A 51-year-old Syrian-born wunderkind from Wilmette, Rezko was always the quiet, low-key guy who preferred the shadows to center stage. An immaculate, moneyed Dr. Phil lookalike, Rezko's special gift was spotting stars before anyone knew they would be stars. And doing them favors, seemingly for free. And so for years, whether it was campaigning for the late Mayor Harold Washington in 1983, or raising big bucks for former Cook County Board President John Stroger in the '90s, or helping raise money for Sen. Barack Obama, whose rock star possibilities Rezko recognized years earlier, Rezko was ready with hefty infusions of his own cash and millions of dollars of other people's money. And it wasn't just Democrats whom he supported. Republicans from President Bush to former Gov. Jim Edgar got a little lift from Tony.And he links to world problems and wars too,
Rezko, let's remember, was "traveling" internationally when his indictments were handed down. He has interesting friends the world over. The emir of Qatar is a pal. The former Iraq electricity minister, Aiham Alsammarae, who resides in west suburban Oak Brook when he's not on the lam from a Baghdad lockup, is a Rezko business colleague who's been indicted in connection with $2 billion in missing money meant to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure. The feds are investigating what role Rezko may have had in that deal.The only good thing here is 2007 will be a bonanza year for Illinois bloggers. You'll be getting lots of google hits for Rezko Obama combinations. A lot of e-emails from people asking questions. Got to admit he's a real Chicago story. A guy from Syria comes to Chicago and all he's got going for him is the ability to play three-level-chess. Then he trys to take over the world.
And much closer to home, the feds continue to pursue Rezko's past real estate dealings with Illinois first lady Patti Blagojevich, a business relationship that began in 1997.
Meanwhile, Rezko's city developments, "minority partners" and contracts with Cook County are also under the federal microscope.
Some really talented people can play three-level chess in their head. Rezko can do even better than that. He could master at least four levels of government -- city, county, state and international -- all at once.