Stuart Levine Cellini trial testimony reveals Obama connections, Levine bribed Chicago Board of Education, Arne Duncan CPS CEO, Ariel Capital Management
“Stuart Levine, as a witness in the Rezko and Cellini trials, stated that he bribed the Chicago Board of Education over 10 times.”
“Why did the Illinois Senate Health & Human Services Committee, with Obama as chairman, create and push Bill 1332, “Illinois Health Facilities Planning Act,” early in 2003, which reduced the number of members on the Board from 15 to 9, just prior to rigging by Tony Rezko and Rod Blagojevich?”…Citizen Wells
“Why did Patrick Fitzgerald and the US Justice Department wait until December 2008 to arrest Rod Blagojevich?”…Citizen Wells
“Why was Tony Rezko’s sentencing delayed?”…Citizen Wells
The significance of Stuart Levine’s testimony in the William Cellini trial yesterday went unnoticed except for those of us watching with great scrutiny and keeping the Obama connection to Chicago corruption stories alive.
During the Tony Rezko trial in spring of 2008, Stuart Levine testified:
March 18, 2008.
“In his first 20 minutes on the witness stand, Stuart Levine admitted that he had passed numerous bribes to win private and government business for several firms with which he was connected.
Levine said former Chicago Ald. Edward Vrdolyak acted as a middleman in two bribe schemes, including one to secure a contract with the city Board of Education. On both occasions, Vrdolyak was to pass the bribes onto others, he said.
Levine said he also paid a $500,000 bribe to an undisclosed city official to obtain a tire contract from the Department of Streets and Sanitation. Levine also said he passed on bribes of hundreds of thousands of dollars to win a contract to supply school buses to the Board of Education.”
Stuart Levine mentioned his bribes to the Chicago Board of Education yesterday, October 17, 2011.
From the Chicago Tribune October 18, 2011.
“In another plot, Levine told the jury that he took in $100,000 in bribes to help a bus company secure contracts with Chicago Public Schools.”
From a courtroom tweet by Natasha Korecki of the Chicago SunTimes October 17, 2011.
“Stuart Levine says he also paid bribes more than 10 times to the Chicago Board of Education to get contracts for a bus company.”
We knew from the Rezko trial that Levine had bribed the Chicago Board of Education. We now know that it happened more than 10 times. This was an ongoing activity. When I read this I intuitively knew that Obama was connected. It did not take long to find out.
Obama appointed Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education in 2009. Here is some background on Duncan.
“At a Glance
Current Position: Secretary of Education (since January 2009)
Career History: Chief executive of Chicago Public Schools (since 2001); Deputy chief of staff to Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas (1998 to 2001); Ariel Capital Management (1992 to 1998)”
Duncan is a member of Obama’s tight-knit circle of Chicago friends. He was introduced to the group by his childhood friend, John W. Rogers Jr., an Obama adviser and the ex-husband to Desiree Rogers, Obama’s former White House social secretary. John Rogers and Duncan both went to the University of Chicago Lab School, and Duncan calls Rogers his best friend and the most influential person in his life other than his parents.Whorunsgov.com interview with Arne Duncan(19)Whorunsgov.com interview with Arne Duncan Rogers is now on the Lab School’s board along with Valerie Jarrett, Michelle Obama and Martin Nesbitt. Duncan’s wife, Karen, is the school’s athletic director.
Rogers introduced Duncan to Michelle Obama’s brother, Craig Robinson. Duncan and Robinson have been playing in three-on-three basketball tournaments around the country ever since.
Duncan donated $2,000 to Barack Obama in the 2008 election cycle and $3,000 to the Democratic National Committee. His wife gave Obama $4,600, the maximum allowable, in the 2008 elections. Center for Responsive Politics(20)Center for Responsive Politics”
Arne Duncan’s World
“Desiree Rogers CEO, Johnson Publishing Co.
Valerie Jarrett Senior White House adviser and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Liaison (since January 2009)
Martin Nesbitt President and chief executive of The Parking Spot (since 1998)
Craig Robinson Head coach of Oregon State basketball team (since May 2008) and first-brother-in-law”
We know that Stuart Levine bribed the Chicago Board of Education over 10 times and Obama’s buddy Arne Duncan was CEO of Chicago Public Schools from 2001 to 2009.
It gets even more interesting.
Arne Duncan worked for Ariel Capital Management from 1992 to 1998.
From the LA Times April 7, 2008.
“The trial of Antoin “Tony” Rezko, one-time patron to Sen. Barack Obama and Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, has turned lurid.
Under cross-examination by Rezko attorney Joseph Duffy, star prosecution witness Stuart Levine, a Chicago-area lawyer, is admitting to conspiracy, extortion, bribery, fraud and other bad acts while he “served” at the Illinois public school teachers pension fund board.”
“It’s an unfolding, seemingly local political story that’s fascinating in its revealing details about the subterranean world of business, financial and family connections in Illinois and Chicago politics that helped take a virtually unknown black Chicago attorney, nurtured him politically and financially and turned him into….”
“This story concerns two men, neither of whom face any legal charges today. They are two of Illinois’ top Democratic politicians — Gov. Blagojevich, who’s been mentioned often in court, and Sen. Obama, who’s received only passing mentions. They’re entwined in the Rezko saga, particularly through the bounteous campaign money he raised for them both.
Get used to that name. Rezko’s currently in a long-running Chicago trial on federal extortion and bribery charges. Few campaign donors were more responsible than Rezko for the rise of Blagojevich (Blah-goy-ah-vitch) and Obama. Both politicians came to rely on him for political and personal advice — and lots of campaign money.
Their intimate relationship is coming into focus through Rezko, a Syrian-born businessman who made his money in real estate and restaurant franchises and now sits daily in the federal courtroom of U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve. The trial’s daily events are covered in this Tribune Rezko court blog.
So far, Blagojevich, reelected in 2006, is more deeply enmeshed in the scandal than Obama, who’s not been implicated in any wrongdoing.
But all three operated in the murky world of Illinois Democratic politics, where money, family relationships and long business associations provide the invisible glue of the local political world.
Witnesses in Rezko’s trial have testified that Rezko recommended friends and associates for government jobs and posts on Illinois state boards when Blagojevich took office in 2003, and some of those friends were generous donors to Blagojevich.
An early trial exhibit from prosecutors was a spreadsheet. Prepared by an FBI agent , the spreadsheet identifies Rezko-related donors who supplied $1.43 million between 2001 and 2004 to Blagojevich, who was first elected governor in 2002.
Using Federal Election Commission and Illinois state records, The Times’ Dan Morain compared donors on the FBI spreadsheet to Obama’s contributors. Guess what.
Sen. Obama received $222,000 during the same 2001-2004 period from Rezko-related Blagojevich donors.”
“Another overlapping donor is John Rogers, head of Ariel Capital, a major Chicago-based investment firm. Rogers gave $12,500 to Blagojevich in 2004, the FBI spreadsheet shows. Rogers has also given Obama $25,000, state and FEC records reveal.
Aides to Obama and Rogers said the pair has a friendship that is separate from Rezko. Ariel vice president Matt Yale said Rogers’ inclusion on the FBI spreadsheet was a surprise, adding, “To the best of our knowledge, we have not made any contributions to Governor Blagojevich or any political candidate on behalf of Tony Rezko.” Ariel is not implicated in the criminal case.
As an Illinois state senator, Obama appeared before Illinois pension funds in 2000 and 2001 to urge that they provide more business to black-owned investment houses including, as it happens, Ariel.
Describing his efforts to the Urban League last year, Obama said African-American-owned firms were not getting any business from state pensions. Obama singled out Rogers’ Ariel Capital, calling it a well-respected investment house, but one that received no business.
“We didn’t have to implement a formal program,” Obama told the Urban League, taking no credit. “I simply said, ‘Listen to what these folks have to say,’ and in about six months they got about a half billion dollars worth of business simply on their own excellence.”
In 2002, the year after Obama made the pitch, the Illinois Teacher Retirement System reported an 18% increase in assets managed by minority-owned firms.
Ariel’s share grew to $442 million by 2005.
In 2006, after the federal investigation became public, the teacher pension board severed its relationship with Ariel, concluding that Ariel’s investment returns were insufficient.”
This statement from above is important:
“In 2006, after the federal investigation became public, the teacher pension board severed its relationship with Ariel, concluding that Ariel’s investment returns were insufficient.”
Remember I have told you that the fix was in in 2006. The presumptive presidential candidate by early 2006 was Blagojevich. By the end of 2006 Obama was preparing to run and Blagojevich was in trouble.
The superceding indictment of Stuart Levine and Tony Rezko from October 11, 2006 mentions 7 investment firms tied to the rigging of the IL Teacher’s Retirement System. Ariel Capital Management is not mentioned by name going forward but given the fact that Obama pushed for their inclusion and they pulled out after the investigation, coupled with Obama’s buddies Rezko and Levine documented involvement, the conclusion is obvious.
Any way you slice it, it is classic Chicago pay to play politics.