Thursday, July 24, 2008

Obama's Health Care Plan

If you want an indication of what Sen. Barack Obama's plan is for health care, look no further than how a big political supporter siphoned off money from pharmaceutical companies for a foundation he created and then diverted the money to Obama's pal Tony Rezko, now sitting in jail after being convicted on 16 charges of political corruption in federal court earlier this year. Obama's good doctor friend, Dr. Paul S. Ray, set up a private foundation to support medical research and education. This is what he did with the money according to the Sun-Times:

While on the county payroll, a top urologist at Cook County Hospital solicited nearly $1 million from drug companies over the last decade for his private foundation.

Dr. Paul S. Ray's pitch was that the money would go toward medical research and education.

But most of the money hasn't gone to health care at all. Instead, Ray invested it -- mostly in Tony Rezko.

Rezko is the convicted influence-peddler who had been a prodigious fund-raiser for politicians including Sen. Barack Obama, Gov. Blagojevich and the late Cook County Board President John Stroger, the ultimate boss of the county hospitals.

Ray had long worked with Stroger's godson, Orlando Jones, a top administrator at Cook County Hospital who became Stroger's chief of staff. Jones eventually left county government for a job with Rezko. Last September, after he had been questioned by the FBI, Jones committed suicide.

Ray set up the Paul S. Ray Urology Education and Research Foundation 16 years ago. It began investing with Rezko's companies in 2002, according to reports Ray filed with the Internal Revenue Service. The foundation invested $500,000 with Rezko Concessions, which operated Panda Express and Papa John's Pizza restaurants. It also put $100,000 into a proposed housing development Rezko unsuccessfully sought to build on a 62-acre site along the Chicago River in the South Loop.

Ray, 63, of Chicago, also invested his own money with Rezko, spending millions to buy real estate and Papa John's Pizza restaurants from Rezko.

Can someone explain to me how a health care foundation can invest money in a chain of pizza restaurants? Oh yeah, you read my post earlier today on Indianapolis' Russell Foundation so you know just how far awry corrupt people can get with these supposed nonprofit entities. Well, this is where it gets really interesting. Ray's investments with Rezko didn't turn out so well. Recall also that the feds weren't too happy when Tony Rezko showed up at Orlando Jones' home a short time after he supposedly committed suicide when he was supposed to be on home detention. Jones was a top administrator where Dr. Ray worked. Here's what the Sun-Times tells us about Rezko's deals gone bad with Dr. Ray:

Ray's foundation appears to have lost the $500,000 it invested with Rezko Concessions -- nearly half of the foundation's assets. But the foundation apparently got back the $100,000 invested in Rezko's failed South Loop development.

Ray is battling lawsuits over two deals with Rezko. One was filed by Jabir Muhammad, a son of Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad, claiming Rezko and Ray fraudulently took ownership of the South Side mansion where Muhammad lives. The other involves a $646,949 loan Ray allegedly got from a Rezko associate, Elie Maloof, to buy the Papa John's restaurants that Rezko owned in Wisconsin.

Ray's purchase of those restaurants is part of a second, still-pending criminal case against Rezko. Federal prosecutors say Rezko engaged in a conspiracy so Ray could buy the Papa John's stores in Wisconsin. Ray -- who has not been charged -- has been granted immunity from prosecution to testify against Rezko.

Yeah, you read that right. Ray and Rezko are entangled in a dispute with the Nation of Islam founder's son over the ownership of his Southside mansion. Recall that Rezko played an instrumental role in helping Sen. Obama purchase his Southside mansion not too far away from Muhammad's mansion. Note that reports indicate that Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam has provided assistance to Obama's campaign from the get go. And what about that $6,000 Ray contributed to Obama's Senate campaign? Obama contributed it to charity after details of his financial entanglements with Rezko emerged publicly. Wake up America!


Anonymous said...

Since you keep bringing up Rezko, who has not contributed to Obama's Presidential campaign, I was wondering if you had any comment on this little insight from the DNC on John McCain's CURRENT big donor to his Presidential campaign:

"On the day Republican Sen. John McCain surged to victory in Florida's presidential primary, a group of supporters gathered at the elegant Tampa Club for a luncheon held by Gov. Charlie Crist and Sen. Mel Martinez.
Mingling with some of the state's business and political elite that January day was a Florida newcomer, an Oregon venture capitalist named Craig Berkman. Unbeknown to the guests, Berkman's life was crashing around him.

For two years, Berkman had been battling his investment partners after admitting that he had lent himself $5 million of their money without telling them. A civil fraud case against him was about to go to trial.

Berkman continued to raise money for McCain. He and his wife have donated $50,000 to Republican candidates and party committees this election cycle, including a $28,500 check to the Republican National Committee's Victory Fund on May 29 to support McCain's bid. Berkman's political generosity has angered his former investors, who prevailed in court but have not seen a penny of the $28 million in civil damages that a jury awarded them."

Just curious why you are so focused on non-presidential donor Rezko versus McCain's current presidential donor problem of Berkman, and whether you or the GOP has an explanation on this? I just can't seem to focus on Obama's prior senate campaign and not his presidential campaign. Let me know, thanks!

Sir Hailstone said...

Berkman isn't about to go to the Federal Pen and take several key Illinois government officials with him. Tony Rezko could easily be characterized as this generation's Al Capone, only without the piles of dead bodies.... at least none that have been found.

B.H. Obama isn't stupid. He won't take a direct contribution from someone as toxic as Tony Rezko, and have his name on a contribution report. If Rezko gave he'd use a straw donor, or launder it through a labor union or something of that nature.

Then again neither did Johnny Shu nor Charlie Trie's names appear on Clinton(s) reports either. But somehow a Bay Area family of four making a combined $50K per year contributed the max each.