Category Archives: Chicago SunTimes

Blagojevich prosecutor Reid Schar leads CHA team investigating bid rigging, Demolish Chicago’s high rise low income housing projects, Minority bidder loses contract employees fired

Blagojevich prosecutor Reid Schar leads CHA team investigating bid rigging, Demolish Chicago’s high rise low income housing projects, Minority bidder loses contract employees fired

 
“The squat brick buildings of Grove Parc Plaza, in a dense neighborhood that Barack Obama represented for eight years as a state senator, hold 504 apartments subsidized by the federal government for people who can’t afford to live anywhere else.

But it’s not safe to live here.

About 99 of the units are vacant, many rendered uninhabitable by unfixed problems, such as collapsed roofs and fire damage. Mice scamper through the halls. Battered mailboxes hang open. Sewage backs up into kitchen sinks. In 2006, federal inspectors graded the condition of the complex an 11 on a 100-point scale – a score so bad the buildings now face demolition.”

“As a state senator, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee coauthored an Illinois law creating a new pool of tax credits for developers. As a US senator, he pressed for increased federal subsidies. And as a presidential candidate, he has campaigned on a promise to create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund that could give developers an estimated $500 million a year.

But a Globe review found that thousands of apartments across Chicago that had been built with local, state, and federal subsidies – including several hundred in Obama’s former district – deteriorated so completely that they were no longer habitable.”

“Among those tied to Obama politically, personally, or professionally are:

Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama’s presidential campaign and a member of his finance committee. Jarrett is the chief executive of Habitat Co., which managed Grove Parc Plaza from 2001 until this winter and co-managed an even larger subsidized complex in Chicago that was seized by the federal government in 2006, after city inspectors found widespread problems.”

“Antoin “Tony” Rezko, perhaps the most important fund-raiser for Obama’s early political campaigns and a friend who helped the Obamas buy a home in 2005. Rezko’s company used subsidies to rehabilitate more than 1,000 apartments, mostly in and around Obama’s district, then refused to manage the units, leaving the buildings to decay to the point where many no longer were habitable.

Campaign finance records show that six prominent developers – including Jarrett, Davis, and Rezko – collectively contributed more than $175,000 to Obama’s campaigns over the last decade and raised hundreds of thousands more from other donors. Rezko alone raised at least $200,000, by Obama’s own accounting.”…Boston Globe June 27, 2008

From the Chicago SunTimes July 8, 2013.
“CHA brings in Blagojevich prosecutor for probe of $3.9 million deal”
“The former federal prosecutor who sent Gov. Rod Blagojevich to prison is leading a Chicago Housing Authority investigation to determine whether the competitive bidding process for a $3.9 million contract to oversee the construction and rehabilitation of hundreds of taxpayer-subsidized CHA apartments was rigged, sources told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Reid Schar heads a team of 11 attorneys from the law firm Jenner & Block who have been examining contract bids the CHA received earlier this year from a group of companies led by McKissack & McKissack that oversaw the work for the past 10 years, and three other bidders, the sources say.

Soon after Schar, who was the lead prosecutor in the Blagojevich corruption case, began investigating, the CHA fired two longtime employees of the public housing agency who had overseen the McKissack contract for several years, working with McKissack employees out of the CHA’s Loop offices.

McKissack — a minority-owned company from Washington, D.C., that also has offices in Chicago — ended up offering the lowest price in its effort to hold onto the CHA contract, the sources say.

But the housing authority instead gave the job to Gilbane Inc., awarding it a $3.9 million contract at a special board meeting June 28. Gilbane is set to begin work Monday.”
“McKissack was founded in 1990 by Deryl McKissack, an African-American woman whose family has been in the architectural and engineering business for more than 100 years. It has overseen projects across the United States, including expansions of McCormick Place and O’Hare Airport and construction of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. McKissack began overseeing the CHA work in 2003. Three years later, she formed a joint venture with two other businesses — the Rise Group and URS Corp. Operating under the name the Partnership for Transformation, the McKissack group won a $16.4 million CHA contract under which it continued to oversee the work. In 2010, the joint venture won a new $9 million contract, extending the deal. That contract expired June 30.

The McKissack group wasn’t initially the low bidder with its proposal to continue overseeing the work beyond that date, according to sources.

They say CHA officials — including the two employees who later were fired — began interviewing representatives from McKissack and the three other bidders. The CHA officials asked the bidders to submit their “best-and-final” offers — a process the CHA repeated twice, ending with McKissack having the lowest bid, according to several sources.”

Read more:

http://www.suntimes.com/20961576-761/cha-brings-in-blagojevich-prosecutor-for-probe-of-39-million-deal.html

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Obama rips off African Americans from Rezko slum housing to high unemployment higher gas prices higher food prices, Rezko contributed to Obama not slum housing heating bill

Obama rips off African Americans from Rezko slum housing to high unemployment higher gas prices higher food prices, Rezko contributed to Obama not slum housing heating bill

“Rezko and Mahru couldn’t find money to get the heat back on.
But their company, Rezmar Corp., did come up with $1,000 to give to the political campaign fund of Barack Obama, the newly elected state senator whose district included the unheated building.”…Chicago SunTimes April 23, 2007

“Obama also defended signing a 1998 letter urging the state to fund a low-income housing project developed by Rezko and Obama’s former boss, Allison Davis — both of whom were clients of Obama’s law firm as well as campaign contributors. Obama said he didn’t remember writing the “form letter” until the Sun-Times asked about it last June.”…Chicago SunTimes March 16, 2008 

“However, when the CHD funds Alinsky-style, church-based community organizations as in the best interest of the poor and supports organizations which advance other agendas, it divests the poor of their right to an authentic voice. This process tends to treat the poor as exploited units of human capital, rather than as human beings created in the dignity of God’s image.”…1997 report to the Catholic Bishops

There is nothing new in the following report, but in assisting whistleblower Kenneth J. Conner with some research, I revisited some old articles and information and it is presented to perhaps some individuals who are now more skeptical of Obama.

When the Democrats took control of both houses of Congress in January 2007, the unemployment rate for African Americans was 7.9 percent.

When Barack Obama took office in January 2009, the unemployment rate for African Americans was 12.7 percent.

The current unemployment rate for African Americans is 14.3 percent.

http://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cpsatab2.htm

Gasoline prices have doubled since Obama took office and consequently other consumer products such as food have risen as well.

But Obama didn’t begin ripping off African Americans when he took office.

From the Chicago SunTimes April 23, 2007.

“Obama and his Rezko ties”

“For more than five weeks during the brutal winter of 1997, tenants shivered without heat in a government-subsidized apartment building on Chicago’s South Side.

It was just four years after the landlords — Antoin “Tony” Rezko and his partner Daniel Mahru — had rehabbed the 31-unit building in Englewood with a loan from Chicago taxpayers.

Rezko and Mahru couldn’t find money to get the heat back on.

But their company, Rezmar Corp., did come up with $1,000 to give to the political campaign fund of Barack Obama, the newly elected state senator whose district included the unheated building.

Obama has been friends with Rezko for 17 years. Rezko has been a political patron to Obama and many others, helping to raise millions of dollars for them through his own contributions and by hosting fund-raisers in his home.

Obama, who has worked as a lawyer and a legislator to improve living conditions for the poor, took campaign donations from Rezko even as Rezko’s low-income housing empire was collapsing, leaving many African-American families in buildings riddled with problems — including squalid living conditions, vacant apartments, lack of heat, squatters and drug dealers.

The building in Englewood was one of 30 Rezmar rehabbed in a series of troubled deals largely financed by taxpayers. Every project ran into financial difficulty. More than half went into foreclosure, a Chicago Sun-Times investigation has found.

“Their buildings were falling apart,” said a former city official. “They just didn’t pay attention to the condition of these buildings.”

Eleven of Rezko’s buildings were in Obama’s state Senate district.

Obama, now a U.S. senator running for president, has come under fire over his friendship with Rezko, who was charged last fall with demanding kickbacks on state business deals under Gov. Blagojevich.

Much of the criticism has centered on two real estate deals involving Obama’s South Side mansion. In the first, Obama paid $300,000 less than the asking price for a doctor’s home, while Rezko’s wife paid the doctor full price for the vacant lot next door. Then — a few months before Rezko was indicted — Obama bought part of that lot from Rezko’s wife.

But Obama’s ties with Rezko go beyond those two real estate sales and the political support, the Sun-Times found. Obama was an attorney with a small Chicago law firm — Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland — that helped Rezmar get more than $43 million in government funding to rehab 15 of their 30 apartment buildings for the poor.

Obama role unclear

Just what legal work — and how much — Obama did on those deals is unknown. His campaign staff acknowledges he worked on some of them. But the Rezmar-related work amounted to just five hours over the six years it said Obama was affiliated with the law firm, the staff said in an e-mail in February.

Obama, however, was associated with the firm for more than nine years, his staff acknowledged Sunday in an e-mail response to questions submitted March 14 by the Sun-Times. They didn’t say what deals he worked on — or how much work he did.

“The senator, relatively inexperienced in this kind of work, was assigned to tasks appropriate for a junior lawyer,” according to an e-mail from Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs. “These tasks would have included reviewing documents, collecting corporate organizational documents, and drafting corporate resolutions.”

In fact, Gibbs wrote, “Senator Obama does not remember having conversations with Tony Rezko about properties that he owned or any specific issues related to those properties.”

Rezko and Mahru had no construction experience when they created Rezmar in 1989 to rehabilitate apartments for the poor under the Daley administration. Between 1989 and 1998, Rezmar made deals to rehab 30 buildings, a total of 1,025 apartments. The last 15 buildings involved Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland during Obama’s time with the firm.

Rezko and Mahru also managed the buildings, which were supposed to provide homes for poor people for 30 years. Every one of the projects ran into trouble:

•                    Seventeen buildings — many beset with code violations, including a lack of heat — ended up in foreclosure.

•                    Six buildings are currently boarded up.

•                    Hundreds of the apartments are vacant, in need of major repairs.

•                    Taxpayers have been stuck with millions in unpaid loans.

•                    At least a dozen times, the city of Chicago sued Rezmar for failure to heat buildings.

For five weeks, the Sun-Times sought to interview Obama about Rezko and the housing deals. His staff wanted written questions. It responded Sunday but left many questions unanswered. Other answers didn’t directly address the question.

Among these: When did Obama learn of Rezmar’s financial problems? “The senator had no special knowledge of any financial problems,” Gibbs wrote.

Did the senator ever complain to anyone — government officials, Rezmar or Rezko — about the conditions of Rezmar’s buildings? “Senator Obama did follow up on constituency complaints about housing as [a] matter of routine,” Gibbs wrote.

Did the senator ever discuss Rezmar’s financial problems with anyone at his law firm? “The firm advises us that it [is] unaware of any such conversations,” Gibbs wrote.

Turns down Rezmar job

Obama’s friendship with Rezko began with a telephone call.

It was 17 years ago. Obama had just become the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. Newspapers wrote about him. One story caught the eye of David Brint, a vice president of Rezmar, a new company that had become the Daley administration’s favored developer of low-income housing.

“I just cold-called him,” Brint said in an interview.

Brint said he wanted to know if Obama would come work for Rezmar, developing housing for the poor — something Obama had expressed interest in, according to the story Brint had read. Brint arranged for Obama to meet Rezko, but Obama didn’t take the job.

Obama, who has a law degree from Harvard, subsequently returned to Chicago to lead a voter-registration drive in 1992.

The next year, Obama joined Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland, a 12-lawyer firm that specialized in helping develop low-income housing. The firm’s top partner, Allison S. Davis, was, and is, a member of the Chicago Plan Commission, appointed by Mayor Daley. Davis was also a friend of Rezko. Davis and Rezko would eventually go into business together, developing homes.

Another firm partner, Judson Miner, ran the city Law Department under Mayor Harold Washington, one of Obama’s political idols.

Asked what Rezko cases Obama worked on, Miner told the Sun-Times, “We’ll put together a list of the cases he worked on involving Rezko/Rezmar in the next day or two.”

That was March 13. He never provided the information.

While at the law firm, Obama spent much of his time working on issues that would help improve conditions in poor neighborhoods, according to his first book, Dreams from My Father, published in 1996.

“In my legal practice, I work mostly with churches and community groups, men and women who quietly build grocery stores and health clinics in the inner city, and housing for the poor,” Obama wrote in the book.

Three community groups represented by Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland were partners with Rezmar in the troubled housing deals.

Rezko offers Obama support

Obama had been at the firm for two years when he began his political career, running to replace state Sen. Alice Palmer.

Rezko became Obama’s political patron. Obama got his first campaign contributions on July 31, 1995: $300 from a Loop lawyer, a $5,000 loan from a car dealer, and $2,000 from two food companies owned by Rezko.

Around that time, Rezmar began developing low-income apartments in partnerships with the Chicago Urban League and two other not-for-profit community groups, both founded and run by Bishop Arthur Brazier, pastor of the Apostolic Church of God and a powerful ally of the mayor — the Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corp., known as WPIC, and the Fund for Community Redevelopment and Revitalization.

All three community groups were clients of the Davis law firm. Davis himself was treasurer of WPIC when it went into business with Rezmar.

Why go into business with Rezmar? “We thought they were successful,” Davis said, noting that little development was taking place in Woodlawn.

At the time, Rezmar had been in business for six years and had become one of City Hall’s favored developers of low-income housing, managing 600 apartments in 15 buildings it rehabbed with government funding. Teaming now with community development groups, Rezmar rehabbed another 15 buildings, with 400 apartments, between 1995 and 1998. Each deal involved a mix of public and private financing — loans from the city or state, federal low-income-housing tax credits and bank loans.

By the time Rezmar started working with those community groups, at least two of its earlier buildings were falling into disrepair — including the Englewood apartment building at 7000 S. Sangamon where the tenants were without heat for five weeks.

The tenants there had no heat from Dec. 27, 1996, until at least Feb. 3, 1997, when the city of Chicago sued to turn the heat on. The case was settled later that month with a $100 fine.

It was during that time that the area’s new state senator, Barack Obama, got a $1,000 campaign donation from Rezmar. The date: Jan. 14, 1997.

Obama works on Rezmar deals

Obama spent the next eight years serving in the Illinois Senate and continued to work for the Davis law firm.

Through its partnerships, Rezmar remained a client of the firm, according to ethics statements Obama filed while a state senator.

Davis said he didn’t remember Obama working on the Rezmar projects.

“I don’t recall Barack having any involvement in real estate transactions,” Davis said. “Barack was a litigator. His area of focus was litigation, class-action suits.”

But Obama did legal work on real estate deals while at Davis’ firm, according to biographical information he submitted to the Sun-Times in 1998. Obama specialized “in civil rights litigation, real estate financing, acquisition, construction and/or redevelopment of low-and moderate income housing,” according to his “biographical sketch.”

And he did legal work on Rezko’s deals, according to an e-mail his presidential campaign staff sent the Sun-Times on Feb. 16, in response to earlier inquiries. The staff didn’t specify which Rezmar projects Obama worked on, or his role. But it drew a distinction between working for Rezko and working on projects involving his company.

“Senator Obama did not directly represent Mr. Rezko or his firms. He did represent on a very limited basis ventures in which Mr. Rezko’s entities participated along with others,” according to the e-mail from Obama’s staff.

Obama buys Rezko land

Over the years, Rezko, Mahru, their wives and businesses have given more than $50,000 to Obama’s campaign funds, records show. And Rezko has helped raise millions more.

Rezko was among the people Obama appointed to serve on his U.S. Senate campaign finance committee, the Sun-Times reported in 2003. The committee raised more than $14 million, according to Federal Election Commission records, helping send Obama to Washington in 2004.

As a U.S. senator, Obama grew closer to Rezko.

Two years ago, Obama bought a mansion on the South Side, in the Kenwood neighborhood, from a doctor. On the same day, Rezko’s wife, Rita Rezko, bought the vacant lot next door from the same seller. The doctor had listed the properties for sale together. He sold the house to Obama for $300,000 below the asking price. The doctor got his asking price on the lot from Rezko’s wife.

Last year, Rita Rezko sold a strip of that vacant lot to Obama for $104,500 — a deal Obama later apologized for, acknowledging that people might think he got a favor from Rezko. Obama called the episode “boneheaded” and a “mistake.”

At the time Obama bought that strip of land, it had been reported that Rezko was under federal investigation for influence-peddling involving the administration of Blagojevich, whose campaign also received Rezko’s financial support.

Rezko has since been indicted for allegedly demanding kickbacks from companies seeking state business under Blagojevich. Rezko’s trial has been postponed while investigators sort through his finances.

‘Disenchanted with Rezmar’

Rezmar’s final low-income housing deals involving the Davis law firm went bad quickly.

Those deals were supposed to provide affordable housing for at least 25 years. But the first deal Rezmar struck with the Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corp. collapsed in just six and a half years, when the state sued for foreclosure. WPIC and its sister agency, the Fund for Community Redevelopment and Revitalization, ultimately forced Rezmar to give up control of all 12 buildings they rehabbed together, citing financial troubles and deteriorating conditions of the buildings.

The state foreclosure suit came because Rezmar had stopped making monthly mortgage payments in March 2001 on a state loan to help turn an old nursing home into low-income apartments at 6140 S. Drexel, in Obama’s state Senate district.

“WPIC became disenchanted with Rezmar and wanted to get rid of them,” Brazier said. “They thought the buildings weren’t being kept up properly. There were some financial problems.”

Rezmar and WPIC cut all ties last October, when the Chicago City Council agreed to let Rezmar out of a city loan. Rezmar transferred its interest to The Wolcott Group, a management company run by business partners of David Brint — the man who had introduced Rezko to Obama.”

http://web.archive.org/web/20070425020526/http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/353829,CST-NWS-rez23.article

Stuart Levine Obama Rezko corruption buddy gets sentencing date, Levine to be sentenced June 28, 2012, Stuart Levine Rezko trial witness

Stuart Levine Obama Rezko corruption buddy gets sentencing date, Levine to be sentenced June 28, 2012, Stuart Levine Rezko trial witness

“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 has David Wilhelm supported and protected Obama?”…Citizen Wells

“I believe I’m more pristine on Rezko than him.”…Rod Blagojevich

From the Chicago SunTimes April 17, 2012.

“Stuart Levine, major cooperator in #Blagojevich case, finally gets sentencing date”

“The longtime federal witness whose testimony has brought down some of the biggest names in Illinois, is finally scheduled to be sentenced.
U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve on Tuesday set a June 28 sentencing date for Stuart Levine, who testified in the trials of political fixer Tony Rezko and Downstate powerbroker William Cellini. Both Rezko and Cellini were convicted at their trials.
She also scheduled a Sept. 7 sentencing date for Steve Loren, the onetime attorney for the Teachers Retirement System who has also pleaded guilty and testified for the government.
Levine once sat on two state boards. He is an admitted drug user and serial conman who from the witness stand told of a lifetime of scams and swindles including paying out bribes and extorting others who were seeking state work.
Levine had worked out a deal with prosecutors to serve about five and a half years behind bars. It’s a deal that defense lawyers have criticized for years, arguing that Levine will see less prison time even though he pocketed actual money.
Prosecutors though say Levine’s cooperation was invaluable.
At Rod Blagojevich’s December sentencing Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar called Levine one of the most significant cooperators the Dirksen Federal Courthouse had ever seen.
The ultimate decision on Levine’s sentence will be up to St. Eve, who asked prosecutors this morning to include in filings the extent of Levine’s cooperation.
Rezko’s trial was before St. Eve. Last year, she sentenced him to 10 ½ years behind bars.”

http://blogs.suntimes.com/blago/2012/04/stuart_levine_major_cooperator.html

Obama protected by Rezko prosecutors, Prosecutor notes reveal intent, Judge Amy St. Eve allowed, Why were Obama and David Wilhelm protected?

Obama protected by Rezko prosecutors, Prosecutor notes reveal intent, Judge Amy St. Eve allowed, Why were Obama and David Wilhelm protected?

“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 Daniel Frawley provide $ 400,000 for Tony Rezko to give to Obama?”…Citizen Wells

“I believe I’m more pristine on Rezko than him.”…Rod Blagojevich

Before I continue with corruption in Chicago involving Barack Obama and David Wihelm and asking why they were not indicted, it is appropriate to visit news from June 27, 2008. The Chicago SunTimes reported that newly unsealed documents revealed that prosecutors in the Tony Rezko trial were considering calling witnesses that would implicate Obama in Rezko’s corruption activities.

The link

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/rezko/1027788,CST-NWS-rezkoside27.article

is not active.

However, Natasha Korecki of the SunTimes presented a recap on June 26, 2008.

“Obama’s Rezko ties kept under seal

In January, the Sun-Times reported that a portion of the Tony Rezko case led to Barack Obama’s campaign fund. Obama isn’t accused of doing anything wrong. But Rezko allegedly used straw donors to kick into Obama’s campaign fund during his run for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

While none of that came out at trial, today, for the first time, a filing recently unsealed shows the government’s initial intent to call witnesses about that aspect of the case. The judge in the case, Amy St. Eve, ruled that the prosecution could bring up Obama’s name. But they never did. And references to Obama were not only kept out of the trial during his run for the primary — it was kept under seal. Until today.

The filing indicates that the prosecution wanted witnesses to talk about Rezko’s prowess as an Obama fund-raiser and his influence in getting two others — Joseph Aramanda and Semir Sirazi — to donate Rezko money to Obama’s campaigns in their names. The money kicked into Obama’s campaigns came from an illicit kickback scheme. Obama has since donated that money to charity.”

http://blogs.suntimes.com/rezko/2008/06/obamas_rezko_ties_kept_under_s.html

Larry Johnson of No Quarter USA provides some insight.

“Recently Unsealed Court Documents Confirm Obama Heavily Embroiled in Rezko Case”

“According to today’s edition of the Chicago Sun-Times, “Barack Obama’s name could have been invoked more at the corruption trial of his former fund-raiser Tony Rezko.”  But prosecutors instead chose to focus on the first target of Fitzgerald’s probe: convicted slumlord and notorious Chicago political fixer Antoin “Tony” Rezko, the man who helped Obama purchase his Kenwood mansion in 2005.

The prosecutors’ decision to refrain from discussing Obama’s deep imbrication in the Rezko scandal during the trial does not exonerate the Senator from Illinois, however.  I quote US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who issued the following admonition in the wake of Rezko’s conviction:

 U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said the verdict represented “an antidote to the poison of corruption” that trial testimony alleged included the fixing of state boards that controlled a $40 billion pension fund and made major decisions about million-dollar hospital construction. He expressed hope it would have an effect on Illinois politicians. “If morals don’t get to them, I hope the fear of going to jail does,” Fitzgerald told reporters.

Fitzgerald and the prosecutors are particularly concerned with Obama’s acceptance of “straw” campaign contributions others made on Rezko’s behalf.  I quote the Sun-Times:

The Illinois senator was the recipient of “straw” campaign contributions made by others on behalf of Rezko — money that Obama has since given to charities.

The documents indicate that prosecutors considered offering witnesses to explore why Rezko used others to contribute to Obama and also to Blagojevich, and U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve ruled that they could.But they did not end up offering any such testimony during the trial.

“Witnesses will testify that Rezko was a long-standing supporter and fund-raiser of Barack Obama,” prosecutors wrote.

One contribution with which prosecutors are concerned is the donation Joseph Aramanda, an associate of Rezko who is also known as “Individual D” in the superseding indictment Fitzgerald’s prosecutors filed, submitted to Obama in 2004.  A Chicago Sun-Times article dated 24 December 2007 summarizes the situation quite succinctly:

Aramanda is identified as “Individual D” in Rezko’s indictment. And when Levine pleaded guilty in October, Aramanda again was listed as “Individual D.”

Aramanda was identified by the Sun-Times as “Individual D,” who allegedly received a $250,000 kickback tied to a scheme to steer lucrative state pension deals to firms and consultants that donated to Blagojevich. Aramanda is not specifically named or charged with criminal wrongdoing in the court papers. He did not return a call seeking comment Saturday.

Aramanda’s son, by the way, was rewarded an internship in Obama’s Senate office in Washington, DC, at the behest of Antoin “Tony” Rezko.  Why do the words quid pro quo come to mind unbidden?

Because the evidence the prosecutors presented regarding Obama’s involvement with Rezko and Aramanda is so compelling, Judge St. Eve ruled it was appropriate for prosecutors to invoke the name of Barack Obama during the Rezko trial.  All this prompts a few questions:

  • Do the prosecutors involved in Operation Board Games intend to broach other aspects of Obama’s deep and problematic entanglements with Antoin “Tony” Rezko?
  • Will this scandal resurface after the Democratic Convention in August?
  • Is Rezko the first of many corrupt Chicago machine dominoes to fall?
  • Are Presidential candidates usually embroiled in fraudulent schemes involving investment firms, the Illinois Teachers’ Pension Fund and questionable campaign contributions?

No Quarter promises to alert readers to any and all developments involing Patrick Fitzgerald, Barack Obama and the unscrupulous Antoin “Tony” Rezko.”

http://www.noquarterusa.net/blog/3276/recently-unsealed-documents-reveal-obama-deeply-embroiled-in-rezko-case/

Obama corruption pals in news, John Glennon gets no time, John Harris and Alonzo Monk sentenced this week, Rep Aaron Schock Il Obama ties to Chicago machine

Obama corruption pals in news, John Glennon gets no time, John Harris and Alonzo Monk sentenced this week, Rep Aaron Schock Il Obama ties to Chicago machine

“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

“I believe I’m more pristine on Rezko than him.”…Rod Blagojevich

From the Chicago SunTimes March 21, 2012.

“Judge: I won’t send former Blagojevich aide to prison”

“John Glennon, a former top aide to imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, leaves the Dirksen Federal Building after his sentencing was continued on Wednesday, March 21, 2012. Glennon pleaded guilty and cooperated with authorities about his role in helping cover up kickbacks involving Stuart Levine under Blagojevich.

A federal judge in Chicago said Wednesday he has no intention of sending businessman John Glennon, a lesser-known figure caught up in the corruption scandal involving former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, to prison.

U.S. District Judge John Grady told Glennon he would delay his sentencing until April 9 and that he plans to sentence him then to probation and community service.

Glennon was charged in 2005 with covering up kickbacks involving state boards controlled by insiders connected to the now-imprisoned Blagojevich.

In 2007, Glennon pleaded guilty to failing to report a felony, a crime that carries a maximum three-year prison term.”

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/11442207-418/sentencing-wednesday-in-blagojevich-related-case.html

More on John Glennon later.

From the Chicago SunTimes March 19, 2012.

“Five snared with Blago to be sentenced in next three months”

“With Rod Blagojevich now in prison, five others snared in the investigation that put the ex-governor behind bars are to be sentenced soon. All but one, William Cellini, has pleaded guilty. Wednesday:

John Glennon, a former adviser to now-imprisoned ex-Gov. George Ryan, is to be sentenced for covering up kickbacks that involved Stuart Levine, convicted of corrupting two state boards Blagojevich controlled.

March 28: John Harris, Blagojevich’s former chief of staff, is to be sentenced after admitting he helped Blagojevich try to sell an appointment to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.

March 29: Alonzo ‘Lon’ Monk, another former Blagojevich chief of staff, is to be sentenced after testifying that he schemed with Blagojevich to get rich off state deals.

June 14: Ali Ata, former head of the Illinois Finance Authority, is to be sentenced after admitting he lied to the FBI when he said that campaign contributions he had made to Blagojevich didn’t help him land his state job.

June 15: Cellini, a longtime political power broker, is to be sentenced for attempting to extort $1.5 million for Blagojevich’s campaign fund.”

http://www.suntimes.com/news/watchdogs/11344455-452/five-snared-with-blago-to-be-sentenced-in-next-three-months.html

From the Huffington Post March 21, 2012.

“Aaron Schock Links Obama ‘Team’ To Blagojevich On ‘Morning Joe'”

“U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Tuesday and criticized President Obama’s ties to what he called the “Chicago machine,” claiming that the president is aligned with the same political forces who helped elect former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

“Illinois voters, even the most conservative ones, understand Barack Obama better than probably most of the nation, not only because they know President Obama but they also know his team that is really kind of the Chicago machine apparatus who’s run statewide elections here in Illinois for decades,” Schock explained.

“Many of these folks were the same ones that were able to get Governor Blagojevich re-elected to his second term,” the congressman continued. “They know how to run tough and dirty campaigns and we know whoever we nominate is going to go up against President Obama’s stated goal which is a billion dollars in [his] campaign war chest.””

“Tuesday did not mark the first time Schock has slammed “Chicago-style politics.” While campaigning for Romney in Iowa last year, he commented that, “being in Iowa, you know what it means to be a Chicago politician. You know what kind of races Chicago politicians run.””

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/21/aaron-schock-on-morning-j_n_1370389.html

In Case you don’t know “what kind of races Chicago politicians run.

From an interview of hollywood producer Bettina Viviano.

 

December 27, 2011, Obama money from Rezko, Daniel Frawley talking?, Frawley sentencing delayed, Tribune and SunTimes silent

December 27, 2011, Obama money from Rezko, Daniel Frawley talking?, Frawley sentencing delayed, Tribune and SunTimes silent

“Why has the Daniel Frawley sentencing been repeatedly delayed?”…Citizen Wells

“Why has the Chicago and mainstream media ignored the Obama and Daniel Frawley connections and the money given to Obama by Rezko?”…Citizen Wells

“And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed
–if all records told the same tale–then the lie passed into
history and became truth. “Who controls the past,” ran the
Party slogan, “controls the future: who controls the present
controls the past.”…George Orwell, “1984″

Daniel Frawley, former Tony Rezko partner, has had his sentencing repeatedly delayed. In a deposition Frawley spoke of Tony Rezko giving Barack Obama money and then when asked to elaborate, he exercised his Fifth Amendment right.

Are we ever going to find out more from Daniel Frawley about the money that Rezko gave Obama?

From Citizen Wells July 14, 2011.

“Frawley says in the deposition that on March 13, 2006, he was in the Dirksen Federal Building at 219 S. Dearborn, making a phone call to Rezko’s cell phone and secretly recording him when attorney Weaver walked in and interrupted him.

Also in the room at the time, according to Frawley, were: Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Stern; James “Sam” Dorger Jr., of the Illinois attorney general’s office’s public-integrity unit; an “FBI agent whose name I do not recall”; and Thomas Durkin, a criminal attorney also representing Frawley.

“I was on the phone, making a phone call to Tony Rezko,” Frawley says, according to the transcript. “I had a luncheon engagement with him. George was outside of the room where I was making the telephone call, and the purpose of the call was for me to keep my luncheon engagement with Tony Rezko and to go over and to record Tony Rezko.

“George saw and heard me on the phone, came running in and went like this [demonstrating]: Cut it,” drawing his hand across his throat.

Later in the deposition, Weaver’s lawyer, Daniel F. Konicek, asks Frawley about what specific information Weaver is supposed to have told Frawley to withhold from federal authorities.

“I’m assuming the information is about the payments made by Rezko to Obama, so we know we’re talking about the right conversation, right?” Konicek asks Frawley.

Frawley doesn’t answer. So Konicek presses him: “Am I correct it was about Obama being paid by Rezko?”

Frawley replies: “I’m not answering that question, based upon my attorney’s instructions.”

Nobody directly involved with the deposition — including Frawley and his lawyers, Weaver and his lawyers, and the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office — would comment.”

https://citizenwells.wordpress.com/2011/07/14/tony-rezko-partner-sentencing-delayed-daniel-frawley-rezko-payments-to-obama-frawley-cooperating-for-lighter-sentence/

Why has the Chicago press, namely the Tribune and SunTimes, been so silent on Daniel Frawley and the Obama connection recently?

American Thinker has produced some excellent articles on Daniel Frawley and the Obama connections.

From March 6, 2008.

“Companion Security was headed by a former Chicago policeman with a troubled history, Daniel T. Frawley, in partnership with Mr. Rezko and in association with Daniel Mahru, the lawyer for the original contract and Mr. Rezko’s former business partner. In April 2006, Mr. Frawley entered negotiations with Governor Rod Blagojevich’s staff to lease a military facility in Illinois to be a training camp. In August 2006, Mr. Frawley started negotiations with Mr. Obama’s U.S. Senate staff to complete the contract….

“The timeline of Companion discussions in 2006 is important to note: April 2006 Frawley speaks to governor’s office; August 2006 Frawley speaks to senator’s office; October 2006 indictment of Rezko revealed; October 2006 Rezko arrested upon return from Syria; October 2006 Alsammarae convicted in Baghdad and makes his first escape attempt; December 2006 Alsammarae escapes from Baghdad. …

“(In 2004) Mr. Auchi traveled by private aircraft to Midway Airport in Chicago and then to a fete at the Four Season Hotel, where he met with his business partner in Chicago real estate, Mr. Rezko, as well as with Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Also present that night, according to a fresh report by James Bone and Dominic Kennedy of the London Times, was State Senator Barack Obama, who had recently won the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat….”

I strongly urge you to read the rest of this early article that indicts Obama.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/03/obamas_iraqi_oil_for_food_conn.html

December 22, 2011

“Chicago Sun Times Does Hit-and-Run on Obama-Rezko Payoff Lead”

“Last July, two Chicago Sun-Times reporters noted an allegation of “payments made by Rezko to Obama” that surfaced in a deposition involving former Rezko business partner Daniel T. Frawley. Since then, the only follow-up coverage from the Sun-Times has been the sound of crickets.
An article dated July 11, 2011, entitled “Ex-Rezko partner’s sentencing delayed,” announced that Daniel Frawley’s sentencing for bank fraud had been postponed, yet again. He came up for sentencing again this week, and — surprise! — there’s been another postponement.”

“If you read the deposition over the holidays, keep eggnog close. It is 65 pages of mind-numbing dialogue that finds, at one point, the opposing attorneys arguing over the meaning of the word “this.”

So, to summarize:

o A former key business associate of Tony Rezko pleads guilty to a crime after the statute of limitations had expired.

o Frawley agrees to pay a whopping $4 million in restitution, with no apparent means to do so. If, miraculously, he comes up with the four million, ask yourself: who benefits the most?

o His lawyers hope that his cooperation will mean a lighter sentence for a crime that was past the statute of limitations to begin with. Did the feds have something else on Frawley that they used as leverage?

o Frawley allegedly provides useful information on Rezko, but we don’t know what that was about. He didn’t testify at Rezko’s trial. How come?

o One last question, in an episode full of questions: did the Sun-Times back off this lead because of its continuing support for Barack Obama?

In a December 5, 2011 e-mail, this writer asked Tom McNamee, editorial page editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, if the paper stood by its 2008 endorsement of Obama for the presidency. McNamee responded:

When we write editorials, including updates on earlier editorials, it will be for Sun-Times readers, Mr. Cary. Keep reading the paper, as I’m sure you now will, and we will continue to weigh in on President Obama from time to time.

Hearing that as a non-answer, the question was forwarded to Andrew Herrmann, managing editor of the paper. He responded:

The paper endorsed Obama for president. He was elected president. Since then, we have critiqued his decisions regularly — some good, some bad. But we have never expressed any regret or reversal of our endorsement editorial.

No regrets from the Sun-Times. Just hit-and-run journalism.”

http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/12/chicago_sun_times_does_hit-and-run_on_obama-rezko_payoff_lead.html

The Chicago SunTimes has become silent, but at least they covered the deposition. The Chicago Tribune shied away from the story. Don’t take my word for it. Go to your favorite search engine and search for a Tribune article on Daniel Frawley in 2011.

Chicago style politics and “1984.”

William Cellini hearing, December 14, 2011, Motion for retrial, Witness perjury, Chicago Tribune SunTimes evidence

William Cellini hearing, December 14, 2011, Motion for retrial, Witness perjury, Chicago Tribune SunTimes evidence

“Public court records also are available to everyone in this case, as they were to us when we revealed the felony convictions in our Nov. 11 story.”…Gerould Kern, Chicago Tribune Editor

William Cellini, who was convicted of 2 counts of conspiracy to commit extortion and aiding and abetting the solicitation of a bribe on November 1, 2011,  is scheduled for a motion hearing  today, Wednesday, December 14, 2011 in the courtroom of Judge James Zagel.

Daily Calendar

Wednesday, December 14, 2011  (As of 12/14/11 at 06:46:42 AM 

Honorable James B. Zagel                    Courtroom 2503 (JBZ)

1:08-cr-00888   USA v. Cellini                         11:15   In Court Hearing           
1:08-cr-00888   USA v. Cellini                         11:15   Motion Hearing             
1:08-cr-00888   USA v. Cellini                         11:15   Notice of Motion                           

http://www.ilnd.uscourts.gov/home/DailyCal/0.htm

From Citizen Wells December 13, 2011.

“Attorneys for Springfield power broker William Cellini are seeking to overturn his conviction after revelations by the Tribune that one of the jurors apparently did not disclose to the court that she had two felony convictions.
 
As part of that legal effort, Cellini’s defense team subpoenaed the Tribune, demanding reporters’ notes, recordings and other documents related to any interviews with the juror.
 
The Tribune filed a motion to quash those subpoenas Monday morning, but later in the day, U.S. District Judge James Zagel ordered the newspaper to turn over the notes from any conversations with the juror.
 
In the Nov. 11 story first disclosing the juror’s felony convictions, the Tribune wrote that the juror invited a Tribune reporter into the lobby of her apartment building, confirmed she was a juror in the Cellini trial but then declined to answer questions about her criminal background.”

https://citizenwells.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/william-cellini-attorneys-subpoena-chicago-tribune-tribune-reporter-annie-sweeney-account-editor-gerould-kern-statement/