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Obama Answers Extensive Questions About Rezko, Home and Adjacent Lot

For days, Lee Ward has been hammering away at Obama 's abject failure to answer fully all questions about the purchase of his home and the adjacent lot in Chicago's South End, in the Kenwood district, on June 15, 2005.

Yesterday, Obama fielded questions by 3 dozen reporters about the subject, in the Chicago Tribune editorial office. There are about 25 internet pages of coverage in yesterday's Chicago Tribune, with lots of photos, including the house and controversial adjacent lot with a hour and half, complete Obama audio podcast- scroll down center- left side- and transcript Excellent read.

The controversial adjacent corner lot still is listed on the realtor's site. I just checked it out today. Telephone #773-667-1000. If anyone wants it? Asking price is $995,000..about what the corner lot for my father's small bungalow is worth in suburban Toronto..

Description..Extraordinary chance to build in historic neighborhood

Historic kenwood - 50 x 150 lot - zoned r-5 for multi- family developers come and build - or if you want to build the single family of your dreams in historic kenwood. Corner lot southwest corner - no other lot for sale in hyde park/kenwood with so many possibilities .(that's for sure) Call for a copy of the survey. Land is slightly elevated which makes it all.- All offers, except by Tony Rezko, accepted ..(just kidding about the last part)

Judging by the photo of it, you would practically be in Obama's front yard or living room if that would interest you...Lee?

Obama still has a huge mortgage to pay off. It was 1.3 million dollars in June, 2005. I hope he can afford to go to the White House...I'm not sure if Michelle can still continue to work in Chicago and how they will be able to afford their monthly mortgage payments? I'm glad Obama recently was able to pay off his student loans.

It would be a lot easier, if like the Clintons, one could depend on secret multi-million dollar consultancy contracts that flow into huge joint bank accounts that you felt no need to disclose to the public, while one of of you runs for the presidency. But as Obama is the only one running on the issue of personal accountability and ethics he is the only one that faces questions.

The Chicago Tribune Editorial board says they are satisfied with Obama's "plausible and lengthy explanation".. "The most remarkable facet at the outset, he pledged to answer every question. And he did". And Obama's foremost Tribune Obama critic John Kass, says "I almost liked his answers, almost".

As anyone know who has ever puchased a house, the legal, bureaucratic real estate contracts, financing and building permits can get very complicated and become a nightmare. Obama regrets getting involved with Rezko, particularly when the deal over the fencing got bogged down, and it required more negotiations than Obama anticipated 'good fences make good neigbors' but it seems erecting one can be stressful too.

(Obama's) attorneys and architect worked for several months to secure the fence permits. The Obamas paid several thousand dollars to complete that paperwork, but Rezko paid the roughly $14,300 cost of erecting the fence.

Rezko was not doing him a favor by paying for the fence, Obama said, because a city ordinance required owners of vacant land to install fences.

To put some space between his house and the proposed fence, Obama then asked Rezko to sell a 10-foot-wide strip.(for a play swing area for his kids) Obama's appraiser estimated the portion at $40,500. But Obama paid the Rezkos $104,500, or a sixth of their original $625,000 purchase price, because he was acquiring a sixth of the land.

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Comments (12)

I thought he did a good job. I don't think he gave answers which were entirely satisfactory, though.

For example, the Trib boys didn't jump on the early concession that "Tony may have thought he was doing me a favor." Obama was a United States Senator at the time. A public official who doesn't hear alarm bells when someone even THINKS they are doing him a favor lacks the requisite ethical compass for honest politics.

They may have had no reason to ask Obama about Rezko's bankruptcy filing which claim he and his wife had income and assets of less than $100,000 only days before she put a $125,000 cash down payment on the lot. After all, how could he know one of his oldest associates and supporters was bankrupt and spending money he didn't have?


They may have had no reason to ask about the mysterious alleged loan of several million dollars Rezko reportedly received from a shady Iraqi billionaire, also days before the transactions.

It's great that Obama says that Rezko, the notorious Chicago "fixer," his longtime friend and fundraiser, never asked him for anything. It's what I would expect him to say if it's the truth. It's also what I would expect him to say if it is NOT the truth - unless he just wanted to confess to corruption in the middle of a close primary campaign.

The problem with accepting Obama's answers as the definitive statement on his relationship with Rezko is that he told the Trib and others that he had given them all pertinent information a long time ago, but he had not. He hadn't mentioned the walk-through. He had assured them that Rezko gave/raised about $150,000 for his campaigns; now he acknowledges it was closer to $250,000 and he can't be sure if it isn't more. He never mentioned the health board appointments before. So, WHY would anyone now believe he has suddenly come completely clean instead of just doing the good ol' "modified limited hangout" routine?

Lee Ward:

Before it was $250,000 it was $150,000, and before that it was less than $100,000.

I'm absolutely positive that Obama will be back with another upward adjustment.

He's repeatedly lied to the American people. If he had told the truth six months ago, and confessed that Rezko had supported him to the tune of a quarter million dollars (and possibly more) the press would have been hammering him for months on his connection with Rezko and digging into story further to find out what Obama did in return.

Instead we have a situation where Obama almost has a lock on the nomination -- and he got there by lying.

He needs to be stopped.

Steve Crickmore:

Stopped by Hillary... the alternative? Here is how the Clintons operated when they were looking for the home they 'fell in love' with in Chappaqua, N.Y. while Bill was still President, months away from leaving office.

Mr. Kennedy said that when the Clintons decided they wanted the house in Chappaqua, their situation was like that of other couples who fall in love with a house and know they must make a solid offer quickly or risk losing out. ''They had a very short time to put together the financing,'' Mr. Kennedy said.

Before Mr. McAuliffe offered his help, the Clintons sought financial aid from former Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin and two former White House chiefs of staff, Erskine B. Bowles and Thomas F. McLarty 3d, who declined to help, according to several people familiar with the couple's house-hunting.

A potential conflict of interest, while the sitting President asks for a personal loan or to cosign a mortgage? What do you think, Jim?. I'm sure Lee has no problem with this?.mmnnn Obama didn't even get close to thinking about or doing this and he was a junior Senator.

You would think the Clintons would know better, but they never will as long as the public, aided by the silence of many journalists and bloggers, reward their behavior by sending them back to the White House.. again and again. Meanwhile, the one candidate of the two, who seems genuinely bothered by any ethical or transparency lapses, gets grilled and trashed.


A question:

Which one doesn't fit?

1) Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin

2) White House Chief of Staff Erskine B. Bowles

3) White House Chief of Staff Mack McClarty

4) Tony Rezko

Steve Crickmore:

Let's see, HughS... Thomas "Mack" McClarty, had several dealings with Kenneth Lay, a much bigger crook than Rezko (we are talking billions defrauded here from the shareholders and various levels of government, California for one)...Mack, while chief of staff for Clinton arranged hefty campaign contributions from Lay, and surprise after leaving the Clinton Administration became a paid full time Enron director, lobbyist and advisor. (Great advice he must have given). Robert Rubin contacted the Bush Administration and tried get Bush's people to help Enron when they were being prosecuted-no deal , and Erskine B. Bowles seems to have had no significant connection with Lay and has no scandal attached to his name. (good for him)

Obama feels he should have seen the red flags with Rezko, but I can't understand why more Americans don't see far worse red flags with the Clintons, on their real estate deals, alone.


1)Mack McClarty, BEFORE he was a member of the Clinton staff, was a senior executive of ARKLA, one the largest natural gas producers/distributors in the US. That he was associated in different capacities with ENRON, which was also in the gas pipeline business, is not a blight on his character or judgment. There were many fine people involved in the ENRON mess who did absolutely nothing wrong....much less get indicted. ANY major US energy company would have been pleased to have McClarty as a paid director and advisor.

2)Robert Rubin is one of the preeminent investment bankers in the world and was CEO of Goldman Sachs. He was, as you noted, Secretary of the Treasury. That he solicited help from the Bush administration on behalf of a client of his investment bank is not notable. In fact, Rubin was performing a service on behalf of ENRON securities holders (who were clients of his bank) whose investments were at risk. One would expect any banker to do the same.

3)Erskine B. Bowles is one of the most famous members of the US Bar. He has an excellent reputation.

The point here Steve is that Obama showed incredibly poor judgment seeking out Tony Rezko. More troubling is that he apparently never had anyone of substance similar to the abovementioned Clinton advisors. This is just one of the reasons his detractors claim that he lacks substance, depth, judgment and character. That he has dissembled on the Rezko matter, and more recently about his relationship with Wright, is enough to give any voter pause.

Steve Crickmore:

HughS..I thank you for taking the trouble for providing a background to some of the Clinton cabinet. No one ever sems to talk about their record of appointments even though Hillary invites comparisons about their record.

I'm not sure how four or five star the Clinton cabinet people were on the whole, apart from Clinton's Economic and Treasury team who were excellent. I thought you were sympathetic to the Republicans anyway? Janet Reno, Hillary's personal pick for Attorney-General (one of the top four cabinet positions had to be a woman) was apparently pretty hopeless but nobody seemed to notice and Hillary had running battles with Rubin the deficit Treasury hawk who apparently did a fine job.

What we should be doing is comparing Obama's Chicago 'realtionship' with Rezko to Clinton's ole boy network in Arkansas that he and they ran with down in Little Rock. There is ton of material there if you would care to look into. it? Drug shipment flights etc among the most lurid. Many of the Whitewater figures ended up in jail. I heard as many as 21 and you understand that the Clintons refused to talk about that until they had to appoint a prosecutor and then a grand jury took an interest..and then there were over 100 "I don't recalls' by Hillary.

Plus, her own brothers are both on the take for $200,000 dollars each, if memory serves me right for their roles in Bill's pardons in return for campaign contributions (Denise Rich's for example) with a pretty flimsy "I'm not my brothers keeper" defence.....The Clintons have a history of shadowy figures/ convicted or fugitive felons, Peter Paul, Norman Hsu that they have done alot of lucrative fundraising buisines with unwittingly they always say. Not much judgement there..

So you go after one person Mark Retzo, because he was facing a grand jury investigation. As far as I know the investigation hadn't been announced. Both Hillary and Bill have even been censored by grand juries and prosecutors and we are considering voting them back into the White House. If it is character assassination by association, the Clinton-Rodhams have set a pretty low bar in that regard ,but with the Clintons one is not sure who is rubbing off on whom.

About his seeking out Rezko? He was a real estate developer in the area..Hugh if you have ever bought real estate( I assume you have) you know you would ask the opinion of a friend about the rates or values in that area, esprecially the location for example if you were thinking of buying your first home. Obama was living in a condo before. They say buying your first home is the biggest investment decision you make in your life .I remember when I was considering buying my first property in Toronto I consulted a good college friend who was head of the Metro Planning Board and asked about the announced rapid rail plans and so forth and some other friends informally in real estate..I would be a fool if I didn't. According to the sellers ,who are professors or doctors at John Hopkins the deals for the two properties were entirely separate...You can see just by looking at the property and knowing the area Hyde Park as I do a little, it is an excellent investment and location, much better than Whitewater. and would have been in 2005, two years before the bubble burst,even now unless you really object to the Obamas' as your only neighbors. I suppose there are people who think like that, but I believe they may be moving next January.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

It was Obama's youth and inexperience that brought him into the Rezko web, and allowed him to be compromised by this indicted manipulator, but it is Obama's core dishonesty that led him to lie repeatedly throughout this campaign about the extent to which he benefited from that relationship - and when Obama tells us there was no quid pro quo that's a lie as well. Guys like Rezko don't throw around $250,000 for no reason.

ObamaLemmings keep throwing mud back at the Clintons, but it's a shame they don't have the same mud-inspecting desires with their own candidate. Obama is dirty, and we now see from his own admissions that he's not been honest with the American people previously about the extent to which he benefited from his relationship with Rezko, so why should we believe him now?


I'm well informed on the subject of the Clintons. I'm a conservative and will vote Republican. However, as a citizen I must consider all of the possible results in the national election.

I can live with a Clinton presidency because she is a known quantity.I will probably oppose her domestic policy positions but can live with the consequences. You mentioned the scandals of WJC's office and HRC's brothers...I am well informed on all of those matters. The Clintons couldn't possibly be more well vetted, and I can draw my conclusions from those facts.

However, Obama is not well vetted. He is an onion, and the layers are being slowly peeled off. As that unfolds, I don't like what I see. You mentioned:

"About his seeking out Rezko? He was a real estate developer in the area.."

That is a naive description of who Rezko really was and what Rezko did.

At the end of the day, the question must be asked: what will a Clinton presidency bring and what will an Obama presidency bring?

Domestic policy aside, Obama will put our nation at risk in foreign policy. He is an untested junior senator that won a non competitive race against a compromised opponent. He demonstrates NO understanding or grasp of the complicated and risk filled world of foreign policy. Clinton, on the other hand, has a grasp of these risks and an understanding of the repercussions of our failure to lead responsibly in foreign policy.

An Obama presidency will lead the Democratic party back to a place much worse than 1980....and our nation, not just your party, will suffer tremendously. Our enemies know that.


I'm glad somebody is standing up for Barack here on wizbanghillary. The jackass Lee Ward makes me sick. You want to talk about scandals and shady financial deals, Ward? Well in the words of Mickey Knox, "let's roll the f'n dice, Lee." The American people haven't forgotten Whitewater or Monicagate, you unbelievable clown.

Steve Crickmore:

A brief comment..Our enemies .I guess you mean Al-queda but more crucially we are heading for a recession, largely for two reasons...Our credit, rich housing based/ bubble economy and very expensive deficit funded war we can't afford..These are our more immediate real enemies, as I see it. Al -queda we should put on the back burner, for a while.

The economy..The working class and middle class no longer have enough money to consume the products we are making without borrowing more and putting us in worse shape. And the rich have consumed all the things they need, that's why they are rich, and with tax breaks are more concerned about investing their wealth to get the greatest return...and that is often, not in the USA. McCain's economic policy which is, as far as I can see , the same as Bush's only worse ,won't help. With more corporate and wealthy tax cuts, and the continuing war the deficit will double to 800 billion in 2009 with a McCain budget.

As for Obama, he has all through his life demonstrated to everyone maturity beyond his years. He is by far the most honest and transparent of the candidates and he has his ego firmly in check. His campaign has not been a negative campaign despite the best efforts of Hillary to provoke him. He is not mean, cruel and vindictive and he will find common values with conservatives like yourself..Hillary as you know will try and grind you up and has contempt for the Republican base. Obama doesn't. There's a big difference. You will see Republicans in his cabinet. I can't recall a single person who has met Obama or worked with him on either side of the aisle who didn't have enormous respect for him or like him, and I have read volumes. That may not be extraordinary but compare that to the other candidate and her team who are always fighting... one another. Hillary, Mark Penn, Icles, Holis, it is a cluster... Hillary doesn't even inspire people 'uncriticical' of her like you and Lee to find much good to say about her other than she is "the devil you know..a known quantity". This may be a honest appraisal but it will not convince many independents and those apolitical to come out and vote for her or work for her. She has no coattails period..

Steve Crickmore:

Larkin, Yes and of course it was Hillary's brain storm to convert the White House into Motel 6 sleep overs, to raise money ,10 thousand dollars each, to sleep in Lincoln's bedroom for fat cat campaign contributors. Was nothing sacred? Obama is raising most of his money on the internet, 90% by small donors ..over a milion internet users have given an average of 185 dollars for 190 miilion dollars... The Clintons on the other hand, use the the same top down, elitist approach they have always been comfortable with, going after the significant states, significant donors for future ambassadorships and so on--..Nothing very grass roots about that ...only lately and timidly trying to change with the times but it is hard to play catch -up when you are more interested in acquiring power than becoming less patrician.

There is still the residue of their old politics. Last week, the former Belgian Clinton ambassaador, Paul Cejas it is 'no longer for sale'if Obama gets into power' who bought his ambassadorship to Belgium in the 90's ,wanted his heavy campaign 28.5 thousand dollar Clinton contribution back, if the Florida primary was not redone.

Lee, if you keep talking about "snake oil salesman," liar-in-chief" Obama because he is dishonest--your words- about stopping him at all costs we have to talk about the alternative. A preacher preaches not solely about heaven, but hell as well. Because you think Obama was dishonest about his relationship with Retzo, you want to put the Clintons back into the White House. 'from the frying pan to the fire'...I know its as you say the "the devil you know..."..Actually, I sort of like that as her main campaign slogan rather than her pharamaceutical sounding 'solutions for America'.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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