Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thirty Degrees Below Zero

For more than five weeks during the brutally cold winter of 1997, tenants suffered without any heat in a government-subsidized apartment building. The 31-unit building in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood had been "rehabbed" just four years prior at taxpayer expense, no less.

How cold was it? Temperatures routinely dipped around ten below zero. With wind-chills factored in, the effective temperatures approached 30 below.

And the residents of the building had no heat for more than a month.

The building's owner -- Rezmar Corporation -- didn't bother to turn on the heat for weeks. In fact, it didn't do so until it was sued.

And the Englewood building wasn't the only one of Rezmar's properties that had scores of code violations. At least a dozen times, Rezmar had to be sued in order to simply turn on the heat in its properties.

Rezmar's properties turned out to be catastrophic failures: 17 buildings ended up in foreclosure, 6 are boarded up, hundreds of apartments are vacant and require repair... and taxpayers were stuck with millions in unpaid loans.

All of these buildings were in -- or just blocks away from -- a single state senator's district. A district belonging to a young, up-and-coming politician named Barack Obama.

In fact, during the brutal winter of 1997, even while Rezmar refused to heat its Englewood apartments, it was donating $1,000 to state senator Obama's campaign fund.

During the winter or the scores of subsequent code violations, did state senator Obama ever lift a finger to protect his constituents from "predatory slumlords" like Rezmar?

The answer appears to be a resounding "No". In 2007, Obama's own campaign staff stated, "Senator Obama does not remember having conversations... about properties that [Rezmar] owned.."

The shivering tenants in in and around the district were left defenseless for weeks at a time. Assailed on one side by predatory slumlords like Rezmar, they were -- for all intents and purposes -- left out in the cold by their state senator, Barack Obama.

There's a simple reason Obama didn't lift a finger to protest these horrific violations. His political patron, Tony Rezko, was the driving force behind Rezmar. And Rezko helped raise a quarter of a million dollars for Obama's various campaigns.

And after stating he'd "never done any favors for" Rezko, the Chicago Sun-Times discovered letters Obama wrote to city and state officials supporting Rezko's bid for $14 million in taxpayers' money for an elder-care facility.

While Obama didn't expend an ounce of energy to protest Rezko's outrageous violations, he did take time to write letters on behalf of Rezko in his efforts to secure an additional $14 million in taxpayer funds.

State senator Obama couldn't effectively represent his abused constituents... perhaps because he was otherwise occupied helping his slumlord patrons advance their own agendas.

And as a so-called "community organizer" and then a state senator, Obama -- and close friend and confidante Valerie Jarrett, who was responsible for property management -- couldn't even keep huge, federally subsidized housing complexes like Grove Parc habitable. And 'habitable' is kind of a low bar, I would think.

State Senator Barack Obama did a really lousy job representing his constituents in a tiny district in Chicago's south side, appearing to side more often with corporate interests than his own, downtrodden citizens.

And his cronies -- like Valerie Jarrett -- were linked to dozens of failed projects that burned through millions in taxpayer funds.

And these failed, small-time bureaucrats want us to trust them to control 20% of the entire U.S. economy -- the whole American health care system?

It'll be a cold day in hell before that sounds like a good idea to the American taxpayer. Say, thirty degrees below zero cold.

Linked by: Michelle Malkin and Cold Fury. Thanks!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm a hundred miles west of Chicago and I remember that winter painfully. Our worst wind-chill reading was -73°.

How could people live through that winter without heat? Surely some of them must have died.

Having said that, I think it's counter-productive to re-visit Rezko, et al. Certainly his relationship with Barry-O taints the Grifter-in-Chief but this isn't really news, nor will it be heard or believed by anyone other than the choir.

I am not suggesting that we ignore all of Teh Won's past sins but, rather, that we cite them only when we can tie them to current malfeasance. It is the last four years that will ultimately defeat Dear Reader. The rest is just a sideshow.