The Chicago Tribune interviewed Obama about Rezko this past March. In the interview Obama admitted that Rezko had raised more money for him than had been previously known (as much as $250,000) for the first three offices he sought. As late as 2005 when Rezko was already under investigation, Rezko purchased the lot adjoining the house the Obamas purchased on the same day. Rather, Rita Rezko purchased the lot: "Rezko's wife, Rita Rezko, bought the side lot for $625,000. A $37,000- a-year Cook County employee, she secured a $500,000 mortgage from Mutual Bank of Harvey."Absurd is right. Like so many exposed machine players before him (and since) he's 'saddened'. He wants 'reform'. He just burst from a ripened womb of naive purity, not from Illinois' festering underbelly of legendary corruption. This stuff may be a surprise, even unbelievable, to the rest of the country. But for Chicago (where, to the best of my recollection, he never played this reform fiddle) it's the same old song.
Obama bought his house for $300,000 less than the asking price when Rezko bought the adjoining lot for the asking price. "Frankly I don't think he was doing me a favor," Obama said. "There was simply no connection between our purchase of the house, the price of the house and the purchase of the lot." After the reports of Rezko's questionable political dealings first emerged in 2005, the Tribune reports, Obama said he asked Rezko about them. Rezko assured him there was nothing wrong. "My instinct was to believe him," he said.
Yesterday Rezko was convicted in federal court on 16 felony corruption counts including fraud, money laundering and abetting bribery. Obama's comment on Rezko's conviction reaches a new height of absurdity:I’m saddened by today’s verdict. This isn’t the Tony Rezko I knew, but now he has been convicted by a jury on multiple charges that once again shine a spotlight on the need for reform. I encourage the General Assembly to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent these kinds of abuses in the future.