktail party.  

                    •  Are you serious? (0+ / 0-)

                      We were not involved in the Rezko negotiation of the price for the adjacent lot. It was our understanding that the owners had received, from another buyer, an offer for $625,000 and that therefore the Rezkos could not have offered or purchased that lot for less.

                    •  Dense. (0+ / 0-)

                      ===Also, the answers Obama provided were in writing.  No documents were provided to my knowledge.  

                      Yes, and then followed up by a press conference.  

                      ===I notice that you ignored the cocktail party.

                      You really are a twit.  

                      •  It always comes down to names. (0+ / 0-)

                        I knew you would get there.  That's where I really tune out.

                        In your original reply, you said that Rezko paid $25,000 more.  To me, that implies there was a lower offer.  I asked you to show me there was.  You never did so.  Instead, you want to call me a twit.

                    •  Bad Assumptions (0+ / 0-)

                      ---Since Obama's agent only dealt with the seller about the house, how does Obama know the specifics of other offers for the lot?  Such information is generally confidential.

                      Except this was a case where his agent had to coordinate the closing with someone else.  Again, the Sun-Times and Trib haven't found any inconsistencies. The burden isn't to prove a negative, it's to provide some evidence that this is incorrect.  The people who looked into it couldn't find the contradictory evidence. Have you?

                      •  No... (0+ / 0-)

                        A closing for one property would not need to affect the other, even if simultaneous.  Only the seller's agent would know the details.  They would not necessarily be shared.

                        •  Not necessarily (0+ / 0-)

                          Doesn't mean it wasn't shared. Again, the problem is you keep claiming something could have happened that was bad, but you don't actually offer evidence for it.

                          Instead you pull the canard of raising questions about which isn't doing anything other than avoiding taking responsibility to reconsider something using actual logic.

                          •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

                            You lost me with that one, too.

                            Where does your primer have a follow up about all the parties, sellers, agents, etc. having been contacted and questioned and provided the information you refer to?

                            All you provided is the Q&A from the Sun-Times.

                            Anyway, I should have been doing something else ahile ago.

                            Thanks for calling me a twit.  That really helped persuade me.

                          •  Read the whole story (0+ / 0-)

                            here

                            Read is the biggest answer.

                            That's like trying to persuade someone from the Arkansas Project to believe Bill Clinton was clean. it's not about persuading, it's about knocking down slime.  

                            And NBC interviewed the sellers' agent on TV.  

                    •  You really didn't read anything (0+ / 0-)

                      Claiming to have read everything and then spouting dumb questions kind of betrays that you were lying about that.

                      ---The fact is that Obama mentioned this to Rezko.  If he wanted the house, and there was already a bid on the lot, then Rezko's participation was not needed.  

                      Yes.  You are correct. There is no point to this statement.  Rezko probably did want to get his claws into Obama.  But Obama dealt with him on a reasonable level.  Dumb, but nothing suggesting a favor was allowed.  Obama knew Rezko had developed in the neighborhood so he went to him for advice and indeed, one of the contractors who had worked on the home worked for Rezko at one point.  Rezko then took it upon himself.

                      ==Also, if Rezko bought it to develop it, why would he sell some it back to Obama?  Has the lot been developed?

                      He didn't sell it back. He sold a strip to him. You seem confused about who owned what.  

                      The lot hasn't been developed largly because the current owner is having some issue with the Secret Service now.

                •  Perhaps it's because you don't have a point? (0+ / 0-)

                  ----Your way of answering questions is like my kids.  cause he couldn't?  Sorry, that is not very convincing.

                  The question doesn't make any sense.  Why couldn't he afford both properties?  Because he had limited funds. If you are trying to ask a different question, then do so.  It's a silly question.  

                •  What? (0+ / 0-)

                  ===In the end, you have provided facts that are no more persuasive than me.  The crafted responses of Obama were not subjected to follow up.

                  Yes, they were.  They aren't covered in great detail, but the original owners were contacted, the real estate agent was contacted, and the listings were looked up.  Again, given the press hasn't found any inconsistencies in the basic sale, no one can prove a negative so unless you have evidence to the contrary, you are not making much sense.  

                •  Get a grip (0+ / 0-)

                  Arch wrote that Obama couldn't afford both pieces of property.

                  He and his wife didn't want to buy both pieces of property (and couldn't afford to do so if they did want to) but the seller (clearly) wanted to sell both.

                  What don't you get?

                  The Obamas wanted to buy just the house, not the adjacent, separate lot also. They were the highest bidders on the home and made a good deal in being both the highest bidders and negotiating the sales price down. My wife and I did the same thing when we bought our house (we were the highest bidders, but we paid well under the asking price).

                  Mrs. Rezko (it wasn't both of them, the paperwork was filed in her name only) bought the adjacent piece of property and, as Arch pointed out, that offer was also the highest bidder with the next highest only $25k less. That lot was later sold for a profit... Isn't that what real estate investment is all about?

                  Had you, citizen53, wanted to buy that adjacent piece of property and you, citizen53, were the highest bidder for that vacant lot next to the home the Obamas wanted to buy ... the seller would've wanted you to close on the same day as the Obamas because that is what the sellers wanted to do (get all the cash out of the 2 separate, neighboring properties at one time).

                  And would we even be talking about this if you had been the other purchaser? I don't think so.

                •  It Could Be Is Different from There is Evidence (0+ / 0-)

                  that supports the contention Obama got a deal.

                  You have successfully turnedan  around logic to have to prove a negative instead of actually demonstrate the case.

                  ===ased on the overall history of his relationship with Rezko, a large patron, it is not at all unreasonable to apply scrutiny.  Rezko did profit greatly, and so did Obama.  A wink here or a nod there is sometimes all it takes.  Neither you or I were there for any of this.  

                  Scrutiny has been applied.  How did Rezko profit from Obama? There's no evidence of that.  Please be specific in how you are making this claim. Again it's a assertion thrown out there not only without any evidence, but without any specific claim.

                  Obama didn't benefit other than from political donations.  So again, see the above question.  

                  A wink and a nod is simply shorthand for I don't have an argument, but I'm going to insist I'm right anyway.

                •  Didn't refute the ABC Story? (0+ / 0-)

                  Okay, so ABC is 8 months behind the Chicago Sun-Times stories and they make a claim without offering any evidence. In fact they take the quotes out of context.  

                  So what is there to refute?

                  ===Please don't assume that because you have cut and pasted from numerous articles that some of us are unaware about what we speak.  You did not refute the abc story in the slightest so far as I am concerned.

                  Given you don't appear to have any logical consistency, it's hard to figure how one could refute what you believe to your satisfaction.  

                •  So the argument you are left with (0+ / 0-)

                  is that Rezko may have paid too much for a fundraiser.  Then you should file a complaint with the FEC.  They'll get right on that in 2 or 3 years if they follow their usual pattern.

                  I have little doubt that Rezko was lying.  The Obama campaign should have thought more about it, but many campaigns do the same kind of denial.  It's hardly some sort of major case.  

                  •  You have made your point, and I have made mine (0+ / 0-)

                    I have seen enough business transactions, political and otherwise, that I am not completely satisfied.

                    I am answering as I like, whether you think it's logical or not.  Or are you the decider about that, too?

                    Also, it would be more logical in my view if you had offered one response.  Since I have more to do than answer each time you decide something else to say, I'll probably attend to more pressing things than a point by point debate.

                    •  Hysterical (0+ / 0-)

                      ===I am answering as I like, whether you think it's logical or not.  Or are you the decider about that, too?

                      No, the rules of logic are.  

                      ===Also, it would be more logical in my view if you had offered one response.  Since I have more to do than answer each time you decide something else to say, I'll probably attend to more pressing things than a point by point debate.

                      Hysterical--you ask as many questions as you can and then complain when I sort them out to one or two issues per response.  Classic.  

                      •  Then don't call me illogical... (0+ / 0-)

                        or a twit.  Why the need to label others anyway?

                        •  Because you keep insisting that you know the stor (0+ / 0-)

                          but then betray your ignorance. It's a little annoying to talk to someone about something and the claim to have read everything and then explicitly make a point refuted by the material.  

                          •  You are just repeating what others have... (0+ / 0-)

                            reported, yet you act like you have done research in the field.

                            I said there was an appearance of impropriety, at minimum.  I know how things are done in business and politics.  This could be no different than dealings with lobbyists.  No laws are broken there either, but is it clean?

                            In other words, I remain suspicious of the Obama-Rezko connection.

                          •  Obama said there wasn the appearance of (0+ / 0-)

                            impropriety.  You keep trying to make a case that it's more by suggesting things haven't been looked at that have been.  

                            You clearly don't know how things are done in business in politics given your statements about letters of support.  Something mundane isn't a great favor.  

                            And again, you raise suspicions, but avoid dealing with the details.  That's a cute trick.

                          •  You have good reason to be suspicious (0+ / 0-)

                            The diary does not analyze or ask experts in the field, merely repeats disclaimers.  Read my posts below.  You are right to question.  

                            This is complicated cause these transactions are complicated.  But the way these deals were transacted, with Obama being the attorney, it was questionable.
                            What you have is Obama getting money from Rezko.  Then he represents a non profit that does a joint venture with Rezko.  That should have been a conflict of interest.  The project went into default/foreclosure, did Obama, in reviewing the documents and doing the due diligence represent the non profit correctly?  If the projejct failed as it did, I would want to see the actual work he did.  

                    •  You Have No Point (0+ / 0-)

                      Saying you are suspicious while not dealing with the actual details that you supposedly have read so closely isn't having a point.  It's just weird.  

        •  He could afford the house (0+ / 0-)

          How did he buy it if he couldn't afford it?

          What he could not afford (and he said this plain as day) was to buy both the house and the neighboring, but separate, vacant lot which was also owned by the seller. The seller wanted to sell both, and do so at the same time, but the Obamas could only afford to buy the house.

          In the end, both properties were sold to the highest bidders (chosen from multiple bids).

          At this point I'd have to presume you're intentionally avoiding any sort of common sensical attempt to understand basic logic.

        •  You got it (0+ / 0-)

          Without Rezko, Obama could not have bought the house.  So, Rezko buys the lot to enable Obama's purchase.  How difficult is that to understand?  

    •  No one greased a wheel (0+ / 0-)

      There was an offer for the vacant lot only $25,000 less than Rezko's offer--so the deal would have closed with or without Rezko buying it.

      Why do you make up this garbage? Seriously, why not deal with the actual facts and discuss it from there.  

    •  Not Understanding Illinois (0+ / 0-)

      =--Of course, those letters I wrote where my political patron and ex-boss make $850,000 in management fees are completely forgotten.

      Except those were letters of support and had community support.  That's very different and in Chicago, as in every major city, developers donate to most candidates so the situation you are describing would make everyone corrupt by the standard.

      Further, if he was doing a favor he would have used a member initiative to the deal, not write some letter.  

      •  Excuses, excuses... (0+ / 0-)

        why am I not surprised?

        •  It's not an excuse (0+ / 0-)

          It's an explanation for someone who doesn't understand the non-profit development world and how money is actually showered on political patrons.  Do you have a substantive response?

          Again, what is unusual about writing a letter of support for a project supported by the community?

          •  Nothing... (0+ / 0-)

            except when your patron and friend, and also your former boss, will make $855,000 in tax dollars to administer the project.  Where's the transparency?

            There is potential conflict of interest that any lawyer should have known to disclose.

             

            •  What transparency do you want? t (0+ / 0-)

              Given those letters are submitted to the local government and are subject to FOIA, what are you even arguing?

              He wasn't a decision maker in the grant process. He wrote a letter of support. He was not making decisions.  

              What didn't he disclose?  Given developers donate to lots of politicians I'm trying to figure out what you expect here. The letter should contain a disclaimer about the donations?  Or what? Make some sense.

              You clearly don't quite get what this is about.  Obama wasn't making decisions about who got the money.  All he did is write a letter of support that he as a stakeholder in the community thought it was worthwhile.  That's an every day occurrence for any State Senator.  

  •  Obama's Contributions in 1997 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Boston Boomer, Ky DEM, kidneystones

    He received 70.  From the Illinois State Campaign Finance Site:

    (bold are Rezko or related Rezko companies or addresses).

    Altheimer & Gray 10 S Wacker Dr
    Chicago, IL 60602  $375.00
    5/5/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Anderson, Pamela K 1646 E 54th St
    Chicago, IL 60615  $200.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Atu Special Holding Acct 5025 Wisconsin Ave Nw
    Washington, DC 20016  $200.00
    12/5/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Balark, Dr, Reiko 1519 W 87th St
    Chicago, IL 60620  $200.00
    10/2/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Bell, Alvin L & Gloria A 1119 S Park Terrace
    Chicago, IL 60605  $100.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Bell, Alvin L & Gloria A 1119 S Park Terrace
    Chicago, IL 60605  $200.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Bell, Christopher J 1545 S State 610
    Chicago, IL 60605  $200.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Bertrand, Julian S 10014 S Charles
    Chicago, IL 60643  $200.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Chicago Property Mgmt Corp 853 N Elston Ave
    Chicago, IL 60622  $1,500.00
    7/29/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama

    Cody, Reece 6806 S Constance
    Chicago, IL 60649  $300.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Cummings, Jeffrey I 848 S Park Terrace
    Chicago, IL 60605  $100.00
    9/22/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Cummings, Jeffrey I 848 S Park Terrace
    Chicago, IL 60605  $100.00
    9/24/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Davila, Yvonne 5437 S Hyde Park Blvd
    Chicago, IL 60615  $200.00
    10/8/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Derks, Steven M 800 S Wells 1320
    Chicago, IL 60607  $200.00
    10/20/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Dingens, Gregory 1163 W Eddy St
    Chicago, IL 60657  $250.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Doss, Micheal & Emily 5717 S Blackstone Ave
    Chicago, IL 60637  $200.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Dunham, Madelyn L 1617 S Beretania St 1008
    Honolulu, HI 96826  $1,000.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Evans, Robert C 1525 E 53rd St Ste 531
    Chicago, IL 60615  $500.00
    10/2/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Financial Place Apts 853 N Elston Ave
    Chicago, IL 60622  $1,500.00
    7/29/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama

       
    Freeman, Kevin L 30 E Huron 4006
    Chicago, IL 60611  $250.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Gessler Hughes & Socol Ltd Three First Natl Plz Ste
    Chicago, IL 60602  $300.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Harris, Irving B 209 E Lake Shore Dr
    Chicago, IL 60611  $1,000.00
    10/2/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Healthcare Solutions 565 Science Dr Ste A350
    Madison, WI 53711  $200.00
    10/2/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Hochberg, Kevin J 5421 S Cornell 17
    Chicago, IL 60615  $200.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Johnson, Dr, Charles F 405 N Wabash 1715
    Chicago, IL 60611  $500.00
    9/29/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Johnson, Corbin 4916 S Blackstone Ave
    Chicago, IL 60615  $150.00
    10/8/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    
    K
    aranja, Ayana & Sokoni 3213 S Calumet
    Chicago, IL 60616  $600.00
    11/5/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Katten Muchin & Zavis 525 W Monroe St
    Chicago, IL 60661  $200.00
    9/26/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Kelm, George Three First Natl Plz Ste
    Chicago, IL 60602  $200.00
    10/20/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Kennedy, Randall 100 Village Av
    Dedham, MA NONE  $300.00
    6/5/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    King, Alan & Sophia 4721 1 Woodlawn
    Chicago, IL 60615  $200.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Kinnison, Charles & Yvonne 1735 E 73rd St
    Chicago, IL 60649  $15.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Kinnison, Charles & Yvonne 1735 E 73rd St
    Chicago, IL 60649  $200.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Lampley, Jr, E Charles 6900 S Constance Ave
    Chicago, IL 60649  $200.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Loyd, Bernard 1949 Cleveland 2s
    Chicago, IL 60614  $200.00
    10/2/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Luster, Precious & Phyllis A 20745 Alexander
    Olympia Fields, IL 60461  $200.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Manilow, Lewis 19820 S Wolf Rd
    Mokena, IL 60448  $1,000.00
    10/8/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    
    Mayberry, Cheryl 1314 W School
    Chicago, IL 60657  $300.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Mcnamara, Barry & Paddy 1550 N Lake Shore Dr
    Chicago, IL 60610  $200.00
    10/20/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Melton, David R 404 Greenwood
    Evanston, IL 60201  $500.00
    9/24/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Metcalfe, Xiomara C 405 N Wabash Ave 1715
    Chicago, IL 60611  $300.00
    10/20/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Miner, Judson & Linda 850 Chalmers Pl
    Chicago, IL 60614  $200.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Moelis, Cindy S 3033 N Kenmore
    Chicago, IL 60657  $600.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Mosena, David & Patricia 5646 S Kimbark Ave 288 1682
    Chicago, IL 60637  $200.00
    10/20/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Nowinski, Cindy 2320 Park Pl
    Evanston, IL 60201  $200.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Rabinovitz, Daniel 65 Mason Terrace
    Brookline, MA NONE  $250.00
    12/29/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Rawls, Charles R 2416 Cameron Mills Rd
    Alexandria, VA 22302  $250.00
    10/20/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Rezko Concessions Inc 409 W Huron 6th Flr
    Chicago, IL 60610  $1,000.00
    1/13/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama
       
    Rezmar Corp 853 N Elston Av
    Chicago, IL 60622  $1,000.00
    1/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Rezmar Corp 853 N Elston Ave
    Chicago, IL 60622  $1,500.00
    7/29/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama
       

    Rgma Inc 211 W Wacker Dr Ste 900
    Chicago, IL 60606  $200.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Rice Group Ltd 20 S Clark St Ste 600
    Chicago, IL 60603  $200.00
    12/5/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Risk Management & Info Systems 4800 S Chicago Beach Dr 250
    Chicago, IL 60615  $300.00
    10/2/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Risk Management & Info Systems 4800 S Chicago Beach Dr 250
    Chicago, IL 60615  $35.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Risk Management Solutions Inc 850 W Jackson Blvd Ste 600
    Chicago, IL 60607  $500.00
    9/24/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Rudd, Jean 5000 E End Ave
    Chicago, IL 60615  $200.00
    9/24/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Ruiz, Jesse H 1132 W Armitage Apt 2
    Chicago, IL 60614  $200.00
    10/23/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Runner, Shari 1321 E Hyde Park Blvd
    Chicago, IL 60615  $500.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Saltzman, Bettylu & Paul 161 Chicago Ave E
    Chicago, IL 60611  $500.00
    9/24/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Schmidt, John 1350 N State
    Chicago, IL 60610  $1,000.00
    5/5/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Schmidt, John 1350 N State
    Chicago, IL 60610  $250.00
    12/5/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Southeast Anesthsia Consultant 5307 S University
    Chicago, IL 60615  $500.00
    10/2/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Taylor, Mark 190 S Lasalle St
    Chicago, IL 60603  $500.00
    6/30/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Taylor, Mark 190 S Lasalle St
    Chicago, IL 60603  $500.00
    10/8/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Trotter, Gladstone & Esther 9319 S Euclid Ave
    Chicago, IL 60617  $200.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Urban Equities Inc 1809 E 71st St Ste D
    Chicago, IL 60649  $200.00
    10/23/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Whalen, Wayne W 4920 S Greenwood
    Chicago, IL 60615  $250.00
    10/1/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Williams, Darrell A 4940 S E End Ave 15f
    Chicago, IL 60615  $800.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Williams, Kale & Helen 5457 S Hyde Prk Blvd
    Chicago, IL 60615  $200.00
    10/14/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama    

    Zacharias, James 755 Sheridan Rd
    Winnetka, IL 60093  $500.00
    9/10/1997  Individual Contribution
    Friends of Barack Obama  

    Rezko made 7% of the total contributions to Obama's organization in 1997.

    Rezko contrubuted $6,000 out of a total $27,475 for the year - or 21% of Obama's fundraising for the year.

    Surely they were a little better acquainted?  Or Rezko was investing in something.  I'll have a look at his other contributions to other state candidates in 1997.

    •  Ummmm (0+ / 0-)

      Where are you getting your math from?

      checking both D-2s from 1997 (not sure what you were trying to link to -- it leads nowhere), I see Obama raising closer to $65K in 1997....

      I also get a much longer list of contributors from just the first half of '97 D-2.

      What are you using to get this list?

      I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

      by zonk on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 03:28:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Searching Individual Contri's (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ky DEM

        Not inkinds, not transfers in, not loans floated from Obama.

        The system net for 1997 (taking into account all above):

        143 receipts totaling $51,592.12.

        •  OK (0+ / 0-)

          fair enough.  I was looking at totals including in kind, etc.

          Here are the other contributions from Rezko/Rezko entities solely from 1997.

          The links in questions appear to be dynamic and don't include the variables, so I'm afraid everyone will have to take my word for it or re-run the searches yourself.

          Rezko Concessions

          Rezko Concessions Inc  409 W Huron 6th Floor
          Chicago, IL 60610 $5,000.00
          12/29/1997 Individual Contribution
          John Schmidt for Attorney General

          Rezmar Industries

          Rezmar Corp  853 N Elston Av
          Chicago, IL 60622 $1,000.00
          1/14/1997 Individual Contribution
          Friends of Barack Obama
          Rezmar Corp 853 N Elston
          Chicago, IL 60622 $1,500.00
          6/17/1997 Individual Contribution
          Citizens for Jim Edgar
          Rezmar Corp 853 N Elston Ave
          Chicago, IL 60622 $1,500.00
          7/29/1997 Individual Contribution
          Friends of Barack Obama
          Rezmar Corp 853 N Elston Ave
          Chicago, IL 60622 $500.00
          12/11/1997 Individual Contribution
          Citizens for George Ryan
          Rezmar Corp 853 N Elston Ave
          Chicago, IL 60622 $2,500.00
          12/29/1997 Individual Contribution
          John Schmidt for Attorney General

          Chicago Properties Mngt

          Chicago Property Management Corp  853 N Elston Ave
          Chicago, IL 60622 $2,500.00
          12/29/1997 Individual Contribution
          John Schmidt for Attorney General
          Chicago Property Mgmt Corp 853 N Elston Ave
          Chicago, IL 60622 $1,500.00
          7/29/1997 Individual Contribution
          Friends of Barack Obama

          I'm not going to list Tony Rezko's personal contributions because it's a 43 page list totaling more than $100K.

          In the end -- no doubt, as Obama has admitted -- Rezko was likely trying to buy favors.

          But here's the thing... no one can seem point to any of what those favors might be.  

          The only item that even looks fishy was support for a housing development project in Obama's district -- which also had the support of both State Rep, alderman, and community groups.

          I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

          by zonk on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 04:04:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  That's Dumb (0+ / 0-)

          Why wouldn't you count transfers in as fundraising?  PACs don't count? Or the 4 Tops accounts?  You don't know much about Illinois fundraising do you?

    •  I don't know- (0+ / 0-)

      $6,000 just doesn't set off my OMG meter for "buying" favors -- especially when one considers how much money some people, and their companies, etc make. For the mega-rich $6,000 spread out over several related organizations--not so impressive.

    •  Rezko donated a lot to a lot of Illinois pols (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Zulia

      Business people who have money to spare do that. Rezko gave money to pols of both parties for a good many years.

      Where's the quid pro quo though? This isn't like Abramoff looking for Repubs to change legislation on the floor of the House. Rezko's under indictment for fraud against a bank -- not for political stuff.

      While we're at it, what were the other 93% of contributors looking for from Obama? Coffee talk? A Christmas card? Sheesh.

      Hillary and Edwards get contributions too. Gee, let's see what small percentage of those contributions we can turn into a to-do... Oy.

    •  He did that for lots of people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Zulia

      And Obama admits they were casual friends and Rezko was a big fundraiser.

  •  Thanks for this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gogol, 4jkb4ia, blueyedace2, Albatross

    As a realtor I'm glad to get the full story complete with other offers and later sales.  I can confirm there's no way there could have been a "deal" offered if there was more than one offer involved.  And the resale of the land confirms it was not above market value either.  Thanks for confirming my suspicions.

    It's also important for people to know that many sellers try to sell vacant lots together with developed lots because it's hard to get rid of them otherwise.  It's pretty clear why they took the deal that allowed them to sell both at the same time.  That's the only favor Rezko did for the Obamas.

    Never give up! Never surrender!

    by oscarsmom on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 03:17:24 PM PST

  •  Well done, and new Caroline TV ad for Obama (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueyedace2, earwulf, Albatross

    Well done JohnKWilson!

    The Obama campaign has just released a new ad featuring Caroline Kennedy. Check out my new diary for details here.

    Barack Obama in 2008! Change We Can Believe In!

    by aj4runner on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 03:18:48 PM PST

  •  This is great, and reflects what my own (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueyedace2

    research had led me to understand, with the exception of #9.  I am not sure you are correct here.  I beleive that Rezko was under investigation by Fitzgerald at the time that Obama approached him about the land/house purchase.  Can you provide the basis for your statement?  I'd like it to be true, because it is the only thing that really makes Obama look foolish for not thinking of this appearance.  I agree that nothing that has been brought out in years of investigating this "connection" can reasonably be construed as suggesting corruption on Obama's part.

  •  John Kass, republican scold. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zulia

    He's all over every hint of scandal by a democrat.  Bush admin?  Nothing.

    [Obama endorser X] is a naive childish Reagan worshipper that has no experience with the right wing attack machine.

    by Inland on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 03:22:00 PM PST

    •  Defending Kass (6+ / 0-)

      In defense of John Kass, let me say that he's usually right, and as a local columnist, the fact is that Democrats are responsible for most of the corruption in Chicago. He deserves credit for being the first to point a finger at Rezko back in 2004. But his attacks on Obama have often been misleading or false, with no corrections or apologies offered.

      Obama Politics (www.obamapolitics.com)

      by JohnKWilson on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 03:26:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Kass is usually penny ante. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gogol, Sagittarius, Zulia

        When he sets his sights higher than low level city employees and beer can chicken, he gets it wrong.  He's wrong on Obama as he was wrong on Clinton.

        He's a bore and only has two subjects, the chicken being one.

        I can't believe he's in Royko's spot.

        [Obama endorser X] is a naive childish Reagan worshipper that has no experience with the right wing attack machine.

        by Inland on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 03:32:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It pained me, but his picture is on my wall (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Inland, Zulia

          When I mounted the FP of the Tribune from the day after the Sox won the World Series, I committed to having his ugly, rethug face on my wall forever.

          I thought about taping something over him...

          Anyway, the Sox are the only thing he and I will ever agree on, I think.

  •  there's still more $$ they're gonna give back, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jlukes, Ky DEM

    but they already said before they had done so.

    Explain, please. And how much did Rezko bundle for him too? Where did that $$ come from? Just how many decades have they known each other? Just how horrible were all those buildings and how is it possible Obama had no clue--esp since he was supposedly very active in the very neighborhoods they were in? ...

    •  Answers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      amberglow, Shaniriver

      I don't think Obama's campaign kept exact track of bundling money back then, that's part of the problem. There is a question now about whether Rezko broke the law by giving money to a friend to give to Obama's campaign. As for the buildings, it's very easy for all of us to have no idea about what buildings around us are slums with bad landlords. State senators don't deal with that issue, aldermen and city officials do, so it's doubtful that Obama would have known about it.

      Obama Politics (www.obamapolitics.com)

      by JohnKWilson on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 03:37:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What "slums"? (0+ / 0-)

        Rezko and a community organization were improving a depressed neighborhood, not renting out unkempt tenements. (Rezko made much of his money in fast-food restaurants -- chinese and pizza joints -- and is under investigation for fraud against a bank. He has been linked to a deal for restaurants along Illinois tollways but that may involve our Governor, if any pol, who appears to be being kept at a distance from Obama.)

        •  Rezko was repeatedly cited for violations-- (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jlukes

          repeatedly. It was no secret.

          •  Can you conflate things a bit more please? (0+ / 0-)

            Did Rezko have violations on his buildings? Yes.

            Did Obama review legal papers and coordinate legal proceedings between non-profit groups and Rezko (working on behalf of the non-profit groups)? Yes.

            Did Obama represent Rezko or his company as a junior lawyer with regards to those violations? No.

            Did Obama represent Rezko or his company as an attorney ever? No.

            So... What's it matter to Obama if Rezko repeatedly, repeatedly was issued citations? That has nothing to do with Obama.

            Oh, wait. Conflating all that makes for a good 5 second quip during a heated debate.

            Heck, Rezko raised money for a ton of Illinois pols, left and right (and for Bush and other national pols while we're at it). Obama was hardly the only fellow to receive a donation from Rezko.

      •  thanks, but they were in his district, and he was (0+ / 0-)

        supposedly very grassroots and responsive and hands-on. He knew the guy when he was an Associate, no? He knew him for a long long time.

    •  So many distortions... (0+ / 0-)

      Look...

      #1 - name the contributors.  Obama has said that if there's any more that even has the appearance of taint, he'll return it -- but thus far, everyone just keeps tossing numbers out there, rather than naming names.  Name the contributor and the contribution.

      #2 - You do realize that Tony Rezko was not -- in strict terms -- a "slum lord" -- no matter what Hillary says, Rezko actually owns/owned a number of businesses... in other words - it's not like he Joe Pesci in "The Super" --- he actually owned both Panda Express and Papa Johns franchises.   You seem to be under the impression that this guy's only business was owning substandard inner city housing.   In fact-- he was a HUGE Chicago area developer.   I'm not trying to defend Rezko -- he's in all likelihood a crook who tried to buy influence with the Blagojevich administration and looks to have ripped off -- or attempted to rip off -- the state's teacher's retirement fund.

      ...but the problem is -- you're assuming he was stroking his handlebar mustache while turning off the heat in his building.  In fact - the guy was a massive developer.  It's entirely probable that he personally didn't even know the exact situation at one of his rental properties.

      Trying to somehow tie Obama to substandard housing owned by a massive developer who was a big time contributor to Obama -- among virtually every other local politician?  Come on... we're in Kevin Bacon territory.

      I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

      by zonk on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 04:12:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He started (0+ / 0-)

        Read the Sun Articles, he had 30 properties that were funding in some way by the City, or Low Income Housing Tax Credits.  All thirty went into foreclosure because he took out all the developer fees, did not fund the reserves appropriatly.  The fees he got were about 6 Milliion.  The loss of public funds was substantial, in the 20 millions.  He knew about this projects.  That many projects going South and Obama working in the same law firm did not know?  
        Not plausible.  

        This is not a small developer in affordable housing.  He defrauded public funds and hundreds of low income people lost their housing.  People talk in neighborhoods, if Obama did not know, he does not know the neighborhoods.  If Obama did not see, the buildings falling apart and having vacant units?  All that I can discern is that he had the reputation of being connected to the developer.  Low income people are afraid to complain.   Again, why he should not have been involved.  

        I don't give a hoot about the money, I give a hoot that he did not care about the loss of the housing and the pain to the community and the tenants.  His answers are cold and innapropriate.  

    •  Most of this is answered (0+ / 0-)

      They knew each other for 17 years--1990 when Rezko offered him a job.

      How much he bundled is not entirely clear because in a small community of donors you know people in a variety of ways.  

      Rezko's problems with buildings weren't known at all until 2001 and then it was largely within very specific non-profit development organizations that Obama was not doing legal work for of any significant amount by that time.  And the problems went to the City which is notoriously bad about communicating these issues to anyone but the Alderman because the alderman like to control the information.  

  •  Recced, tipped, bookmarked. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    earwulf, theark

    This will be a very handy reference in the months ahead. Thank you.

  •  Man did you forget a lot of REAL facts. Like his (6+ / 0-)

    own words Sunday on This week saying they had a 20 year friendship. DING DING DING DING.

    ...Does that equate to him stating in the debate that his only connection was 5 hours of work his law firm did?

    BLITZER: I'm going to go to Suzanne Malveaux in a second, but I just want to give you a chance, Senator Obama, if you want to respond. Senator Clinton made a serious allegation that you worked for a slumlord. And I wonder if you want to respond.

    OBAMA: I'm happy to respond. Here's what happened: I was an associate at a law firm that represented a church group that had partnered with this individual to do a project and I did about five hours worth of work on this joint project. That's what she's referring to.

    _______________________________

    This Week,

    STEPHANOPOULOS: Your home town paper, the Chicago Tribune, endorsed John McCain today. It had some kind words for you as well, but they went on to talk about your relationship with the real estate developer, now indicted, Tony Rezko.

    And they wrote this in their editorial. "Obama's assertion in network TV interviews last week that nobody had any indications Rezko was engaging in wrongdoing strained credulity. Tribune stories linked Rezko to questionable fund-raising for Governor Rod Blagojevich in 2004, more than a year before the adjacent home and property purchases by the Obamas and the Rezkos."

    One more time, Senator, you need to divulge all there is to know about that relationship.

    Take that opportunity here.

    OBAMA: Well, George, this is a story that has been out there for a year, and has been thoroughly gnawed on by the press, both in Chicago and nationally.

    Tony Rezko was a friend of mine, a supporter, who I've known for 20 years. He was a contributor not just myself but Democrats, as well as some Republicans, throughout Illinois. Everybody perceived him as a businessman and developer.

    He got into trouble that was completely unrelated to me. And nobody has suggested that I have been involved in any of those problems. I did make a mistake by purchasing a small strip of property from him, at a time where, at that point, he was under the cloud of a potential investigation.

    And I've acknowledged that that was a mistake. But again, nobody has suggested any wrongdoing. And you know, I think, at this point, it's important for people to recognize that I have actually provided all the information that's out there about it.

    By the way, you know there is much more, which I won't bother going in to, because most here probably will find excuses for every thing Obama did do.

    But there were other deals and shake down program for the backed candidates.  Obama is one of them named.  And Rezko was arrested yesterday, so I'm sure much more will be coming out.  WHICH IS WHY the Sunt Times pleaded with Obama to come clean on Sunday.  They have been listening to his excuse making and "untruths" and they do know the realities and the "truth".  

    Obama said and acknowledged the most on This Week, but funny how different it was from even his debate response.

    •  Friends and Working for a Slumlord (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      amberglow, earwulf

      He wasn't a close friend certainly, but he qualified as a friend of Obama's. But Hillary Clinton didn't allege a friendship. She alleged that Obama worked for him, which he didn't. That's all.

      Obama Politics (www.obamapolitics.com)

      by JohnKWilson on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 03:45:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, Hillary was actually being kind and making (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        amberglow, BoringDem, PhilW, xgz, Clint2

        it about business, instead of personal.

        She didn't say "he's a close friend of yours for 20 years that you had all different business dealings and purchased you home from, even while he was being investigated for wrong doing".

        She said:
        CLINTON: Bad for America, and I was fighting against those ideas when you were practicing law and representing your contributor, Resco, in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago.

        Are you familiar with Resco?  You do know she's correct, only he did much much more.  He would leave heat off in the middle of winter, etc.

        And finally, you said, "he wasn't a close friend certainly".  And where do you gather that.  They were freinds for 20 years...through all of Rezkos' known dealings and even up to Obama buying his house next door and with Rezko while this sh!t is hitting the fan.  AND pays 105 K for an additional strip of land to add to his.

        And kick backs going on for how many years?  Nuf said.

        •  Making up shit? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          arielle, Zulia

          They didn't have all sorts of business dealings.  They had one business dealing in buying a 10 foot strip of land over assessed valuation.

          Obama did not buy his home from Rezko. This is a silly claim since the reports clearly identify a University of Chicago Doctor as the seller.

          He wasn't representing Rezko, he spent 6 hours on a deal with for three non-profit housing development corporations who were long time clients of the firm.

          ---And kick backs going on for how many years?  Nuf said.

          Clearly you relish being a lying hack. Care to offer something to back that up.    

      •   Yeah many people (0+ / 0-)

        I'm not close to will buy me a yard to go with my house. NOT!

      •  I don't want to defend Rezko (0+ / 0-)

        As he's almost certainly a crook....

        But -- I really think we need to drop the "slumlord" charge, no?

        I mean - I'm not disputing that there were complaints against a property in his portfolio, but the backbone of the 'Rezko empire' was in fast food franchises (Panda Express + Papa Johns).  He certainly branched out - and his holdings did include properties with a history of tenant complaints, but I kind of feel like calling Rezko a "slumlord" in and of itself is a falsehood.

        'Slumlord' in and of itself has obvious connotations, and rental properties -- at least by way of everything I know about Tony Rezko -- were NOT  a majority of his holdings.

        I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

        by zonk on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 04:22:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  He's a Slumlord (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ArchPundit, amberglow, BoringDem, xgz

          I have to disagree with you. He's a slumlord. The fact that he has many more sleazy businesses in addition to that doesn't reduce his slumlord status. The point is that Obama didn't do anything bad. But Rezko sure did. Let's not start defending him.

          Obama Politics (www.obamapolitics.com)

          by JohnKWilson on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 04:47:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That (0+ / 0-)

            just doesn't seem to square with what I've read... I'm not arguing with the fact that substandard rental were were part of his holdings, but in all the news media -- and hell on wikipedia right now --- he's more often referred to as a "restaurateur" or head of a "fast food empire" as he is a "developer", much less "slumlord".

            I mean, I guess it's a pretty silly argument to be having, but the vast majority of the 'Rezko empire' simply wasn't/isn't centered around rental properties.  

            I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

            by zonk on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 04:53:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  These guys are into all kinds of things. (0+ / 0-)

              We would have to know from people in Chicago that actually livied in his apartments.  

              I had to fight developers in a neighborhood in Philadelphia.  They are incredibly sleazy, but they had ties with the politicians, at that time Mayor Rendell, and always won out over the protests of residences.  Publically, they are known as distinguished people.

              •  Sure- (0+ / 0-)

                Like I said, I'm not arguing for the honor of Rezko, I'm just saying that the guy's fortune comes from a fast food empire, not from rental properties.

                I know he ran substandard housing - and I know what they were.

                I guess I'm just reacting the "slumlord" aspect -- maybe I'm just weird, but like I said elsewhere -- when I think "slumlord", I think someone like Joe Pesci in that awful move "The Super" ---- i.e., someone who's entire real estate empire (or at least the majority of it) comes from this single area.

                But whatever... in the end - defending Tony Rezko is a pretty stupid way to spend my evening, no doubt about it :-)

                I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

                by zonk on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 05:43:07 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  i can't speak for "slumlord"... (0+ / 0-)

          but i bought my chicago loft in 1999 from rezmar and they definitely were less than stellar developers...

          it was an old building from the early 1900's that was being built out into loft condos, not brand new construction.

          they stopped paying the vendors and contractors so they could funnel money into their other (newer) developments, while people like myself waited many months passed the promised date to close on properties that were finished yet held up from inspection because not all the units were finished on the floor above me  (yet one of rezmar's employees did move into a loft on the floor above me months before my unit was inspected).  there were a few people that, because of the delays, wanted to get out of their contracts and rezmar welcomed that since the lofts greatly increased in value in the year and a half that they were being built out.  so they didn't care if they were inconveniencing people.

          they also cut corners on the materials, which resulted in multiple problems in my own loft, as well as the building as a whole...we had a bunch of stuff to fix once the city did a required facade inspection and a series of special assessments over the course of the 4-1/2 years that i lived there amounted to my share being almost $10,000.  i think the building still has issues, and there was talk about a lawsuit against rezmar but i don't know if they ever filed it.

          so for me personally, i don't care about tony rezko's involvement with obama, but i sure do hope rezko goes to jail...

          "I don't have a problem with change, I just don't want to be there when it happens." - Adrian Monk

          by betsyross on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 05:26:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Like I said above (0+ / 0-)

            fair enough...

            I think I've already spent much more time defending Rezko than he deserves.

            I wasn't speaking to the quality of the properties he rents or develops, I was just speaking to the appropriateness of the "slumlord" title when the majority of his holdings are in the fast food franchise area....

            It sounds like I'm the one wrong here -- and possibly the only person on the planet (certainly in this thread) - who is so definitive in using the "slumlord" label... It's the Safire in me.

            I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

            by zonk on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 06:02:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the info JohnKWilson! (0+ / 0-)

    I am also going to copy the perma link and spread the word. Keep up the good work.

    [https://donate.barackobama.com/page/contribute/pf?outreach_page_id=24094 Support the Obamathon]

    by Demrock6 on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 03:42:32 PM PST

  •  NBC Nightly News (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TaraIst, amberglow, Clint2

    "Senator Obama's house, bought with a little help from a friend" was Brian Williams' tease for a story coming up right now on the NBC news.

    Obama Politics (www.obamapolitics.com)

    by JohnKWilson on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 03:46:23 PM PST

    •  NBC story (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TaraIst, Zulia

      The NBC story was mostly a re-hash of the MSNBC version earlier. It was highly deceptive in noting that Obama paid "$300,000 below asking price" and the "reporter" speculated about accusations that Rezko "may have subsidized Obama’s purchase." Of course, as I note, there's no evidence to support that, and a lot of evidence against it.

      Obama Politics (www.obamapolitics.com)

      by JohnKWilson on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 04:05:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course the evidence supports that! Come up (0+ / 0-)

        with a plausible cover story, please!

        •  How does it support it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          arielle

          You keep making this claim, but let's deal with fact.

          1. Two properties listed separately.
          1. Both properties sold to highest bidders.
          1. Rezko only paid $25,000 more than the next highest bidder.

          What evidence supports it then?

          •  Archpundit...a question: (0+ / 0-)

            When the physician owner decided to sell, was the house and the adjacent lot ever offered as a single listing,  as the ABC news report appears to imply here-

            "The parcel included an adjacent lot which Obama told the Chicago Tribune he could not afford because "it was already a stretch to buy the house."
            (emphasis mine)

            Or was it always offered as two entities by the physician owner?

  •  goto ... (0+ / 0-)

    ....WWW.archpundit.com for a good coverage of this issue.   it might be far into the front page or even in archives by now but worth the look.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 03:55:05 PM PST

  •  "myth" no. 3 (0+ / 0-)

    The truth: None of this is true. The seller decided to divide the lot in offering it for sale, not Obama or Rezko. Rezko had paid the list price for his lot, not an excessive amount (as the resale value later proved).

    Who was the resale to?

    •  A Business Associate and Former Lawyer of Rezko's (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      earwulf, mrchumchum

      He bought the property and is now trying to re-sell it. I don't see any indication of a vast conspiracy to inflate the price at all to conceal anything. This is a typical real estate price in Hyde Park.

      Obama Politics (www.obamapolitics.com)

      by JohnKWilson on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 04:01:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  and no.. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        amberglow, PhilW, xgz

        red flags or whistles here! What would be a

        indication of a vast conspiracy to inflate the price

        to you?

        Was the lot listed first or Rezko's lawyer/business associate asked Rezko for the property?  Is the lawyer/ business partner trying to sell it?

        And why did Rezko sell it?  Was it the indictment? Was it that Obama wanted the distance from Rezko?

        Questions that should be asked, investigated, and reported before anyone is selected as our nominee.  The democratic voters deserve that, at a minimum.

  •  your link disproves point 10 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jlukes, Clint2

    One more time, Senator:

    You need to divulge all there is to know about that relationship. Until you do, the journalistic scrubbing and opposition research will intensify. You should have recognized Rezko as a political seducer of young talent. But given that you've not been accused of any crime or ethical breach, your Rezko history is not a deal-breaker.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/...

  •  Rec'd cause the diarist worked hard at this... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BoringDem, kkjohnson

    ...and while it still smells to me, I'll give the benefit of the doubt while this gets a true national airing.  Sen. Obama's comment in the above excerpt that this has been chewed/gnawed on by the press both locally AND nationally is not true -- local, sure.  National -- not an iota yet of what it's going to be.  Still the diary deserves a rec and needs to stay on the Rec List until this is resolved -- i.e., until the smell goes away.

  •  What You Sound Like (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gogol, Jlukes

    Me back in the early '90s explaining to my mother why the hoo hah about Whitewater was a bunch of bullshit.  If Obama is elected president, I'm sure that ultimately Ken Starr will find no wrongdoing.

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 04:09:17 PM PST

  •  Highly recommended! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kkjohnson
  •  Here's the problem (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    amberglow, Larry Bailey, kkjohnson

    Please know that I'm not flaming you.

    The problem is, everything that you just wrote can (and will) be countered with a bumper sticker.

    The Clinton's Whitewater dealings were similarly "complex". They were also eventually exonerated of any wrongdoing.

    Yet, if you say the word "Whitewater" today, most people will equate it with political corruption.

    I'm not saying "this is a good reason not to vote for Obama." I'm saying "you'd better be able to refute this in 10 seconds."

    No one's ever gone broke underestimating the intelligence (or attention span) of the American public.

    "Doing My Part to Piss Off the Religious Right" - A sign held by a 10-year old boy on 9-24-05

    by Timbuk3 on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 04:16:41 PM PST

    •  and we have yet to have a trial. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      amberglow, Larry Bailey

      I will make them have it. I will stuff their mouths with Gold!--Aneurin Bevan (on the NHS)

      by Salo on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 04:22:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you know what the trial is for? (3+ / 0-)

        Because really -- the best thing that could happen for Obama is for this trial to start... and be splashed all over the evening news and the front page of every paper.

        The entirety of the Rezko (and Stuart Levine - who's actually an equal centerpiece in the trial... but we don't hear about him because he has no ties to Obama) indictments revolve around:

        1. Levine and Rezko sought payments totaling millions of dollars from seven investment firms seeking to do business with the Teachers' Retirement System (spring 2003 to July 2004).

        Essentially - Rod Blagojevich appointed Stuart Levine a Rezko crony - to the board overseeing the Illinois Teachers Retirement fund.  Rezko and Levine are accused of shaking down investment houses wishing to do business with the fund.  There is nada, bupkus, zero -- nothing -- to do with Obama on this matter.

        1. Levine and Rezko sought a $1 million kickback from a contractor who hoped to build a new hospital for Mercy Health System in Crystal Lake (spring 2003 to July 2004).

        Essentially -- Levine/Rezko were looking for a kickback from a contractor to help steer business.  Note the timeline -- no money ever changed hands, but given that by July of 2004 - Obama was well on his way to the US Senate -- I think it's pretty fair to say there's no Obama here, either.

        1. Rezko allegedly set up a phony transaction involving the sale of his pizza restaurants in Illinois and Wisconsin. Prosecutors said he sold them at inflated prices to a straw buyer while keeping ownership and $10 million in loans for the sale.

        Here's where Obama comes up as "candidate A" -- not "public official A" - but candidate A.  Essentially -- Rezko needed cashflow, and he (allegedly) committed wire fraud to get it done.  In the process of tracing these ill-gotten funds -- "Candidate A" comes up as a recipient by way of a 3rd party (John Aramando).

        All this here

        So really -- if you want to hang your hat on the trial -- PLEASE do... just don't come crying when you get no Obama dirt out of it, because the charges simply don't have much to do with Obama.

        I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

        by zonk on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 04:35:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Good point (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        amberglow, Larry Bailey, kkjohnson

        A trial will keep it alive through the general election.

        This needs a bumper sticker refutation, or America won't hear it.

        We already know how much the military-industrial media cares about facts. If 8 years of Clinton investigations didn't show us, the run-up to the war in Iraq should have.

        Americans may be ready for change. I'm less inclined to believe that the entrenched powers who suck up 50 cents of every tax dollar are.

        "Doing My Part to Piss Off the Religious Right" - A sign held by a 10-year old boy on 9-24-05

        by Timbuk3 on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 04:57:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  So (0+ / 0-)

        The trial doesn't even touch on anything except one donation involving Obama.  It's about Blagojevich. Read the filings.

    •  At Worst, Obama Is Better Than Hillary Clinton (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gogol, Luftmensch, theark

      If this is equivalent to Whitewater, then all it means is that Obama has one pseudoscandal where he could be smeared falsely just like Clinton will be with Whitewater. The difference between the two candidates is that Obama's problems end with Rezko, and Hillary Clinton's problems only begin with Whitewater. Yet it's unquestionable that the mainstream media has been paying a lot more attention to Obama's "scandals" than Hillary Clinton's. That will change in November. As Clinton herself showed, all an opposing candidate needs to do is mention something in a debate, and the media will keep pushing it.

      Obama Politics (www.obamapolitics.com)

      by JohnKWilson on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 04:30:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  whitewater didn't have any effect (0+ / 0-)

      on B. Clinton's approval rating. Late night talk show hosts mainly joked about how the clintons lost money on that deal. Most people didn't care. It was just the hard-core right, obsessed with the clintons, that thought it meant anything at all.  And I don't think most people even know what the term means anymore--certainly not like "watergate".  Clinton was impeached by puritanical, opportunistic politicians. Whitewater was never more than a sideshow played up by the press.  Does the average American see Clinton's administration as particularly corrupt? I doubt it.

      None of the republican candidates are without significant baggage far worse than this (whatever "this" actually is--so far not much).  McCain looks like he might be digging up some new shit for himself right now in his fundraising desperation. There's dirty money everywhere these days.

  •  I seem to remember.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gogol

    That HRC had a little real estate problem herself,, Kinda stupid for her to bring up real estate issues.. she outa stick to cattle futures.

  •  Which Just Goes to Prove - (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    amberglow, Larry Bailey

    That Obama is an ordinary Chicago politician.
    Nothing necessarily illegal - just same old the schmooze.

  •  now that's what I call a diary! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    decembersue, Luftmensch

    thanks for putting it all together like that.  I've been trying to piece it together, but it's so darn hard with all the nonsense flying around.

  •  No facts or links. Come on!!! (0+ / 0-)

    "There's no evidence that Obama spent much time on them"

    Just an example and there are many more. We are just supposed to take your word for it??

    Would you give Clinton the same break??

    The greatest gift you can contribute to the goal of world peace is to heal.

    by wavpeac on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 04:39:42 PM PST

    •  Counting Time (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DaveV

      That was a quote from factcheck.org. Obama says that he did about five hours of work on accounts for non-profits working with Rezko. Here's the Sun-Times article. I'm not sure why Obama's work on Rezko-related accounts really matters, anymore than Hillary Clinton's work on accounts in Arkansas.

      Obama Politics (www.obamapolitics.com)

      by JohnKWilson on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 04:55:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Five hours of work is different than (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        amberglow

        "spent much time".

        Five hours of work to a well paid lawyer is about 1000$ of business.

        The greatest gift you can contribute to the goal of world peace is to heal.

        by wavpeac on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 05:05:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  it means he would know confidential legal stuff? (0+ / 0-)
        •  About a non-profit incorporation deal (0+ / 0-)

          Fascinating stuff--especially since they have to file 990s.  

          Obama didn't represent Rezko, he represented three non-profits working with Rezko on a deal and the basic issues he dealt with were incorporation paperwork and the like.

          Rezko's primary law firm is Freeborn Peters that does his legal work and are working on his defense.  Obama has no ties there.

          •  Due diligence and Documents (0+ / 0-)

            In the due diligence for a Low Income Housing Tax Credit he had responsibilities.  He had to make sure the reserves were funded and set up appropriately.  But if he was receiving money from Rezko and representing the non profit it's a conflict of interest.  He should have disqualified himself that he would not be properly representing the interests of the non profit.  As it happened, he was not.  He failed to vet Rezko, and he failed to guarrantee the adequate funding of the operating, tax and loss guarrantees.  The developer fee is usually put into those accounts.  In this case, the Rezko took the fees and shorted the projects.  This is what happens when there is conflict.  You fail to protect the project, the non profit and the public funds that were invested.  

  •  I might have overlooked it, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larry Bailey

    ...where's the part about Obama being mentioned in the court papers as having received $10,000 from an associate of Rezko, the money coming directly from a "finders fee" bilked out of the Illinois Teachers Retirement Fund?

    •  Sleazy Money (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DaveV, amberglow, ebbinflo

      I think that's what caused the Obama campaign to donate another $40,000 to charity, the allegation that Rezko illicitly used money to donate to Obama's campaign. But certainly no one thinks that Obama knew about the illicit source of the money; politicians can't really police how people get the money they donate to them.

      Obama Politics (www.obamapolitics.com)

      by JohnKWilson on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 04:58:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Printing....... (0+ / 0-)

    I hope this doesn't offend JohnKWilson but I keep arguing with people about Obama and the Rezko issue so I am printing this wonderful diary so I can make several copies and leave them around my office.

    If this is a problem I'll shred them if not Thank you this is a great diary

  •  I was just thinking I needed something like this (0+ / 0-)

    to summarize what this whole business is about, and here you are. Thanks for putting this together.

  •  Thank you! (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you for writing this up ... while I can see some potential holes that critics can pick away at, you make a very compelling case on some of the major points that have been out there.

    I've bookmarked this and will refer to often!

  •  You forgot to debunk (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    amberglow, Larry Bailey

    the "myth" that Rezko is corrupt.

    Save your tears for the living

    by immanentize on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 05:08:36 PM PST

  •  myths debunked (0+ / 0-)

    And here's one more myths debunked, that the "rude" Obama "turned his back" on Hillary in order not to talk to her. Clair McCaskill asked him a question just as Hillary was approaching Ted Kennedy. Obama turned to answer her. This is like that other B.S. story about him "refusing to put his hand over his heart" during the pledge of allegiance with another photo taken out of context.

    http://blogs.trb.com/...

    If I were running in this election, I'd be for change too. - George W. Bush

    by William Domingo on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 05:14:00 PM PST

  •  Slime merchants are... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Great Uncle Bulgaria

    Well, they're slime merchants.  They want everybody down in the muck with them.  It's what they do.  It's where they live.

    I was elected to public office for 12 years and got to experience the paranoid projections of many swamp dwellers.

    Didn't make me what they claimed I was any more than Obama is a crooked rep.

    Thick skin and a slow temper are absolutely required in public life.

    Obama got what it takes at this moment.

    Go, Obama, go.

    "Can you hear the grasshopper at your feet?" -Master Po

    by DW Dawg on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 05:32:26 PM PST

  •  thanks so much for this, John K Wilson (0+ / 0-)

    bookmarked and recommended.

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.
    give NOW to Populista's OBAMATHON!

    by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 05:44:57 PM PST

  •  Obama didn’t know TONY REZKO was a crook? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stellaa

    Talk about bad judgment
    Obama it’s over!

    •  Neither did (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gogol, arielle

      The non-profits who partnered with Rezko or every other statewide office holder who received money from him.  Well, except Blagojevich.

    •  Why not? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gogol

      Back in my college days,  when I was working for a certain fast-food chain,  one day one of our crew came in late,  alone,  and visibly shaken.

      It turned out that the reason he was late was that the cops had literally kicked in the door of his rooming house,  and taken his roommate (who was supposed to be working with us that day) away in chains for the rape and murder of multiple young teenaged girls.

      I don't remember how the police got on to him,  but it wasn't through any of us at work,  who would've been surprised if he'd been accused of killing ants with a magnifying glass (much less viciously stabbing people).

      History is full of stories of people,  from embezzlers to serial killers,  whose friends and neighbors were shocked by the revelation of their secret criminal lives.

  •  I keep finding the Clinton smears stupid (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaveV, Great Uncle Bulgaria

    Here's a political family who had to put up with a tremendous number of unfair smears through the 1990s, most of which were untrue.

    And yet, they resort to playing the same game against their opponents.

    I especially find it bizarre when they attack opponents on issues that they themselves are worse at... such as the Iraq war and so on.

    You know, the fact that I use they disturbs me.

  •  I'm not voting (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stellaa, Larry Bailey, Nelsons

    for Obama now.  This whole thing smells.

    The most tyrannical of governments are those which make crimes of opinions, for everyone has an inalienable right to his thoughts.-Baruch Spinoza, philosopher

    by StonedontheSofa on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 06:30:55 PM PST

    •  trust your nose (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larry Bailey, Nelsons

      it never fails you

    •  I think that the way Obama is handling this mess (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larry Bailey

      shows that he is not ready to be president. If he is innocent, he sure is acting guilty.

      People with hatred in their hearts never live up to their full potential. It's very sad.

      by Nelsons on Wed Jan 30, 2008 at 04:41:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are very right (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        StonedontheSofa

        The argument is that he did nothing illegal therefore he is ok.  Well, the issue is that we are not sure yet and he failed the community and his non profit client in a number of ways.  This failure, to me, may be compromised because he had a conflict of interest.  At the same time he was getting money from Rezko, he represented the non profit in a joint venture.  

        How could he look for the interests of the tenants and the public resources invested in those projects when he was taking money from Rezko.  There are ethical and professional blunders that are beyond errors in judgement.  

        What will he do in DC if he drowned in Chicago?

  •  The Best Rezko Mania Report EVER (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dynamicstand

    The strings Billary tries to tie between Rezko and Obama are laughable.  
    Hell, both Clintons are the ones in the standard contributor photo op with Rezko.

    That scumbag reaches from the governor down into county level and taints all around him.  

    "Public Official A" is the looking like our guv the Blag Man, in it up to his eyeballs: another set of crooks that should/will be behind bars.

    Durkin should be counting his luck that he came from downstate and didn't get slimed (although I wouldn't be surprised- this guy is that slimey).

  •  By the way according to the AP, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dynamicstand

    Obama gave away to charity another $70,000 that he got from Rezko tonight.  TPM has the story under its Wire Stories section.  This brings the total given away to $150,000.

    Damned myths, they just don't die, even when you declare them dead.

    If you don't have an earth-shaking idea, get one, you'll love building a better world.

    by hestal on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 07:08:50 PM PST

  •  I'll believe number one (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larry Bailey

    After all, that one is sourced. Factcheck works for me.
    The rest are largely unsupported, and several strain the bonds of reason.
    I'm not that naive.
    This is a nice piece, but he said, they said and unsupported supposition doesn't cut it.
    Nothing debunked at all... well maybe number 1.

    This settles nothing, except in the minds of those who made up their minds before they had any facts at all, you know, the Obama fans.

    To debunk something, you need proof.
    You haven't given us much to go on.

    Back to the drawingboard... "Rezko" is still alive.

    "As God is my witness, I thought wingnuts could fly."

    by Niniane on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 07:38:37 PM PST

  •  I am sorry (0+ / 0-)

    but this guy supported Obama for years. This guy has a list of violations a mile long in his low income housing. I do not know if Obama did anything technically wrong but there is no doubt he did not criticize" that individual" who was a supporter and a fund raiser for him. It stinks

    In every moment of every day we only have two choices. Act out of fear or act out of love

    by Jlukes on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 07:48:32 PM PST

  •  Myth #1 challenge. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oculus, abe57

    Myth #1: Obama did legal work for Rezko

    Claim: Hillary Clinton during a debate denounced Obama for "representing your contributor, Rezko, in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago."

    The truth: According to Factcheck.org, "Obama was associated with a law firm that represented the community groups working with Rezko on several deals. There's no evidence that Obama spent much time on them, and he never represented Rezko directly. So it was wrong for Clinton to say he was ‘representing ... Rezko.’ That's untrue."

    Not Myth  What Obama was doing is representing the non profit as a co-general partner on a Low Income Housing Tax Credit deal.  As such in one of his responsibilities in doing due diligence and document review, in representing the non profit, he should have made sure of the following :that the reserves were adequately funded and the developer was solvent.  At the time that Senator Obama did this work he was receiving fudns from Rezko . Rezko was in default in a number of deals with the City of Chicago.  As an attorney he should have found that out.  But if you are receiving donations from Rezko, he did not check.  Negligence in representing the non profit.  
    He should have made sure that the Rezko funded the reserves and that the accounts set up protected the project and the non profit.  

    As the attorney representing the Co general partners in a limited partnership Low Income Housing his representation of the non profit was compoimised by receiving donations from Rezko and representing the non profit.  

    The projects failed and went into default because Rezko took the developer fee and did not fund the reserves.  Explain, how Obama and his firm, who also represented Rezko in other deals, did not fail in their responsibility?
    As an attorney the "he did not know" does not work.  Maybe he chose to not know.  

  •  Myth #2 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oculus, abe57

    Myth #2: Obama knew Rezko was a slumlord

    Claim: The Chicago Sun-Times reported that in 1997, Rezko’s company failed to turn the heat back on in one of his buildings, while giving $1,000 to Obama’s campaign fund.

    The truth: There’s no evidence that Obama knew about problems with Rezko’s buildings. A state senator doesn’t deal with tenant complaints, and the Chicago newspapers never reported on Rezko’s problems as a landlord until after he was indicted. According to the Chicago Tribune, "in the years before 2005, Rezko enjoyed a reputation in Illinois as an up-and-coming, even enlightened entrepreneur with a strong interest in the risky low-income and affordable housing markets."

    iNot a Myth Obama's law firm also represented Rezko.  When and if the City of Chicago filed a notice of Code violation the law firm would have been notified.  It was a small law firm.  Such a notice would have been known, unless they got so many this did not matter.  it's rare to get these kind of notices.  

    Obama claims he walked the streets and was a community organizer before joining the law firm.  Well, any community organizer, "knows the community".  People in the community talk to people they trust.  Mr. Obama was getting money from Rezko and was closely associated with him.  Typically, low income tenants are afraid of retrobution from landlords.  So, it is the duty of the "community organizer" to find out the issues.  If he did not know, he was not trusted in the community.  If he did not know, he failed as a community organizer to do the double check.  Basic 101 of community organizing, if you are any good.  

  •  The Real Estate Deal. (0+ / 0-)

    The properties were listed for sale by a Dr. who worked with Michelle.  The two properties were listed together.  Verify that Obama could have bought both properties without the Rezko purchase.  How many casual donors, friends or aquantances would help you buy a house you could not afford?  What was the dollar value benefit?  Who cares.  Obama benefited from the purchase.  

    Finally, Obama admitted it was "bad judgement" "bone headed".  Rule in politics if you cannot eat it, don't take it. Period the end.  It's a benefit to Obama.  Obama's integrity is  questionable.  What if any quid pro quo's were there?  Did not have to be then and there but for the future?  What promises were made?  
    Twist and transcend all you want, this is a mini Duke or Mini Alaska Stephens deal.  

  •  Affordable housing issue: Obama comment. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oculus

    The Sun Times asked a series of questions of Senator Obama and the housing
    This was the one I found disturbing.  For someone who pertends that he loved and represented the community this is completely objectionable.  

    Q: Many Rezmar government-financed housing deals have ended up in legal battles, including foreclosure. Several Rezmar buildings are now boarded up, and others are in need of major repairs. Taxpayers have lost millions of dollars on these deals. While Senator Obama has called Mr. Rezko a legal client, campaign contributor and a friend, there's ample evidence that Mr. Rezko was a slum landlord. Was the senator aware then that Mr. Rezko's projects were deeply mired in physical and financial problems? Does the senator think it is fair to characterize Mr. Rezko as a slum landlord?

    Obama's answer:   Housing partnerships in which low-income-housing tax credits are syndicated frequently struggle financially. The reasons for the problems such partnerships struggle are complex but frequently include urban crime, demographic changes and social factors outside the control of any developer or owner. Senator Obama was not otherwise aware of financial and physical problems attributable to misconduct by Mr. Rezko

    http://www.suntimes.com/...
    Conclusion:
    Look at Obama's answer, it was the tenants and the neighborhoods fault.  Low Income Housing Tax Credit projects when they are designed, developed, financed and operated appropriately rarely fail.  Mr. Rezko had almost 15 LIHTC projects and in all 30 projects.  This is unprecedented failure.  There is a plethora of well managed, well built and operated proejcts.  In this case the developer, the city and the attorneys failed.  

    But in summary, Obama's answer is the typical NIMBY response, what I call the people who hate affordable housing.  Shame.  

  •  Rezko and Obama (0+ / 0-)

    I think the Clinton campaign in hoping that most people will not fact-check.  I wonder what she has up her sleeve for the republican candidate should she win the nomination.  With all that she has done during the last few weeks of this campaign, it's no wonder she has all of her documents sealed until after the campaign. Can't be good.  If it were, believe me she would be using that information for all its worth.

  •  Will it stick? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larry Bailey, kkjohnson

    I disagree that the author of this diary has debunked any myths. The diary itself is just a back and forth of current talking points.

    Thanks to some good comments by posters such as Stellaa, however, I have learned a few things.  It seems clear that Rezko and Obama are friends.  It also seems clear that Rezko is a serious "bad guy".  You don't get indicted by Patrick Fitzgerald for jaywalking.

    What is unclear is how this will affect Obama long-term.  As a supporter, I am concerned.  This is cannon fodder for the rethugs.

  •  Thank you so much for posting this. (0+ / 0-)

    I truly appreciate someone taking the time to debunk the slander.  

  •  And our governor here in Illinois (0+ / 0-)

    said that we should let the judicial system work through this. It's going to be interesting to watch as the months go by.

    People with hatred in their hearts never live up to their full potential. It's very sad.

    by Nelsons on Wed Jan 30, 2008 at 04:34:34 AM PST

  •  More than $200,000 in Donations to Obama... (0+ / 0-)

    So far, Obama has given $85,000 of it to charity. Then it was pointed out by ABC news' Brian Ross that there was still $100,000 that Rezko had funneled or donated to Obama.

    NOW, just yesterday, quietly, while Clinton was celebrating her win in Florida:

    Barack Obama is giving to charity more than $70,000 in contributions linked to an indicted Chicago businessman whose past connections to the Democratic presidential candidate have created a distraction and raised questions about his judgment.

    The campaign announced the decision to shed the money Tuesday evening, saying it was the result of a further review of contributions related to Antoin Rezko, a real estate developer and fast-food magnate who has been a long time political figure in Chicago, Obama's hometown.

    Overall, the campaign has now given to charity nearly $150,000 in contributions received by Obama's House and Senate campaigns that came from Rezko, his employees, his associates and his family.

    Obama's relationship with Rezko came under greater scrutiny this week after prosecutors disclosed Rezko received $3.5 million from an Iraqi billionaire while claiming to be broke. He was jailed on Monday and a federal judge on Tuesday refused to reinstate his bond.

    The campaign's timing for its announcement seemed designed to avoid major news coverage. It came as political attention was focused on Tuesday's Republican presidential contest in Florida. Earlier this month, the campaign announced it would give more than $40,000 to charity on the same day as the Republican primary in South Carolina and the Nevada caucuses.

    Oh, well. Clearly Obama is worried that his Rezko connections are becoming clear to everyone...

    "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H.L. Mencken

    by SignalSuzie on Wed Jan 30, 2008 at 06:44:20 AM PST

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