Saturday, October 11, 2008

The hunt for Rezko October

Associated Press, in the midst of all the ACORN and Bill Ayers stories that are giving Barack Obama headaches, published an article today about convicted political fixer Antoin "Tony" Rezko. And it made it onto the Drudge Report.

By the spring of 2005, it was common knowledge in Illinois that the fast food businessman and slumlord was under federal investigation. And not only were the feds after him. Obama operated two Panda Express restaurants at O'Hare Airport with the late Jabir Muhammad, son of the founder of the Nation of Islam. City of Chicago officials later ruled that the restaurants were minority-front enterprises, Rezko and Muhammad closed them down. Yet Barack Obama chose to enter a bizarre property deal that June which saw Rezko's wife purchase a strip of land between the green "For Sale" sign and the mansion the Obamas bought the same day. The newly sworn-in senator couldn't afford the land and the house--in stepped Rezko.

Later that year, the Obamas purchased a small piece of the "Rezko lot." It remains my belief that over time, piece by piece, Rezko would sell the strips of the land to Obama, until the two parcels were united. Obama denies this, saying that Obama probably wanted to develop it.

As I've noted several time in the last couple of weeks, Rezko, who was convicted of sixteen fraud and extortion charges in June, is almost certainly talking to the feds in exchange for leniency when he was sentenced. His sentencing date was to be October 28, that has been pushed back indefinitely.

ABC News, the only mainstream media outlet outside of Chicago that has shown consistent interest in covering the Rezko and Obama ties, had this to say this morning:

"Your Honor, the prosecutors have been overzealous in pursuing a crime that never happened," wrote disgraced Chicago real estate magnate Antoin "Tony" Rezko to his judge a few months ago. "They are pressuring me to tell them the wrong things that I supposedly know about Gov. Blagojevich and Sen. Barack Obama."

What's interesting about this claim is that, according to press accounts, Rezko is now indeed talking to prosecutors.

What Rezko has to say is far more likely to impact Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose administration is being investigated.

Not one witness at Rezko's trial said Obama did anything improper.

And yet ... what are prosecutors pressuring Rezko about? And now that Rezko's reportedly making like a canary, what song is he singing?

UPDATE: An Obama supporter helpfully points out that Rezko's lawyer Joseph Duffy has walked his client's letter back, saying that prosecutors never intimated it is investigating anything about Obama.

"I'm not aware of any impropriety related to Rezko and Obama," Duffy said, per the Chicago Tribune. "At no point has the government ever asked me a single question about Obama, or any wrongdoing involving Rezko and Obama."

Okay. But can Rezko sing a different tune? You betcha, as Chicago Sun-Times' Michael Sneed reports:

Sneed hears rumbles political fund-raiser/fixer Tony Rezko, who is now singing sweetly to the feds from his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, has been talking about his "dealings" with a Chicago bank, which has political connections.

Stay tuned.

Could that bank be Broadway Bank, the financial institution owned by the family of Alexi Giannoulias? Obama broke ranks from the Chicago Machine to endorse Giannoulias for state treasurer in 2006 in the Democratic Primary. Alexi prevailed in the primary, but the state party, bucking Obama, refused to endorse him because Giannoulias approved a $10 million loan to mobster Michael "Jaws" Giorango, who has bookmaking and prostitution organizing convictions listed on his resume. Giannoulias won in the general election, and amazingly, is being viewed as a future candidate for governor.

Broadway Bank loaned money for numerous mortgages to the Skokie, Illinois Stratievsky family, a reputed new mafiya group.

In May an arrest warrant was issued against Rezko for allegedly writing $800,000 in bad checks. The bank's name on those checks? Broadway Bank.

The Giannoulias family donated $10,000 to Obama's 2004 Senate campaign, and Obama's campaigns often banked at Broadway.

Which brings us to what Hillbuzz posted yesterday. HB has the same suspicions I do.

(2) We just spoke with someone well-connected in Chicago politics who told us that the bank Sneed is talking about has to be Broadway Bank, which is owned by the politically-connected Giannoulias family. We were told that Sneed’s column confirms rumblings people we know heard independently that Tony Rezko is giving up the Giannoulias family to Patrick Fitzgerald — Rezko and the Giannoulias family are as close and tied together as anyone in Chicago could be. If Rezko is turning on them, then Rezko is going to give up Governor Rod Blagojevich and Obama too.

We don't want to end up in cement shoes for implying anything here, but if you live in Chicago for any length of time, you hear rumors about Broadway Bank, the Giannoulias family, and insert Tony Soprano references here. Kapeech? (My note: Da!)

(3) So, Rezko is singing about the Giannoulias family and its longtime "business dealings" in Chicago, which would interest someone like Fitzgerald and the Justice Department, who have had a long ambition to crack Soprano-style business dealings in Chicago (the city known for Al Capone hasn't changed much, really). The next plate to drop in this will be Fitzgerald then leaning on the Giannoulias family to give up someone bigger than them, who Fitzgerald once discussed in terms of hoping "he has the morals to do the right thing," to paraphrase. We now believe that person Fitz was talking about is Barack Obama.

(4) The Giannoulias family was involved with Obama as far back as his first state senate campaign in 1996. It has been long rumored here in Chicago that Obama obtained a sweetheart deal on his first town home here in Chicago — which he could not have afforded otherwise — and guess who the financing came from for that house? We've been told it was Broadway Bank, the Giannoulias bank. Now, this sets up a scenario where the Giannoulias family helps Obama with his campaign finances and gets him deeper in their pocket with his sweetheart mortgage deal (for the first home he owned that he could not afford) – all in exchange for quid pro quo to be determined later.

Wow...the hunt for Rezko October...and more.

Okay, some of Hillbuzz' stuff is pretty speculative. But in July I posted an entry asking a question of the Obama campaign. Responding to questions that Obama may have gotten a discount on his mortgage for his mansion (not his prior residence) from Chicago mega-bank Northern Trust, Camp Obama responded that there was a competing bid on the mortgage. Obama spokesman Ben LeBolt told Fox News' Major Garrett that he wouldn't reveal the second lender "at this time."

He still hasn't.

Read my July 4 post:

Obama's "sweetheart" mortgage: Was the competing lender Broadway Bank?

I found the Hillbuzz entry via The Strata-Sphere who has even more Obama's financial dealings, including possibly shady dealings about the Hyde Park home the Obamas lived in prior to moving into the mansion.

From that blog:

Basically it is a lot of questions about a lot of conflicting records - no smoking gun (yet).

Rezko is a complete cad, and it says a lot about Barack Obama's (lack of) judgement that he associated with the now-convicted felon for fifteen years.

A big thanks to Andrea Shea King, The Radio Patriot, for help with this story.

And today was supposed to be a day of rest for me, as I prepare for something I'm not prepared for--tomorrow's Chicago Marathon. But blog I'll try.

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talnik said...

"Giannoulias won in the general election, and amazingly, is being viewed as a future candidate for governor" !!!
Bwahahaha! The state that never stops giving!

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