Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sun Times: Obama and Rezko

Day one and two. From day one,
Obama's friendship with Rezko began with a telephone call.

It was 17 years ago. Obama had just become the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. Newspapers wrote about him. One story caught the eye of David Brint, a vice president of Rezmar, a new company that had become the Daley administration's favored developer of low-income housing.

"I just cold-called him," Brint said in an interview.

Brint said he wanted to know if Obama would come work for Rezmar, developing housing for the poor -- something Obama had expressed interest in, according to the story Brint had read. Brint arranged for Obama to meet Rezko, but Obama didn't take the job.

Obama, who has a law degree from Harvard, subsequently returned to Chicago to lead a voter-registration drive in 1992.

The next year, Obama joined Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland, a 12-lawyer firm that specialized in helping develop low-income housing. The firm's top partner, Allison S. Davis, was, and is, a member of the Chicago Plan Commission, appointed by Mayor Daley. Davis was also a friend of Rezko. Davis and Rezko would eventually go into business together, developing homes.

Another firm partner, Judson Miner, ran the city Law Department under Mayor Harold Washington, one of Obama's political idols.

Asked what Rezko cases Obama worked on, Miner told the Sun-Times, "We'll put together a list of the cases he worked on involving Rezko/Rezmar in the next day or two.''

That was March 13. He never provided the information.

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