November 14, 2008
Obama Advisor Valerie Jarrett Linked to Real Estate Scandals
Barack Obama's personnel decisions as President-Elect are crushing any hopes that his administration will bring a new spirit of integrity and honesty to Washington. First there was the selection of Clinton attack dog Rahm Emanuel as his Chief of Staff. Then there was the selection of another Clinton crony, John Podesta, to co-chair Obama's transition team. And now Barack Obama has tapped Valerie Jarrett to partner with Podesta in handling the transition.
Who is Valerie Jarrett?
Characterized as "the other side of Barack Obama's brain" by CBS News, Jarrett first met the Obamas seventeen years ago when she offered Michelle Obama a job. Since that time Jarrett has served as a very close advisor to both Obamas. While some have speculated that Jarrett is interested in taking Obama's place in the U.S. Senate, the New York Times reported that it is more likely she will become a senior White House adviser. And that is terrible news.
Judicial Watch recently obtained documents linking Valerie Jarrett to a series of real estate scandals, including several housing projects operated by convicted felon and former Obama fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko.
According to the documents, which we obtained from the Illinois Secretary of State, Valerie Jarrett served as a board member for several organizations that provided funding and support for Chicago housing projects operated by real estate developers and Obama financial backers Antoin "Tony" Rezko and Allison Davis. (You may recall that Davis is also Obama's former boss.)
Jarrett was a member of the Board of Directors for the Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corporation along with several Davis and Rezko associates, as well as the Fund for Community Redevelopment and Revitalization, an organization that worked with Rezko and Davis. Jarrett wrote of her support for Davis/Rezko projects, and was also one of the strongest supporters in revitalizing two struggling Chicago banks which later provided loans and mortgages for the Davis/Rezko housing projects.
And what sort of housing projects were Davis and Rezko operating? According to press reports, housing projects operated by Davis and Rezko have been substandard and beset with code violations. The Chicago Sun Times reported that one Rezko-managed housing project was "riddled with problems -- including squalid living conditions…lack of heat, squatters and drug dealers." Davis, meanwhile, was nailed for a code violation when sewage began to seep through electrical outlets in one of his low income apartment buildings.
Of course, Jarrett would have no issues supporting these kinds of housing projects. As Chief Executive Officer of the Habitat Company, Jarrett managed a controversial housing project located in Obama's former state senate district called Grove Parc Plaza. According to the Boston Globe, the housing complex was considered "uninhabitable by unfixed problems, such as collapsed roofs and fire damage…In 2006, federal inspectors graded the condition of the complex an 11 on a 100-point scale - a score so bad the buildings now face demolition." It is no stretch to say that she was a slumlord. Jarrett refused to comment on the conditions of the complex.
Valerie Jarrett is a product of the corrupt Chicago political machine. Washington already has plenty of corruption; we don't need to import more of it from Chicago.