The big issue on many people’s minds is whether Barack Obama is ready to be president (not the Obamafans because they’ve already drunk the kool-aid and are totally gone). Back on June 27th, the Boston Globe focused on another issue: Obama’s ethics. In this piece, Binyamin Appelbaum wrote about the housing project Obama created while he was an Illinois state senator. The results are downright frightening. Take a look:
As a state senator, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee coauthored an Illinois law creating a new pool of tax credits for developers. As a US senator, he pressed for increased federal subsidies. And as a presidential candidate, he has campaigned on a promise to create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund that could give developers an estimated $500 million a year.
But a Globe review found that thousands of apartments across Chicago that had been built with local, state, and federal subsidies – including several hundred in Obama’s former district – deteriorated so completely that they were no longer habitable.
Grove Parc and several other prominent failures were developed and managed by Obama’s close friends and political supporters. Those people profited from the subsidies even as many of Obama’s constituents suffered. Tenants lost their homes; surrounding neighborhoods were blighted.
The Boston Globe website includes a video in which some of the tenants were interviewed.
There are a lot of people who are using this situation as an argument against the use of private industry. As a whole, private industry does a significantly better job with most things than government does. The issue here is not private industry. It’s corruption. The entire project was a scheme created to funnel money to Obama’s supporters, not to actually provide low-income housing for families in need:
Allison Davis, a major fund-raiser for Obama’s US Senate campaign and a former lead partner at Obama’s former law firm. Davis, a developer, was involved in the creation of Grove Parc and has used government subsidies to rehabilitate more than 1,500 units in Chicago, including a North Side building cited by city inspectors last year after chronic plumbing failures resulted in raw sewage spilling into several apartments.
Antoin “Tony” Rezko, perhaps the most important fund-raiser for Obama’s early political campaigns and a friend who helped the Obamas buy a home in 2005. Rezko’s company used subsidies to rehabilitate more than 1,000 apartments, mostly in and around Obama’s district, then refused to manage the units, leaving the buildings to decay to the point where many no longer were habitable.
Campaign finance records show that six prominent developers – including Jarrett, Davis, and Rezko – collectively contributed more than $175,000 to Obama’s campaigns over the last decade and raised hundreds of thousands more from other donors. Rezko alone raised at least $200,000, by Obama’s own accounting.
One of those contributors, Cecil Butler, controlled Lawndale Restoration, the largest subsidized complex in Chicago, which was seized by the government in 2006 after city inspectors found more than 1,800 code violations.
Butler and Davis did not respond to messages. Rezko is in prison; his lawyer did not respond to inquiries.
Doug Ross has aerial photos of the neighborhood Senator Obama and his campaign supporters left to rot. This is the most shocking:
And Obama wants to bring this to the rest of the country because leaving his low income Chicago constituents living in complete squalor simply isn’t enough.