Rezko and Obama….maybe not BFF’s but certainly not strangers:
1. They met in 1990. Obama was a student at Harvard Law School and got an unsolicited job offer from Rezko, then a low-income housing developer in Chicago. Obama turned it down.
2. Obama took a job in 1993 with a small Chicago law firm, Davis Miner Barnhill, that represents developers — primarily not-for-profit groups — building low-income housing with government funds.
3. One of the firm’s not-for-profit clients — the Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corp., co-founded by Obama’s then-boss Allison Davis — was partners with Rezko’s company in a 1995 deal to convert an abandoned nursing home at 61st and Drexel into low-income apartments. Altogether, Obama spent 32 hours on the project, according to the firm. Only five hours of that came after Rezko and WPIC became partners, the firm says. The rest of the future senator’s time was helping WPIC strike the deal with Rezko. Rezko’s company, Rezmar Corp., also partnered with the firm’s clients in four later deals — none of which involved Obama, according to the firm. In each deal, Rezmar “made the decisions for the joint venture,” says William Miceli, an attorney with the firm.
4. In 1995, Obama began campaigning for a seat in the Illinois Senate. Among his earliest supporters: Rezko. Two Rezko companies donated a total of $2,000. Obama was elected in 1996 — representing a district that included 11 of Rezko’s 30 low-income housing projects.
5. Rezko’s low-income housing empire began crumbling in 2001, when his company stopped making mortgage payments on the old nursing home that had been converted into apartments. The state foreclosed on the building — which was in Obama’s Illinois Senate district.
6. In 2003, Obama announced he was running for the U.S. Senate, and Rezko — a member of his campaign finance committee — held a lavish fund-raiser June 27, 2003, at his Wilmette mansion.
7. A few months after Obama became a U.S. senator, he and Rezko’s wife, Rita, bought adjacent pieces of property from a doctor in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood — a deal that has dogged Obama the last two years. The doctor sold the mansion to Obama for $1.65 million — $300,000 below the asking price. Rezko’s wife paid full price — $625,000 — for the adjacent vacant lot. The deals closed in June 2005. Six months later, Obama paid Rezko’s wife $104,500 for a strip of her land, so he could have a bigger yard. At the time, it had been widely reported that Tony Rezko was under federal investigation. Questioned later about the timing of the Rezko deal, Obama called it “boneheaded” because people might think the Rezkos had done him a favor.
8. Eight months later — in October 2006 — Rezko was indicted on charges he solicited kickbacks from companies seeking state pension business under his friend Gov. Blagojevich. Federal prosecutors maintain that $10,000 from the alleged kickback scheme was donated to Obama’s run for the U.S. Senate. Obama has given the money to charity.
And today Mr. Rezko was convicted on 16 out of 24 charges including aiding and abetting bribery, money laundering, mail and wire fraud, and conspiracy to extort.
The jury convicted Rezko of wire and mail fraud, money laundering and aiding and abetting bribery. He was acquitted of attempted extortion~~~
Testimony at the trial produced a series of stunning allegations of misconduct that went well beyond the scope of the criminal charges against Rezko.
Former state official Ali Ata told jurors he bought his post with bribes to Rezko and campaign contributions to Blagojevich. Ata was also one of several witnesses who said Rezko talked of a plot to kill the criminal probe against him by pulling strings with the Bush White House to get U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald fired.
The trial also provided ample fodder for cynics who see Illinois politicians as members of a cozy club motivated more by greed than altruism or ideology~~~
Rezko befriended many Illinois politicians and was a major fundraiser for some, most prominently Blagojevich and Obama. The criminal charges against Rezko had nothing to do with his connection to Obama. But that link still proved a nagging headache for Obama during his Democratic presidential run, especially in the wake of Tribune revelations that tied Rezko to a 2005 real estate deal involving Obama’s South Side home.
Once again this shows why Obama is a poor choice for the Democrats to run as their nominee. He can give a speech but once it goes unscripted he tends to make gaffe after gaffe. He has little to no experience and no real ideas other then to “remake” the US of A. And over the months we have come to know associates of Obama including Wright, Pfleger, Meeks, Ayers and Dohrn. Racists and terrorists. Now we can add convicted felon to the list, a man who just so happened to raise 250 grand for his campaigns as he was engaging in this criminal activity.
The sentencing phase of his trial should get quite interesting. Rick Moran:
In short, while the governor and other top politicians in the state almost certainly should be worried about what Rezko might tell the prosecutor, no one can say for sure if Rezko would have anything of interest to spill about Barack Obama.
Time will tell.
Pretty good comparison going on around the blogosphere:
“I’m saddened by today’s verdict. This isn’t the Tony Rezko I knew, but now he has been convicted by a jury on multiple charges that once again shine a spotlight on the need for reform. I encourage the General Assembly to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent these kinds of abuses in the future.”
“I’ve known Rev. Wright for almost 20 years. The person that I saw yesterday was not the person I met 20 years ago. His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate, and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church.”