March 1, 2008


As Developer Heads to Trial, Questions Linger Over a Deal With Obama (MIKE McINTIRE and CHRISTOPHER DREW, 3/02/08, NY Times)

Tony Rezko was obviously in trouble. He was a defendant in at least a dozen lawsuits, federal investigators in Chicago were poking around, and his name was in newspaper articles about corruption and fraud.

None of that stopped Mr. Rezko, a politically connected developer, and Senator Barack Obama from completing real estate deals a few years ago that resulted in the Obamas obtaining their dream house and the Rezkos buying an empty lot next door.

Nearly three years later, fallout from Mr. Obama’s relationship with Mr. Rezko, who raised more than $150,000 for Mr. Obama’s campaigns, continue to dog Mr. Obama on the presidential campaign trail. That distraction promises to linger as Mr. Rezko goes on trial on corruption charges starting Monday. [...]

[A] review of court records, including new details of Mr. Rezko’s finances that emerged recently, show that the lot purchase occurred as he was being pursued by creditors seeking more than $10 million, deepening the mystery of why he would plunge into a real estate investment whose biggest beneficiary appears to have been Mr. Obama. [...]

It is unclear where Mrs. Rezko got the money for the down payment and how she carried the loan, considering that she later said in an affidavit that she earned $37,000 a year and had few assets.

Mr. Rezko, however, had come into money two months earlier, when he obtained a $3.5 million loan from a Panamanian company controlled by his friend and business partner, Nadhmi Auchi, an Iraqi billionaire who was convicted several years ago in France on fraud charges.

We're not big on conspiracy theories, but given the lunatic ones the Left has spun out about the Bush family finances, it's fun to think what they could do with this appearance of a Syrian connection.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 1, 2008 7:24 PM
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