Blagojevich trial, Obama and Rezko, Blagojevich defense subpoena
Here is a small but important exerpt from the Blagojevich defense motion to subpoena Barack Obama for the Blagojevich trial, set to begin June 3, 2010.
“22. However, the defense has a good faith belief that Mr. Rezko, President Obama’s former friend, fund-raiser, and neighbor told the FBI and the United States Attorneys a different story about President Obama. In a recent in camera proceeding, the government tendered a three paragraph letter indicating that Rezko “has stated in interviews with the government that he engaged in election law violations by personally contributing a large sum of cash to the campaign of a public official who is not Rod Blagojevich. … Further, the public official denies being aware of cash contributions to his campaign by Rezko or others and denies having conversations with Rezko related to cash contributions. … Rezko has also stated in interviews with the government that he believed he transmitted a quid pro quo offer from a lobbyist to the public official, whereby the lobbyist would hold a fundraiser for the official in exchange for favorable official action, but that the public official rejected the offer. The public official denies any such conversation. In addition, Rezko has stated to the government that he and the public official had certain conversations about gaming legislation and administration, which the public official denies having had.”10
10 The defense has a good faith belief that this public official is Barack Obama. See, “Obama on Rezko deal: It was a mistake”, Dave McKinney, Chris Fusco, and Mark Brown, Chicago Sun Times, November 5, 2006. Senator Barack Obama was asked: “Did Rezko or his companies ever solicit your support on any matter involving state or federal government? Did Al Johnson, who was trying to get a casino license along with Tony Rezko, or Rezko himself ever discuss casino matters with you?” Senator Obama answered: “No, I have never been asked to do anything to advance his business interest. In 1999, when I was a State Senator, I opposed legislation to bring a casino to Rosemont and allow casino gambling at docked riverboats which news reports said Al Johnson and Tony
Rezko were interested in being part of. I never discussed a casino license with either of them. I was a vocal opponent of the legislation.” Obama’s involvement with Tony Rezko and this legislation coincides with the three paragraph summary the government has provided to the defense referenced above.”
The following is from a Chicago SunTimes article dated November 5, 2006. It contains the usual Obama lies and misrepresentations.
“Obama on Rezko deal: It was a mistake”
“U.S. Sen. Barack Obama expressed regret late Friday for his 2005 land purchase from now-indicted political fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko in a deal that enlarged the senator’s yard.
“I consider this a mistake on my part and I regret it,” Obama told the Chicago Sun-Times in an exclusive and revealing question-and-answer exchange about the transaction.
In June 2005, Obama and Rezko purchased adjoining parcels in Kenwood. The state’s junior senator paid $1.65 million for a Georgian revival mansion, while Rezko paid $625,000 for the adjacent, undeveloped lot. Both closed on their properties on the same day.”
“The transaction occurred at a time when it was widely known Tony Rezko was under investigation by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and as other Illinois politicians befriended by Rezko distanced themselves from him.
In the Sun-Times interview, Obama acknowledged approaching Rezko about the two properties being up for sale and that Rezko developed an immediate interest. Obama did not explain why he reached out to Rezko given the developer’s growing problems.
Last month, Rezko was indicted for his role in an alleged pay-to-play scheme designed to fatten Gov. Blagojevich’s political fund. Rezko also was accused of bilking a creditor.”
“”It was simply not good enough that I paid above the appraised value for the strip of land that he sold me. It was a mistake to have been engaged with him at all in this or any other personal business dealing that would allow him, or anyone else, to believe that he had done me a favor,” the senator said.
The land deal came up in a court hearing Friday that delved into Rezko’s finances. Obama said he has not been approached by federal prosecutors about the transaction nor has plans to go to them about it.
Obama and Rezko have been friends since 1990, and Obama said the Wilmette businessman raised as much as $60,000 for him during his political career. After Rezko’s indictment, Obama donated $11,500 to charity–a total that represents what Rezko contributed to the senator’s federal campaign fund.
After the controversy surfaced on Wednesday, the Sun-Times presented Obama’s office with a lengthy set of questions about the land deal, Obama’s relationship with Rezko and the story’s impact on a potential 2008 bid for the White House.”
“Q: Senator, when did you first meet Tony Rezko? How did you become friends? How often would you meet with him, and when did you last speak with him?
A: I have probably had lunch with Rezko once or twice a year and our spouses may have gotten together on two to four occasions in the time that I have known him. I last spoke with Tony Rezko more than six months ago.”
“Q: Did you approach Rezko or his wife about the property, or did they approach you?
A: To the best of my recollection, I told him about the property, and he developed an interest, knowing both the location and, as I recall, the developer who had previously purchased it.”
“Q: How do you explain the fact your family purchased your home the same day as Rita Rezko bought the property adjacent to yours? Was this a coordinated purchase?
A: The sellers required the closing of both properties at the same time. As they were moving out of town, they wished to conclude the sale of both properties simultaneously. The lot was purchased first; with the purchase of the house on the adjacent lot, the closings could proceed and did, on the same day, pursuant to the condition set by the sellers.”
“Q: Why is it that you were able to buy your parcel for $300,000 less than the asking price, and Rita Rezko paid full price? Who negotiated this end of the deal? Did whoever negotiated it have any contact with Rita and Tony Rezko or their Realtor or lawyer?
A: Our agent negotiated only with the seller’s agent. As we understood it, the house had been listed for some time, for months, and our offer was one of two and, as we understood it, it was the best offer. The original listed price was too high for the market at the time, and we understood that the sellers, who were anxious to move, were prepared to sell the house for what they paid for it, which is what they did.
We were not involved in the Rezko negotiation of the price for the adjacent lot. It was our understanding that the owners had received, from another buyer, an offer for $625,000 and that therefore the Rezkos could not have offered or purchased that lot for less.”
“Q: Does it display a lack of judgment on your part to be engaging in real estate deals with Tony Rezko at a point his connections to state government had been reported to be under federal investigation?
A: I’ve always held myself to the highest ethical standards. During the ten years I have been in public office, I believe I have met those standards and I know that is what people expect of me. I have also understood the importance of appearances.
With respect to the purchase of my home, I am confident that everything was handled ethically and above board.
But I regret that while I tried to pay close attention to the specific requirements of ethical conduct, I misgauged the appearance presented by my purchase of the additional land from Mr. Rezko. It was simply not good enough that I paid above the appraised value for the strip of land that he sold me. It was a mistake to have been engaged with him at all in this or any other personal business dealing that would allow him, or anyone else, to believe that he had done me a favor. For that reason, I consider this a mistake on my part and I regret it.”
“Q: Why did you not publicly disclose the transaction after Rezko got indicted?
A: At the time, it didn’t strike me as relevant. I did however donate campaign contributions from Rezko to charity.”
“Q: Did Rezko or his companies ever solicit your support on any matter involving state or federal government? Did Al Johnson, who was trying to get a casino license along with Tony Rezko, or Rezko himself ever discuss casino matters with you?
A: No, I have never been asked to do anything to advance his business interests. In 1999, when I was a State Senator, I opposed legislation to bring a casino to Rosemont and allow casino gambling at docked riverboats which news reports said Al Johnson and Tony Rezko were interested in being part of. I never discussed a casino license with either of them. I was a vocal opponent of the legislation. (http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/votehistory/srollcalls91/pdf/910SB1017_05251999_001000C.PDF)”
“Q: Did Rezko ever discuss with you his dealings with Stuart Levine, Christopher Kelly or William Cellini or the role he was playing in shaping Gov. Blagojevich’s administration?
“Q: Did Rezko have an appraisal performed for the 10-foot strip?
A: I had an appraisal conducted by Howard B. Richter & Associates on November 21, 2005.”
“Q: Was there a negotiation? Did he have an asking price, or did he just say, whatever you think is fair?
A: I proposed to pay on the basis of proportionality. Since the strip composed one-sixth of the entire lot, I would pay one-sixth of the purchase price of the lot. I offered this to Mr. Rezko and he accepted it.”
“Q: How many fundraisers has Mr. Rezko hosted for you? Were these all in his home? How much would you estimate he has raised for your campaigns?
A: He hosted one event at his home in 2003 for my U.S. Senate campaign. He participated as a member of a host committee for several other events. My best estimate was that he raised somewhere between $50,000 and $60,000.”
Kenneth J Conner whistleblower lawsuit
Obama, Rezko real estate deal, rest of the story
Many have forgotten about the lawsuit initiated by Kenneth J Conner on October 16, 2008. I have not. Conner is the whistleblower who was fired from Mutual Bank for raising questions about the Rezko real estate transactions. His lawsuit is still alive. Mutual Bank has gone under but the FDIC is still listed as a defendant.
Kenneth J Conner worked for Mutual bank from August 3, 2000 until he was dismissed October 23, 2007. Conner is a graduate of Benedictine University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management degree with the honor of “Management Major of the Year” in May, 1999. Conner later earned a Master’s Degree in Finance from Benedictine University in May , 2005.
Here are some interesting exerpts.
“9. In June, 2005, Mutual Bank President and CEO Amrish Mahajan and other Mutual Bank olfficers approved a loan to Rita Malki Rezko (Rita Rezko) which was guaranteed by Antonin Rezko so that Rita Rezko could purchase a 9,090 square foot vacant parcel of real estate at 5050 S. Greenwood Avenue, Chicago. As part of the Mutual Bank loan underwriting process, Mutual Bank obtained a real estate appraisal from Adams Valuation Corporation (Adams Appraisal) which purported to provide an opinion of value of the subject 5050 S. Greenwood real estate (the collateral for the Rezko loan) at $ 68.76 per square foot. A copy of the Adams Appraisal is attached as Exhibit C. In June, 2005, Rita Rezko closed on the purchase of the 5050 S. Greenwood property at a purchase price of $ 625,000.00 along with the loan from Mutual Bank in the amount of $ 500,000.00 with Mutual bank obtaining a first mortgage lien position on the Greenwood vacant parcel.”
“10. On or about January 4, 2006, Rita Rezko entered into an agreement with Senator Barack and Michelle Obama (Obamas) to sell a ten-foot strip of the 5050 S. Greenwood property to the Obamas. A copy of the Obama/Rita Rezko contract is attached as Exhibit D. As a result of that transaction, the Rezkos requested that Mutual Bank release it’s first collateral position to the ten-foot strip parcel transferred to the Obamas. In that same general time frame, Richard Barth, Mutual Bank Senior VP of construction lending and James Murphy, Mutual Bank Senior VP Internal Auditor/Risk Manager, requested that Conner perform an appraisal review of the Adams Appraisal attached hereto as Exhibit C.”
“11. In late 2005 or early 2006, Conner performed an appraisal review of the Adams Appraisal (Exhibit C) per the directive of Richard Barth and James Murphy. Conner prepared a written Appraisal Review report (ARR) opining that the Adams Appraisal overvalued the Greenwood lot by a minimum of $ 125,000.00 and that a reasonable and fair valuation for Mutual Banks’s underwriting purposes should be no greater than $ 500,000.00 for the entire 5050 S. Greenwood parcel as originally purchased by Rita Rezko. In that same general time frame an appraisal was performed for the 5050 S. Greenwood property by Howard B. Richter, MAI which valued the 5050 S. Greenwood property at $ 54.00 per square foot but then discounted the ten-foot strip being transferred by Rita Rezko to the Obamas by fifty percent, as the ten-foot strip was unbuildable standing alone…The valuation by the Richter Appraisal for the 5050 S. Greenwood lot was substantially to Conner’s ARR valuation.”
“12. Conner notified Richard Barth and James Murphy orally of his ARR findings and Conner’s ARR was filed in the “Rezko 5050 Greenwood” loan file at Mutual Bank.”
“13. In addition to Conner’s ARR stating that the Adams Appraisal overvalued the 5050 S. Greenwood property, Conner had reported on other occasions that Adams Valuation Corporation had overvalued real estate subject to Mutual Bank loan underwriting valuation.”
“14. On or about October 19, 2006, Mutual Bank received a Grand Jury Subpoena (GJS) requiring Mutual Bank to produce the Rezko 5050 Greenwood loan file, as well as a Rita Rezko Riverside District Development LLC checking account and loan file. Electronic mail (email) communications about the subpoena were circulated to Mutual Bank officers and attorneys, including Amrish Mahajan, James Murphy and Conner. A copy of an October 19, 2006 email string pertaining to the Rezko GJS is attached as Exhibit F. On information and belief, Conner’s ARR was removed from the Rezko 5050 Greenwood loan file prior to the submission of that file pursuant to the GJS, and in it’s place Mutual bank submitted an appraisal checklist which was purportedly dated “06/15/05″ from Senior VP James P. Murphy (Murphy Checklist). A copy of the Murphy Checklist is attached as Exhibit G.”
“16. In 2007, Conner observed that his ARR of the 5050 S. Greenwood property was not in the Rezko 5050 Greenwood loan file and in it’s place was the Murphy Checklist purportedly dated “06/15/2005.”…On June 18, 2007, Conner sent an email to James Murphy which provides, in part, “I spent time trying to track down work of mine that should be in a particular high profile loan file, though it is not–having been replaced by a checklist.””
“17. In October, 2007, Conner had various communications with Mutual Bank’s Human Resources Department representative, Lana Schlabach. In an email communication of October 15, 2007, Conner directly referenced “Resentment over my mentioned discovery of the removal/replacement of an appraisal review that I conducted. That appraisal review contained substantial observations and suggestions. The transaction and parties involved were high profile in the media.I am under the impression that the FBI has since looked at the file.””
“18. On October 23, 2007, eight days after Conner’s October 15, 2007 email to Schlabach attached as Exhibit J, Mutual Bank terminated Conner’s employment for pretextual reasons.”
Kenneth J Conner lawsuit:
I will not let the mainstream media ignore or downplay these stories.
I trust you will help in this endeavor.