[UPDATED] Look Before You Leap: Obama's Mobbed-Up Allies

Update [2008-1-27 18:33:9 by susanhu]: At the end of the diary, on the Tony Rezko connection to Giannoulias.

The Chicago Tribune in its story, "Critics: Obama endorsements counter calls for clean government": "In the 2006 Democratic primary, for example, Obama endorsed first-time candidate Alexi Giannoulias for state treasurer despite reports about loans Giannoulias' family-owned Broadway Bank made to crime figures. Records show Giannoulias and his family had given more than $10,000 to Obama's campaign, which banked at Broadway." [Giannoulias is now a bundler for Obama's presidential campaign, aiming for $100,000.]


That's Barack Obama endorsing "granny grifter" Alexi Giannoulias, who got elected as Illinois' state treasurer with the hands-on support of Barack Obama. Besides his mob ties, Giannoulias "was involved in an alleged mortgage fraud five years ago against an 83-year-old woman."

Curious now? Here's SourceWatch.org -- as independent a resource as you'll find on the Internet -- on Barack Obama's ties to Alexi Giannoulias:

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. ...

Next, "Obama the king maker":

"Did U.S. Senator Barack Obama clear the field in the Democratic state treasurer's race?" lawyer and political analyst Russ Stewart wrote January 4, 2006.

"Until incumbent Republican Judy Baar Topinka announced for governor, the only Democrat willing to run for the post was obscure Knox County State's Attorney Paul Mangieri, of Galesburg. He was slated by the Democrats, and he is on record as opposing abortion rights. ... When Topinka decided to move up, a flock of ambitious Democrats eyed the job,... But none announced, and all deferred to 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,' and he has promised to put more than $1 million in family funds into the race," Stewart wrote.

"The bottom line," Stewart said: "Obama is the potential king maker. Expect Obama to publicly endorse Giannoulias, cut television ads for him, and go heavy for him on black radio stations. Of course, there's a downside. If Obama endorses Giannoulias and he loses, that would indicate that Obama's clout is not transferable," Stewart wrote

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."

"My prediction: The stars are aligning for Giannoulias, another silver spooner. Every politician in the Chicago area, Daleyites and anti-Daleyites, eager to collect campaign funds from Greek Americans in the future, will back Giannoulias. Obama's early endorsement will be critical. Giannoulias will blanket the Chicago airwaves with ads proclaiming himself to be a reformer and a nonpolitician, and mail pieces will target liberal and feminist voters, ripping Mangieri's anti-abortion stance. Mangieri won't get more than 40 percent of the vote in the primary," Stewart wrote. ...

NOTE: All of the Sourcewatch statements above contain relative link footnotes, which I stripped out. Go to the source article at Sourcewatch for all of the links within the piece.

Here's an ISSUE AT MyDD:  MyDD's diary editor doesn't accept the TITLE tag, which is essential to get to the SourceWatch page. So I am pasting the raw URL code here:
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?tit le=Barack_Obama_and_campaign_contributor _Alexi_Giannoulias

:::::::::

Read all of "Obama Shilled For Granny Grifter."

I realize that almost everyone is smitten with Barack Obama and that the media -- with very few exceptions like Brian Ross, the Chicago newspapers, and Craig Crawford -- are giving him a free pass.

But just remember that the Republicans know all of this, and much more than I've discovered.  They're surely way ahead of little ol' me.

And the Republicans will bury him with this, and the rest of what they've unearthed, in a general election.

Look before you leap.

It may be wise to consider the one candidate whose been investigated, endlessly, by every Republican politician and media outlet, and who has not only survived but also knows how to deal with their attacks.

:::::::::

P.S.  There's more to come. I'm just getting started.

Update [2008-1-27 18:33:9 by susanhu]: Giannoulias is directly connected to the indicted Tony Rezko, who goes on trial on February 25th, following a several-year investigation by the F.B.I. with an indictment written by the U.S. Attorney's office headed by Patrick Fitzgerald:

The BROADWAY BANK (owned by Giannoulis and his family) LOANED REZKO PROJECT $11 MILLION DOLLARS: "Rezko and his then-partner in Chicago-Hudson LLC, Daniel Muhra [sic], purchased the site in 2001. But preonstruction sales for the units, priced from about $300,000 to $600,000, floundered, and construction never proceeded. In early 2002 the partnership borrowed about $10.9 million from Chicago-based Broadway Bank to carry the land, according to the bankruptcy filing." -- From the Chicago Tribune on 5/23/06

The BROADWAY BANK (owned by Giannoulis and his family) HELPED TONY REZKO'S REZMAR CORP. FINANCE A 24-STORY CONDOMINIUM:"When Mahru was a partner with Rezko, their company -- Rezmar Corp. -- was helped by Thomas' Carnegie Realty Partners to obtain financing to build a 24-story condominium complex at Chicago and Hudson, a project that ultimately did not get off the ground. The financial institution that backed that deal was Broadway Bank, which is owned by the family of state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. Elected in the Democratic sweep last year, Giannoulias has had to answer criticism over loans his bank made to reputed crime figures. "Carnegie brought us to Broadway," Mahru said, and introduced him to Giannoulias' father. "We paid Carnegie a 1 percent commission on the loan, which is normal and customary." A spokesman for Giannoulias referred questions to the bank, which could not be reached." -- From the Chicago Sun-Times, 5/5/07

And, of course we know that the Broadway Bank was the bank at which Obama opened his campaign fund account.

Tags: Alexi Giannoulias, Barack Obama, Chicago Politics, granny grifter, Illinois state treasurer, Sourcewatch (all tags)

Comments

39 Comments

Obama's Mobbed-Up Allies

Reality bites.

Recs and comments are most welcome!

by susanhu 2008-01-27 11:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Mobbed-Up Allies

Sure, how about that "civil" demand you made yesterday.

Just another Clinton Family Retainer working the hypocrite run. What a shocker.

by ElitistJohn 2008-01-27 11:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Mobbed-Up Allies

Oh, I see.  Reporting on facts is "uncivil"?  No, uncivil would be me calling you a brainless asshole.  That would be uncivil.  But rather than call you a brainless asshole, ElistJohn, I simply ask you to point out where Susan's post makes an allegation not supported by fact.  I don't see any innuendo.  Do you?  Please point it out.

See, that's the civil way to handle disputes.  Accusing Susan of some sort of incivility is uncivil unless backed up by fact.

by Larr Johnson 2008-01-27 11:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Mobbed-Up Allies

" I don't see any innuendo."

Of course there is innuendo.  The allegation, at its core, like the Rezko allegation, is that these guys are involved in criminal activity, and they gave Obama money.

Last I checked, political candidates don't do background checks on their donors.  So its kind of silly to suggest -- and you are suggesting -- that Obama is "involved" in illegal activity, when there is no evidence anywhere that he was actually involved -- in the sense that most people think of -- in anything wrong.  Your using bad conduct by others to smear Obama (unlike Hillary, who is perfectly succeptable to smearing based on her own conduct, if Obama was interested in that sort of thing).

If Obama did something wrong, fine.  Point it out.  But the OP has gone to all this effort to tell us that Alexi Giannoulias did something wrong.  Who the hell is Alexi Giannoulias ?

by davey jones 2008-01-27 11:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Mobbed-Up Allies

Davey, I can see why this might be confusing.

You probably don't live in Chicago and aren't "hip" to all of the stories about figures mentioned in my story.

But to anyone who lives in Chicago -- especially Barack and Michelle Obama -- these figures, and their reputations are very well-known.

And the Chicago newspapers, which Obama and his wife regularly read, you can be sure, have reported on these figures for years, if not decades.

Yet, despite Obama's intimate knowledge of these characters, he openly associates with them, takes their money and helps them get elected.  

Hell, he even put his campaign fund in the bank that this mobbed-up guy's family owns.  

There are two things operating here with Obama:  1) he must think he can get away with these associations and that the national media won't hit him hard, and/or 2) he's so motivated by greed (from the questionable purchase of his $1.6 million mansion to the hundreds of thousands of campaign dollars given to him) that he chooses to overlook his KNOWLEDGE of the reputations of these people.

by susanhu 2008-01-27 11:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Mobbed-Up Allies

"Yet, despite Obama's intimate knowledge of these characters, he openly associates with them, takes their money and helps them get elected."

Okay, so I'm right that the gravaman of your charge is that he took money from bad people.  Which to me is a far cry from the implication of your diary, which is that Obama is a bad person himself.

You suggest that he takes this tainted money willfully, in disregard to the bad reputations of the donors, but you don't answer why?  I mean, the Obama campaign is alot of things, but broke is not one of them.  They don't need the money.  I'm sure that they'll happily give it away if it proves to be tainted.  I mean your charge is no different than suggesting Hillary is corrupt for taking money from Hsu.  I just think its a huge reach.

by davey jones 2008-01-27 12:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Mobbed-Up Allies

Ms. Hu seems to have forgotten to write the diary about Clinton's AWOL felon allies.  Presumably that one is coming next.  

by gobacktotexas 2008-01-27 12:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Mobbed-Up Allies

"davey" - You're leaving out the important fact that Obama ENDORSED him, not just that his campaign took money from him.

by racetoinfinity 2008-01-27 08:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Mobbed-Up Allies

People in Chicago "who are hip" voted 81% to make Obama their Senator. 81%. Next time you get 81% of anything, please write another essay on innuendo and smear.

BTW I support JRE, but I just hate the 'bullsmear' campaigns.

Here comes the new "whitewater."

'Cept it wont work when the Dems win a trifecta will it?

by inexile 2008-01-27 01:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Mobbed-Up Allies

Davey, the lack of heat in one of Rezko's apartment buildings in Obama's district during a cold snap was headline news. What did Obama do? He accepted a $1000 check from Rezko that week. He should have told Rezko to use the money to pay the heating bill. He later says he was oblivious to the conditions in Rezko's slums, but that must mean that he and his aides don't even watch the evening news or read the papers for stories from his own district. Hard to believe. To me it seems like that $1000 was hush money.

by ineedalife 2008-01-28 07:06AM | 0 recs
Who the hell is ---

Well it would appear that Giannoulias is a constitutional officer of the State of Illinois as State Treasurer and a guy that describes Obama as being his 'mentor'. That seems significant enough to me.

I was a pretty big admirer of Obama, never a big supporter mind you and still likely to pull the lever for him if and when he gets the nod but more and more he is looking like a standard Chicago pol. He is not some naive guy that took a check from someone he might regret, he has entered into some business arrangements with some operators who might seem to some degree business as usual guys within the context of Chicago politics but who outside that look like seriously bad people.

The Rezko deal looked a little odd at first glance. So I looked into it and it just got worse and worse. Bottom line is that Obama secured effective physical control of a property listed for $2.6 million for a end total of $1.7 million and has started a maintenance process on what is currently two legal lots that will if uncontested end up conveying the Rezko lot to his ownership through the doctrine of adverse possession. Which may sound like legal gibberish but to anyone with basic training in real estate jumps right off the page. If you changed the names and just presented the basic facts of the case as a hypothetical on a real estate licensing exam the most logical answer would be 'mortgage fraud'. The only thing speaking against that is the likelihood that the Obamas could have qualified for a $2.6 million loan to start with that offset with whether they would have been able to come up with a 20% down, $520,000 being a lot of cash for even a two lawyer family.

And the financing only gets worse from there. The Rezko's paid full value of $625,000 for a lot to which they apparently have no physical access, agreed to a boundary line adjustment that reduced a smallish 7500sf lot to a practically unbuildable 6250 sf lot in exchange for about $125,000. Which when you combine that with the fact that they took out a $500,000 loan on the property means they ended up with practically nothing out of pocket.

"Last I checked, political candidates don't do background checks on their donors"
Did you just fall off the turnip truck? It is one thing to get a one time check from some out of state guy, it is something else to establish multi-year relationships with people who regularly show up in negative ways on the front page of your local newspaper. Obama seems to have concluded that having played politics by Chicago rules has no ramifications now that he is on the national stage. And his supporters seem fully willing to buy in. Well color me skeptical. There is a old saying 'Lie down with the dogs and you get up having fleas'. Giannoulias and Rezko seem to be some pretty mangy dogs indeed and at a minimum Obama is showing some pretty questionable judgement even appearing to pet their heads.

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-28 09:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Mobbed-Up Allies

So the HRC argument has come to this:

"Vote for Hillary.  She's been investigated by Ken Starr."

C'mon.

by ChrisR 2008-01-27 11:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Mobbed-Up Allies

How much do they pay you for this garbage?

by gobacktotexas 2008-01-27 12:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Mobbed-Up Allies
Good reporting Susan!
It's a shame these FACTS can't be shared on other left sites - like DailyO.
Sometimes ObamaBots remind me of Bushies - in their effort to stifle the Truth.
by annefrank 2008-01-27 03:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Mobbed-Up Allies

dude, what happened to you?

by leewesley 2008-01-27 07:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Mobbed-Up Allies

People on blogs routinely say Giuliani is "mobbed up" with much less substantial evidence. Although this is just  guilt by association, Obama can't continue to plead that he was just a naive innocent trying to good among a pack of wolves. Do you really want a president with such poor judgement of human nature?

by ineedalife 2008-01-28 06:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Look Before You Leap: Obama's Mobbed-Up Allies

I am amazed that all this information is out there on Obama, and no one in the MSM bothers to investigate. Amazing. Excellent job susanhu.

by lonnette33 2008-01-27 11:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Look Before You Leap:

Well, the MSM let Rudy get away with almost everything until they found another candidate they liked.  I'm not saying Obama is anything like Rudy, but that's how they treat people.  Who didn't know Rudy was as awful as could be?  They swept it all under the rug until they wanted him gone.

by reasonwarrior 2008-01-27 11:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Look Before You Leap:

I think the MSM hates Hill so much that they are willing to compromise itself to coronate an unqualified individual. It's shameful that this is what's its come to. Hill's a fighter and I know she was prepared to go to the mat but something's got to give. Look at Gore, these same people tried to destory him and succeeded (he lost), but now these same people claim to love him to bits. Amazing.

by lonnette33 2008-01-27 11:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Look Before You Leap:

Of course the MSM want the Republicans to win the GE....

by georgiast 2008-01-27 01:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Look Before You Leap: Obama's Mobbed-Up Allies

Chicago scandala, and there are lots of them, tend to drag on for years. If Obama is the nominee, expect all fall to feature revelation a day. This needs to get out now.

by DaleA 2008-01-27 11:40AM | 0 recs
hey you myth buster

id like to ask you something -out of public -

my {alter ego} email is seymourglass08@gmail.com

could you gve me yours or send me one.

ive got an idea id like to share with you.

by Seymour Glass 2008-01-27 11:42AM | 0 recs
Re: hey you myth buster

^ ban them now

by leewesley 2008-01-27 11:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Look Before You Leap: Obama's Mobbed-Up Allies

he endorsed a guy with mob ties? thats all you got? i love that you think people care about this shit.

by leewesley 2008-01-27 11:50AM | 0 recs
Don't you realize

this is the kind of rumor and innuendo that has so many pissed at Clinton.  Its the same kind of rumor mongering that Rove does.  Its time to move on and talk about real issues.  

by Moonwood 2008-01-27 12:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Don't you realize

Corruption and machine politics is an issue many consider important in the wake of the Bush administration's many failures.

by truthteller2007 2008-01-27 01:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Don't you realize

I've seen and heard everything now!  

A Clinton supporter claiming to be concerned about "Machine Politics"?  

I guess what you meant to say was "other peoples" machines.

by Its Like Herding Cats 2008-01-27 01:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Don't you realize

Ok - let's talk about real issues:

From the Feb. 11 issue of "The Nation":

"As the subprime mortgage debacle drives a recession that threatens financial markets around the world, the Democratic presidential candidates are pushing plans to address the crisis.  John Edwards and Hillary Clinton are pledging substantial federal resources to stabilize the mortgage market and intervene on behalf of borrowers. Barack Obama's proposal is tepid by comparison, short on aggressive government involvement and infused with conservative rhetoric about fiscal responsibility. As he has done on domestic issues like healthcare, job creation and energy policy, Obama is staking out a position to the right of not only populist Edwards but Clinton as well."

by racetoinfinity 2008-01-27 08:21PM | 0 recs
Oh my God !!!!!

Get off your soapbox for just one minute and let us all take a breath without having to hear your shrill anti Obama rants!

I don't think any diarist here has written as many utterly hateful, slanderous and spiteful diaries as you have.  Apparently you really don't support anyone, you just hate one person.

God help and save the Democratic party from slime merchants like you.

by Its Like Herding Cats 2008-01-27 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Look Before You Leap: Obama's Mobbed-Up Allies

Shame on you! Two diaries a day trashing Obama. Never a positive word about anyone! Do you actually stand for anything?

Is the money that good? WIll it buy you forgiveness..do you think that it could?

or so Bob Dylan sang...

by crackityjones 2008-01-27 01:29PM | 0 recs
Re: [UPDATED]

Giannoulias invested in Rezmar, a company owned by Rezko, the man who assisted the Obamas in their purchase of a mansion they could not afford?  And these transactions occurred in 2002 and 2003, the same year Rezko coordinated fundraisers on Obama's behalf?  

No wonder why Obama endorsed the banker tied to the mafia.  

by truthteller2007 2008-01-27 01:46PM | 0 recs
Re: [UPDATED] Look Before You Leap: Obama's Mobbed

For all the admiration I have of them, Bill and Hillary have certainly had their share of ethical problems over the years. Some of it has been unfair Republican attacks, but certainly not all.

There is something bizarre about Hillary supporters trying as hard as they can to taint Obama through guilt by association. If you sincerely cared about these things, let's face it, you would not be supporting Bill and Hillary.

by animated 2008-01-27 01:52PM | 0 recs
Glad the Clinton Campaign will avoid Illinois
Thank you Susan Hu for being so vigiliant. Have you passed this info on to the US Attorney's Office in Chicago. He's usually quite vigilant about prosecuting evildoers, both Dems(lot of Daley Aldermen) and GOPers (Governors to Scooter Libby). And so glad you cite the Murdoch Post as a source (fair and balanced you know) For your readers who would like more- see the website of the elected Democratic State Treasurer of Illinois (www.treasurer.il.gov). It sounds like you're making sure that the Clinton campaign will avoid Illinois in the fall- since there are Democratic politicians there ( get loans from family owned banks-yikes) and there are all those types of people there-you know the "mob" all those ethnic types. In fact you can google the interesting fact that Sen. Obama critized the family bank 2 years ago when it came out that there were loans to organized crime figures. (In fact, can mobsters get sub-prime loans for their mortgage?)
Now I'm not for Sen. Obama, but it's this type of crap that makes his campaign more attractive and estranges Democrats from Sen Clinton even though she doesn't authorize this shit- just rougue elements of her campaign do it.
by Skipster 2008-01-27 01:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Glad the Clinton Campaign will avoid Illinois

Investing Rezko is now a racist gesture?  Please outline the syllogism that sustains this argument.

by truthteller2007 2008-01-27 01:58PM | 0 recs
Re: [UPDATED] Look Before You Leap: Obama's Mobbed

And, of course we know that the Broadway Bank was the bank at which Obama opened his campaign fund account.

And?

Big fracking deal. What does that prove?

What a waste of human energy this is. Considering you don't have anything better to do with your time, keep your stupid, breathless, empty "research" to yourself and the idiots at No Quarter who lap this crap up willingly.

by Bee 2008-01-27 02:03PM | 0 recs
Re: [UPDATED] Look Before You Leap: Obama's Mobbed

Susie's one of the sleaziest of the sleaze peddlers on here. You guys are pathetic.  I need a shower after just looking at this site.  

by PositiveFreedom 2008-01-27 02:05PM | 0 recs
Re: [UPDATED] Look Before You Leap: Obama's Mobbed

"When things were looking bleak for the Clintons after the Arkansas voters threw Bill out in 1980 after his first term as governor (Arkansas had two-year gubernatorial terms until 1986), she fanned her friendship with James Blair, general counsel of Tyson Foods. Bill Clinton's Little Rock chief of staff, Betsey Wright, recalled that Hillary "loved Jim Blair. Blair was her money man". It was Blair who set up an account for Hillary Clinton with Refco, a small brokerage firm run by Robert "Red" Bone, Don Tyson's former bodyguard and a professional poker player. "Red" Bone got her into cattle future trades. She put up $1,000 and left the trading to Mr. Bone who's often assumed to have arranged the trades with Blair, to Mrs. Clinton's advantage. Nine months later, the $1,000 had swollen with miraculous speed into a profit for Mrs. Clinton of $99,000."

In return for access to power, Clinton was bribed with $99,000. That's a direct corruption scandal.
http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn1115 2007.html

by Politico80 2008-01-27 07:13PM | 0 recs
Obama's Mobbed-Up Allies (update)

Pay-to-be-a-player Chicago style: Chicago Tribune, October 10, 2006: Ill. Dem's major donors are also his bank's customers:

"Many of the biggest donors to (Illinois) Democratic state treasurer candidate Alexi Giannoulias also received millions of dollars in loans from his family's Broadway Bank -- some making their campaign contributions within weeks or months of receiving the loans," the Chicago Tribune reports today.

An analysis of campaign financial records, the Tribune reported, showed that $300,000 in contributions to Giannoulias' campaign came "from 19 donors who held a combined $200 million" in loans from the bank.

According to the Tribune, "no banking or campaign laws prohibit Giannoulias, Broadway's vice president and senior loan officer, from turning to his bank's borrowers for donations." It also wrote that Giannoulias said he had "absolutely not" pressured any of those borrowers to donate.

But some political experts, the newspaper said, warned that Giannoulias might fuel public skepticism about so-called "pay-to-play" politics in state government.

"By raising money in this fashion, you open yourself up for criticism, because people are going to believe the worst until Illinois politicians demonstrate they shouldn't assume the worst," said Kent Redfield, professor of political studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

by Artificial Intelligence 2008-01-27 11:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Mobbed-Up Allies (update)

KansasCity.com, January 27, 2008:

On the issue of whether Barack Obama is "tough enough" to run against the GOP nominee, his wife, Michelle, retorted:

"Do you know where we live? Chicago politics. Illinois politics. Mean, tough politics."

by Artificial Intelligence 2008-01-27 11:03PM | 0 recs

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