Friday, December 15, 2006

Oh Boy, An Obama-Olmert Parallel

Barack Obama, Senator from Illinois, seems to be heading for a run for president and is already trying to outflank Hillary Clinton.

But doesn't this following story remind you of Olmert's shady dealing with his house in the German Colony (*)?

Read on:-

The Chicago Tribune broke the story back in November. It begins in 2004 with Obama's $1.9 million book advance for The Audacity of Hope. In June 2005, Obama used the money to purchase a $1.65 million Georgian revival home on Chicago's South Side—$300,000 less than the asking price. On the very same day, Rezko, a Democratic Party fund-raiser and developer, bought the adjacent empty lot at the asking price from the same owner (the house and the lot were previously owned by the same person). Rezko, who had raised money for Obama and known him since the senator attended Harvard Law School, did not develop the empty lot. In January 2006, he sold a 1,500-square-foot slice of it to Obama for $104,000, a fair sum in that market.

Here's the question: Did Rezko orchestrate his same-day purchase of the lot at full price so that the seller would give Obama a break on the price of the adjacent house? Was Obama in on the deal? And did Rezko never intend to develop the lot, giving Obama a nice roomy side yard, a favor which he'd call in later?

Obama says he did talk to Rezko before the purchase, but only because a person who had renovated it for a previous owner had once worked with Rezko, who owns other properties in the South Side. He didn't arrange the joint purchase with him. He bought the house at such a good price, Obama has told the papers, because it was being unloaded in a "fire sale."

There's no evidence that the senator is fibbing or that the indicted fund-raiser asked anything in return for his neighborly behavior (though that might have been just a matter of time). Obama hasn't tried to change his story, even though Rezko is now talking to investigators.

By the way, after the Pal. elections, Obama had said:

"My hope is that as a consequence of now being responsible for electricity and picking up garbage and basic services to the Palestinian people, that they recognize it's time to moderate their stance." and "Palestinians...need to get their own house in order to successfully reign in violent factions and come to the table with Israel speaking with one voice...the US will always side with Israel if Israel is threatened with destruction. The goal should be...Israeli and Palestinian states co-existing, a goal that so far remains elusive."

Referring to Obama's comment, editorial columnist George F. Will coined the phrase "Garbage Collection Theory of History."

(Kippah tip: Wikipedia)



Israel's state comptroller is looking into the sale of acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Jerusalem house to a U.S. political activist, Olmert said Tuesday, hinting at a possible scandal that might affect Israel's March 28 election.

Olmert told Israel TV that he turned over documents concerning the sale to the comptroller.

The Haaretz daily said the comptroller started his investigation after the paper submitted questions about the deal. Haaretz said Olmert sold the home in 2004 for $2.7 million to an offshore company controlled by U.S. tycoon David Abrams, who contributed to an earlier Olmert election campaign. Olmert continues to live in the house, paying rent at about half the going rate, the paper said.

The paper said the sale price was high but not unreasonable.

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