Poor timing? Obama’s Syrian buddy Tony Rezko released from prison, returns to Chicago as refugee crisis rages

By Richard PollockDC NEWS

President Barack Obama’s longest-running Syrian problem may not but refugees, but Chicago’s powerful Syrian-American “godfather” Antoin “Tony” Rezko who was released from a federal penitentiary in July.

Rezko was born and raised in Aleppo, Syria, and came to the United States in the 1970s. Before his arrest and imprisonment, he became Chicago’s most influential Syrian-American. He also was Obama’s political adviser, personal friend and biggest Arab-American fundraiser.

Importantly, Rezko introduced Obama to the city’s Arab-American activist groups, including the Arab American Action Network whose leader’s home was once raided by the FBI. Rezko has not given interviews since his release.

He was convicted in 2010 of 16 federal counts involving fraud, money laundering and kickbacks for government contracts that included securing state jobs for Arab-Americans, many of whom had no qualifications for the posts. He spent seven years in prison.

Rezko’s re-emergence in Chicago’s Arab American politics could raise uncomfortable issues for the president about his controversial transactions with Rezko, as well as his relationship with Chicago’s strident Arab-American community.

The Rezko-Obama story began when the Syrian-American tried to recruit Obama out of law school. Instead, Obama joined a small Chicago activist law firm that also did business with Rezko.

On at least five occasions Obama himself defended Rezko’s Rezmar Corporation when it poorly maintained low-income housing that was cited by the city for deficiencies.

Through social outings Tony and Rita Rezko also became personal friends with Barack and Michelle Obama. They had private dinners together and vacationed together.

“There was one occasion where he invited us up to Lake Geneva (Wisconsin) with his family,” Obama told the Chicago Tribune in a March 2008 interview that focused on his relationship with Rezko.

“And there was another occasion where, as couples, he and his wife, and Michelle and I, went to a restaurant here in Chicago,” Obama recalled.

One eye-opening revelation that caused trouble for Obama in the middle of his 2008 presidential race was when Rita Rezko paid $625,000 to buy a small lot next to the Obama’s current 6,500-square-foot Chicago home.

The payout allegedly reduced the seller’s asking price for the Obamas, who eventually paid $1.65 million. Chicago Tribune reporter John Kass, wrote in 2008 that Rezko was Obama’s “real estate fairy.”

Aside from the house, Rezko also became Obama’s biggest single source of Arab American political money.

When Obama first ran for state Senate in 1996, Rezko gave him $15,000, then another $75,000 for his failed congressional race in 2000.

Overall, Rezko gave at least $263,000 in contributions to Obama for his 2004 Senate bid. In the end, Obama said in the Chicago Tribune interview he gave $160,000 to charity when the Rezko contributions were disclosed.

But the Syrian-American also introduced Obama to Chicago’s Arab-American community.

Rezko was a generous financial supporter of a number of Arab American groups in Chicago, including the Arab American Action Network (AAAN). The Obamas were seen at many Chicago Arab events.

“Rezko got a lot of grant money to AAAN” and to Ali Abunimah, the radical author of the “Electronic Intifada,” according to Ray Hanania, a Chicago-based Arab American media consultant in a 2012 interview with this reporter.

The Obama’s attended several AAAN dinners, including one honoring radical Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi and another that featured the late Palestinian theorist Edward Said.

“Over the years since I first saw Obama speak, I met him about half a dozen times, often at Palestinian and Arab-American community events in Chicago,” wrote Abunimah of the “Electronic Intifada” in a March 2007 post.

After his election to the White House, Obama became close to AAAN. Hatem Abudayyeh, the group’s executive director, attended an April 22, 2010 “policy briefing” at the White House, according to White House visitor logs.

But in September 2010, FBI agents raided Abudayyeh’s Chicago home reportedly seeking evidence of AAAN being used as a conduit for funding to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and other Middle Eastern terrorist groups.

The Obama Department of Justice, however, never pressed charges against the AAAN leader or the group.

Today AAAN is very outspoken about Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s decision to stop Syrian refugees coming into the state.

Abudayyeh says in a Nov. 15 posting he is “sickened” by the governor’s decision, adding “it fuels racist stereotypes against Arab-American and American Muslim communities in our state.”

It is not clear if Rezko will join the Syrian refugee fight. His attorney did not return multiple calls from The Daily Caller News Foundation about his plans.

But Rezko left a void when he went to prison — and now he’s back. “Was there any other Tony Rezko’s in the Arab community? He was unique,” concluded Hanania.

“When you think of Chicago politics you think of politicians and media. We had very few players at those levels,” Hanania said.

Follow Richard on Twitter

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected]

We know first-hand that censorship against conservative news is real. Please share stories and encourage your friends to sign up for our daily email blast so they are not getting shut out of seeing conservative news.


31 thoughts on “Poor timing? Obama’s Syrian buddy Tony Rezko released from prison, returns to Chicago as refugee crisis rages

  1. Kenneth Clark says:

    Are the chickens coming home to roost now? How many more of Obama’s Chicago criminal ties will now come to light?

    1. SusieQ says:

      I don’t know Kenneth. We’ll have to wait and see how many he pardons in about a year.

      1. TBW says:

        Just another filthy “foreign” infiltrator intent on corruption and degrading our Republic, all thanks to the Kennedy 1965 Immigration Act. This country needs a radical reversal to Constitutional recognition and Soverignty.

        First step, lots of rope to begin the purge of treasonous scum. Make a mark so boldly that Marxists flee our shores and fear to return for 100 years!

        1. SusieQ says:

          Agreed. Cruz is surging in the polls because he wants to take the filth in hand. Keeping our country safe again and putting the citizens here first. The way it should be. I am behind him 100%.

          1. TBW says:

            Hi Susie, I missed you…

          2. SusieQ says:

            Well thank you. I’m around and as always enjoy your posts. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    2. luciteehee says:

      Are you referring to the men in striped suits and fancy hats? There’s something brewing in Chicago and it “AIN’T COFFEE”! This will be either the BEST year for 0’Bama with Tony home, or the scrutiny will reveal a background that even the MEDIA can’t cover up! The MSM are beginning to “see through” his empty rhetoric and won’t be as supportive NOW as they were in 2008! Interesting! Somewhere in Chicago, a non-descript “cub reporter” is going to stumble across “information”, buried under eight years of “litter box waste”! That will rival ANYTHING NSA has provided and USED against American citizens! 2016 will be maddening, disgusting, blatantly fraudulent, aggression against everything America holds SACRED, but one thing it will NOT be is BORING!

    3. LittleRoot_48 says:

      I hope the “chickens” crap all over his head.

    4. What_no_change??? says:

      All depends on how much the MSM want’s to get hillary elected. If they can use this and the info that turns up to get hilliary out of the press and they really want her elected it will be come news. If not business as usual I’m afraid.

  2. SusieQ says:

    Wow, sure is odd the MSM never informed anyone of these happenings when Obama was running for President.

    Oh Well, the Democrat voter doesn’t mind a little vice in their candidate’s life, just think, now they have “Hillary”. I mean what a person does in their private life has no influence on how they conduct themselves in office. Right?

    1. Marilyn Z says:

      If they don’t report it, it has not really happened so we can all forget about it. They only report what is good for dems and bad for the GOP.

      I wish they would wake up to the nightmare they have created. What morons.

      1. SusieQ says:

        You got that right Marilyn. Digging around fifty years ago in someone’s life like it’s the all to end all. Twisting and spinning while the democrat foxes are in the henhouse eating up a storm and no one (MSM) seems to notice. Or rather ignores.

        So many now are on to their vile game of “gotcha” questions and accusations that don’t add up to a hill of beans. They are desperate. They are losing their grip, at the same time Obama is losing his and looking like the insidious fool he is. One more year of this insanity.

        Marilyn, have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Next year we will be celebrating a new chapter. Finally. .

        1. Marilyn Z says:

          Same to you, SusieQ. Hope you are not having a white one.

          1. SusieQ says:

            Better not be, I’m in Florida. Lol
            Thanks Marilyn.

          2. Marilyn Z says:

            Good…that white stuff is messy! Stay safe.

  3. tsigili says:

    Nothing truthful about Obama ever gets into the mainstream media, so no one ever hears the truth.

  4. Spirit of 1776 says:

    Godfather” Antoin “Tony” was born and raised in Aleppo,
    Syria, and came to the United States in the 1970s. Before his arrest and
    imprisonment, he became Chicago’s most influential Syrian-American. He also was
    Obama’s political adviser; personal friend and biggest Arab-American fundraise.

    Foreign money will buy you anything including the presidency
    of the US. And pay them what they want – a weak America to overrun and dominate
    the people will as kill all who disagrees whit their beliefts.

    Time for all true Americans to rise up and take back our country,
    our government form the oval office on down including both houses of congress from
    the money hungry morons who has defiled their offices and there Oath of office
    which stated: “I, their full name, I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I
    will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all
    enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to
    the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or
    purpose of evasion; and that I will and faithfully discharge the duties of the
    office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

    Obama’s oath was “I, Barack Hussein Obama from Kenya, I
    do not solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will ever support nor defend the Constitution of the United
    States against all enemies, foreign and domestic which are my brothers; that I
    will bear false faith and allegiance to the same for any American; that I take
    this obligation freely, without any mental reservation except being a
    psychopathic liar and for purpose of evasion; and that I will and unfaithfully
    discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter every chance I
    can get: So help me Allah “.

  5. monacall says:

    We have a state owned media this will not get out. Even fox news wont report on any of this….. we have no more free press…. they are all paid whores.

  6. Marilyn Z says:

    I am so so so sick of Obama and his muslim buddies.

    WAKE UP you liberal morons. The man couldn’t be more muslim and he wants this country muslim. Dang, how much clearer does it have to be?

    1. Mike says:

      That is how unAmerican the CPUSA Progressive Democrats have become.

      They do not care how much damage is done to this country as long as they remain in power.

      They are exactly the people Lord Acton had in mind when he said. “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

      That is the reason for everyone to distrust government and to keep government limited to just the very few things only a government can do.

      1. Marilyn Z says:

        Well said, Mike! I don’t know how I can love my country so much and then have many of my fellow Americans behave as if they actually detest it.

        1. Alberto Sorcaburu says:

          Yes it is hard to fathom that the country I love and fought for can be in the hands of enemies that want to destroy it.

          1. Marilyn Z says:

            So true…many of my family died for this country in battle and some returned home scarred for life…mentally and physically…and then we have that traitor Obama undoing everything we accomplished.

  7. Jim Russell says:

    U.S. Code › Title 18 › Part I › Chapter 115 › § 2381 Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

    1. Marilyn Z says:

      I love the *shall suffer DEATH* bit…too bad it is never taken seriously.

      1. LittleRoot_48 says:

        FIRING SQUAD!!!!!

        1. Marilyn Z says:

          Great idea, LittleRoot!

    2. Mike says:

      Barry should have been charged, and convicted for leaking information on the Stuxnet Virus/Worm that had been destroying Iran’s centrifuges. By that act he proved himself to be a traitor not only to the USA but the entire civilized world [muslims obviously not included].

      It is the crime of the century that not one person in government called for the arrest of this president for this act of treason.

      1. Pam says:

        And that is probably the LEAST of his treasonous acts.
        I consider his first act of treason to be his “apology tour” and bowing down to the king of Saudi Arabia. The muslim POS went all over telling everybody how evil the U.S. is. How does someone stay president who says that? Answer: congress was terrified of “being called racist”.

  8. Lizard says:

    Yup just another one of Obama dirty friends

  9. Mary Brown says:

    Demonrats and dirty money go hand in hand! The corruption in the dem party is far worse that in the repub!

Comments are closed.

Latest Articles