During a March 14, 2008 interview with the Sun-Times, Obama was asked: "Did you ever meet Nadhmi Auchi or Dr. Aiham Alsammarae?"
"I have to say I do not recall meeting them. It's been reported that a dinner Tony hosted at the four seasons, I don't have the exact date, so I don't know whether it was the before November '04 when I hadn't been elected but had already won the primary or whether it was after the election, in which I was . . .
"Tony called and asked if I could stop by because he had a number of friends that he had invited to dinner and he wanted mew to meet them.
"I told him that I would be happy to come by if my schedule allowed it. And it did. Although I couldn't, I think, stay for dinner, so I remember meeting a bunch of people who I had not met before. I frankly don't remember what their names were.
"Business was not discussed at the meeting. It was more of a social meeting and they asked me questions about the senate race and so fourth and so on.
"I have no specific recollection. They may have been there. I can't say unequivocally that I did not meet them, but I just don't recall."
Obama was the inside guy in the Illinois senate as far as setting up the Health Facilities Planning Board to extort contributions from companies in exchange for the approval of applications to build medial facilities.
Obama was chairman of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee in January 2003. A few articles in the media have mentioned that Obama sat on a committee that reviewed matters related to the Planning Board in conjunction with the Governor's staff but none have discussed his integral part in getting the bill passed
A review of senate records from January 2003 to August 2003, shows Obama played a major role as chairman of that committee, in pushing through Senate Bill 1332, that led to the "Illinois Health Facilities Planning Act," which reduced the number of members on the Board from 15 to 9, making the votes much easier to rig.
The bill was filed with the senate secretary on February 20, 2003, and assigned to Human Services Committee for review on February 27. Less than a month later, as chairman, Obama sent word that the bill should be passed on March 13, 2003.
On May 31, 2003, the House and Senate passed the bill and the only senator listed in the "yes" votes mentioned in the Board Games indictments is Obama.
Blagojevich made the effective date June 27, 2003, and the co-schemers already had the people lined up to stack the Board and rig the votes with full approval from Obama.
Feds track Obama's visits to Rezko
In the media, Obama always 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,“ according to the February 10, 2008 Sun-Times.
During his March 14, 2008 interview, the Times told Obama, 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."
"Is that true?" the reporter asked.
"No," Obama said, "That's not accurate."
"I think what is true," he said, "is that, it depends on the period of time."
"I've known him for 17 years," Obama stated. "There were stretches of time where I would see him once or twice a year."
He told the Times, "when he was involved in finance committee for the U.S. Senate race, or the state senate races, or the U.S. Congressional race, then he was an active member."
"During the U.S. Senate race, there's be stretches of like a couple of weeks - for example prior to him organizing the fundraiser that he did for us - where I would probably be talking to him once a day to make sure that was going well," he said.
"But the typical relationship was one that was fond," he added. "We would see each other."
"But there would be no reason for me to be seeing him that often," he stated.
This issue may be sorted out soon enough because Fitzgerald’s charts matching up Obama’s contributions, visits and calls are bound to be every bit as thorough as the ones produced to prove Rezko is guilty as charged in the first trial. They simply were not produced because they were not needed to prove the defendant guilty in the first case.
As an example of what records might be squirreled away, consider that an FBI agent presented a chart to the jury on April 28, 2008, showing 257 calls from Rezko’s phones to Blagojevich’s chief of staff, Lon Monk, between March 2004 and May 2004 alone.
In addition, the contributions extorted through the Planning Board scheme were for the intended presidential candidate, Blagojevich. Obama’s US senate war chest was already funded and by the time these kickbacks were paid that campaign would be over.
But Obama did end up with $20,000 from the very first kickback paid in the pension fund scheme set up through the Board of the Teacher's Retirement System.
Elie Maloof and Joseph Aramanda, the straw donors used to funnel the contributions to Obama, also made $1,000 contributions of their own for his failed run for Congress in 2000, on the same day March 17, 2000.
In addition, Aramanda gave $500 to Obama's senate campaign on June 30, 2003. In the summer of 2005, Aramanda's teenage son landed a coveted intern position in Obama's senate office in Washington.
Obama also received contributions directly from the persons appointed to the pension board for the express purpose of rigging the votes. On June 30, 2003, appointee, Jack Carriglio contributed $1,000.
The other appointee, Anthony Abboud, donated $500 to Obama on June 30, 2003, $250 on March 5, 2004, and $1,000 on June 25, 2004.
Michael Winter, who prosecutors say agreed to serve as a funnel for kickbacks paid through an investment firm in one scheme donated $3,000 to Obama on June 30, 2003.
Planning Board Scheme unravels
When interviewing with the Sun-Times, Obama claimed not to know Rezko was under investigation for influence peddling in the months leading up to June 2005, stating:
"During the time that I was purchasing the house, there were some noises about Tony having potential problems. But they . . . hadn't risen to the attention that they ultimately would."
“And I viewed him as . . . purchasing the lot as a friend purchasing a lot, somebody who was interested in real estate development and who was experienced in real estate development.”
The claim that there were merely "some noises about Tony" was a blatant lie and the Times should have called him on it.
Obama was still chairman of the Human Services Committee when lawmakers learned Fitzgerald was on to the Planning Board scheme in the spring of 2004, a year before Obama entered into the real estate deal in June 2005. On July 11, 2004, the Sun-Times reported: “A key Blagojevich fund-raiser, Tony Rezko, played a role in recommending appointees to the board.”
With stories appearing about the scandal almost daily, Illinois House Speaker, Michael Madigan, introduced legislation to fire the board and Blagojevich had no choice but to issue an executive order in July 2004, stating:
“In light of recent allegations concerning the propriety of certain board actions, the governor hereby imposes a moratorium on all meetings and actions of the board until the board is reconstituted by law.”
By this time, Levine had already resigned and Almanaseer asked not to be reappointed. Both the House and Senate voted to give all members the boot at the end of July. But Obama's name is conspicuously missing from the session on July 24, 2004, when Bill 7307 was passed to get rid of legislation he pushed through a year earlier.
The transcripts from the sessions in July 2004 show lawmakers in both parties were outraged over the scheme. However, nothing much changed, because the new bill included the same process for vetting and appointing members to the new Board.
During the July 24, 2004 session, Senator Peter Roskam questioned the wisdom of passing a bill that is "silent as to any changes in the vetting."
Referring to Blagojevich, he noted the current "vetter" and "backgrounder" who "placed all of these individuals on the Health Facilities Planning Board, apparently completely failed in that vetting and backgrounding."
The bill "leaves the same amount of authority in the same person that we're criticizing implicitly today for failing to appoint good people," he said.
Senate President Jones defended the process and the corrupt members. “Let it be understood,” he said, “that those mere allegations were against -- were made as regard to members who had been reappointed, and that’s the Chairman and several other members had been reappointed to the Board.”
“And so, this legislation is in no way to say that the Governor’s Office didn’t do its proper job,” Jones stated. But then the Senate had to advise and consent to the "vetted" candidates and as noted above, Jones played a big part in the reappointment of Levine.
Jones also told his fellow lawmakers, “this bill does not cast any aspersions on any current Board members because they are mere allegations.“
“We don’t know any facts,” he said.
During the session, Senator Kirk Dillard had the apparent audacity to ask Jones, "is there anything in this bill that prohibits a member of the Health Facilities reconstituted Planning Board from giving campaign contributions to politicians?"
"No, that's not included in the Act," Jones answered.
"So, it would still be possible for somebody to give a large, say twenty-five-thousand- dollar contribution one day to a political figure and get reappointed or appointed to this Board a couple of days later?" Dillard asked.
"There is no such prohibition," Jones said, "for this Board or any other board, be it the Gaming Board, be -- there is no such prohibition."
Indictment headlines non-stop during Obama's real estate deals
The first indictment in the Planning Board case came a month before the mansion deal was finalized. On May 9, 2005, CBS Channel 2 Chicago, reported, "Stuart Levine is accused of using his position on a powerful state health board to cut himself and his buddies in on hospital construction contracts worth $113 million."
Hurtgen and Kiferbaum were also charged for their part in the Edward extortion scheme.
CBS pointed out that before joining Bear Stearns, Hurtgen “worked in the administration of then-Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson as deputy secretary in the state Department of Administration, which supervised state bond issues.”
In his interview with the Tribune on March 14, Obama said Rezko "was a part of our finance committee and was listed as part of our finance committee."
In 2003 and 2004, his finance committee raised the money as the Planning Board scheme was set up and the scandal unraveled. Yet Obama told the Tribune in regard to Rezko, "at that time, there were no indications that he was involved in anything inappropriate."
Apparently, Obama expects the public to believe that nobody on this committee bothered to tell him he received a single contribution of $10,000, and the money came from a person he just recommended for the Board.
Other members of the committee included Rezko's wife Rita, and Valerie Jarrett, who got her jump start into a lucrative real estate career in the Combine's Daley administration. She now serves as chairman of Obama's presidential finance committee.
Jarrett racked up eight years in Chicago government, first as deputy corporation counsel for Finance and Development, then as deputy chief of staff to Daley and finally, as commissioner of Chicago's Department of Planning and Development, according to a summary of her achievements obtained from the Business Week website on April 8, 2008.
While serving as Commissioner, Jarrett "consolidated the Department of Planning, Economic Development and Urban Renewal; implemented a model program for the revitalization of three Chicago neighborhoods; and created a business express unit to cut red tape to service Chicago businesses," says the Cook County Information Center.
Obama's introduction into the "Combine" came when his wife Michelle was hired by Jarrett in the early 1990s, and served as Jarrett’s assistant in Daley’s office and followed her to the Department of Planning and Development.
Jarrett was appointed chairman of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board in June 2006. She was also made chairman of a newly created Executive Committee of that Board, according to a June 13, 2006 University announcement. In addition, Jarrett was named vice-chair of the University's Board of Trustees, the announcement states.
Michelle landed a high paying job at the University of Chicago Hospitals. Two months after Obama became a US senator, she was appointed vice president for community and external affairs. Tax returns show the promotion nearly tripled her pay to $317,000 in 2005, from $122,000 in 2004.
On February 14, 2008, Wilhelm endorsed Obama in a call with reporters, citing the senator's "masterful" campaign organization and strategy as well as his "undeniable momentum."
"He has outworked, outorganized and outraised his opponents every step of the way," Wilhelm said. "The Obama campaign, win or lose, will serve as a model for future generations to come."
Wilhelm’s firm has received a subpoena for records related to pension fund investments.
Three days after the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Aiham Alsammarae, the former electricity minister convicted of corruption in Iraq, put up $2.7 million in property to help raise $8.5 million to free Tony Rezko from jail in Chicago, the Times reported that Alsammarae had contributed six times to Obama's presidential campaign.
The April 29, 2008 report also noted that before he escaped from jail in Bagdad in December 2006, and returned to Chicago, Obama's US Senate office had sought information about Alsammarae from the State Department on October 16, 2006 on behalf of Alsammarae's family while he was being held in jail in Iraq.
As usual, when busted on the contributions given in January, February and March, the Obama camp said it would donate Alsammarae's money to charity and his spokesman, Ben LaBolt, put out the standard line that Obama does not ever "recall" meeting Alsammarae.
Rezko schemes to hide assets from creditors
The second Rezko indictment involves Ata and the Finance Authority, and alleges fraud in financial transactions with the General Electric Capital Corp in connection with the sale of a string of Papa John pizza restaurants in Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan.
The indictment and plea agreement provide a preview for the scheme hatched to conceal Rezko's assets from creditors through Obama's secret Land Trust.
Co-schemer Abdelhamid Chaib, is the former the director of Rezko Concessions. Blagojevich appointed Chaib's wife to a position with the Department of Employment Security Review Board.
An exhibit presented to the jury shows Chaib contributed $10,000 to Blagojevich. Records show Obama received $5,000 from Chaib on June 30, 2003, the same day that Ata donated $5,000.
This indictment alleges that Rezko fraudulently caused General Electric Capital Corporation (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.
The indictment says Rezko and his co-schemers fraudulently obtained a $4.5 million loan from GE in March 2001 to finance the purchase of the Milwaukee pizza stores by a straw purchaser, and his company, at an inflated price, and by the submission of fraudulent documents, including false financial statements about the condition of the stores.
Feds shut down pay-to-play schemes
Only two pay-to-play schemes succeeded before the Feds swooped in and shut them all down. Blagojevich did not receive the $1.5 million from the Planning Board deal because the hospital was never built.
But Obama received $20,000 from the first kickback paid in the pension fund scheme and the straw donors used to funnel the $10,000 payments, Elie Maloof and Joseph Aramanda, also made $1,000 contributions to Obama's failed run for Congress in 2000.
In addition, Aramanda gave $500 to Obama's senate campaign on June 30, 2003. In the summer of 2005, Aramanda's son landed an intern position in Obama's Washington office.
Obama also received contributions for his senate campaign from the two persons appointed to rig the vote on the pension fund board. On June 30, 2003, Jack Carriglio contributed $1,000, and the other appointee, Anthony Abboud, donated $500 on June 30, 2003, $250 on March 5, 2004, and $1,000 on June 25, 2004.
The person chosen to funnel the kickback in a future scheme, Michael Winter, donated $3,000 to Obama on June 30, 2003.
All these people are also cooperating in exchange for immunity or lesser prison sentences but prosecutors pointed out during closing arguments that people who entered into agreements with the government are required to tell the truth or all deals are off.
The list of reporters deserving of credit for doing the investigative work that should have been done by the leaders of the Democratic party before they got behind Obama, includes, but is not limited to, Chicago Sun-Times reporters, Tim Novak, Dave McKinney, Fran Spielman, Chris Fusco, Natasha Korecki, Steve Warmbir and Lynn Sweet. Chicago Tribune reporters especially deserving of credit include Jeff Coen, Bob Secter, John Chase, Virginia Groark, Rick Pearson, David Jackson, John McCormick, Mickey Ciokajlo, Rudolph Bush and Dan Mihalopoulos.
This article is the first in a series that will give the details of Obama's rise to fame.
As for the most recognized allegation against Obama, that helped slumlords operate in Chicago, while accepting their campaign contributions, its true. Obama was a member of the political machine that helped a whole gang of slumlords funnel local, state and federal tax dollars, over the backs of poor people in need of affordable housing, to line their own pockets and fund the campaigns of politicians in positions to recommend and award contracts.
The Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland law firm, where Obama worked for nearly a decade, served as a hub for a slew of slumlord deals, many that benefited the firm's founder, Allison Davis, and Obama's claims that he knew nothing about the inner workings of this small firm, represent an insult to the intelligence of the American public.
Tony Rezko was Obama political Godfather. Obama received his first contributions of $2,000, to launch his political career as a state senator on July 31, 1995, from Rezko. Obama started out saying that Rezko only raised $50,000 or $60,000 for his political career but after a year of lying his way through the primaries, the latest total he gave to the Sun-Times and Tribune during interviews on March 14, 2008, adds up to $250,000.
For a year, he also minimized his relationship with Rezko by telling the media that he only had dinner or lunch with Rezko one or twice a year. But when confronted by Sun-Times reporters during the March 14 interview, with the allegation that an FBI mole saw him coming and going to Rezko’s office often and that three sources said he talked to Rezko on the phone daily, Obama changed his tune.
Now the story is that he may have talked to Rezko daily at times during campaigns but sometimes he went for a whole month without talking to him. “I have to say we're talking over the course of 10 years,” Obama said, “there might have been spurts where I talked to him daily.”
But then he added: "There might have been stretches over a month where I wouldn't have talked to him at all."
This story is a far cry from the picture Obama gave to the public of him and Rezko meeting once or twice a year, and he never did respond to the allegation by the Times reporter that an FBI mole “saw you coming and going from Rezko’s office a lot.“
Without Rezko's fundraising, Obama would not have been elected to the Illinois senate, or the US Senate, and he would not have sold the books he wrote about himself because like the Wizard of Oz, Obama is nobody special.
Even with Rezko's massive fund raising, Obama could not beat former Black Panther, Bobby Rush, in his 2000 bid for a seat in Congress. And the only reason he won the US Senate race was because his viable opponents had to drop out due to the public airing of personal scandals. Beating Alan Keyes is hardly a victory to brag about.
The media needs to quit grouping all the Obama backers under the name Antoin "Tony" Resko because the list of contributors to his political campaigns includes the names of many individuals and entities with their own agendas.
The trail of corruption involving the people raising money for Obama's political career stretches from the city of Chicago to the Illinois tollway to the O'Hare airport all the way over to Iraq. And testimony in Rezko's corruption trial reveals that an equal number of Democrat and Republican crooks benefited from all the moneymaking schemes.
Rezko is not a Democrat; he's an equal opportunity profiteer. He supported President George Bush and attended a Christmas party at the White House in December 2003, at the same time that he was a top fundraiser for Obama's US Senate campaign.
Rezko co-hosted a $3.8 million Chicago fundraiser for Bush in 2003, and on December 9, 2003, he donated $4,000 to Bush, as a "self-employed businessman," and gave another $2,000 on December 19, 2003, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Prior to backing Rod Blagojevich for governor of Illinois, Rezko threw his money behind Republican candidates for governor, including George Ryan, who was convicted of doling out leases and contracts to cronies and sentenced to prison for more than 6 years.
Rezko then switched horses and chose Blagojevich in 2002 and Obama has supported Blagojevich, even when his administration was embroiled in corruption investigations.
Recent testimony in the Rezko trial by his co-conspirator, Chicago businessman, Stuart Levine, explained that Rezko had plans for Blagojevich to be Presidential, not Obama. However, anybody following the trial knows that Blagojevich is more likely to be headed to the "Big House" rather than occupying the White House.
Obama's entering into real estate deals with Rezko, while it was public knowledge that he was under investigation for funneling illegal contributions to Illinois politicians, was not a "boneheaded" move, it was motivated by pure greed. While knowing that he would get caught up in a major scandal, Obama went ahead with the deal because he and his wife wanted that mansion, with four fireplaces, six bathrooms, and a wine cellar, period.
On March 16, 2008, the Boston Globe added an interesting twist to the story when reporting that Donna Schwan, of MetroPro Realty, which listed the mansion and lot next door for the owners, "said it is her recollection that the Obamas may not have made the highest bid, and that other bidders may have matched Rezko's bid," but the willingness of both buyers to close in June 2005, "was decisive."
Which logically means had Rezko not been willing to buy the lot in June, the deal was off.
According to an article by Edward McClelland in the February 1, 2008 Salon Magazine, when asked who approached her about the house, Donna Schwan told Salon, "I honestly don't remember. Tony Rezko lived across the street, so he'd been interested in the lot."
Any claim that Obama was unaware of the investigations into the corrupt dealings of Rezko with Illinois politicians in June 2005 is ridiculous. On February 15, 2005, the Chicago Tribune reported:
"Gov. Rod Blagojevich long has vowed to purge the Illinois tollway of cronyism, yet two of his closest friends and political advisers have links to food vendors awarded lucrative contracts to operate inside the toll road's sleek new oases, government records show."
"The Subway sandwich shops and Panda Express Asian restaurants now being installed in the tollway's seven revamped rest stops are controlled by firms with strong ties to the food-service empire of Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a Blagojevich confidant who has seeded the governor's cabinet with former business underlings."
Christopher Kelly, Blagojevich's chief fundraiser, "who also recommended the tollway's executive director for his job, is an investor in at least one Rezko-controlled food firm," the Tribune wrote. On March 16, 2005, the Tribune reported that:
"City officials alleged Tuesday that a minority contractor at O'Hare International Airport acted as a front for a firm run by Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a top adviser and fundraiser for Gov. Rod Blagojevich....
"Rezko, a member of Blagojevich's kitchen cabinet of advisers, has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks following questions about his links to operators of new tollway oasis franchises. The revamp of the oases is a showcase project for the Blagojevich administration."
On May 15, 2005, the Sun-Times reported that the accusations by his father-in-law that Blagojevich doled out jobs for campaign contributions had "resulted in dozens of grand jury subpoenas being sent to the governor's office, his unpaid advisers, agency directors and his top fund-raisers".
Among those subpoenaed for documents, sources told the Times, were "Blagojevich's biggest money men, Christopher Kelly and Antoin "Tony" Rezko."
On May 20, 2005, less than a month before Obama bought the mansion, the Tribune reported that Resko, "has had a business relationship with First Lady Patti Blagojevich for eight years, the governor's office acknowledged Thursday."
Six month before Obama bought the strip of land from Rezko's "wife" to enlarge his yard, on August 28, 2005, Natasha Korecki reported in the Sun-Times that, "there's so much corruption to investigate in the Chicago area, the FBI is adding manpower."
Robert Grant, FBI Special Agent in Charge, told the Times that he had reorganized the bureau to add a third public corruption squad, giving Chicago the largest corruption unit in the country, even bigger than those in New York and Los Angeles.
"It is the second time in two years the FBI in Chicago has expanded its public corruption force," Korecki noted.
On November 6, 2006, the Times asked Obama why he did not reveal the land deal with Rezko before it was reported by the Tribune stating: "Why did you not publicly disclose the transaction after Rezko got indicted?"
"At the time, it didn't strike me as relevant," Obama answered. It seems like a lot of events were not relevant a couple months before he announced his candidacy for president.
In the November 2007, Chicago Magazine, James Merriner described a "fashion show" that took place in the first week in November 2006, to benefit St Jude Children's Research Hospital, which he said, "attracted little if any media coverage, which may have been exactly as its organizers and sponsors had hoped."
"The invitation to the affair," he wrote, "offered a veritable guidebook to political influence in Illinois, much of it centered on one St. Jude benefactor, Antoin "Tony" Rezko."
"Just three weeks earlier," Merriner pointed out, "Rezko had been indicted on charges of extorting kickbacks from businesses seeking contracts from the Blagojevich administration."
The "fashion show" was chaired by Rita Rezko, co-chaired by the Governor's wife, Patti Blagojevich, and Michelle Obama was a special guest that day, according to Merriner.
Two weeks after the "fashion show," on November 17, 2006, the Sun-Times reported that Blagojevich's wife Patti got nearly $50,000 from a real estate deal in late 2002 involving Rezko.
In terms of dollar amounts of campaign contributions directly from Rezko in Illinois, the top four earners were, the now deceased President of the Cook County Board, John Stroger, Blagojevich, Chicago Mayor, Richard Daley, and Obama - in that order.
Rezko was the head of Stroger's campaign finance committee at the same time that he served on Obama US Senate finance committee.
When it came time for Stroger's reelection campaign, in the midst of the erupting Rezko scandals in the media, on April 8, 2005, the Tribune reported that Stroger "has selected beleaguered businessman and political powerbroker Antoin "Tony" Rezko as one of the honorary chairs of his campaign fundraiser next month."
Stroger appointed Rezko's wife Rita to the Cook County Employee Appeals Board, which hears cases filed by fired or disciplined workers, at a part-time salary of $37,000 a year.
According to documents filed in the Rezko corruption case, this was Rita's sole income when she supposedly came up with a $125,000 down payment and secured a $500,000 mortgage to buy the $625,00 lot next to Obama. Less than a year after Obama bought his strip of land, Rita sold the rest of the lot to attorney Michael Sreenan, and made a profit of more than $50,000.
On February 27, 2007, the Sun-Times pointed out that Obama's "new neighbor, Michael Sreenan," had contributed $5,000 to Obama's campaigns. Less than a year after buying the lot, Sreenan put it up for sale for $1.5 million in October 2007.
Of course John Stroger will not be answering any questions about corruption, or any other matter, because he died on January 18, 2008. His former chief of staff and godson, Orlando Jones, will not be talking either because he was found dead of self-inflicted gun wounds in September 2007, "just as a corruption inquiry targeting him was heating up," according to a September 7, 2007 report by CBS News channel 2 Chicago.
"Jones left his position in county government to create a lobbying firm in association with Tony Rezko, who has been indicted on fraud charges," CBS reported.
Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica told CBS that Orlando Jones’ death raised many questions about the Cook County president’s office. “Some of these matters Jones was involved in that are currently being investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are reaching to the highest level of county government,” Peraica said.
Obama endorsed John Stroger's son, Todd Stroger, in his bid for Cook County Board President after his father died. Todd was in the news as recently as March 24, 2008, when the Sun-Times published a front-page article reporting that his cousin Donna Dunnings, the county’s new chief financial officer, was receiving a 12% pay increase.
Dunnings’ salary will be the largest increase of any county employee, with the average increase being around 5%. She will make nearly $160,000 with the pay increase, or roughly $5,000 more than her predecessor made at the job, according to the Times.
Mayor Daley endorsed Obama immediately after he announced he was running for president and in return, Obama endorsed Daley's reelection for Mayor right smack in the middle of major federal investigations of corruption in the Daley Administration.
Obama's ties to the corrupt Daley machine began when he was dating his wife Michelle and she brought him into the fold. Valerie Jarrett, the deputy chief of staff to Mayor Daley, hired Michelle as her assistant in 1991. Daley made Jarrett the chairman of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development and Michelle worked as her assistant in that Department during 1992-93.
From there Michelle moved up the political tiers to the University of Chicago and ultimately got an overnight pay raise from about $121,000 to close to $317,000, after Obama became a US Senator, as a vice president at the University of Chicago.
Susan Sher, was corporation counsel in the Daley Administration when Michelle was hired back in the early 1990s, and Sher is now Michelle's boss at the University of Chicago, according to the April 22, 2007 Chicago Tribune.
Shortly after Obama entered the US Senate, Michelle was also handed a position on the board of TreeHouse Foods. Wal-Mart is the largest customer of TreeHouse Foods. Factoring in stock options and other payments, the value of her compensation package for serving on the board in 2006 was $101,083, according to the Tribune report.
On May 14, 2007, during a meeting with the AFL-CIO in New Jersey, Obama was asked about Wal-Mart and he said: "I won't shop there." Michelle resigned from the board of TreeHouse eight days after husband said he would not shop at Wal-Mart, CBS News reported on May 27, 2007.
When it came time for Obama's US Senate campaign, Valerie Jarrett became the campaign finance chairman and worked hand and hand with fellow finance committee members, Rita and Tony Rezko, and his former boss at the law firm, Allison Davis, in fundraising endeavors. The committee raised more than $14 million, according to Federal Election Commission records, Tim Novak reported in the Sun-Times on April 23, 2007.
Jarrett is now the CEO of Habitat Co, a real estate development and management firm which manages the housing program for the Chicago Housing Authority, the entity mandated to administer public housing, and she serves as an unpaid advisor to Obama's Presidential campaign.
Mayor Daley's brother Bill also became an Obama advisor. Mayor Daley's chief image defender, David Axelrod, is a top strategist for Obama's campaign and he was also the media consultant for Obama's US Senate campaign.
On April 1, 2007, Dick Simpson, a former Chicago alderman who is now chairman of the political science department at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told Ben Wallace-Wells in the New York Times: “David Axelrod’s mostly been visible in Chicago in the last decade as Daley’s public relations strategist and the guy who goes on television to defend Daley from charges of corruption”.
The scandals involving the Daley administration have no beginning and no end. In January 2004, the Sun-Times published a three-part series exposing widespread corruption in the Hired Truck Program and revealed that some companies were being paid for doing little or no work and that some had mob connections or were tied to city employees.
On January 25, 2005, the Associated Press reported that trucking company manager, John Cannatello, the 16th person charged in the scandal, was charged with getting $6.6 million in city hauling work "by giving campaign contributions and cash to officials and falsely claiming his firm was eligible for jobs set aside for women-owned businesses."
According to the article, city officials said the Hired Truck program, "which at its height doled out $38 million worth of work in one year to contractors without bids, was designed to save taxpayers money by outsourcing hauling jobs that otherwise would require the city to buy trucks and insurance."
On June 6, 2006, the Sun-Times reported that the brother-in-law of Cook County Commissioner, John Daley, was sentenced to 18 months in prison "for taking about $5,400 in bribes to steer city business to a Hired Truck company."
Of course John Daley is another brother of Mayor Daley.
On January 6, 2006, the New York Times ran the headline, "Corruption Scandal Loosening Mayor Daley's Grip on Chicago," and reported that a "wide-ranging federal investigation into what prosecutors describe as "pervasive fraud" in hiring and contracts at City Hall has led to 30 indictments, including two senior administrators close to the mayor, and a dozen cabinet-level resignations. "
The Tribune broke the hiring scandal on April 29, 2005, after federal agents carried out an all-night raid of Daley's patronage office at City Hall and less than three months later, Robert Sorich, the patronage chief in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, and three former city officials, were arrested and charged with fraud to rig city hiring for 12 years.
During the criminal trial, prosecutors produced a list of more than 5,700 politically connected job applicants, and Patricia Molloy, a longtime secretary in Mayor Daley's office, testified that aides kept track of applicants and their political sponsors during much of Daley's time in office, according to a July 7, 2006 report by Rudolph Bush and Dan Mihalopoulos in the Tribune.
City officials testified that they "were heavily involved in politics and directed city workers and aspiring public employees to knock on doors and work the phones for political candidates endorsed by the mayor," the July 7, 2006 Tribune report noted.
"Witnesses who marshaled pro-Daley political groups testified that they took campaign orders from top Daley aides," the Tribune wrote, "and later got jobs and promotions from the mayor's office for loyal and effective political workers."
Sorich and three others were convicted on July 5, 2006, of carrying out what prosecutors described as fraud in hiring, "complete with sham interviews, rigged test scores and color-coded charts to track political sponsors," according to the July 6, 2006 Sun-Times.
Chicago attorney, Michael Shakman, whose federal lawsuit against the city led to anti-patronage decrees, told the Tribune on July 7, 2006, that Daley was to blame for the political hiring system. "You have to lay the responsibility squarely at the feet of Mayor Daley," he said. "These [defendants] are his people, who never would have thought of doing this without his approval."
At the sentencing hearing in November 2006, US District Judge David Coar told Sorich: “If I thought that by sentencing you I could stop this type of hiring corruption in the city of Chicago, I would throw this building at you…. But it won’t," the Tribune reported on November 21, 2006.
Obama is a political psychopath. He exhibits no shame, no matter where his money comes from. On September 5, 2007, the New York Post reported that, "Alexi Giannoulias, who became Illinois state treasurer last year after Obama vouched for him, has pledged to raise $100,000 for the senator's Oval Office bid."
"Giannoulias is so tainted by reputed mob links," the Post noted, "that several top Illinois Dems, including the state's speaker of the House and party chairman, refused to endorse him even after he won the Democratic nomination with Obama's help."
If the Democratic party places Obama on the ballot against John McCain, Democratic voters will have no choice in this election. Once the whole truth becomes public, and it will the minute he becomes the nominee, no honest American could support sending Obama and his corrupt gang of cronies to the White House.
Information from: Curtain Time For Barack Obama
By Evelyn Pringle