Obama Chicago corruption buddy Ali Ata sentencing July 17, 2012, Obama and Ata frequent Rezko visitors, Ata real and straw donations to Obama, Ata Obama Arab connection
“Ata was very close with Tony Rezko, visiting Rezko’s Chicago office at least once a week to discuss business.”…Fox News Rezko trial
“In the media, Obama made it sound like he rarely saw Rezko, saying they met for breakfast or lunch once or twice a year. However, the FBI mole John Thomas helped investigators “build a record of repeat visits to the old offices of Rezko and former business partner Daniel Mahru’s Rezmar Corp., at 853 N. Elston, by Blagojevich and Obama during 2004 and 2005,“…Chicago SunTimes February 10, 2008
“Thomas is an FBI mole and he “recently told us that he saw you coming and going from Rezko’s office a lot.””
“And three other sources told us that you and Rezko spoke on the phone daily.””…Chicago SunTimes March 14, 2008
“Ata also donated $5,000 to Obama’s campaign in 2003 and Rezko asked Ata to make straw donation to Obama’s campaign for $10,000″…Tony Rezko trial
Ali Ata, a key witness at the Tony Rezko trial, contributor to Barack Obama and Obama Arab special interest connection is scheduled to be sentenced next Tuesday, July 17, 2012, in the courtroom of Judge James Zagel.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (As of 07/13/12 at 08:48:05 AM)
Honorable James B. Zagel Courtroom 2503 (JBZ)
1:06-cr-00729 USA v. Ata 01:45 Sentencing
From Citizen Wells June 9, 2012.
From the Tony Rezko trial.
“The witness some refer to as the government’s secret weapon — Ali Ata — is now on the stand.
Ata was very close with Tony Rezko, visiting Rezko’s Chicago office at least once a week to discuss business. Ata recently pleaded guilty to charges of tax fraud and lying to FBI agents about Rezko’s influence. Today Ata is testifying about his relationship with Rezko.
Born and raised in Jordan, Ata, 56, moved to the U.S. in 1970 to go to college at UIC in Chicago. Ata first became friends with Rezko after Ata was let go from his job as a chemical engineer in 2001. Ata testified that a few days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks FBI agents visited him at his work to question him. Ata shares the same last name as one of the 9/11 hijackers. Two weeks after the FBI’s visit, Ata’s employer offered him an early retirement package. Ata called it “devastating.”
As part of his plea agreement, Ata has agreed to testify against Rezko in exchange for a lighter prison sentence of 12-18 months (The maximum sentence was eight years).
Ata says in 2002 he donated $50,000 to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s campaign. In return Tony Rezko secured Ata a position as the head of the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA). Between 2003-2004 Ata says he contributed $125,000 to Blagojevich’s campaign based on requests from Rezko.
Ata also donated $5,000 to Obama’s campaign in 2003 and Rezko asked Ata to make straw donation to Obama’s campaign for $10,000, he said. The Democratic presidential candidate has donated Rezko-related contributions to charity.”
“Rezko’s next trial will focus on the fraudulent financial transactions with GE and the mystery of what happened to the missing $3.5 million from the loan made to Rezko the month before the mansion deal may be resolved.
The corruption in this case involves the Illinois Finance Authority. The IFA was established, “to support the Governor of Illinois’ economic development agenda,” and “IFA approves about $3 billion in project financing each year,” according to its web site.
Co-schemer Ali Ata was appointed to lead the IFA. He made a $5,000 donation to Obama on June 30, 2003.
Talat Othman was appointed to the IFA Board, and he donated $1,000 toObama on June 30, 2003.
David Gustman was made chairman, and his wife, Lisa, also gave Obama$1,000 on June 30.
Co-schemer Abdelhamid Chaib is the former the director of RezkoConcessions. Chaib’s wife was appointed to the Department of Employment Security Review Board. Obama received $5,000 from Chaib on June 30, 2003.
This indictment alleges that Rezko fraudulently caused GE to extend more than $10 million in loans to finance what Rezko portrayed as sales of two different groups of Papa John’’s pizza restaurants in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas.
After closing on the loan for the Chicago stores, the loan became delinquent, andRezko caused additional false financial information to be submitted to GE in asking for forebearance on the default, the indictment says. It also alleges thatRezko defrauded investors by concealing that he was transferring the company’s assets to himself and a straw purchaser.
As part of the scheme, Ata signed a letter on Finance Authority letterhead that falsely made it appear that Dr Paul Ray had applied for financing with the IFA for acquisition of the pizza restaurants. The letter stated that Ray’s financing would be recommended for approval by the IFA Board on March 15, 2004, and that the IFA would guarantee 50% of the total $16 million.
Ray contributed $3,000 to Obama on June 30, 2003. Ray also gave Obama$2,000 on October 2003, on top of a donation of $1,000 on December 31, 2002. Ray was an investor in Riverside Park.
During the Rezko trial, Ata testified that he told Rezko that IFA board members were worried over the approval of financing for the Papa John’s deal because there could be negative publicity due to Rezko’s association with the pizza businesses
But Ata said Rezko scoffed at the concerns. “He said as far as the publicity, he will get the governor’s office to approve the transaction, and as far as the board,”Ata told the jury, Rezko said, “We put them there.”
Rezko eventually called Ata and dictated the language of a letter that said IFA was guaranteeing half of the purchase price. But before the deal could go through, Ata brought the chairman, David Gustman, and the board’s financial advisers to Rezko’s office to tell him they did not believe the financing was good for IFA. Ata said Rezko seemed to agree, but he never gave back the letter Ata wrote on Ray’s behalf.
More Combine members throw in the towel
Testimony in the first trial opened the door to evidence in other Board Game cases and more Combine members threw in the towel. Ali Ata entered into a plea agreement in the GE case a week before the trial was set to end and he was the last witness to testify.
Ata pled guilty to charges that included tax fraud, and lying to the FBI in saying he received nothing in return for $50,000 in contributions to Blagojevichwhen according to the plea agreement, he did “receive something for those contributions, specifically employment with a state agency … with an annual salary of approximately $127,000.”
According to court filings, Ata also lied when he “intentionally concealed that he paid Rezko approximately $125,000 in cash … during 2003 and 2004 so that he could obtain a state appointment and then ensure its continuation.”
On his last day on the stand, Ata told the jury he finally agreed to cooperate with the Feds after a person delivered a threat to him. He told prosecutors he lied to the FBI because he was encouraged to be a “team player” by people acting onRezko’’s behalf and when he received a grand jury subpoena in late 2005, people contacted him in an effort to stop him from cooperating.
Ata testified he gave Rezko the money because he wanted to keep his job. He told the jury he used to drop by Rezko’s office and would see other top officials waiting to see Rezko and in order to keep their jobs people had to follow orders and become a team player.
For instance, Ata said, he often saw Kelly King Dibble, a former Rezmar employee, who became director of the Illinois Housing Authority. But when Dibble balked at hiring a Rezko relative, Ata said, Rezko passed a message to Dibble “congratulating her on her new assignment,” and the new assignment was unemployment.
“It emphasized that you need to be a team player and follow the rules if you’re going to be a part of the administration,” Ata told the jury on May 1, 2008.
Dibble donated $250 to Obama on June 30, 2003, $250 on January 23, 2004, and $250 on April 25, 2007. She is now an attorney with the Northern Trust,Obama’s Land Trust holder. On September 30, 2007, Dribble donated $1,000 to Obama presidential campaign.
Ata testified that he and Rezko once delivered $50,000 in cash to the home of co-schemer Christopher Kelly and left it in the car while they went inside.Ata said Rezko told him, “there’s somebody from Downstate that’s coming to pick up the money.”
Ata said he delivered another $25,000 to Rezko in early 2004, because Rezkosaid it was needed to pay contractors to stop them from filing a lien onBlagojevich’s home.
Ata also explained that Rezko made a problem with a state lease disappear in exchange for a 25% ownership in a real estate partnership. When Rezko’sattorney pressed for details about how that worked, Ata said Rezko had gone to Michael Rumman to get the matter resolved, the head of the Department of Central Management Services.
Ata says that after he met with the Feds for the first time, he got a voice-mail from Rumman saying Rumman was traveling with “our friend,” meaning Rezko,asking Ata to delay the meeting with investigators.
The other person who pressured Ata was Orlando Jones, the godson and former chief of staff to the deceased former Cook County Board President, John Stroger. Jones was a former vice president of Rezmar development company and an investor in Riverside Park.
Prosecutors say Jones also wanted Ata to lean on another Rezko associate to get him to stop cooperating. Ata told prosecutors that Jones reassured him thatRezko was working to kill the Board Games investigation by getting the Bush administration to fire Fitzgerald. “Don’t worry, the plan is still in place,” Jones told Ata.
Jones committed suicide in September 2007, after news of a pending indictment in a pay-to-play scheme reaching all the way to Las Vegas hit the media. “The discovery of Jones’ body came just two days after FBI agents approached Jones,” FBI spokesman Frank Bochte told the Sun-Times. Jones “cordially declined” to speak with Chicago agents.
The scheme in Las Vegas involved a company called Crystal Communications, lead by Martello Pollock. On June 30, 2003, Pollock donated $1,000 toObama.
According to the Sun-Times, Jones had been interviewed by federal authorities a while before his death about fees he received from pension fund deals approved by the Illinois Board of Investments.”
“Combine members of Middle Eastern Descent
Ata is a former president of the Chicago Chapter of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. He represents “a deeper corruption” in the Arab American community, “an aspect of the story that has not received much attention,” according to a May 2, 2008 report by Ray Hanania in the Southwest News-Herald.
Hanania points out that many in the Arab community are calling Ata a “rat.” But he’s not alone, Hanania says:
“The real rats are those who used their positions as “leaders” to rape and pillage their own community. The real rats are the so-called ““leaders” who worked to benefit themselves pretending they were doing it for the benefit of the community.”
In his report, Hanania explains how Ata and others would help organize political dinners attended by Arab Americans from the suburbs at which politicians where “honored.”
“These Arab community “leaders,” he says, “would tell the community that if they bought tickets to their “candidate’s nights,” their organization fundraisers or donated through them to local politicians, these politicians would respond by giving the Arab American community empowerment.”
“In truth,” Hanania says, “these political leaders lied.”
“They did get jobs, contracts and clout,” he notes, “but the people who benefited were not members of the community but rather the relatives, children, friends and business associates of these leaders.”
Ata has done well as a member of the Combine. In 2004, his net worth was $12 million, according to the Tribune. In one state deal, Ata and partners, Faysal Mohamed, Fuad Mohamed and Refat Zayed, “took in more than $3.2 million from taxpayers by leasing a West Side office building to the state over 10 years,” the June 6, 2005 Sun-Times notes.”