Hat tip to Norman Hooben
"The Sun Times today gave a major clue that Barack Obama will indeed go down with Tony Rezko, sooner rather than later. It looks as though Rezko is about to turn on Alexi Giannoulias, the 30-year old State Treasurer of Illinois (who was elected only because Obama backed him). "
Posted on October 12, 2008 Chicago Sun Times, Original Article is at: http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/rezko/1215915,tony-rezko-obama-election-101108.article
URGENT: Big story about to break, we are one step closer to Rezko giving Obama up to federal prosecutors
The Sun Times today gave a major clue that Barack Obama will indeed go down with Tony Rezko, sooner rather than later. It looks as though Rezko is about to turn on Alexi Giannoulias, the 30-year old State Treasurer of Illinois (who was elected only because Obama backed him).
Here’s where all the clues are…and then we’ll walk you through the local Chicago politics on how today’s hint by the Sun Times has us convinced, for the first time ever, that prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald could indeed send Barack Obama to jail. We need to repeat that: we never believed, until now, that Obama would go to jail for anything related to Rezko. Today, this breaking news about what Rezko is singing to the Feds about makes us reconsider all of that. Barack Obama will serve a prison sentence in the next few years — because knowing Fitzgerald, there is no reason he would be going through all of this if that was not the targeted goal in the long term.
(1) Michael Sneed in her Sun Times column 10/10/08 had the following tidbit: Sneed hears rumbles political fund-raiser/fixer Tony Rezko, who is now singing sweetly to the feds from his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, has been talking about his “dealings” with a Chicago bank, which has political connections.
(2) We just spoke with someone well-connected in Chicago politics who told us that the bank Sneed is talking about has to be Broadway Bank, which is owned by the politically-connected Giannoulias family. We were told that Sneed’s column confirms rumblings people we know heard independently that Tony Rezko is giving up the Giannoulias family to Patrick Fitzgerald — Rezko and the Giannoulias family are as close and tied together as anyone in Chicago could be. If Rezko is turning on them, then Rezko is going to give up Governor Rod Blagojevich and Obama too. We don’t want to end up in cement shoes for implying anything here, but if you live in Chicago for any length of time, you hear rumors about Broadway Bank, the Giannoulias family, and insert Tony Soprano references here. Kapeech?
(3) So, Rezko is singing about the Giannoulias family and its longtime “business dealings” in Chicago, which would interest someone like Fitzgerald and the Justice Department, who have had a long ambition to crack Soprano-style business dealings in Chicago (the city known for Al Capone hasn’t changed much, really). The next plate to drop in this will be Fitzgerald then leaning on the Giannoulias family to give up someone bigger than them, who Fitzgerald once discussed in terms of hoping “he has the morals to do the right thing”, to paraphrase. We now believe that person Fitz was talking about is Barack Obama.
(4) The Giannoulias family was involved with Obama as far back as his first state senate campaign in 1996. It has been long rumored here in Chicago that Obama obtained a sweetheart deal on his first town home here in Chicago — which he could not have afforded otherwise — and guess who the financing came from for that house? We’ve been told it was Broadway Bank, the Giannoulias bank. Now, this sets up a scenario where the Giannoulias family helps Obama with his campaign finances and gets him deeper in their pocket with his sweetheart mortgage deal (for the first home he owned that he could not afford) – all in exchange for quid pro quo to be determined later.
(5) One favor political Chicago claims Obama did for the Giannoulias family was in 2006 when, out of the blue, 29 year old Alexi Giannoulias, with no experience, and without ever having voted before, decides to run for State Treasurer of Illinois. Also out of the blue, Barack Obama endorses Alexi Giannoulias for State Treasurer. This was a SHOCK to everyone in Chicago — and Giannoulias would have never become State Treasurer without Obama’s help. In political circles here, it has always been believed that this endorsement was bought years ago with that sweetheart mortgage deal Broadway Bank arranged for Obama to buy his town house.
(6) So, the Tony Rezko sweetheart deal was not the first magic home loan Obama ever received to buy a house he could not afford. There’s more to this that looks like it will break soon. We were STUNNED when we read Sneed’s column because we never in a million years believed Fitz would actually be able to take down Obama. We do not believe this will come out before the election, however, but we do believe Fitzgerald will continue his prosecution to the highest level, because that is what he does. Jean Valjean got off easy, compared to what it’s like to be in the crosshairs of perhaps the greatest prosecutor this nation has had in a generation. Patrick Fitzgerald is a force of nature.
Sneed’s clue can only mean Broadway Bank…we’ve now heard this from several people in Chicago. And Broadway Bank can only mean Giannoulias. And Giannoulias leads to Obama through that town house home loan and the quid pro quo political endorsement several years later. And that home loan ties back to Rezko, in that it was the first of two shady home buys Obama made with quid pro quos attached to them. Just thinking that last paragraph out, Obama’s defense in the Rezko business was that he never did anything for Rezko so there was no quid pro quo. What the Giannoulias and Broadway Bank stuff proves is that Obama sits in people’s pockets for a while before the favor is given. He bought that town house sometime between 1997-2000 or so, since he lived there for a few years before trading up to the Obama Mansion with Rezko’s help in 2005, after he was in the United States Senate. And it looks like the payback was not given to the Giannoulias family until 2006, with Obama’s endorsement of Alexi Giannoulias for State Treasurer. This all stems from Sneed’s clue in today’s Sun Times. She says to stay tuned for more, so please do that. Excerpt from: http://www.stoptheaclu.com/archives/2008/10/12/breaking-story-prosecutor-fitzgerald-could-send-obama-to-jail/
Big story about to break, we are one step closer to Rezko giving Obama up to federal prosecutors
Original Chicago Sun Times Article is at:
Hillbuzz has been hot on this since it broke. Here are some links:
Jailed Obama Fundraiser Spills the Beans [REZKO]
Clinton supporters sharing evidence for RICO case against Obama campaign
“If you haven’t been a regular here at HillBuzz, you might not know about Gigi Gaston’s documentary “We Will Not Be Silenced” on the caucus fraud deliberately orchestrated by the Obama campaign during the primaries. Voter intimidation, registration fraud, vandalism, threats of violence, you name it, Obama’s supporters did it.” [snip]
Bigger Than Ayers?
“Alexi Giannoulias, the Illinois state treasurer that Obama endorsed when he ran for office despite no previous political experience, who has been personally mixed up with
organized crime via business dealings with his family’s bank. Well, guess what — this little nugget turned up in a column in the Chicago Sun-Times: Sneed hears rumbles
political fund-raiser/fixer Tony Rezko, who is now singing sweetly to the feds from his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, has been talking about his “dealings” with a Chicago bank, which has political connections.”
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.
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.
“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.
“Giannoulias was the bank’s vice president and chief loan officer for most of the more than $15 million in loans,” Hurt wrote. although “he was not charged with breaking any laws. The Obama campaign disputed any suggestion that Obama is tarnished by the association.”
Obama and Giannoulias reportedly met on the basketball court “in the late 1990s ... at the East Bank Club, a luxurious spot in downtown Chicago,” Jodi Kantor wrote June 1, 2007, in the New York Times. Now, “thanks in part to [Obama’s] backing, [Giannoulias] is now the Illinois state treasurer. Other regular gymmates include the president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health and several investment bankers who were early and energetic fund-raisers,” Kantor wrote.
Additionally, it would appear that any concerns about the crime-related bank loans expressed by Obama in April 2006 had long blown over prior to the September 5, 2007, fundraiser.
Alexi Giannoulias, a 29-year-old Chicago investment banker who was an early supporter of Obama in his 2004 Senate race, whose father owns Broadway Bank, and whose family helped bankroll the Obama campaign. Giannoulias has said that he will campaign as a ‘progressive,’
In March 2006, Giannoulias said that “his ‘good friend and mentor, Barack Obama,’ inspired him to run.”
In fact, Giannoulias’ “endorsers” were “essentially the base of the Obama coalition: white north side progressives and south side blacks”.
Author: City Nell
Name: City Nell
About: See Authors Posts (1)
on February 4, 2008 at 5:12 PM in Barack Obama
, Chicago politics
, Michelle Obama
, Real Estate
, Tony Rezko
The Obamas’ new home has received a lot of attention in the corporate media and on the blogs. This post will discuss other perspectives.
Hyde Park, where the Obamas have lived since 1994, is home to the University of Chicago (UC) Law School and at least one of UC’s hospitals. Leo Struass taught in the university’s Committee on Social Thought. The Federalist Society was born at UC, and it is the alma mater of many Neo Cons, including Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Kenwood, where the Obamas’ new home sits, is a small neighborhood, only 1.09 miles in area. It is bound on the south by Hyde Park, on the north by North Kenwood, and on the west by the neighborhood of Highland. Kenwood was once one of the most elite neighborhoods in all of Chicago.
This map shows the juxtaposition of the Hyde Park and Kenwood neighborhoods:
According to 2000 census figures, both neighborhoods boast racial diversity.
A census commissioned by Century 21 Real Estate in 2005 reveals how Hyde Park and Kenwood are comparable in almost every category, with Kenwood having the smaller population.
|Avg. Family Income
|% of Population with Bachelors Degrees
|% of Population with Postgraduate Degrees
The Obamas had decided that politics was Barack’s ultimate future while still dating. In 1991, then Michelle Robinson, who was then Obama’s fiancée, left her job at the law firm of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood. She went to work for the city of Chicago, first as an assistant to Mayor Daley, then as the Executive Director of Public Allies Chicago, a nonprofit that provides leadership training to young adults interested in public service careers.
In 1996, she left the Public Allies to help create a student volunteer program at The University of Chicago. By the time of this interview, she was the Executive Director of Community Affairs for The University of Chicago Hospitals. This is how Michelle portrays her change of career:
She was devastated when her father died from MS complications. “That’s when I started analyzing my life, sitting in a firm,” she recalls, adding that in that same year she also lost one of her best friends from college to cancer. She soon left the firm to pursue a much lower-paying path in the public sector.
The fact is Michelle was actively recruited for City Hall by a close friend, Valerie Jarrett, who was Mayor Daley’s Deputy Chief of Staff at that time. Valerie later became the Finance Chair of Obama’s 2004 US Senate campaign and then First Treasurer of Barack’s political action committee, Hopefund.
It helps to have friends at City Hall. Among other positions, Michelle was appointed twice to sit on the board of the Commission of Chicago Landmarks for two consecutive terms. Michelle maintained this board seat from 1998 to March 2005, although normally a member only serves one 4 year term.
Flush from the success of Barack’s speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, the Obamas decided it was time to find a residence more fitting for their anticipated new status. Barack’s 1995 autobiography Dreams of My Father soared, and they knew Alan Keyes was no threat to their future success in the US Senate elections.
Sitting on the Commission of Chicago Landmarks board, Michelle knew of a permit, waiting for review and approval to sell, for a designated Historical Georgian revival home built in 1910 with four fireplaces, glass-door bookcases fashioned from Honduran mahogany, and a 1,000-bottle wine cellar owned by a doctor in Kenwood. The Commission is supported not only by donations and taxes but also by charges for permits. It’s a pretty extensive process, and they want a complete history of the house and property when a permit is requested. Once the Board approves a permit, the application goes to the city planning or zoning commission if more than a simple sale is involved.
The doctor who owned the Kenwood home wanted more than the Obamas could afford. As Barack has stated in numerous press interviews, buying the home would be a stretch. Barack contacted his patron Tony Rezko, despite knowing he was under investigation at the time, in order to see what could be done so the Obamas could afford their dream house. Sub-division was likely the agreed-on solution. In order to divide the lot, which the doctor purchased as one entity, he would have to:
– Hire an approved architect and general contractor, who had been involved in renovations and sub-divisions in Kenwood previously
– Have the lots surveyed and new plot plans drawn
– Re-start the Landmark Commission permit approval process
– Hold a public hearing (required).
On page 51 of the Commission on Landmarks Ordinances, one finds a justification for the doctor agreeing to subdividing the land.
The applicant bears the burden of proof that the existing use of the property is economically infeasible and that the sale, rental or rehabilitation of the property is not possible, resulting the property not being capable of earning any reasonable economic return.
Pages 51 and 52 of the Landmark ordinances show how many proofs and other forms of extensive documentation are required in order to subdivide the land. Can any rational person believe the doctor would have been willing to go along with having his property sub-divided, and all the work and time involved, without compensation and assistance? Who paid for this?
With Michelle sitting on the Landmarks board, Commission approval wasn’t expected to be an issue, even though I have not located notice of the Public Hearing from any of the involved boards. From there it would go to the City Planning Board and the Zoning Boards, which also require public hearings. Each of these steps average between 6 weeks and 3 months to complete.
The doctor’s property was located in what Chicago Zoning Terms refer to as Residential Single zone 1, or RS1. This means the house the Obamas bought required 6,250 sq. ft of area. Even if it had the designation lowered to RS2, it still would have required 5,000 square feet, as seen on page 5 of Chicago’s zoning ordinances. Starting on page 8, the ordinances specify setbacks and how much space must be available on each side of a building. The open space on the building’s sides normally conform to Fire Regulations, so that equipment can access all portions of a building during crises.
Public Records at the Chicago Commission on Landmarks, the Chicago Planning Department and Chicago Zoning Boards would show the exact dates of permits, hearings and approvals. Michelle was so confident she listed the Obamas’ condo, which was located on the first floor of a Hyde Park Brownstone. In October 2004, Michelle expressed surprise to a Chicago interviewer that the Condo had sold so quickly, which meant they either had to put off a closing date or write in a lease agreement for a specified amount of time in their Condo purchase contract.
2004 was a year flush with success for the Obamas: the autobiographical book sales increased; the DNC speech had been well received; Obama won his US Senate seat; and Michelle received a recent promotion to a $316,962-a-year position as Vice President at The University of Chicago Hospitals. Their income was over 1.67 million dollars, with anticipation of even greater gains ahead.
All that needed to be done, in the name of the doctor, on the Kenwood property was completed by March 2005, and the house was finally listed. Michelle Obama resigned her seat on the Chicago Commission on Landmarks at the same time. Barack and Michelle closed on their new home in June of 2005, for $1.65 million dollars, $300,000 less than the asking price, and most likely using the proceeds of their Condo for a down payment, while taking out a mortgage for $1.32 million from Northern Trust. Tony Rezko’s wife purchased the newly divided sub-plot for the full price of $625,000 and closed on the same day.
The City of Chicago requires parking permits, or people must rent space at parking garages for around $30 per diem. There is no overnight on-street parking. The Obamas had no yard to park on, and most likely parked on Rezko’s property.
Within in a month of purchasing their new home, the Obamas began the same process the doctor previously went through. Because Tony Rezko was being indicted, they needed to be distanced from him. So the Obamas hired a lawyer and an architect. Additionally, the Obama’s wanted to put up a fence separating the two properties. On page 21 of the Landmark Ordinances above, it states fences for Historic homes can be no more than 5’ high and must not be visible from the street. If the Obamas had purchased a prefab chain, picket or wooden fence, they would have lost the Historic designation and also the eight-year property tax freeze benefit accrued by agreeing to keep the house in conformance with Landmark regulations.
A picture of the front view of Obamas’ house reveals landmark and zoning requirements.
The concrete wall and evergreens were most likely done after the city appropriated land for sidewalks, and the paving of what has been noted as a wide and busy thoroughfare. If you notice, the trees were planted one to two feet behind the concrete wall, most probably a result of zoning constraints.
The new fence was specially fabricated to conform to historic standards, and the $14,000 cost was billed to Rezko per agreement by Obama and Rezko. Obama states he paid for the architect and Lawyer. Strangely enough the fence actually sits ON the property line between the two lots. Obama agreed to yard maintenance for both properties. And given Obama’s history with the Harvard Law Review and his limited known court experience from public records, Obama most likely either edited or personally wrote the legal documents for his sub-division and the fence. On January 12, 2006, the Obamas closed on the 1/6th of Rita Rezko’s property they purchased for $104,500.
Facts not specifically cited above, and much more, can be found in this Chicago Tribune article.
This MyDD diary features a special video from NBC news that provides broader views of Obama’s property. The diarist makes note of an SUV sitting on the 1/6 new parcel of Obama’s land.
In all likelihood the driveway was previously on Rezko land. Behind the house is most likely an old carriage house converted into a garage. Parking on the street in that type of neighborhood is prohibited by zoning and fire safety laws, unless someone in authority had been previously notified of a large gathering.
One other event of note occurred in 2005. Daniel Mahru, Rezko’s partner in Rezmar for 16 years until the two men had, according to Mahru, “a difference of opinion,” resigned from Rezmar, Rezko’s slum landlord operation. Did Mahru leave because he knew any shady deals while Rezko was being investigated would lead to disaster?
There were lots of people involved in the purchase of the Obamas’ house, and they would all be owed some kind of consideration for their help and support. Obama’s favors from Rezko amount to $925,000, plus an additional $14,000 for the fence, bringing the total cash value to just one person to $939,000.
Will Rezko sit quietly in jail or will he bring Mayor Daley, Governor Blagojevich and Senator Obama down with him?
How will Obama repay the “favors” he owes all these people?
I am sure Patrick Fitzgerald will reveal all these connections and much more in Rezko’s upcoming trial at the end of this month.
Curtain Time For Barack Obama - Part I
Republicans have enough damaging information against Barack Obama to knock him off the ballot before the November election. Those at the top of the Democratic Party know this by now and voters need to recognize that if they nominate him they are throwing the election. Nothing else can explain why they would allow this disaster to happen.
“General Mediterranean is owned by Nadhmi Auchi, who public source documents describe as a British-based Iraqi billionaire who was convicted several years ago in France on fraud charges. Auchi was sentenced to 15 months in prison and fined $2 million euros, but the sentence was suspended as long as Auchi committed no new crimes.
“Thereafter, in November 2005, after Auchi was unable to enter the United States, Rezko directly appealed to the State Department to permit Auchi to enter the United States and, it appears, asked certain Illinois government officials to do the same.”
Most important for connecting the dots in the Board Games investigation, is the clarification that it is not the Rezko case. The only reason it’s always referred to as the “Rezko” case is because he happens to be the first defendant to be brought to trial.
Also, the first trial is focused on the corruption of two Illinois boards, the panel that approves investments from the $40 billion pension fund of the Teachers Retirement System, and the Health Facilities Planning Board, which approves all medical facility construction projects in Illinois.
But the Operation Board Games cases involve corruption with officials and employees in many other state agencies and real estate deals are at the heart of most with Riverside Park front and center.
Operation Board Games must be viewed with a full understanding that Governor Rod Blagojevich was supposed to be the candidate running for president during this election cycle in order for the subplots involving Obama to become clear.
The Illinois political mob already had a major fundraising operation in place for Blagojevich by 2004, and its safe to assume that when Obama and Rezko first started setting up the real estate deal for the mansion and lot in December 2004, Obama never thought about any repercussions on his run for president.
This report will show that the same political mob raising money to make Blagojevich president in 2008, also funded Obama’s election to the US senate in 2004, …
When announcing Rezko’s indictment, the government made clear that Rezko “was added as a new defendant in a pending federal corruption case” that was brought against other co-schemers in 2005. The government’s star witness in the trial, Chicago businessman, Stuart Levine, pleaded guilty and testified to avoid a life sentence.
After jury selection began, the questionnaire for screening potential jurors included a list of more than 230 “possible witnesses or persons whose names might be mentioned,” and included Barack Obama.
Reporters, Bob Sector and Jeff Coen, provided outstanding coverage of the trial on a bog called, “Gavel-to-Gavel,” on the Tribune website. After nearly two months, on April 24, 2008, they wrote: “Maybe it would be simpler to ask for a show of hands from political heavyweights who haven’t been mentioned in the Antoin “Tony” Rezko corruption trial.”
Understanding what Tribune columnist, John Kass, has been referring to for years as the “Illinois Combine,” are also crucial to understanding the Board Game cases. In his March 28, 2008, column, Kass invited basically anyone to start using the term Combine, particularly “if they’re having difficulty explaining how two parties can be as one when there’s money on the table,” he said.
“In the final analysis,” the Senator said, “The Combine’s allegiance is not to a party, but to their pocketbooks.”
“They’re about making money off the taxpayers,” he added.
According to Kass, “the Rezko trial is part of the U.S. Justice Department’s attack on The Combine.”
“The “Operation Board Games” investigation is about how appointments to state boards and commissions overseeing state pension fund investments and hospital construction were leveraged into paydays for the insiders,” he explains.
“And what is playing out in the federal building is The Combine on trial,” he says.
“I am telling you that I have never been in a better position than I am right now,” Levine said. “Part of the reason is there’s never been such a tight control of the central apparatus.”
“This guy is making decisions and can get anything done that he wants done . . . and I have a superb relationship” with him.
During the trial, Assistant US Attorney, Chris Niewoehner, asked Levine what he meant by that. The “central apparatus,” Levine said, was Blagojevich’s office and the guy “making decisions” was Rezko. He told the jury he’d never seen anything like this.
When the indictment against the Syrian-born immigrant, Rezko, was unsealed in October 2006, Fitzgerald said, “The amounts of money that were being shaken down in one . . . eight-week span was in the millions.”
The “Illinois Combine,” now includes many members living in the Chicago area of Middle Eastern descent and the trail of corruption leads straight to the killing fields in Iraq.
Auchi was reportedly involved in the power plant contract. Batchelor says Iraqi officials in Baghdad speak bluntly of Auchi as a “Saddam guy,” and a member of the Baathist gang who has “beggared Iraq for 50 years.”
On February 25, 2005, a report by Charles Smith for NewsMax said, “Newly released documents from the Bush administration show that a former member of Saddam Hussein’s inner circle has resurfaced inside the new Iraqi government, bringing charges of corruption, bribery and bid-rigging.”… “Auchi,” the report stated, “is widely regarded as a corrupt supporter of Saddam Hussein’s regime who got his money from doing deals, especially illegal arms transfers for Saddam.”
The names of Obama and Blagojevich became tied to the bid rigging scandal when reports surfaced that Companion had sought their help in carrying out the contract a year after Alsammarae left office, and around the same time he was thrown in jail in Iraq.
Maloof is one of the donors used to funnel two $10,000 contributions to Obama through bank accounts from Rezko‘s pizza businesses from the pension fund kickback. An exhibit produced for the jury shows Maloof also made a $10,000 contribution to Blagojevich.
Almost without fail, the people identified in the Board Games cases as investors in Riverside Park contributed to Obama’s US senate campaign.
More from Scoops.co
Curtain Time for Barack Obama - Part II
In the media, Obama always made it sound like he rarely saw Rezko, saying they met for breakfast or lunch once or twice a year. However, the FBI mole John Thomas helped investigators “build a record of repeat visits to the old offices of Rezko and former business partner Daniel Mahru’s Rezmar Corp., at 853 N. Elston, by Blagojevich and Obama during 2004 and 2005,“ according to the February 10, 2008 Sun-Times.
During his March 14, 2008 interview, the Times told Obama, Thomas is an FBI mole and he “recently told us that he saw you coming and going from Rezko’s office a lot.”
“And three other sources told us that you and Rezko spoke on the phone daily.”
“Is that true?” the reporter asked.
“No,” Obama said, “That’s not accurate.”
This issue may be sorted out soon enough because Fitzgerald’s charts matching up Obama’s contributions, visits and calls are bound to be every bit as thorough as the ones produced to prove Rezko is guilty as charged in the first trial. They simply were not produced because they were not needed to prove the defendant guilty in the first case.
As an example of what records might be squirreled away, consider that an FBI agent presented a chart to the jury on April 28, 2008, showing 257 calls from Rezko’s phones to Blagojevich’s chief of staff, Lon Monk, between March 2004 and May 2004 alone.
He also had a list of all calls between Levine and Rezko from November 2002 to May 2004. Rezko’s attorney brought out a point that backs the assertion that just because records on Obama were not shown, does not mean they do not exist.
In addition, the contributions extorted through the Planning Board scheme were for the intended presidential candidate, Blagojevich. Obama’s US senate war chest was already funded and by the time these kickbacks were paid that campaign would be over.
But Obama did end up with $20,000 from the very first kickback paid in the pension fund scheme set up through the Board of the Teacher’s Retirement System.
Elie Maloof and Joseph Aramanda, the straw donors used to funnel the contributions to Obama, also made $1,000 contributions of their own for his failed run for Congress in 2000, on the same day March 17, 2000.
In addition, Aramanda gave $500 to Obama’s senate campaign on June 30, 2003. In the summer of 2005, Aramanda’s teenage son landed a coveted intern position in Obama’s senate office in Washington.
Obama also received contributions directly from the persons appointed to the pension board for the express purpose of rigging the votes. On June 30, 2003, appointee, Jack Carriglio contributed $1,000.
The other appointee, Anthony Abboud, donated $500 to Obama on June 30, 2003, $250 on March 5, 2004, and $1,000 on June 25, 2004.
Michael Winter, who prosecutors say agreed to serve as a funnel for kickbacks paid through an investment firm in one scheme donated $3,000 to Obama on June 30, 2003.
Obama’s senate finance committee during Planning Board scheme
In his interview with the Tribune on March 14, Obama said Rezko “was a part of our finance committee and was listed as part of our finance committee.”
In 2003 and 2004, his finance committee raised the money as the Planning Board scheme was set up and the scandal unraveled. Yet Obama told the Tribune in regard to Rezko, “at that time, there were no indications that he was involved in anything inappropriate.”
Apparently, Obama expects the public to believe that nobody on this committee bothered to tell him he received a single contribution of $10,000, and the money came from a person he just recommended for the Board.
Other members of the committee included Rezko’s wife Rita, and Valerie Jarrett, who got her jump start into a lucrative real estate career in the Combine’s Daley administration. She now serves as chairman of Obama’s presidential finance committee.
Wilhelm’s firm has received a subpoena for records related to pension fund investments.
If the Combine’s plot with the Bush administration to shut down Operation Board Games had worked, Obama would be home free. But it failed and the Republicans are just waiting to air the roadmap of dirt pieced together from Fitzgerald’s investigation if Obama is nominated. McCain is in the clear because there is no sign of his involvement anywhere.
More from Scoops.co
Curtain Time for Barack Obama - Part III
Three days after the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Aiham Alsammarae, the former electricity minister convicted of corruption in Iraq, put up $2.7 million in property to help raise $8.5 million to free Tony Rezko from jail in Chicago, the Times reported that Alsammarae had contributed six times to Obama’s presidential campaign.
As usual, when busted on the contributions given in January, February and March, the Obama camp said it would donate Alsammarae’s money to charity and his spokesman, Ben LaBolt, put out the standard line that Obama does not ever “recall” meeting Alsammarae.
The money missing due to Alsammarae’s corruption in Iraq during the two years he served as electricity minister between August 2003 and May 2005 is estimated to be $2 billion.
As noted previously in this series, understanding the connections between Auchi and Riverside Park and all the players is the key to understanding Operation Board Games. Financing deals in the Chicago real estate industry were the focus of the investigation from the start and the financing deals involving Riverside Park specifically.
Levine’s testimony and reports in the media always sounded like they were referring to one event at the Four Season‘s. But on April 14, 2008, Levine dropped a bombshell, when in response to questions for Rezko’s attorney, he testified that the dinner he attended in Auchi’s honor was held at Rezko’s home and Obama and his wife Michelle were there.
The line from Obama spokesman, Ben LaBolt, was again: “As he has said previously, Senator Obama does not recall meeting Nadhmi Auchi at any time or on any occasion, and this includes any event that may have been held for Mr. Auchi.”
“Senator and Mrs. Obama have no recollection of attending any such event,” he stated.
But on April 16, 2008, Sun-Times columnist, Michael Sneed, reported that Obama had even made toasts at Rezko’s party, and wrote:
“Dem presidential contender Barack Obama’s handlers may be telling the press Obama has NO “recollection” of a 2004 party at influence peddler Tony Rezko’s Wilmette house, but a top Sneed source claims Obama not only gave Rezko’s guest of honor, Iraqi billionaire Nadhmi Auchi, a big welcome . . . but he made a few toasts!”
“As I said, I have no recollection of the event. Alright?” Obama replied. When asked whether he would remember making a toast to Auchi, Obama stated:
“I’m fairly certain I would remember giving a specific toast to somebody. Keep in mind, though, that this was right in the midst of my U.S. Senate campaign, so I was doing three or four events a day.
“So, I mean, there were very few events where I wasn’t speaking on anything. But I have no recollection of this particular event.”
However, the Tribune has obtained a copy of an Obama “upcoming events” schedule on his old Senate campaign web site which shows Obama had no personal campaign activities on April 3, 2004, the day of the party.
Rezko also told the judge Rita Rezko had sold the lot next door to Obama but had not received a dime. … “So, she didn’t walk away with any cash?” the judge asked. “Not one dollar,” he stated.
“Through records from Northern Trust Bank,” prosecutors wrote, “the government has learned there was an approximately $3.5 million wire transfer in April 2007 of which a substantial portion immediately was directed to Rezko’s relatives.”
Northern Trust being the same entity holding the confidential Land Trust for Obama‘s mansion and 10-foot lot.
A few days later, prosecutors were no doubt outraged to learn that Auchi had apparently become legal defense fund for Board Game defendants who keep the secrets. On February 7, 2008, Mike Robinson reported another: “Indicted Blagojevich fundraiser got loan from Iraqi billionaire,” in the Associated Press.
Christopher Kelly “has arranged to get a loan from the same Iraqi billionaire whose $3.5 million payment got another member of the governor’s inner circle thrown in jail,” he wrote. Kelly received the loan five days before Rezko‘s bail was revoked, and he pledged all of his shares in a Nevada land partnership as collateral, Robinson found.
Carriatore says he met Auchi at an “Obama fundraising party” Rezko gave at his home several years ago. “He was well dressed,” he told the Press. “He seemed distinguished.”
According to Obama, Rezko only hosted one fundraising party at his home in July 2003. So exactly how times did Obama party with Auchi?