Obama’s crony earned big bucks while Chicago pension funds lost $54 million

Chicago’s pension obligations are a time bomb nearing explosion. Taxes already have been increased, but far steeper hikes will be necessary, worrying city council members.  Imagine yourself a Chicago homeowner receiving a property tax bill that has risen by middle double digits, knowing that the pension funds are going to have to replace $54 million that was lost in deal handed to insiders who lost money while collecting $9 million in developer’s fees. Would it be any comfort to know that the two principals in the deal were former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew and a politically connected developer that was Barack Obama’s boss when the Harvard Law graduate entering Chicago political life.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports on the scandal, minus the Obama connection of one of the principals.

If there ever was any hope that five Chicago city workers pension funds would make any money by investing $68 million with then-Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew and one of his key political supporters, it didn’t last long.

Only months after the deals were made a dozen years ago, problems began to emerge.

The nephew, Robert G. Vanecko, and his business partner Allison S. Davis, a developer who gave campaign money to Daley and was appointed by the mayor to head the Chicago Plan Commission, started investing in a series of property deals that, by the time the last of them are unwound by the end of December, will have cost the city workers pension funds 80 percent of the $68 million they put in — $54 million in all.

Vanecko and Davis set up a company, DV Urban Realty Partners, and bought an apartment building that was riddled with code violations.

They invested in a vacant building that once housed the Chicago Defender, even as City Hall inspectors threatened to tear it down unless repairs were made.

They put city employees’ pension money into an old warehouse that sat on land so poisoned with arsenic and lead that the pension funds had to help pay $2.6 million for cleanup just to be able to unload it at a huge loss.

Allison Davis is not merely a political donor. That name has appeared many times in AT. For instance:

In 1993, Barack Obama joined a Chicago law firm that specialized in helping develop low-income housing. In time, the job would bring him political support from slum landlords who make Clinton's shady Arkansas associates look like teenage shoplifters.

Obama's connections with public housing developers and property managers have been investigated in depth by a cadre of reporters from the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun Times. The major TV networks and national print media, particularly the New York Times and Washington Post, have ignored their findings.

Once the media declared the Tony Rezko story over when he was convicted in federal court, the national media's attention turned away from Chicago. Here's just part of the story they've missed.

Obama Joins The Law Firm of Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland

Barack Obama was a law student at Harvard in 1990 when Rezko's low-income housing development company offered him a job. He declined. Two years later he returned to Chicago to work on a voter registration drive while he figured out what to do next

Next came in 1993 when he joined a law firm that represented subsidized housing developers eager to tap into government funds available to reconstruct public housing. Mayor Richard M. Daley planned to tear down Chicago's old, dilapidated public housing stock and build new units. It promised government housing renovation on a massive scale.

At Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland, Allison Davis was Obama's boss and tutor in the legalities of government subsidized housing. 

A generation older than Obama, Davis grew up in Hyde Park, home of the University of Chicago, where his father was the school's first African-American professor. After a stint in the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in West Africa, he returned to Chicago to become active in the civil rights movement as an attorney in the Metropolitan Housing and Planning Council. In those years, Davis was a reformed-minded lawyer often at odds with Mayor Richard J. Daley, Richard the 1st.

In 1971, Davis opened a small law firm that would include Carol Moseley-Braun, who became a one-term U.S. Senator from Illinois. Years later, Davis would serve on the finance committee of another former employee running for the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama, along with Tony Rezko and Valerie Jarrett. 

Obama worked at the firm from 1993 until he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004.  

Hey, it’s the Chicago Way.

source

Recall that Barack Obama moved to the Windy City because he was attracted to its political possibilities.

Chicago’s pension obligations are a time bomb nearing explosion. Taxes already have been increased, but far steeper hikes will be necessary, worrying city council members.  Imagine yourself a Chicago homeowner receiving a property tax bill that has risen by middle double digits, knowing that the pension funds are going to have to replace $54 million that was lost in deal handed to insiders who lost money while collecting $9 million in developer’s fees. Would it be any comfort to know that the two principals in the deal were former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew and a politically connected developer that was Barack Obama’s boss when the Harvard Law graduate entering Chicago political life.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports on the scandal, minus the Obama connection of one of the principals.

If there ever was any hope that five Chicago city workers pension funds would make any money by investing $68 million with then-Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew and one of his key political supporters, it didn’t last long.

Only months after the deals were made a dozen years ago, problems began to emerge.

The nephew, Robert G. Vanecko, and his business partner Allison S. Davis, a developer who gave campaign money to Daley and was appointed by the mayor to head the Chicago Plan Commission, started investing in a series of property deals that, by the time the last of them are unwound by the end of December, will have cost the city workers pension funds 80 percent of the $68 million they put in — $54 million in all.

Vanecko and Davis set up a company, DV Urban Realty Partners, and bought an apartment building that was riddled with code violations.

They invested in a vacant building that once housed the Chicago Defender, even as City Hall inspectors threatened to tear it down unless repairs were made.

They put city employees’ pension money into an old warehouse that sat on land so poisoned with arsenic and lead that the pension funds had to help pay $2.6 million for cleanup just to be able to unload it at a huge loss.

Allison Davis is not merely a political donor. That name has appeared many times in AT. For instance:

In 1993, Barack Obama joined a Chicago law firm that specialized in helping develop low-income housing. In time, the job would bring him political support from slum landlords who make Clinton's shady Arkansas associates look like teenage shoplifters.

Obama's connections with public housing developers and property managers have been investigated in depth by a cadre of reporters from the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun Times. The major TV networks and national print media, particularly the New York Times and Washington Post, have ignored their findings.

Once the media declared the Tony Rezko story over when he was convicted in federal court, the national media's attention turned away from Chicago. Here's just part of the story they've missed.

Obama Joins The Law Firm of Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland

Barack Obama was a law student at Harvard in 1990 when Rezko's low-income housing development company offered him a job. He declined. Two years later he returned to Chicago to work on a voter registration drive while he figured out what to do next

Next came in 1993 when he joined a law firm that represented subsidized housing developers eager to tap into government funds available to reconstruct public housing. Mayor Richard M. Daley planned to tear down Chicago's old, dilapidated public housing stock and build new units. It promised government housing renovation on a massive scale.

At Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland, Allison Davis was Obama's boss and tutor in the legalities of government subsidized housing. 

A generation older than Obama, Davis grew up in Hyde Park, home of the University of Chicago, where his father was the school's first African-American professor. After a stint in the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in West Africa, he returned to Chicago to become active in the civil rights movement as an attorney in the Metropolitan Housing and Planning Council. In those years, Davis was a reformed-minded lawyer often at odds with Mayor Richard J. Daley, Richard the 1st.

In 1971, Davis opened a small law firm that would include Carol Moseley-Braun, who became a one-term U.S. Senator from Illinois. Years later, Davis would serve on the finance committee of another former employee running for the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama, along with Tony Rezko and Valerie Jarrett. 

Obama worked at the firm from 1993 until he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004.  

Hey, it’s the Chicago Way.

source

Recall that Barack Obama moved to the Windy City because he was attracted to its political possibilities.