Thursday, July 03, 2008

Rezko Files Reveal More Dirty Secrets

According to new documents uncovered by the Sun-Times from the Tony Rezko corruption trial, Rezko had a difficult time following rules on the terms of his home confinement. One example involved the suicide death of Orlando Jones, a former top Cook County official, last September. The Sun-Times reports that FBI officials were stunned to discover Rezko at the Jones' residence shortly after the suicide:

"FBI agents responding to information regarding the suicide of Rezko's associate Orlando Jones were surprised to find Rezko at the Jones home after Jones' suicide. This was not Rezko's only social call," federal prosecutors wrote on Feb. 25, 2008. " . . . it is a further indication that Rezko did not respect the strictures of home confinement.

Rezko's ties to Jones raise some interesting questions. According to a Sun-Times' report at the time of Jones' suicide, the FBI had questioned Jones, who had a business relationship with Rezko, about six-figure sums he earned from an investment firm which did business with Illinois' pension systems:

Besides the Las Vegas matter, Jones had been interviewed by federal authorities some time ago about a separate, government-related deal highlighted in a Sun-Times story in Thursday's editions. That deal -- which involved an annual fee paid to Jones by an investment firm that does business with a state government pension fund -- had allowed Jones to be paid six-figure sums annually for a job he did in 2004.

Authorities, Stephenson said, wanted to know if now-indicted Highland Park businessman Stuart Levine played any role in helping Jones land the deal.
Levine has been indicted along with Wilmette businessman Tony Rezko in a kickback scheme to defraud Illinois taxpayers using fees like the one Jones got.

Jones told the feds Levine played no role in Jones landing the fee, Stephenson said. He added that Jones was not asked about Rezko.

Like Jones, Rezko is close to the Stroger family, and Rezko and Jones have been business partners, records show.

The new documents reveal that Rezko once had an estimated net worth of $53 million. The documents say the government believes Rezko's schemes beat victims out of more than $10 million. The documents also raise more questions about Rezko's ties to Nadhmi Auchi, an Iraqi-born billionaire who now owns a stake in property Rezko owns in Chicago's South Loop. Auchi reportedly loaned $3.5 million to Rezko a short time before Rezko helped out Obama with the purchase of his South Side mansion. Auchi was convicted of fraud in 2003 for taking illegal payments from a French oil company as part of the Oil For Food scandal. In 2004, while he was a candidate for th U.S. Senate. Sen. Barack Obama and his wife attended a reception at Rezko's home in honor of Auchi. Questions have been raised about how Auchi was permitted to enter the U.S. given his past conviction in France. As was often repeated during the Watergate scandal, follow the money.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So, are you saying that in 2003, Auchi was permitted to enter the U.S. given his past conviction in France under the current Republican Bush administration?

Does not sound like this Republican administration does much to protect America from this type of activity. In fact, their failure to act seems to be the issue here.