Experience, and Experiences (of the Rezko sort) [UPDATED]
by susanhu, Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 04:49:56 AM EST
"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 ...
It was a sweetheart of a deal, that directly involved Tony Rezko, who was already under intense federal investigation, and Rezko's wife. As you'll see below, several newspapers are reporting Tony Rezko tried to get a state appointment for the real estate agent who did the home sale/purchase, and that an Iraqi/British billionaire involved with Rezko"lent millions of dollars to Barack Obama's fundraiser just weeks before an imprudent land deal that has returned to haunt the presidential contender." (By the way, City Nell's original article on February 4 here at NoQuarter -- "How to Buy a Mansion You Can't Afford" -- broke new ground on the story, and has been quoted widely across the 'net.)
"Obama as a State Senator: Does He 'Deserve a Promotion?'," the companion article to last night's ABC Nightline provides some background:
Obama has been repeatedly attacked by the Clinton campaign for his ties to indicted political fundraiser Tony Rezko.
In 2005, Obama purchased a house for $300,000 less than its owners were asking, and Rezko simultaneously bought the adjacent lot from the same seller at full price ($625,000). Obama, who paid $1,650,000 for the home, has said that the price had been lowered because the home had been on the market for some time and that the price on the adjacent property did not move because there was a separate offer on the vacant lot for full price.
While Obama admitted involving Rezko in the purchase was a "bone-headed" mistake because Rezko was under investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office at the time, Obama has said that he "was confident that everything was handled ethically and above board."
McKinney said Rezko could come back to haunt Obama.
"It's problematic now because Obama day after day is now having to answer Rezko questions, now under indictment, facing trial during this election cycle," McKinney said, adding that any revelations during the trial would be "at best politically awkward for the senator."
Some new revelations appear to indicate Obama had involved Rezko at an earlier stage of his home buying than was previously known. The Obama campaign revealed last week to Bloomberg News that while Rezko was under federal investigation, Obama and Rezko toured the home and property together before submitting bids to the seller.
While McKinney considered Obama as a "pretty clean legislator" not unduly influenced by lobbyists, the campaign's handling of the Rezko matter makes him take a second glance. Identifying and returning or donating all the contributions associated with Rezko has proved a lengthy process, and when questioned by reporters in January, the campaign pointed to Obama's on-the-record statements that he didn't recall specific conversations with Rezko and was "not clear" how Rezko became involved in the purchase of the property.
"I don't understand why there wasn't clarity initially on those kinds of questions," ...
From the Times UK:
Mansion 'mistake' piles the pressure on Barack Obama
A British-Iraqi billionaire lent millions of dollars to Barack Obama's fundraiser just weeks before an imprudent land deal that has returned to haunt the presidential contender, an investigation by The Times discloses.
The money transfer raises the question of whether funds from Nadhmi Auchi, one of Britain's wealthiest men, helped Mr Obama buy his mock Georgian mansion in Chicago.
A company related to Mr Auchi, who has a conviction for corruption in France, registered the loan to Mr Obama's bagman Antoin "Tony" Rezko on May 23 2005. Mr Auchi says the loan, through the Panamanian company Fintrade Services SA, was for $3.5 million.
Three weeks later, Mr Obama bought a house on the city's South Side while Mr Rezko's wife bought the garden plot next door from the same seller on the same day, June 15.
Mr Obama says he never used Mrs Rezko's still-empty lot, which could only be accessed through his property. But he admits he paid his gardener to mow the lawn.
Mrs Rezko, whose husband was widely known to be under investigation at the time, went on to sell a 10-foot strip of her property to Mr Obama seven months later so he could enjoy a bigger garden.
Mr Obama now admits his involvement in this land deal was a "boneheaded mistake".
Mrs Rezko's purchase and sale of the land to Mr Obama raises many unanswered questions.
It is unclear how Mrs Rezko could have afforded the downpayment of $125,000 and a $500,000 mortgage for the original $625,000 purchase of the garden plot at 5050 South Greenwood Ave.
In a sworn statement a year later, Mrs Rezko said she got by on a salary of $37,000 and had $35,000 assets. Mr Rezko told a court he had "no income, negative cash flow, no liquid assets, no unencumbered assets [and] is significantly in arrears on many of his obligations." ...
READ ALL of the three-page article.
Then there was Rezko's intervention for the real estate agent who handled the Obamas' home purchase:
CHICAGO (UPI) -- Indicted Illinois fundraiser Tony Rezko once sought a state post for the agent who sold a home to presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, court records showed.
Court papers filed in Rezko's corruption case indicated he asked Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration to appoint Donna Schwan Jackson, a real estate agent, to the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Friday.
Jackson is included in a list of people Rezko and others tried to get appointed to state boards and commissions, Blagojevich administration records obtained by federal prosecutors showed. Jackson didn't get the appointment. ...
City Nell -- in "How to Buy a Mansion You Can't Afford" -- also points out how Michelle Obama used her position on a preservation board to get the stately old home that the Obamas purchased under those iffy circumstances.
Questions? I have a few. More than a few.