If Barack Obama paid $300,000 less than full price, and Rita Rezko paid full price--and possibly an even more inflated one than was first known--this raises the likelihood of a major favor being done for Barack Obama by Tony Rezko. The owners wanted to sell both lots at the same time.
While Isikoff raises the new issue of the alleged inflated value of the Rezko lot adjoining Obama's (essentially Obama's side yard) he ignores a few points about this strange deal.
All of political Illinois knew Tony Rezko was radioactive before Barack Obama bought the house--not before he later essentially bought back a strip of his side yard, uh Rezko's adjoining lot.
Obama invited Rezko to go with him on a tour of the house before he bought the house (wink, wink)
The extra lot was essentially the side yard of the home Obama wanted to buy--but he couldn't afford to buy both, in fact buying the house alone was a stretch.
Barack Obama has been evasive about whether he discussed that it would be nice to keep the lot next door undeveloped. This is not credible. Especially, given that...
...Barack Obama bought a strip of land from Rezko to make his lot bigger--an action that could reasonably be assumed to make Rezko's lot unmarketable.
Barack Obama mowed or had mowed Rezko's lot. Rezko took responsibility to build a fence between the two lots--but stiffed the contractor.
These are my initial thoughts. As John Fund of the WSJ has pointed out--the Obamas have not released the most important document related to this transaction, which shows the flow of funds for the settlement.
And then there remains the question of Nadhmi Auchi lurking in the background--who gave the Rezkos a major cash infusion just prior to the house purchase. And then there's the related issue of Barack getting a discount on his own loan.
Barack Obama has not been forthcoming on his relationship with Tony Rezko. This is a pattern. And that's why we have the return of Tony Rezko.
I will look at this more carefully, with more links in the next few days.
UPDATE: John Kass' column in the Chicago Tribune:
Patti Blagojevich, the governor's wife and a real estate agent, has not been charged with anything either, but there is federal heat on her real estate deals, particularly those involving Rezko and Mutual Bank of Harvey boss Amrish Mahajan. To wit: Mahajan's wife, Anita,is awaiting trial on state felony charges, accused of bilking millions from taxpayers for phony state drug tests her company never performed. Just before investigators raided the company's offices, the computers magically vanished. Mahajan's bank funneled that loan to Rezko's wife, Rita, so she could purchase that lot in the Kenwood neighborhood, in the strange deal that allowed Barack Obama to buy his dream house. If Patti is ever charged, expect Rod to sing like Elvis did in "Jailhouse Rock," one of The King's better films.Latest post on Pattycake Patti here. And here's an early Rezko post. You could look at it that we Illinois taxpayers helped pay for Barack and Michelle's dream house, through all those millions bilked by Mutual Bank. Here's a description of Barack's house:
The couple wanted to step up from their $415,000 condo. They chose a house with six bedrooms, four fireplaces, a four-car garage and 5 1/2 baths, including a double steam shower and a marble powder room. It had a wine cellar, a music room, a library, a solarium, beveled glass doors and a granite-floored kitchen.
The Obamas had no prior relationship with Northern Trust when they applied for the loan. They received an oral commitment on Feb. 4, 2005, and locked in the rate of 5.625 percent, the campaign said. On that date, HSH data show, the average rate in Chicago for a 30-year fixed-rate jumbo loan with no points was about 5.94 percent.