Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Flashback: Obama's 2001 pork garden--a waste of taxpayer money

When Barack Obama was an Illinois state senator, was behind a pork barrel project that was supposed to create a garden at 61st and Princeton on Chicago's South Side.

There is little to show for that cash, outside of a gazebo that looks like it was purchased at a Home Depot.

Last fall the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Lisa Madigan, Illinois' attorney general, is investigating "the garden to nowhere."

A $100,000 state grant for a botanic garden in Englewood that then-state Sen. Barack Obama awarded in 2001 to a group headed by a onetime campaign volunteer is now under investigation by the Illinois attorney general amid new questions, prompted by Chicago Sun-Times reports, about whether the money might have been misspent.

The garden was never built. And now state records obtained by the Sun-Times show $65,000 of the grant money went to the wife of Kenny B. Smith, the Obama 2000 congressional campaign volunteer who heads the Chicago Better Housing Association, which was in charge of the project for the blighted South Side neighborhood.

Smith wrote another $20,000 in grant-related checks to K.D. Contractors, a construction company that his wife, Karen D. Smith, created five months after work on the garden was supposed to have begun, records show. K.D. is no longer in business.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan -- a Democrat who is supporting Obama's presidential bid -- is investigating "whether this charitable organization properly used its charitable assets, including the state funds it received," Cara Smith, Madigan's deputy chief of staff, said Wednesday.

This is so Chicago. But Chicago has taken over Washington, and it's time to watch your wallet.

Yesterday I visited Obama's garden, and it's just a $100,000 gazebo in a vacant lot.

On my way there, I passed an Obama stimulus sign--on the Kennedy Expressway at Washington Boulevard.

Which got me wondering. How many more "Obama gardens" are we going to find thanks to the president's economic stimulus boondoggle bill?

Based upon an article from today's Wall Street Journal, probably quite a few.

Madigan is considering a run for governor or the US Senate.

Note: The stimulus sign pictured is not the one on the Kennedy.

Technorati tags:

No comments: