Friday, July 4, 2008

Barack Obama’s Chicago Culture Of Corruption

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Action Item #4: Let’s communicate via blogs and emails and articles and posts and comments the need for the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate Barack Obama and his Chicago Culture of Corruption (read today’s Washington Post article from today, below).

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics filed a complaint which triggered an initial inquiry into Senators Dodd and Conrad. Let’s ask Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics to file a similar complaint regarding Barack Obama (for which they will probably be called racists by the Obama Hopium denizens).

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics website HERE. Email Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics HERE. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, 1400 Eye Street NW, Suite 450, Washington, D.C. 20005, 202.408.5565

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When will the Senate Ethics Committee investigate convicted corrupt slumlord Antoin “Tony” Rezko’s good friend and house strolling buddy - Barack Obama?

While many blogs and news reports document the seemingly endless Obama policy flip-flop-flim-flams, Big Pink continues to probe the Chicago Culture of Corruption surrounding Barack Obama.

Many do not understand that the central issue today is “Who is Barack Obama?” Corrupt slumlord and friend of Barack Obama for more than 20 years, Tony Rezko, is the key to answering that question.

Obama emits flowery words about change. The only change that Obama cares about is the jangling coins of real big change going into his grasping pockets.

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Why is there no ethics investigation of Obama and his house purchase assisted by Antoin “Tony” Rezko? Maybe emerging details about Obama’s financial entanglements will finally force the United States Senate to act.

Recall, that in 1994 perceived and actual charges of corruption against Democrats running Congress allowed the Republicans to seize the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Recall that in 2006 the Republican Culture of Corruption led to the election of Democrats to statewide seats they had not been able to capture in more than 15 years.

Senators Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad are now the objects of a preliminary Senate Ethics Committee investigation for pretty much doing (read further below) what Obama, according to today’s Washington Post, has also done.

Today’s Washington Post reports:

Shortly after joining the U.S. Senate and while enjoying a surge in income, Barack Obama bought a $1.65 million restored Georgian mansion in an upscale Chicago neighborhood. To finance the purchase, he secured a $1.32 million loan from Northern Trust in Illinois.

The freshman Democratic senator received a discount. He locked in an interest rate of 5.625 percent on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, below the average for such loans at the time in Chicago. The loan was unusually large, known in banker lingo as a “super super jumbo.” Obama paid no origination fee or discount points, as some consumers do to reduce their interest rates.

Compared with the average terms offered at the time in Chicago, Obama’s rate could have saved him more than $300 per month.

Michelle and Barack Obama had extraordinary help in purchasing their mansion. Most (proud) Americans buy their houses without the assistance of so many benefactors.

Modest adjustments in mortgage rates are common among financial institutions as they compete for business or develop relationships with wealthy families. But amid a national housing crisis, news of discounts offered to Sens. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the banking committee, and Kent Conrad (D-N.D) by another lender, Countrywide Financial, has brought new scrutiny to the practice and has resulted in a preliminary Senate ethics committee inquiry into the Dodd and Conrad loans.

Within Obama’s presidential campaign organization, former Fannie Mae chief executive James A. Johnson resigned abruptly as head of the vice presidential search committee after his favorable Countrywide loan became public.

Obama, laughingly denied that Jim Johnson worked for him said: “I would have to hire the vetter to vet the vetters.”

Back to today’s Washington Post article and our question about why there is no Senate Ethics Committee investigation regarding Obama’s financial entanglements:

Driving the recent debate is concern that public officials, knowingly or unknowingly, may receive special treatment from lenders and that the discounts could constitute gifts that are prohibited by law.

“The real question is: Were congressmen getting unique treatment that others weren’t getting?” associate law professor Adam J. Levitin, a credit specialist at Georgetown University Law Center, said about the Countrywide loans. “Do they do business like that for people who are not congressmen? If they don’t, that’s a problem.” [snip]

In Obama’s case, he received a lower rate than the average offered at the time in Chicago for similarly structured jumbo loans. He secured his final mortgage commitment on June 8, 2005, and during that week, rates on similar loans for which information is available averaged 5.93 percent, according to HSH Associates, which surveys lenders. Another survey firm,, placed the average at 6 percent.

“It’s certainly safe to say that this borrower did better than average,” said Keith Gumbinger, an HSH vice president, noting that consumer rates vary widely. “It’s a good deal.”

Michelle and Barack Obama sure get a lot of favors. Northern Trust is not the only Obama benefactor seeking a relationship with Obama. Finally, a Big Media outlet is exploring the wonderful, favor grabbing world of Michelle and Barack which Big Pink has been writing about since April 2007.

Around the same time, the University of Chicago Hospitals promoted Michelle Obama to a vice president and more than doubled her pay, to $317,000.

The couple wanted to step up from their $415,000 condo. They chose a house with six bedrooms, four fireplaces, a four-car garage and 5 1/2 baths, including a double steam shower and a marble powder room. It had a wine cellar, a music room, a library, a solarium, beveled glass doors and a granite-floored kitchen.

Lovely mansion Michelle and Barack. A while back we wrote: Hillary Clinton has a Rescue Plan; Barack Obama has a Rezko Plan. and Unlike Barack, most Americans don’t have an Antoin “Tony” Rezko to help buy houses they can’t afford. Americans will soon start to ask themselves “Where Is My Tony Rezko?” “Where Is My Rezko Rescue for a house I can’t afford?” “Where is my Tony Rezko?” “Where is my Chicago fixer?”

Since 1990, Northern Trust employees have donated more than $739,000 to federal campaigns, including $71,000 to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Obama’s house purchase has been a source of controversy. In 2006, the Chicago Tribune reported that on the day of the closing, the wife of Obama’s longtime friend and fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko closed on an adjoining lot that had been the estate’s side yard.

The Obamas bought the house for $300,000 less than the asking price of $1.95 million, while Rezko’s wife, Rita, bought the neighboring lot for the full asking price of $625,000. Rita Rezko later sold a portion of the undeveloped lot to the Obamas, enlarging the senator’s yard.

Tony Rezko already had been linked to a grand jury investigation involving public corruption. Last month, he was convicted of 16 counts in an influence-peddling scheme that reached the highest levels of Illinois state government.

We are gratified that a Big Media outlet accurately reports that the “adjoining lot” Rita Rezko purchased was in fact “the estate’s side yard”. Obama could not have purchased the house without the side yard also being sold on the very same day. The article unfortunately does not point out that at the time Rita Rezko had little income and very little money in the bank. The Washington Post article also does not elaborate on the London Times story which stated 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.

Senators Christopher Dodd and Kent Conrad are facing a Senate Ethics Committee investigation.

The Senate Ethics Committee is beginning an initial investigation into whether Sens. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) got preferential mortgage rates from Countrywide Financial Corp., even as the two senators are taking decidedly different approaches to dealing with the revelations.

Senate Ethics Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) confirmed today to The Washington Post’s Paul Kane that her panel had received an official complaint against Dodd and Conrad, a step which under Senate rules automatically triggers a preliminary inquiry into the matter. The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington wrote to both the House and Senate ethics panels last week asking for investigations. [snip]

Dodd, the chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, attempted to address the issue himself today in a press conference that, to use the journalistic cliche, “raised more questions than it answered.” [snip]

After reiterating that point, Dodd casually mentioned to surprised reporters that he and his wife had actually known back in 2003 that they had been put in some sort of “VIP” program.

V.I.P.? Was Obama a Northern Trust V.I.P.? Will the Senate ever investigate whether Obama received a favor from Northern Trust or (gasp!) Antoin “Tony” Rezko?

Senators Chris Dodd and Conrad will have to answer many questions about their mortgages. Will Barack Obama ever have to explain his financial entanglements?

Non-V.I.P. Americans don’t get help the V.I.P.s get. Remember Jim Johnson (Obama denied Johnson worked for him even as Johnson worked for him)?

Conrad, the Budget Committee chairman, said it was Johnson who referred him to Mozilo in 2002 when the North Dakotan was seeking a loan to buy a vacation home in Bethany Beach, Del.

The “good customer” excuse:

“They said they frequently made exceptions, especially for good customers, and I was a very good customer,” Conrad said.

An internal e-mail from Mozilo, however, said the exception was “due to the fact that the borrower is a senator,” according to the Portfolio report.

The American Thinker, a conservative publication has raised additional questions (and facts) regarding the Obama’s financial entanglements. The questions raised are too many and too complex to give a full accounting of here. This sentence summarizes the article well:

If nothing else, these connections illustrate how deeply the Obamas’ personal and financial lives are enmeshed in the world of Tony Rezko and the Chicago political machine.

For inquiring minds and to demonstrate some of the complex questions which need answering we will provide a little sample of The American Thinker’s article:

Obama used a trust account through Northern Trust to purchase the home. His attorney, William Miceli, signed the real estate documents on behalf of the trust. The same William Miceli was a sometime supervisor of Obama when Obama worked at the law firm of Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland. This firm also did some work for Tony Rezko’s firm Rezmar, which has developed some projects that turned out to be disasters.

Miceli specializes in urban renewal land deals. Rezmar, of course, participated in numerous deals of this kind, including a deal with Allison Davis of the firm. Rezko also arranged to get Davis appointed by Gov. Blagojevich to the Illinois State Board of Investment. Davis has since left the law firm.

The house purchased by the Obamas had been gutted and renovated 6 years earlier by a former employee of Tony Rezko. At the time the Obamas became interested in the house, someone else had already obtained an option on the side yard lot. By sheer coincidence, Tony Rezko knew that person, and arranged for the option to remain unexercised when the Obamas purchased the home, leaving the side yard in the friendly hands of the crooked Chicago real estate wheeler-dealer’s wife.

The Obamas got their mortgage from Northern Trust. By curious coincidence, one of Michelle’s old friends joined that bank and is now in a particularly important position when it comes to information about the mortgage.

Kelly King Dibble has a long time friendship with Michelle Obama from the time they both worked at the Chicago Planning Dept, and she also worked for Rezko. Dibble went on to head the Illinois Housing Development Authority under Governor Blagojevich, with Rezko help. Dibble also hosted a fund raiser for Obama. More on Dibble here.

Dibble also was mentioned during the Rezko trial by Ali Ata. Dibble was a regular visitor to Rezko’s office while heading the IHDA (which is based in Chicago). She also crossed Rezko when she refused to hire a Rezko relative.

Dibble later resigned from the IHDA in Jan 2007 to take a job with Northern Trust, and is now Senior Vice President Public Affairs. So if Northern Trust is asked about the loan, Dibble will be in charge of framing the answers.

I have often wondered what role Dibble might have played in Obama’s house deal, since she was chummy with Michelle and Michelle was probably doing most of the house search. Did Dibble tell Rezko about the Obamas’ housing search? Was she also involved with the Northern Trust deal? (Although she still headed the IHDA at the time, she might have had contacts at Northern Trust to get such a plum job there later).

The media have focused on the Obama-Rezko connection, but I wonder how much Michelle was involved? She seems to have run the household, is a Harvard-trained lawyer, and she is no shrinking violet. Her father was a Democrat precinct captain so she is no stranger to the ways of Chicago politics.

There may only be smoke, no fire, in the Obamas’ mortgage transaction. But they certainly had a lot of help from a lot of friends of Tony Rezko.

There is an Obama Chicago Culture Of Corruption.

Superdelegates, Voters, Americans need answers to the question “Who is Barack Obama?”

We need a Senate Ethics Committee investigation.

We know:

Obama simply cannot be trusted. Obama cannot be trusted on any issue. Obama cannot be trusted by his friends. Obama cannot be trusted by his enemies. Obama cannot be trusted.

We need to end Barack Obama’s Chicago Culture of Corruption.

1 comment:

mike volpe said...

You nailed when you linked some of his antics to his ties to Chicago. Much of this sort of behavior SOP for Chicago politician. Look at the corrupt deals he did for real estate developers for low income housing.

Here is how corrupt the deal is. He got 5.625% on a deal for $1.32 million loan. At the same time, the average for a loan of up to $850k was just under 6%. That means a less risky loan was averaging about .375% higher. That is some deal. Here is how I wrote about this...