Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Fact, not fiction: Part 4

Chicago Tribune, Factcheck.Org, Washington Post:
Obama Never Represented Tony Rezko
January 23, 2008

On Clinton's Claim Obama Represented Rezko: "That's Untrue." Factcheck.org reported, "Obama was associated with a law firm that represented the community groups working with Rezko on several deals. There's no evidence that Obama spent much time on them, and he never represented Rezko directly. So it was wrong for Clinton to say he was 'representing ... Rezko.' That's untrue." [FactCheck.org, 1/21/08]

Chicago Tribune
Review Of "Land And Court Document And Law Firm Files As Well As Correspondence And Other Records...Supports [Obama's] Contention That He Did Not Directly Represent Rezko's Development Firm." The Chicago Tribune reported, "Obama angrily rejected Clinton's accusation at Monday's Democratic debate. And a Tribune review of land and court documents and law firm files as well as correspondence and other records related to Obama's eight years as an Illinois state lawmaker supports his contention that he did not directly represent Rezko's development firm. Instead, the records show, he represented non-profit community groups that partnered with Rezko's firm." [Chicago Tribune, 1/23/08]

Tribune Examined Miner Barnhill's "260 Civil And Criminal Cases," IHDA And DOH Files, Clients From Obama's "Unusually Frank Ethics Disclosure Reports" And Found Obama Represented The Non-Profit Partner.

The Chicago Tribune reported, "At the Tribune's request, Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Evans produced a list of all 260 civil and criminal cases in which the firm filed appearances, and the Tribune separately examined 1990s lawsuits that Rezmar Corp. listed in applications for government grants.

The paper also examined files from the Illinois Housing Development Authority and the city housing department, as well as the hundreds of clients Obama listed in the unusually frank ethics disclosure reports he filed as a state senator from December 1995 through April 2004.

Those and other records disclosed five instances in which Obama did legal work for ventures that included Rezmar Corp. The case of City of Chicago vs. Central Woodlawn Limited Partnership is one example. In 1992, that community group partnered with Rezmar Corp. to rehab the former slum apartment building at 6107-6115 S. Ellis Ave. As work was ongoing, city officials sued the developers, alleging 16 serious code violations at the property, including a dangerously dilapidated porch. Obama and a co-counsel filed appearances in February 1994, but the court records show they appeared on behalf of Central Woodlawn, Rezko's non-profit partner, not Rezko or his company." [Chicago Tribune, 1/23/08]

Washington Post Fact Check:
"Investigations By Chicago Newspapers Have Not Produced Evidence That [Obama] Represented Rezko In A Slum Landlord Business."
The Washington Post reported, "William Miceli, Obama's supervisor at the law firm, said the firm represented the Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corp., a nonprofit group that redeveloped a run-down property on Chicago's South Side with Rezko. He called Clinton's assertion that Obama represented Rezko in a slum landlord business 'categorically untrue. He was a very junior lawyer at the time, who was given responsibility for basic due diligence, document review,' said Miceli, adding that Obama did what he was told by the firm. According to Miceli, that was the only time Obama worked on a Rezko-related project while at the law firm…But investigations by Chicago newspapers have not produced evidence that he represented Rezko in a slum landlord business. What has been demonstrated so far is that he did some due diligence legal work for a joint venture between Rezko and a Chicago nonprofit. Two Pinocchios for Clinton." [Washington Post, 1/22/08]

: Obama Filed Incorporation Papers For The Non-Profits. The AP reported, "Attorneys there say Obama never represented Rezko directly. The future senator did represent community organizations that were Rezko partners in rehabilitating buildings to provide apartments for the poor…Judson Miner, a partner in the firm, said that Obama's role was small. He said Obama did perhaps six or seven hours of work on such projects, mainly filing incorporation papers for the nonprofit groups." [AP, 1/22/08]

Obama Said That Miner Barnhill "Was Representing The Non-For-Profit Partner, Where There's No Allegations That They Did Anything Wrong." Obama said, "My law firm was representing the non for profit partner, where there's no allegations that they did anything wrong. They were simply trying to develop non for profit housing in the district." [Fox News, 4/24/07]

Obama Said That Miner Barnhill Was "Brought In Through [The Non-Profits], Not Through Rezko." The Chicago Tribune reported, "Responding to a Chicago Sun-Times report that Obama's former law firm did legal work for Rezko's low-income housing development business, the Illinois senator said he performed five hours of work on behalf of non-profit housing groups that partnered with Rezko. 'We were brought in through them [the non-profits], not through Rezko,' Obama said." [Chicago Tribune, 4/24/07]

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