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Did Obama’s Urban Czar Get Kickbacks?

Some pretty impressive investigative journalism from (of all places) the New York Daily News:

Bronx Boro President Adolfo Carrion on the roof of the Bronx Courthouse with the old and the new Yankee Stadium behind him.

Buildings sprang up as donations rained down on Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion

By Benjamin Lesser and Greg B. Smith    
Sunday, March 1st 2009

The man who is President Obama’s newly minted urban czar pocketed thousands of dollars in campaign cash from city developers whose projects he approved or funded with taxpayers’ money, a Daily News probe found.

Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion often received contributions just before or after he sponsored money for projects or approved important zoning changes, records show.

Most donations were organized and well-timed.

In one case, a developer became a Carrion fund-raiser two months before the borough president signed off on his project, raising more than $6,000 in campaign cash.

In another, eight Boricua College officials came up with $8,000 on the same day for Carrion three weeks before the school filed plans to build a new tower. Carrion ultimately approved the project and sponsored millions in taxpayer funds for it.

Carrion resigned as borough president effective Sunday and begins his new job as director of the White House Office on Urban Policy Monday

Here’s a look at some of his donors:


One of Carrion’s largest donors and fund-raisers is Jose Velazquez, owner of Tri-Line Contracting Inc. of Manhattan. Between his employees and developers and other donors, he has raised $83,700 for Carrion.

Tri-Line is working at two of the biggest developments Carrion has championed, including the new Yankee Stadium.

Carrion signed off on it in 2005 with the caveat that the Yanks hire a big percentage of local contractors and workers. One of the contractors was Tri-Line, which is building a conference center and museum in the stadium.

Velazquez said he raised money for Carrion because he supported him as a fellow Hispanic and felt that "this is the guy to lead this city." …


Tri-Line is also building a Staples store in a new mall a block from the stadium called Gateway at Bronx Terminal Market. Velazquez said he got the job through competitive bidding.

Developer Related Companies’ subsidiary, BTM Development Partners, needed Carrion and the city Planning Commission to change zoning, modify height restrictions and approve permits for parking spaces.

As the project moved forward, the neighborhood railed about increased traffic and the impact the chain stores would have on local businesses. All the while Related executives wrote campaign checks to Carrion.

On March 10, 2005, five $1,000 donations from Related executives arrived. On June 20, 2005, the company notified the city it planned to build a  1 million-square-foot retail center with 2,610 parking spaces and a 250-room hotel.

On Oct. 19, 2005, Carrion approved the project, with his office monitoring local hiring. Since 2003, Carrion has received $39,100 from 24 Gateway-related donations

The Daily News cites four more very similar instances of what certainly appears to be “pay to play” kickbacks involving Mr. Carrion.

If true, this is pretty blatant corruption — even for a Democrat.

Of course the most surprising thing about all of this is that Mr. Obama seems to be branching out.

He isn’t just hiring Chicago machine crooks for his cabinet.

(Thanks to CGardner for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, March 1st, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

39 Responses to “Did Obama’s Urban Czar Get Kickbacks?”

  1. canary says:

    explains Obama’s stimulous package spending to Carrion’s museum, arts, and zoos. Like poor folk can afford to see anymore. Wonder what the photo shoot cost. Carrion looks like a fish out of water.

  2. proreason says:

    It will be interesting to see if the msm picks up on this.

    On the surface, it seems hard to ignore.

    But not as surprising as a man with a lifetime of radical and corrupt associates getting elected to a high office without any meaningful vetting.

    • catie says:

      It will be interesting to see if the MSM picks this up because I don’t think they will. A bit OT but did you see that rally for another great IL Senator Rollin Burris? Truly amazing times in which we live.

  3. NC Cop says:

    You’re just saying this because he’s black!!!!

    Racism!!! Racism!!! You should be banned/censored/arrested!!! The hate!!! Oh, the hate!!

    • CGardner says:

      Relax. Carrion is Hispanic.

    • caligirl9 says:

      He’s a double threat. A Hispanic of African descent. Or is it an African of Hispanic descent. Either way, I know a few of those …

      and still scary either way …

    • curvyred says:

      Speaking of racism – imagine the outrage if Bush had a “rural czar” or a “surburban czar”.

      Doesn”t Barry care about non-city dwellers?

    • dulcimergrl says:

      In a word, Curvy, no.

    • jobeth says:

      Curvyred & dulcimergrl,

      I think we should count our blessings. If you, as I, live in the country or the burbs, maybe we will slide under his radar!

      The less he meddles with us the better.

    • U NO HOO says:

      Yeah, just an isolated incident.

    • canary says:

      Where prior to your posting did anyone bring up race??? What hate? What is your problem. Do tell.

    • caligirl9 says:

      canary, I hope that NC Cop was joking in the first place …

      You know, ’cause out liberal friends always say that Republicans are always racist, ya know! *wink*

    • canary says:

      NC COP/you are a prime example of what many of us do say on this site. That
      people will lose their freedom’s, such as you obvious wanting Americans to lose their freedom of speech by being banned, censored, and arrested? This the hate you are spreading. America was built on the constitution and freedom, why do you want us to be a communist country. How come many that Obama has picked have not payed their taxes, and aren’t banned from being political leaders taking tax payers money. Why aren’t they arrested. You could be banned from this private board, but you will be allowed to speak your hate and threats and b.s. For our concern is becoming a policed country, where we end up working 18 hour jobs, standing in 2 hour longs for soup, waiting days for medical care.

    • NC Cop says:

      Uh, sorry all. Mine was an attempt at sarcasm/humor. I was channeling my “inner liberal” to react as they would.

      I’ll try and do better next time! ;)

    • jobeth says:

      Sometimes when some of us want to be a little sarcastic or satorical, we insert (sarcasam). or a :-D or some other indicator.

      It is easy to be misunderstood with words only. :-) You are the not the first nor are you the last.

      But, I haven’t since I don’t remember you from postings, welcome!
      You are forgiven…! (Lord knows I have needed forgiveness…just ask Steve! LOL)

    • canary says:

      ooohhh…sorry NC Cop.

  4. CGardner says:

    Wow! Just doing a little googling shows that Carrion will have incredible power in the Obammy administration, since he’s in charge of coordinating all federal programs for urban areas (where 80% of the population lives.) That means coordination of housing and transportation funds at minimum.

    Here’s an item from PolitikerNY.com, which wonders what Carrion will do with his $1.3 million dollar war chest for his run for NYC Comptroller:


  5. Weasel says:

    I’m really worried about this Carrion guy as Urban Czar:

    …raised $6,000 in campaign cash…
    …came up with $8,000…
    …raised $83,700 for Carrion…
    …five $1,000 donations…
    …$39,100 in 24 donations…

    I realize that all corrupt politicians have to get started somehow, but this is all small change compared to the “porkulus” and Obama’s budget proposal. If Carrion can’t even steal and extort millions now, how can we expect him to waste the billions necessary for real “Hope and Change” that “The One” has promised???

  6. Liberals Demise says:

    Watch out….if this guy puts his finger to the right side of his nose, someone’s gonna get whacked. If he sticks his finger inside his nose…….he’s driving down the road!!

    Booger flicker!!

  7. DANEgerus says:


    1. dead and putrefying flesh.
    2. rottenness; anything vile

  8. Rusty Shackleford says:

    What? A corrupt politician in Obama’s pocket? I’m SO not surprised. I’m falling over dead with “not surprise”.

    • dulcimergrl says:

      Corrupt politician, Rusty? Isn’t that redundant? Especially for democrats.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      Well, I used to work for the Department of Redundancy Department. Truly though, I think eventually the “transparency” this societal dropout refers to will ultimately mean the bugs that come out of the woodwork that he cannot hide. Already in one month, we’ve seen the likes of who he thinks can come to capital hill and be in his cabinet. Hasn’t worked as well as he imagined, I’m sure. Personally, I think it’s both laughable and pathetic. And, quite a bit sad that our system of government, admittedly on both sides, but especially in the liberal democrat camp, has fallen to a new, world-record breaking low.

      I need to talk to a behavioral scientist type, or maybe a lot of them to determine why people in high government positions act as if they are entitled to other people’s money. It’s not a new phenomenon as I’m sure it goes back as far as human civilization does.

      But like anyone, it just goes beyond irking me when politicians are criminals and criminals are politicians.

  9. brad says:

    Is this already the most corrupt administration in U.S. history? I mean, the stereotype is that blacks are untrustworthy thieves, but come on, they have to do a better job than that, especially when people have ignored the stereotype and trust them with power.

    Black folks really fumbling the football here…..

  10. MinnesotaRush says:

    Whatha …….. and THIS from a fellow in o-blah-blah’s administration?!?!? You gotta be kidding me!?!?!? I’m dumbfounded! I’m amazed! I’m aghast! I’m taken aback! And I’m being grossly sarcastic! Whudda thought, huh?!?!?!?

  11. GetBackJack says:

    545 PEOPLE
    By Charlie Reese

    Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.
    Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?
    Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

    You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The President does.
    You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.
    You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.
    You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.
    You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

    One hundred Senators, 435 Congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices , 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

    I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

    I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine how he votes.

    Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.
    What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

    The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes.

    Who is the speaker of the House? Nancy Pelosi. She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

    It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

    If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.
    If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red .
    If the Army & Marines are in IRAQ , it’s because they want them in IRAQ .
    If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.

    There are no insoluble government problems.
    Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

    Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.
    They, and they alone, have the power.
    They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

    Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.
    We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

    • wardmama4 says:

      Excellant post –

      One of the Speakers at CPAC brought up that We The People need to investigate this CRA/Fannie&Freddie/Bailout fiasco – as the ‘representatives’ in place who should do it are the very ones who created it, allowed it to explode and then exploited it to elect the most inexperienced, ineligible candidate ever to be POTUS.

      545 can destroy America – but only if We The People let them.

      Cincinnati (OH) Tea Party – Fountain Square, Sunday March 15, 2009 at 3PM.

      Stand up and Protest the Destruction of America by a whole slew of Do As I Say Not As I Do politicians – this is not about R or D this is not about anything other than Right and Wrong and the continual downward plunge that these greedy, self-indulgent, hypocritical politicians are doing because We The People are being silenced more and more each and every day.

      Read the part of the Generational Theft Act that stops Tax Deductions for Charitable Donations – what better way to ‘force’ each and every American to ‘donate’ and ‘volunteer’ than take any and all incentives from the private sector and place it in the hands of Government.

      Term Limits – is that first step to ridding America of these lifers at the taxpayers expense – Public Servants my a** they are quickly becoming dictatorial thugs.
      Stand Alone Bills that must be posted in the ‘public square’ before the debate, discussion and vote – any bill attached as an amendment or written in private or voted on before public posting and/or debate and discussion is null and void – immediately, will be another good first step.

    • jobeth says:

      WOW!!! Best comment I’ve read in a very long time! Concise and accurate it brings out what many need to hear. WE have the power to do just as he said. Vote the bums out.

      To add a bit of levity, I just received this from a friend.

      “Members of Congress should be compelled to wear uniforms just like NASCAR drivers… so we could identify their corporate sponsors.”

    • Right of the People says:

      I agree wholeheartedly!

      I’ve been saying for a long time we need to vote ALL of the bums out of the House and the Senate and replace them with people who can do what We the People want done. If that set won’t behave, vote them out and start over, maybe we’d eventually get us a set that would do some good.

      Term limits are a must! 3, 2 year terms for the House with at least one term between running again and no more that 16 total years in the House. 2, 4 year terms for the Senate, same rules apply.

      Build a nice hotel-like facility to house them when they are in Washington so the argument that they need to keep two households doesn’t hold water and a fleet of cars like Ford Fusions, Chevy Malibu’s etc. for them to use while in DC.

      Reform the election laws with the formula of Amount of pay X number of years = total amount you’re allowed to spend on your campaign. i.e. $150,000.00 salary X 2 years = $300,000.00 total campaign spending. Ban the lobbyists and all the perks. Make serving in Congress what it was before WWII, public service, not a career.


    • 1sttofight says:

      2-3 terms hell.
      1 term and back to your regular job.
      I would be willing to do that.
      Anyone else?

    • Liberals Demise says:

      Turn your head to the left and cough.

      OOPS…done that one before.

  12. CGardner says:

    Here’s a brief update from the NY Daily News:

    White House Mum as Foes Rip Carrion

    The White House stayed silent Sunday night on a Daily News investigation into developers’ big-money donations to Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión, who is President Obama’s new urban policy pointman.

    The News’ probe of Carrión’s cozy ties to developers with major Bronx construction projects provoked outrage from the politician’s critics, but didn’t stir a peep from the White House.

    “We have no comment,” White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said. . . .

    Carrión has declined to answer written questions about the campaign contributions, but released a statement saying he’s “proud to have such wide-ranging support” from all facets of the community. . . .


    • BannedbytheTaliban says:

      Of course they have no comment, they don’t think this is a problem. However, they did take time to comment on Rush’s appearance at CPAC:

      White House aide casts Limbaugh as top GOP voice

      WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama’s chief of staff says talk show personality Rush Limbaugh is a top figure in the Republican Party.

      Chief of staff Rahm Emanuel says Limbaugh is the “intellectual force” of the GOP. Emanuel says Republicans now have to live with that choice.


      How petty! You never heard the Bush White House responding to liberal personalities. They wouldn’t sink that low.

  13. canary says:

    In my opinion, it’s not just Obama. Many of his top officals in his new regine are white. It’s not impractable or too unbelievable that we are seeing drastic, fast measure for America to become a communist country. In these countries, the regine all have it made. And their children, and theirs, as long as they play ball. Just like the Soviet Union. Obama and his regine, will have no problem in taking advantage and destroying black people in this country too. He hinted to this when he repeatedly told the Black Union State of Address that afro-Americans are going to have it worse than everyone else. So, as things get worse for afro-Americans they will not blame Obama, but he has steriotyped them and brainwashing blacks so they don’t realise what he is doing, and done!! already for that matter, to make their lives worse. This is propaganda.
    Acorn is just a smokescreen to make it look like Obama is helping afro-Americans. Acorn is allready lying that blacks have been discriminated and given bad loans. These bad mortgages that people of all colors have made, are most likely all going to be legal according to Federal Banking laws.
    Obama’s and his regines scare tactics that this recession will become a depression in comparison to having 9/11 disastor everywhere in America, is so that everyone is brainwashed into thinking this will be normal. He is brainwashing afro-Americans into thinking the will have it toughest. And I still don’t understand the difference in Universal Health care, and National Health Care. Now Hillary who was for national is praising Obama’s universal health care. I do believe I heard in a primary debate, that Obama wants a law everyone will have to have health insurance, at approx 400 dollars a month. Yet, I hear Universal health care that many will be left out. if he mean this about health care, might it not mean that if you don’t have it you don’t get it. He might weed out the poor. He may just weed out the poor. he despised his elite life. When I heard him answer a question in earlier debate, of which Surpreme Court Justice he liked least he said Thomas Clarence. And recall the crowd king of breaking out clapping, and stopping, (I think they were afraid they’d look like racists) and my first thought was, the reason, is because he feels entitled to it. He truly believes anyone that didn’t vote for him are racist. he believes that they are ignorant. He thinks he’s God. Plus, his giving all our money to other countries for birth control, just possibly might mean, he wants to take over the world like Hitler did. One world under one government. Something tells me more civilians may be killed during this presidency that ever before in history. He’s already played down the 1000 civilians killed sense he became in office. Course he complained all through his pre-election, not to air bomb, but he’s done it, and that is his main plan. Kind of like Bill Clinton. Obama said what ever it took to get elected. He has spent more than any president in the entire history of this country. He can makes up people. He wanted Iraq to cease fire, until he became in office. His false claims of talking to military experts, and now financial experts. Forbes is pretty expert, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out, and he won’t stop. Anyways, one thing about his buddies that are power hungary too. None of them will be able to turn their backs. They’ll all start backstabbing each other soon. It might get ugle. I am just saying that we are always suppose to keep an eye on our government.
    And so we have to look for these possiblities. We are suppose to keep on our toes, and keep our President and leaders in check. I will not apologize for expressing my opinon. To many communist countries out there. I wouldn’t want to end up like the UK even. Alot of people want one world one government. Like Jimmy Carter the peanut farmer. He grew so many nuts, I guess it got to him. So, I hope I’m wrong. But, this doesn’t look good, what’s
    Example Obama gives 900 million dollars to Gaza strip. Can someone please!
    send this to the ACORN nut cases. 1000 of millions of homes could have been paid for. We had nothing to do with this war, other then to drive and have a ture. Let France bail them out. These people protested in our country how much they hated us, blaming us for Isreal finally striking back. Please send this ACORN. 900 million dollars. I hope Hillary got it in writing that she would get to be their new leader in the new global world.


  14. artboyusa says:

    “Carrion (noun) : The dead and rotting body of an animal; unfit for human food…”

  15. proreason says:

    “It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility.”

    incompetance and irresponsibility……….and dishonestly, corruption and criminal behaviour….with the emphasis on the latter, not the former.

    • proreason says:

      oops, forgot to mention perversion. That’s very high on the list of attributes for congressional representatives.

  16. TickTock says:

    Carrion (Is that his real name? Sounds like a professional wrestler with a black hood… oops, there I go again…) is just more evidence of Obama’s thug nature. He’s going to “organize” the metros. It’s all about consolidating his base for the next election after he gerrymanders the precinct populations.

    The fix is in.

  17. joeblough says:

    Did Obama’s Urban Czar Get Kickbacks?

    Does the wild bear crap in the woods?

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