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Rezko attorney 'owns' Obama mansion

Posted By Jerome R. Corsi On 12/25/2008 @ 11:40 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled


William Miceli

An attorney for convicted fundraiser Tony Rezko is listed as the owner and taxpayer for Barack Obama’s Chicago mansion, according to records obtained by WND.

William Miceli is a lawyer at the Chicago law firm Miner, Barnhill & Galland, which also formerly employed Obama.

The controversy began when a website called News and Commentary for Thinking People published a 48-page document that lists Miceli as the owner of the Obama home at 5046 S. Greenwood.

Miner, Barnhill & Galland was Obama’s employer when he did extensive legal work for Rezko, who awaits sentencing after he was convicted in June of fraud, money laundering and bribery-related counts.

Miceli, as a senior attorney at the firm, supervised Obama when the future president wrote letters on behalf of Rezko urging public authorities to award him new public properties to rehabilitate, notes the “Barack Book” website maintained by GOP.com.

WND asked for comment from Obama’s transition team and the Democratic National Committee but did not receive a response.

Investigative reporter Tim Novak at the Chicago Sun-Times has identified 15 building projects that Rezmar, Rezko’s development company, redeveloped while it was represented by Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland during Obama’s time at the firm.

The law firm changed its name when senior partner Allison Davis left to join Rezko in his schemes to take out loans on low-income housing projects. Several of the transactions remain under investigation, because the millions of dollars Rezko borrowed against the properties to make redevelopments are gone, while many of the properties remain boarded up and uninhabitable.

Following the Jan. 21 Democratic Party primary debate, Miceli told the Washington Post that he was Obama’s supervisor at the law firm, in response to Sen. Hillary Clinton’s charges Obama had worked for a Chicago slumlord, Rezko.

The Post said “Obama denied doing any legal work directly for Rezko or his companies,” contending Obama had done only “about five hours worth of work” on a joint real estate development project involving Rezko and a Chicago church group.

Miceli told the Post Obama “was a very junior lawyer at the time, who was given responsibility for basic due diligence, document review.”

Miceli said Obama “did what he was told by the firm,” minimizing the importance of any work Obama admittedly did for the Rezko account.

WND confirmed the tax bill for the Obama home is mailed to Miceli, not to Obama or the Northern Trust account through which Obama has claimed the home was purchased.

Records from the Cook County Treasurer’s Office give the PIN number for the Obama property as 20-11-115-037-0000 and list Miceli as the person who receives Obama’s property tax invoice by mail.

Eric Herman, a spokesman for the Cook County assessor, confirmed to WND that the Treasurer’s Office records were correct and that Miceli did receive the Obama property tax invoice by mail.

Miceli did not return a call WND placed to him at Miner, Barnhill & Galland.

Herman told WND a second PIN number, 20-11-115-036-0000, identified the vacant lot next to the Obama mansion that was purchased by Rita Rezko, Tony Rezko’s wife.

Here, WND found conflicts between the tax records maintained by the Cook County Treasurer’s Office and the deed information maintained by the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.

Rosslyn Whitlock, an Internet support specialist at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, confirmed to WND that the office has no information listed for the Obama home under the PIN number 20-11-115-037-0000, the number used by the Cook County Assessor’s office for property tax purposes.

Records at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds list Rita Rezko as the holder of the warranty deed for the vacant lot at 5050 S. Greenwood adjoining the Obama mansion, under the PIN number 20-11-115-036-0000.

WND was able to locate warranty information at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds , which Herman at the County Assessor’s office told WND was the “old PIN number” assigned to the Obama home at 5046 S. Greenwood Avenue, before the home was sold to Obama.

Neither spokesman could explain to WND the discrepancy in PIN numbers, nor why the Cook County Recorder of Deeds has no information filed under the new PIN number assigned to the property after the Obama purchase.

Records with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds under the PIN number 20-11-115-034-0000 indicate the mortgage is held by Northern Trust Company under trust number 10209, which Obama has indicated was the trust the Obama family used to purchase the home.

Meanwhile, WND has reported that since arresting Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has taken new interest in Rezko’s involvement in the Obama mansion purchase.

WND also reported real estate credit analyst Kenneth Conner has filed a civil suit alleging he was wrongfully dismissed by Mutual Bank of Harvey for objecting to what he considered a fraudulent appraisal of the vacant lot. The appraisal was submitted by the Rezkos at an intentionally high figure, he claims, permitting them to borrow an additional $125,000 that amounted to a “political payoff” to Obama.

 


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