Thursday, September 25, 2008

$100K Obama `Success' As Community Organizer Being Investigated

The Chosen One has made a huge deal out of his supposed expertise as a community organizer.It was all about doing good, you see...and apparently Obama and a few of his political allies did pretty well out of it.

Here's how one of these sleazy transactions went down:

A $100,000 state grant for a botanic garden in Englewood that then-state Sen. Barack Obama awarded in 2001 to a group headed by a onetime campaign volunteer is now under investigation by the Illinois attorney general amid new questions, prompted by Chicago Sun-Times reports, about whether the money might have been misspent.

The garden was never built. And now state records obtained by the Sun-Times show $65,000 of the grant money went to the wife of Kenny B. Smith, the Obama 2000 congressional campaign volunteer who heads the Chicago Better Housing Association, which was in charge of the project for the blighted South Side neighborhood.

Smith wrote another $20,000 in grant-related checks to K.D. Contractors, a construction company that his wife, Karen D. Smith, created five months after work on the garden was supposed to have begun, records show. K.D. is no longer in business.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan -- a Democrat who is supporting Obama's presidential bid -- is investigating "whether this charitable organization properly used its charitable assets, including the state funds it received," Cara Smith, Madigan's deputy chief of staff, said Wednesday.

In addition to the 2001 grant that Obama directed to the housing association as a "member initiative," the not-for-profit group got a separate $20,000 state grant in 2006.

{...}In a previous interview, Smith said the state grant money was legitimately spent, mostly on underground site preparation.

But no one ever took out construction permits required for such work, city records show. And a contractor who Smith said did most of the work told a reporter all he did was cut down trees and grade the site with a Bobcat.

Citing the garden's failure to take root, NeighborSpace -- an umbrella group for dozens of community gardens citywide -- moved Sept. 9 to return the site to the city. Its action followed a July 11 Sun-Times report on the grant.

The contractor who cut down the trees and graded the site, Rudolfo Marin, was quoited by the Sun-Times as saying,"What I was hired for was: Clean up the area and cut the trees -- that's all....If he spent about $3,000 with me, that was too much."

Now, Obama has some history with the Smiths, as you might imagine.Smith and his wife were both long-time aides and donors for Obama's failed campaign for Congress and his successful campaigns for the Illinois State Senate and the US senate, and are now presumably helping out with his presidential campaign. Obama's handshake to the Smiths goes back to at least 1997, when Obama wrote a letter that Smith used to help the housing association win city funding in a totally separate project for an affordable-housing development near the garden site. Obama got Smith taxpayer funding for 50 homes were supposed to be built, but only a dozen poorly constructed homes ever were..and what happened to the rest of that money is a mystery too.

Sooo, we have a pair of longtime Obama operatives that got rewarded with one huge grant of taxpayer money that was supposed to build houses for low income people that ended up going elsewhere, and what does the Chosen One do? He rewards these same people with another huge grant of taxpayer money for a public garden that also somehow goes astray.

Yup, that's what I call positively presidential judgment, even if some of those funds that mysteriously disappeared didn't end up being kicked back to the Obama campaign under the table.

Now that's Community organizing - Chicago-style!

By the way, I wouldn't count on this going too far, with a Democrat attorney general beholden to the Daley machine. As a matter of fact, the only reason it got this far is because the Sun-Times broke the story and embarrassed a few people.

Of course, the dinosaur media has been far too busy sending dozens of reporters to Wassila to have any to spare to investigate this sort of thing.

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