The Obamas’ Chicago mansion (Zillow.com)
This, the first of a series of articles on the Obama home at 5046 S. Greenwood, establishes that three individuals other than Obama are listed in public records as owners and taxpayers on the property.
Barack Obama is not among at least three people listed as current owners and taxpayers of the mansion his family calls home in Chicago’s upscale Kenwood neighborhood, according to public records.
WND reported in December 2008 that William Miceli, the attorney for convicted political operative Tony Rezko and a fundraiser for Obama, owns the Obama home at 5046 S. Greenwood.
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Miceli is a lawyer at the Chicago law firm Miner, Barnhill & Galland, which employed Obama when he did legal work for Rezko.
Now, WND has discovered that, along with Miceli, there are at least two other people listed in public records as owners and taxpayers of 5046 S. Greenwood in the South Side neighborhood of Kenwood, an oasis of pricey homes that has attracted professors at nearby University of Chicago.
The Cook County Recorder of Deeds website shows the property was purchased by the Northern Trust Company, with the mortgage recorded Dec. 19, 2005. The records suggest a Northern Trust Company trust, perhaps headed by Miceli, was the deed holder.
There are no Cook County records that show Barack or Michelle Obama own 5046 S. Greenwood Ave., although the likelihood is that the couple are the owners of the Northern Trust Company trust established to buy the property.
Rezko found the new residence for Obama when the Rezko family lived across the street.
In the 2008 presidential campaign, Rezko’s role in the purchase created a scandal that threatened to derail Obama’s presidential hopes. The list price for the home was $1.95 million. But the Obamas reportedly were able to negotiate a price of $1.65 million when Tony Rezko’s wife, Rita Rezko, closed on the purchase of an adjacent vacant lot for $625,000 on the same day. The Obamas later bought one-sixth of the adjacent lot from Rita Rezko, creating a buffer.
Obama was grilled on the transactions before the election in meetings with the editorial staff of Chicago’s two major newspapers, the Sun-Times and the Tribune. He admitted to the Sun-Times that it was a “boneheaded move” but denied he coordinated the purchase with the Rezkos. Critics pointed out that any coordination with supporters would be a clear violation of Senate ethic rules.
Now, a search of records shows that, in addition to Miceli, the Obama mansion is owned by Chicago Probate Judge Jane L. Stuart and Obama accountant Harvey Wineberg, both of whom are paying taxes on the property.
WND was assisted in the inquiry by an expert debt collector who had access to professional databases used by debt collection agencies and skip-tracing companies with proprietary “skip-trace” software designed to find debtors who have attempted to run away to avoid payment.
WND’s source wishes to remain anonymous to prevent the type of retaliation faced by other experts who have been cut off from using proprietary databases in their attempt to search Obama’s records.
The expert lives in the U.S. Southeast and has more than 10 years of experience in the financial and debt collection industries. He describes himself as a libertarian who voted for Obama in 2008, only to become disillusioned with what he sees as attacks on medical freedom in Obama’s health-care reform law.
Owner No. 1: Judge Jane L. Stuart
In the records of the Cook County Assessor’s office, Chicago probate Judge Stuart shows up as an owner of the Obama property at 5046 S. Greenwood Ave.
The description of the property in the Cook County Assessor’s records – with a Property Index Number, or PIN, of 20-11-115-027-0000 – shows that she owns a rear apartment at the Obama’s address on 3,000 feet of land. However, the listed sale date and the selling price corresponds with the reported June 15, 2005, sale of the property for $1.65 million to the Obamas.
Stuart also shows up in the Cook County Clerk’s tax records as having paid taxes on the property in 2009 totaling $5,175.53. The amount was paid in two installments of $3,069.22 and $2,106.31.
According to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, Stuart has owned 5046 S. Greenwood Ave. since 1988.
However, the public records also show her purchasing the property in 1995 for $1.65 million.
Stuart did not respond to multiple attempts by WND to reach her for comment.
Stuart’s continued ownership of the property is documented by the record of an easement she granted the U.S. government on Dec. 21, 2010.
The main house is a century-old, multi-story, 6,400-square-foot, brick Georgian Revival home with four fireplaces, six bedrooms, six bathrooms, glass-door bookcases fashioned from Honduran mahogany, and a wine cellar large enough to store 1,000 bottles.
Owner No. 2: Obama accountant Howard Wineberg
Obama accountant Wineberg shows up in the records of the Cook County Assessor’s office beginning in 2009:
Wineberg also is indicated as an owner in the Cook County Clerk’s tax records:
The 2009 records show Wineberg paid taxes on the property totaling $25,742.31, paid in two installments of $12,351.04 and $13,391.27.
Wineberg told WND in a telephone interview that he simply pays the tax bills he receives on the Obama property. He said he has no idea whether others are paying taxes on the property or whether the amounts he is paying agree with the amounts Obama reports on his personal IRS income-tax filings.
Note that the PIN associated with Wineberg’s ownership, 20-11-115-037-0000, is different than Stuart’s.
Entering this PIN number into the Cook Country Recorder of Deeds returns a computer-generated message that says no property record for this PIN number can be found.
Owner No. 3, Obama law partner William Miceli
The third owner of the home is Obama’s attorney, William Miceli.
Note that the Miceli listing at the Cook County Assessor’s Office provides yet a third PIN for 5046 S. Greenwood, 20-11-115-034-0000.
The PIN is different even though the legal description is identical to descriptions for Stuart’s and Wineberg’s ownership records.
Placing the third PIN into the search function of the Cook County Recorder of Deeds website shows Miceli was involved since April 15, 2005, in purchasing 5046 S. Greenwood Ave. from Frederic Wondisford.
There are no tax records for Miceli on the property.
The office of the Cook County recorder of deeds said it could not explain to WND why 5046 S. Greenwood Ave. has three different PINs.