[Update: 2 Videos] Irrefutable Proof Obama's Own District Was Home to 11 Rezko Foreclosed Properties

Update [2008-3-12 17:34:41 by susanhu]: (TWO VIDEOS: The second is a must-see from the NBC affiliate in Chicago.) RezkoWatch: "This video is always a valuable—and vivid—reminder of the living conditions in Obama's district:"

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. -- From the Chicago Sun-Times via District 299 The Chicago Schools Blog.

The senator says he had no indication of any problems with Rezko when he accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from him. -- From ABC News via Truthteller's story here, "It Is "Possible" Obama Was Aware of Rezko's Financial and Legal Woes."

 Obama said in the interview Monday that he was unaware of the scope of properties owned by Rezmar or the problems surrounding them. He said none of the affected residents personally sought his help and that aides at his state Senate district office did not recall any inquiries. Still, he said it was "possible" that during his tenure in the legislature that a constituent may have written or called his office "saying, 'We're in a building, and we're unhappy with the service here.'"

Such problems, he said, would normally be brought to the attention of an alderman or the city's Housing Department. "Had I known that there were buildings that were in deteriorating or poor condition, that certainly would have given me pause. But I didn't know," Obama said.  -- From the Chicago Tribune.

"I didn't know," he says? It'd give you "pause"? Oh really?  

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312.321.2417 [Updated: Sealed court document, ABC News]

Update [2008-3-5 20:11:4 by susanhu]: See my new story at NoQuarter, "ABC News: Rezko $50 million in debt." I also uploaded the heretofore sealed court document that ABC News obtained and reports on.

"Sen. Obama, time to call us about Rezko: (312) 321-2417,"Chicago Sun-Times, March 6, 2008:

Jury selection began Monday in the trial of political influence peddler Tony Rezko. This would be the time -- before a single witness takes the stand -- for Barack Obama to finally share every detail of his relationship with Rezko. [...]

For months, Sun-Times investigative reporters have had a standing request to meet with Obama, face to face, to get answers to questions such as these:

•   How many fund-raisers did Rezko throw for Obama?

•   Obama is donating $150,000 to charity that Rezko brought into the campaign. But how much in all did Rezko raise?

•   Did Rezko find jobs for Obama backers in the Blagojevich administration or elsewhere?

•   Why did Obama only recently admit -- after Bloomberg News broke the story -- that Rezko had toured his South Side mansion with him in 2004 before he bought it?

Dribs and drabs of people's lives have a most unfortunate way of coming out in trials.

Ouch.  These reporters and their questions, not to mention the snark in that last sentence. BELOW THE FOLD, there are cut-to-the-quick observations in "The fight is far from over" from the New Statemen on Mr. Obama's problems (R.e.z.k.o. and much more).  

Now here's more from across the pond, via Martin Fletcher of the UK's Times, who has some answers to his own questions, in "Q&A: Barack Obama and Tony Rezko." The question and answer about Iraqi millionaire Nadhmi Auchi, in particular, may interest readers since it is Larry Johnson who has done much of the reporting and analyzing on Rezko's shady involvements with Auchi.  

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When A Harvard Lawyer Needs A Lawyer

As many of you know, Tony Rezko's trial got under way today and I wanted to toss something out there that may indeed be possible if he's our party's nominee.  From what I've heard, this friend of Sen. Obama's (a friendship / relationship going back some 17 years) may well call him as a witness in this trial.

Here's what was said in that video...

MORAN: If Tony Rezko called you as a witness in the trial would you testify for him?

OBAMA: Well, I don't know what my legal obligations would be. And so yeah, I would leave that up to lawyers.

Make the jump - there's more...

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Questions Remain as Rezko Trial Starts

The federal trial of Tony Rezko on bribery and extortion charges gets underway today in Chicago, Illinois.

Barack Obama and his supporters here on myDD have insisted that he has thoroughly addressed all questions about his relationship with Rezko.

But many concerned citizens are more skeptical.  We believe that Sen. Obama's association with Rezko should be vetted to an exhausting degree because these issues go to the heart of Obama's promise to bring a "new way of doing business" to Washington based on integrity, hope, and change.

The Hillary Clinton campaign released a memo today pressing Sen. Obama to answer tougher questions about his involvement with the corrupt Mr. Rezko.

Concerned citizens encourage Sen. Obama to respond.

MEMO: Questions Sen. Obama Should Answer About Tony Rezko
To: Interested Parties
From: Clinton Campaign
Date: Monday, March 03, 2008
Regarding: Questions Sen. Obama Should Answer About Tony Rezko

The trial of indicted influence peddler Tony Rezko - longtime friend and political patron of Sen. Barack Obama -- starts today . Sen. Obama's name has already surfaced in pre-trial documents submitted by the prosecution and, according to media reports, is likely to surface again as the trial progresses. Democrats deserve the answers to these questions as they consider their votes:

1. Will Sen. Obama release all documents related to his relationship with Tony Rezko, including all documents related to his controversial land transaction?

Howard Wolfson asked top Obama strategist David Axelrod this question on ABC's This Week and the campaign has yet to respond. [ABC's This Week, 3/2/08]

2. When, specifically, did Sen. Obama become aware of Mr. Rezko's legal problems?

On national television this January, Sen. Obama said "no one had an inkling" of Rezko's legal troubles during the course of their relationship. Actually, it was already widely reported that Mr. Rezko was under investigation for participating in a kickback scheme prior to their controversial land transaction. [CBS, 1/23/08; Chicago Sun-Times, 9/16/05]

3. Sen. Obama has returned money from several individuals who are publicly associated with Mr. Rezko. How much money did Mr. Rezko bundle for Sen. Obama's campaigns in total, including people who are not business associates of Mr. Rezko? How many fundraisers did Mr. Rezko hold for Sen. Obama? Has there been an internal investigation to determine how many straw donors Mr. Rezko used to funnel money to Sen. Obama?

The Obama campaign has returned money from people who are publicly associate with Mr. Rezko. But they have not revealed who much Mr. Rezko bundled for Sen. Obama in total. The Chicago Sun Times reported that the Obama campaign "declined to say" whether they maintained a list of the money that Mr. Rezko raised for Mr. Obama over the course of his career. [Chicago Sun Times, 1/23/08]

4. Much of the upcoming trial involves Mr. Rezko's efforts to control state boards as a means to defraud the state government. Have Sen. Obama and Mr. Rezko ever communicated about potential appointments to Illinois boards and commissions? It's been publicly reported that Sen. Obama lobbied these same state boards to secure contracts for campaign donors. Did Sen. Obama ever confer with Mr. Rezko concerning how to successfully lobby state boards?

The indictment alleges that Mr. Rezko manipulated state government boards to defraud the people of Illinois. At the same time, "Mr. Obama met with three state pension boards," urging them to give contracts to specific firms. Later, employees of these companies "donated more than $300,000 to help Mr. Obama win his seat in the United States Senate in 2004 and set fund-raising records early in the 2008 presidential race." [New York Times, 10/01/07]

5. The New York Times reported that Sen. Obama attended a business meeting on behalf of Mr. Rezko to impress potential investors for his business schemes. How many events did Sen. Obama attend on behalf of Mr. Rezko to impress investors? What was his role? Why did Sen. Obama agree to attend?

The New York Times reported in June that "Former Rezko associates said that Governor Blagojevich attended one of the dinners, and that at Mr. Rezko's request, Mr. Obama dropped in at one for Middle Eastern bankers in early 2004, just as he was starting to pull ahead in the Senate primary. The visits, Mr. Rezko's partners said, helped impress foreign guests." [New York Times, 6/14/07]

6. How many times did Senator Obama visit Tony Rezko's house? What was the purpose of these visits?

The Times of London reports that "The court is also expected to hear from John Thomas, an FBI mole, who reportedly witnessed Mr Obama and Mr Blagojevich making frequent visits to Mr Rezko." [The Times, 3/3/08]

7. Did Sen. Obama intercede on behalf of Mr. Rezko in any governmental capacity?

The Chicago Sun Times reported that "As a state senator, Barack Obama wrote letters to city and state officials supporting his political patron Tony Rezko's successful bid to get more than $14 million from taxpayers to build apartments for senior citizens." They have not said whether there were any other actions that Obama took for the benefit of Rezko. [Chicago Sun Times, 6/13/07]


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Experience, and Experiences (of the Rezko sort) [UPDATED]

Update [2008-2-26 15:30:42 by susanhu]: Jeralyn at TalkLeft writes up the Rezko trial today (and she is going to cover the trial, which is terrific since she is an attorney and has covered trials for the 'net many times - subscribe to their RSS feed): "Rezko Trial Set to Begin: Implications for Barack Obama." Jeralyn covers some of what I have below, and also reviews a NY Sun article that is substantive, saying "as the Post points out, while the Rezko trial is occurring too late to help Hillary Clinton, it may be good fodder for John McCain."

"Experience": Via Taylor Marsh, Obama questioning his own experience to run for president when asked in 2004:

Experiences (he's had a few): The Chicago Tribune reports that "Obama's name likely to come up at Rezko trial" (prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald):

The name of Democratic presidential front-runner Barack Obama is likely to brush up against the impending federal corruption trial of Antoin "Tony" Rezko as the result of a judge's ruling Monday.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy St. Eve, who is presiding over Rezko's trial, told prosecutors they could introduce evidence to support allegations that Rezko used straw men to make political contributions on his behalf.

Prosecutors have alleged that the money came from fees Rezko illegally siphoned from a state pension board.  [Someone I know is researching the "coincidence" that during the three-plus months that Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama was appointed to the senate's pension committee -- just three months -- the senate prevented the consolidation of state pensions, which would have adversely affected Rezko's pensions schemes, that bilked millions from the state pensions.  The bald facts are there, but my friend is still digging for details. - SusanUnPC]

There are new developments regarding the Obamas' home purchase ...

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