The Ulsterman Report: Banking Scandal Lurking for Obama in 2011?
Speculation grows as Feds continue to delay releasing Broadway Banking report. Republican Darrell Issa hints at coming Congressional investigation.
On April 23rd of 2010, Federal regulators shut down the Giannoulias family run Broadway Bank in Chicago. At that time, Alexi Giannoulias, former Broadway Bank Vice President and chief loan officer, was embroiled in a tough Senate campaign against Republican rival Mark Kirk. Normally the FDIC would issue a findings report on a failed lending institution within six months of its closing. On October 22nd, Feds declared no report would be forthcoming until after the November 2nd elections. Now some three weeks later, still no report has been issued.
The Obama White House has close ties to the Giannoulias family, dating back to whenBarack Obama was just beginning his political career as an Illinois State Senator. According to a New York Times report in 2007, Obama and Alexi Giannoulias met in the late 1990s at the upscale East Bank Club in Chicago. The Giannoulias family was a well known political fundraising power for Illinois Democrats, and Alexi was at the forefront of the family’s political ambitions when he and Barack Obama became friends. As Obama worked his way up the Illinois political ladder, Giannoulias expanded his role and responsibilities within Broadway Bank. The two men were so aligned politically and professionally that Obama kept much of his senatorial campaign funds with Broadway Bank.
Another figure is then included in the Obama-Giannoulias relationship – that of convicted felon and Syrian-born Tony Rezko, a figure currently awaiting sentencing on various charges of fraud and bribery. The relationship between Rezko and Obama dates back even further than Obama’s relationship to Giannoulias. Rezko was a business partner with the the law firm that initially hired Barack Obama in the early 1990’s. It was Rezko who then helped initiate Obama’s first fundraising efforts in 1995 when Obama began running for Illinois State Senate. By 1997, then state Senator Barack Obama was helping secure Rezko with over $14 million in low income housing funds. In 2005, Rezko helped facilitate the purchase of Obama’s home in the upscale Kentwood District, for $1.65 million. The Washington Post later reported in 2008 that the Obama’s received a “significant discount” on the mortgage to help faciliate the purchase being more affordable to the Obamas. During this same time period, Rezko was also securing millions of dollars in loans from Broadway Bank for his other development projects.
The only other Illinois politician to rival the assistance that Barack Obama was receiving from both Tony Rezko and Broadway Bank is former Governor Rod Blagojevich. This relationship between “Blago” and Giannoulias was further emphasized during the recent Blagojevich federal trial in which recordings were released of Blagojevich being told by his Chief of Staff John Harris that Alexi had called wanting to discuss the then – vacant Obama senate seat. At that time Alexi was said not to be trying to secure the seat for himself, but rather “someone else” – most likely Obama senior advisor Valarie Jarret, yet another Chicago political figure with close ties to both Tony Rezko and the Giannoulias family. During the Blago trial, Chicago union leader Tom Balanoff testified that right after the Presidential election, he met with both Valerie Jarrett and Alexi Giannoulias about Jarrett’s possible appointment to the Senate by Rod Blagojevich. It was also during this testimony that Balanoff directly implicated Barack Obama as being part of those ongoing negotiations, as well as Obama’s former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who left the White House abruptly to purportedly run for Mayor of Chicago.
And now who do we see as a possible challenger to Emanuel’s hopes of becoming Chicago’s newest mayor? Alexi Giannoulias, who during his campaign for the Senate, received repeated and enthusiastic endorsements from President Barack Obama – the same President Obama who has indicated little to no support for former White House Chief of Staff Emanuel’s mayoral campaign.
Chicago columnist Lynn Sweet published a recent report indicating Chicago’s union leadership is actively seeking a candidate to prevent Emanuel from becoming the city’s next mayor. Union officials apparently met with Giannoulias this past week in an attempt to convince him to run, promising the significant fundraising and get out the vote powers of Chicago’s organized labor groups. A Giannoulias spokesperson just today indicated Giannoulias had no indication to run for mayor, but Chicago political insiders have yet to write off the possibility.
Incoming House Ethics Committe Chair Republican Darrell Issa has already hinted at full Congressional investigations into the Broadway Bank shutdown to begin in 2011, including, among other things, why the Feds waited so long to shut down the failing lending institute. In an April 2010 statement, Congressman Issa went so far as to directly imply a possible White House connection:
“The fact that senior White House officials such as David Axelrod are meeting with Mr. Giannoulias at the time the FDIC is covering hundreds of millions in losses at Broadway Bank raised a flag,” Issa said.
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