August 21st, 2008
06:15 PM ET
6 years ago

GOP highlights Obama-Rezko land deal

Sen. Obama purchased land from Chicago businessman Tony Rezko in order to enlarge the yard next to this house.
Sen. Obama purchased land from Chicago businessman Tony Rezko in order to enlarge the yard next to this house.

(CNN) – It appears both presumptive presidential nominees have vulnerablilities when it comes to their homes.

Democrats and Sen. Barack Obama have pounced on Sen. John McCain’s inability in a recent interview to say definitely how many homes he owns with wife Cindy.

Now, Republicans are hitting back hard by highlighting a land deal between Obama and Tony Rezko, a Chicago businessman who was convicted in June on federal corruption charges.

The Republican National Committee launched a new Web site - ObamaRezkoShadyDeal.com – Thursday. The site focuses on Obama’s relationship with Rezko and collects information about the presumptive Democratic nominee’s ties to the disgraced businessman.

California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa also took the opportunity Friday to redirect attention away from McCain’s home ownership and onto Obama and his ties to Rezko. Suggesting that Obama had gotten a sweetheart deal in the transaction with Rezko, Issa said Obama received “a preferential Chicago-type deal.” Issa also told reporters on Capitol Hill that Obama had been the subject of “a near criminal investigation” and that there are doubts about whether the land deal with Rezko was legal.

Watch: Rep. Issa on Obama's land deal

In mid-2005, the Obamas and the Rezkos both closed transactions on adjoining pieces of property. The lot owned by the Rezkos was empty and the Obama land contained the Illinois senator’s newly purchased home. About six months later, Obama approached Rezko about buying a piece of the empty lot next to the Obamas’ property in order to enlarge the yard next to their home. The land deal occurred when it was widely known that Rezko was under investigation by federal authorities.

When news of the land deal surfaced in late 2006, Obama told the Chicago Sun-Times that he regretted not being more sensitive to how the land deal may have appeared. Obama has maintained that his conduct in the deal with legal and ethical and Rezko’s federal conviction was unrelated to the deal with Obama.

Raising questions about the nature and propriety of Obama’s relationship with Rezko was a strategy Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign employed during the primary battle against Obama.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (207 Responses)
  1. Fella from Chicago

    You're the low of the low Barack and you have your Kool-aid constituents following blindly behind you. Not only are you a thief, but a proven on the record live birth abortion advocate. Now the Chicago Sun-Times has your half-brother in Kenya plastered over the front page living in poverty and in engaging in knife fights to stay alive. So much for the family ties.

    August 21, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  2. Joe in StL

    Reporting so CNN doesn't have to:

    1) Rezko offers advice to Obama on value of house
    2) Obama purchases house (from someone else)
    3) Rezko's wife (real estate agent) purchases empty lot next door at same time
    4) Rezko's wife sells Obama several feet of empty lot between houses for FAIR MARKET VALUE

    In an unrelated story, Rezko is investigated for fraud.

    There is no story here, besides CNN parroting GOP talking points.

    The real story of the day is that McCain is a kept man whose WIFE owns all of their houses.

    August 21, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  3. Joe

    He is nothing but a Chicago crook.

    August 21, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  4. D from Seattle

    Ok, which is more likely with the majority of Americans today? Buying land from someone who might be involved in corrupt business deals or having so many homes that you lost count? Give me a break.

    August 21, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  5. Marilyn

    If Obama wants to make a big deal out of McCain's houses, then I say let him have it right back. I'd rather have a guy who owns several houses than one who got his in a shady manner.

    August 21, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  6. Silence Dogood

    It is about time that Obama's past and shady friends are not off limits in the press.

    One day the media is in love with you – the next day, they smell blood and all the whining and race cards in the world won't help. Like Obama's lobbyists knocking at the door, pay back will be tough.

    August 21, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  7. Mark Ferbet, Grain Valley, Missouri

    First thing first.... IF the GOP wants to get really nasty... let them... however, I would warn that McCain has way more skeletons in his closet then the much younger Obama.

    Obama is not worried... they have NOTHING on him... because there is nothing illegal. But McCain should be worried.. as he himself was under investigation for some pretty naughty things in his past. And he barely escaped unscathed.

    The McCain Campaign should spend more time prepping their candidate so he doesn't continue to make so many stupid mistakes with the media. Those Gaffe's will cost him dearly come November.

    August 21, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  8. Jeff

    Um, that's a mansion?

    August 21, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  9. Mike

    Nice house!

    August 21, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  10. Undecided Republican

    “a near criminal investigation” :
    In other words, he wasn't because there was nothing illegal.

    On the other hand, McCain HAS been the subject of CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS (no, not NEAR criminal, but full blown actually CRIMINAL).

    Nice Try, but try again.

    August 21, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  11. Matt: honestly

    AND THIS IS OLD NEWS, AND NOTHING THAT WAS DONE WAS ILLEGAL. JUST LIKE IT IS NOT AGAINST THE LAW TO OWN 7 HOUSES. SHEESH I HATE THIS GARBAGE.

    August 21, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  12. anonmouys

    down with mccain

    August 21, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  13. MET

    BJ,
    THERE WAS NO IMPLICATION...IT HAS WIDELY BEEN PROVEN ONLY STUPID PERSON LIKE YOU WOULD STILL BELIEVE OBAMA DID SOMETHING WRONG...NOT THIS TIME!!!!!!!!!!

    August 21, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  14. John from LA

    Dirty, Dirty, Dirty BO!!!!

    August 21, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  15. LIL LO

    The question should be do McCain really want to have the debate
    about Rezko? Be carefull there Mr. Keating 5 it might just come back to hunt you. O never had to appear before any legal committee as
    did John McCain with thugish Keating 5 deal. How sweet it is.

    Obama 08

    August 21, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  16. Cynthia

    In the Rezco trial nothing came up about Senator Obama doing anything wrong but leave it to the Republicans to try to make something of it.

    August 21, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  17. Linda31

    The government said that Obama had nothing to do with Rezko illegal mess. And isn't the house across the street and can't they sell it separately???? "part of the property" At least it is only one home. How many does McCain have again? Also, if we are to talk about felons, let's talk about Cindy McCain and her drug theft from her charity

    August 21, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  18. Carl29

    McCain is burning his ammution too early!!!!

    Obama '08 or Mark Warner '12

    Never, ever Hillary.

    Don't worry girl, Obama nation/Warner nation will be waiting for you to defeat you again!!!!!

    "Anybody but Hillary Club"

    August 21, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  19. BGIV in NC

    Again folk this is OLD news – this was dragged out during the primary for three weeks – want to talk past dealings with slipper people? OK How about Mr. Keating? OH Yeah forgot about that didn't ya!

    August 21, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  20. See You In November

    Looks like a nice home. End of story.

    Obama 08

    August 21, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  21. Cecil

    Hey McRichie Rich How Many Cars Do You Owned?

    August 21, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  22. McNowhere

    He's a real nowhere Man,
    Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
    Making all his nowhere plans
    for nobody.

    Obama 08

    August 21, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  23. McPoppa

    McPoppa was a rollin stone....
    Wherever he laid his hat was his home
    And when he cheated, all he left us was alone......

    –take from Poppa was a Rollin Stone by the Temptations

    August 21, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  24. pat C.

    I AM SO PROUD OF OBAMA FOR FINALLY SLINGING MUD BACK AT mcCROOK. THE OLD MAN HAS HAD 26 YEARS OF COVERING UP DEALS WITH HIS GOOD OLE BOYS IN THE WHITE HOUSE. JUST WAIT TIL IT'S OVER..YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTIN YET! ..MORE TO COME ON mcCROOK.

    August 21, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  25. Lisa F SWPA

    Camp Obama

    Now hear this .....it is apparent this campaign will not be played fairly so get down in the mud with McInsane and FIGHT DIRTY !!

    Survival of the most fit!

    August 21, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
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