« | »

Rezko Scam Helped Fund Obama Senate Run

From the dogged Chicago Sun-Times:

Sun-Times Exclusive: Obama surfaces in Rekzo’s federal corruption case

Source confirmed Obama is the unnamed “political candidate” referred to in document which outlines case against Rezko

January 19, 2008


For the first time, Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama has surfaced in the federal corrupton case against his longtime campaign fund-raiser, Tony Rezko, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned…

The allegations against Rezko that involve Obama are contained in one paragraph of a 78-page document filed last month in which prosecutors outline their corruption and fraud case against Rezko, who was also a key money man for Gov. Blagojevich and other politicians.

Rezko is set to go to trial Feb. 25. The revelation that Obama’s name could come up in court is a political headache he doesn’t need as he heads into a round of primaries that are likely to determine his party’s nomination for president.

Obama is not named in the Dec. 21 court document. But a source familiar with the case confirmed that Obama is the unnamed “political candidate” referred to in a section of the document that accuses Rezko of orchestrating a scheme in which a firm hired to handle state teacher pension investments first had to pay $250,000 in “sham” finder’s fees. From that money, $10,000 was donated to Obama’s successful run for the Senate in the name of a Rezko business associate, according to the court filing and the source.

Rezko, who was part of Obama’s senatorial finance committee, also is accused of directing “at least one other individual” to donate money to Obama and then reimbursing that individual — in possible violation of federal election law.

A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald declined to comment

Obama donated more than $44,000 in Rezko-linked contributions to charity last year, including the $10,000 donation mentioned in the court filing.

That money was donated to Obama by Joseph Aramanda, a Glenview businessman and Rezko associate who, sources have said, is the “Individual D” prosecutors say received the $250,000 in finder’s fees demanded by Rezko. Individual D did nothing to earn those fees, according to prosecutors.

The $10,000 contribution to Obama was given in Aramanda’s name on March 5, 2004, records show. While Obama’s camp has said the senator did not know Aramanda, Obama’s office hired Aramanda’s son as an intern in 2005, at Rezko’s urging

Rezko is one of Obama’s earliest political patrons. Long known as a prolific fund-raiser, the Syrian-born businessman helped raise money for Obama’s political campaigns beginning in 1995, when Obama was running for the Illinois Senate.

In 13 years in politics, Obama has gotten at least $168,000 in campaign donations from Rezko, his family and business associates. The Sun-Times reported that figure last June. Obama’s “best estimate” seven months earlier had been that Rezko had raised no more than $60,000 for him.

When Obama ran for the U.S. Senate, Rezko held a June 27, 2003, cocktail party in Rezko’s Wilmette mansion, picking up the tab for the lavish event. Obama’s campaign staff has said it has no records to show who attended that party, or how much it cost.

Obama’s relationship with Rezko dates to 1990, when Obama, then a Harvard law student, interviewed for a job with Rezko’s development company, Rezmar Corp. Obama turned down the job, instead going to work for a small Chicago law firm — Davis Miner Barnhill. That firm did work on more than a dozen low-income housing projects Rezmar rehabbed with government funds.

Eleven Rezmar buildings were in the state Senate district Obama represented between 1996 and 2004. Many of the buildings ended up in foreclosure, with tenants living in squalid conditions, the Sun-Times reported last year. In one instance, Rezko’s company left tenants without heat for five weeks. Obama said he was unaware of problems with the buildings and minimized the legal work he’d done.

Obama’s relationship with Rezko grew closer in June 2005, when Obama and Rezko’s wife bought adjoining real estate parcels from a doctor in the South Side Kenwood neighborhood. Obama paid $1.65 million for the doctor’s mansion, while Rezko’s wife paid $625,000 for the vacant lot next door. Obama’s purchase price was $300,000 below the asking price; Rezko’s wife paid full price.

Six months later, Obama paid Rita Rezko $104,500 for one-sixth of the vacant lot, which he bought to expand his yard. In November 2006, he expressed regret about the transaction.

“It was a mistake to have been engaged with him at all in this or any other personal business dealing that would allow him, or anyone else,” Obama said, “to believe that he had done me a favor.” …

Gee, corruption uncovered in a Democrat candidate — and from Chicago no less.

Still, it is appalling how long this has been kept quiet by our watchdog media.

Unless it is just another example of Mr. Fitzgerald doing the DNC’s bidding.

After all, it is a bit strange that the political candidate would not be named in the indictment. It is part of the facts of the case.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, January 19th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

21 Responses to “Rezko Scam Helped Fund Obama Senate Run”

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

« Front Page | To Top
« | »