Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

ABC News -- Rezko $50 million in debt

Yes, ABC News is reporting that and it raises questions as to how he could afford to buy the lot of land next to the Obama's mansion:

Accused Illinois fixer Antoin "Tony" Rezko is in debt by $50 million and relies on "family" handouts of $7,500 a month to pay monthly costs, according to a previously sealed court transcript reviewed by ABC News.

Rezko's bleak financial picture raises the question of how the Rezkos were able to buy a vacant lot adjoining the home of Sen. Barack Obama in 2005, at a time Rezko says he was already in deep debt.

Rezko also reveals in
the testimony, before Judge Amy St. Eve on Jan. 16, 2007, that he already knew he was under federal investigation at the time of the land purchase and had hired a criminal defense attorney to deal with the "feds."

Obama says he sought Rezko's help because the house he wanted to buy in Chicago's Hyde Park came with an adjoining lot the seller wanted to sell at the same time.

Unable to afford it himself, Obama says Mrs. Rezko bought it for $625,000, and then later sold a strip of the lot back to Obama so he would have a larger yard. Obama says he paid Mrs. Rezko a fair market price.

According to the court transcript, Mrs. Rezko makes $37,500 a year.

Obama has defended Rezko's role as legal but says it was "a bone-headed mistake" to involve him in the deal.

According to the transcript, Mrs. Rezko sold the vacant lot a few weeks before the hearing, with all proceeds going to pay previous debts.

Asked how he was able to pay his lawyer, Joseph Duffy, Rezko said family and some unnamed "friends" were paying his legal bills.

Duffy told the judge, "Mr. Rezko has not provided us any money since his indictment."

Rezko told the judge he had no current source of income, saying his last business deal involving a proposed power plant in Iraq had been cancelled.

Couple of questions off the top ... Mrs. Rezko only had a yearly income of $37,500, yet the loan she secured for the lot was $500,000. How the Hell did that happen? That's insane. I make about $45,000 a year, and no lender in their right mind would secure a half million dollar loan for me. But yet she can get one? Sounds fishy.

Second, the power plant. Nadhmi Auchi was involved with that plant. So was Aiham Alsammarae, who was the Minister of Energy in the new Iraqi government. Alsammarae was removed, charged, and convicted of misusing funds in Iraq. Over at Rezko Watch there is a full explanation of this man, and his business dealings with Tony Rezko, in conjunction with this power plant. In part:

Alsammarae had been "described as a midlevel member of Saddam Hussein’s governing Baath Party as a student in the 1970s." In the 1990s, he resided in the United States where he "spent several years in exile" and attended college. He was Antoin "Tony" Rezko's classmate at the Illinois Institute of Technology. ...

A U.S. Department of State publication dating from 2003 described Aiham Alsamarrae as the "owner of an electrical engineering consulting firm with clients in Canada and the Midwestern and Northeastern United States." In 2003, Alsamarrae served as a member of the Iraqi Governing Council. He said "I am one of the 65 Iraqi opposition figures elected in London. I believe I was identified for the working groups because I was Iraqi, in opposition, with technical expertise. They really sought out expertise." In 2004, he served as a member of the Iraqi Interim Government.

The New York Times reported December 15, 2006, that Alsammarae had "arrived in Iraq just after the American invasion in 2003, looking for business opportunities. He was originally appointed electricity minister by L. Paul Bremer III, the leader of the American occupation authority, in August 2003. He stayed on until May 2005 in the Iraqi government that followed, run by Prime Minister Ayad Allawi." ...

Alsammarae became the "only cabinet-level Iraqi official to be convicted and jailed for misusing money during his time in office." The New York Times reported December 15, 2006, that in August 2006, "hearing that he was being accused of corruption, he walked into a Baghdad courthouse to find out if there were charges against him and was astonished to find himself placed under arrest pending trial."

On October 11, 2006, the "first of the counts against him, involving payments for a single electricity generator in the southern Iraq," was overturned.

An employee at the Central Criminal Court of Iraq confirmed that the 23-member appeals court had unanimously overturned the conviction but said that under Iraqi law, Mr. Alsammarae might have to remain in jail until the other charges against him were resolved.

Mr. Alsammarae’s case is caught in an extraordinarily complex web of events that include American-sponsored efforts to fight official corruption and to improve the Iraqi court system while at the same time allowing the courts to operate independently of American influence. Mr. Alsammarae also faces the burden of having long been suspected of corruption by Iraqi and American officials, and he has been the target of lashing criticism for years in the Iraqi news media. ...

This guy is as shady as Rezko and Auchi. After being imprisoned in Iraq, he escaped, and came to America. He's been living in Chicago ever since. Rezko Watch even states that Blackwater USA may have had a hand in breaking him out of jail. Additionally, CompanionSecurity is a firm that Rezko owned. A private security company that won a $50 million contract to train power plant security guards in Iraq. The contract fell through with the change in Iraqi leadership, and Alsammarae's daughter officially lobbied both Senators Dick Durbin and Barack Obama to help get the contract back.

With all this coming to light, there are more questions coming to the forefront in the Rezko trial. Namely:

What role did Rezko have with Auchi and Alsammarae? Was it only the security firm? Obviously not as Rezko was involved in the deal to build a new power station in Iraq. How much did he really stand to gain? How deep does the corruption go in regard to the Iraqi government? Federal investigators should be looking into Alsammarae's involvement in this, and possibly even detain him for a return to Iraq. The Iraqi government has labeled him a "fugitive;" a point that was emphasized on CNN's Situation Room in a January 2007 taped interview.

Tony Rezko is in this up to his neck, and he could very well bring down a number of other conspirators. Among them could be Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, Nadhmi Auchi, and Aiham Alsammarae. I'm sure the list will grow longer as this trial goes on. Keep and eye on Rezko Watch as they follow the trial, and the money, in Tony Rezko's continually unfolding drama.

Publius II


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home