Rezko Primer I: Job Offer and Friendship Begins

UPDATED 3/16/2008:  Includes portions of the Chicago Tribune/Sun-Times interviews from 3/13/2008

The definitive take appears to be Obama’s answer in the Chicago Sun-Times on November 5, 2006:

Q: Senator, when did you first meet Tony Rezko? How did you become friends? How often would you meet with him, and when did you last speak with him?

A: I had attracted some media attention when I was elected the first black President of the Harvard Law Review. And while I was in law school, David Brint, who was a development partner with Tony Rezko contacted me and asked whether I would be interested in being a developer. Ultimately, after discussions in which I met Mr. Rezko, I said no.

I have probably had lunch with Rezko once or twice a year and our spouses may have gotten together on two to four occasions in the time that I have known him. I last spoke with Tony Rezko more than six months ago.

Obama then took a job with Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, now just Miner, Barnhill, & Galland. The firm concentrates on employment discrimination, civil and voting rights, antitrust, consumer litigation, and housing development. The firm has been engaged in a many cases including representing African American voters interests in redistricting, it was an early prominent plaintiff firm for sexual harassment claims, and dealt with a lot of housing development for non-profit developers.

Expansion on the statement from the Tribune interview:

I first met Tony Rezko when I was still at law school, or at least I had just graduated from law school. He had two partners, a guy named Dan Mahru and David Brint. They had started a real estate company called Rezmar. They contacted me while I was the president of the Harvard Law Review and asked if I was coming back to Chicago and was thinking about future employment, would I be interested in potentially getting involved in development.

And so when I was back in Chicago, and I don’t recall whether it was during the summer between, you know, my second and third year [in law school], or whether it was after I had graduated, or whether it was just visiting Michelle, I met with them.

They were, didn’t talk to me about a specific job but explained what they were doing in terms of development. Because I had been a community organizer, I think that’s what part of what prompted their interest because they were doing a lot of affordable housing work and work with community development corporations.

I had a relatively brief conversation, maybe 45 minutes, and ultimately declined to go into development, but that was the first time I met Tony Rezko.

Fast-forward a little bit, I did not have a lot of interactions with Tony at that point. I was working as an associate at a law firm. There may have been interactions with my law firm and some of the development partners of Rezmar because they would often partner with not-for-profits and we had a small transactional practice in the law firm that specialized in representing not-for-profits—you know, church-based organizations that were doing community development.

I don’t recall exactly how many times at that point I had met Tony Rezko, but I don’t think at that point I would have considered him a friend. He was an acquaintance.

Sun-Times 

I first met Tony Rezko when I was either still in law school or had just graduated from law school. I don‚t recall whether his office contacted me right before I graduated or when I was still in law school and visiting Chicago. He and his two partners had just formed Rezmar. They had read about me as president of Harvard law review, had read that I was interested in community development work because of my background as a community organizer and contacted me saying would I be interested in talking about working in development. I was in Chicago for other reasons and met with them for about 45 minutes. Their partners Dan Mahru and at the time, a guy named David Brint. Had a nice conversation with them. They explained what they were doing. They were involved in a lot of affordable housing work around some of the areas where I‚ been an organizer and decided that I wasn’t interested in pursuing development. So the conversation really never went anywhere. But that’s the first time I met Tony.

12 thoughts on “Rezko Primer I: Job Offer and Friendship Begins

  1. Bless your heart. It’s the work of people who really know Obama’s record that is going to beat back the misinformation the Clintons are determined to peddle. THANK YOU!

  2. The truth is always out there, although some politians and their flunkies like to think we are stupid enough to not be able to find it.

    Keep on groovin’ ArchPundit!

  3. David Brint looks totally innocent and I think that these accusations are rediculous. HIlary has a bigger record at Wal Mart than Obama (who never was with Rezco). THANK YOU Evie!!!

  4. Didn’t Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland represent Rezko? And who introduced Obama to that firm? Davis and Rezko became financial partners later on, this hardly seems like a casual client relationship.

  5. No, Obama was not introduced by Rezko to the firm–it was a well known firm that recruited him out of law school.

    And if you read through the primer instead of this scattershot bullshit you pulled, you might have noticed that the firm didn’t represent Rezko, but three non-profit partners and Obama did about a total of 6 hours worth of work on the whole thing.

  6. Wow, resorting to profanity so soon. You must be a fun guy to hang out with.

    The firm didn’t represent Rezko, but represented three partnerships? That’s some fine hair splitting. Aren’t partnerships made up of individuals and wasn’t he one of the individuals in the partnership? If the partnership benefited, wouldn’t Rezko have benefited?

    Davis and Rezko did become financial partners later on, sorry but you really can’t dismiss this as scattershot BS – you reported it in your posted.

    Is this meant to be a real primer with actual facts or is only talking points for Obama defenders?

  7. ====The firm didn’t represent Rezko, but represented three partnerships? That’s some fine hair splitting. Aren’t partnerships made up of individuals and wasn’t he one of the individuals in the partnership? If the partnership benefited, wouldn’t Rezko have benefited?

    Wow, you are stupid. No, when you represent the clients in a deal, you represent one set of clients. This is pretty simple. So Rezko would have his own lawyers. Lawyers only represent one side in an agreement to ensure the interests of their clients are taken care of–in this case that is more than one client, but not both sides. Pretty simple.

    In fact, it couldn’t be any more simple. Rezko’s primary lawyers are at Freeborn Peters. This is included in the links. Try reading.

  8. More hairsplitting…

    Wow, you are such a small minded person. Calling other people stupid when you clearly can’t think outside of your own little box. Are you supposed to be a real journalist with an unbiased take on facts or are you just unabashedly an Obama apologist?

    If it’s the latter, I will glad move on and leave you to your small echo chamber. I am sure it’s membership will be declining to smaller and smaller numbers until the remaining few of you all decide to share some Koolaide when reality catches up with your delusion.

    If it’s the former, then you really suck at it.

    You keep missing the point. Every time Obama and Rezko interact where an action of some sort takes place, a negotiation or a house purchase or a fundraiser, someone benefits. Sometimes Obama has benefited and sometimes Rezko has benefited.

    I think you are in complete denile that Obama didn’t know he was earning political capital by completing a partnership deal that Rezko would benefit from. Remember Obama was already familar with Rezko and his partner after he met with them. At that point Obama’s impression of these guys was that they were successful and probably loaded. What you keep ignoring is the fact the Obama and his employer were part of the deal making and the fact that Rezko and his parnters benefited financially from those very deals.

    When you see Rezko later being an early and often patron of Obama it is clear that the political capital Obama earned began to show dividends – actual cash dividends.

    You certainly don’t reflect the “change we can believe in” standards that Obama professes. With supporters like you showing their true colors in blogs like this that change is getting harded to believe in.

  9. ===More hairsplitting…

    Yes, explaining how legal representation is now hair splitting.

    Rezko’s lawyers then and now are at Freeborn Peters. Obama worked for a firm representing the three non-profits partnering with Rezmar. He did a total of 6 hours worth of work for that deal–which is nothing in terms of legal time. That is paperwork and the such and not much more.

    What is hairsplitting is trying to continue your game of 6 degrees of Tony Rezko. Obama had virtually nothing to do with the deal other than some paperwork he did for the firm early on in his career at a time when Rezko had a strong reputation with non-profit developers.

    ===You keep missing the point. Every time Obama and Rezko interact where an action of some sort takes place, a negotiation or a house purchase or a fundraiser, someone benefits. Sometimes Obama has benefited and sometimes Rezko has benefited.

    The house purchase–no one benefited other than how they would in any transaction. The deal was not centered on both of them buying the two properties. There was already a contract on the vacant lot so who benefited in any way that wouldn’t have happened without Rezko being involved?

    What makes you stupid is that you aren’t even reading the linked material, but making broad assertions that aren’t supported by the records–something I’ve spent a lot of time gathering up.

    A fundraiser is by definition where the candidate benefits so I’m not sure what the point is there.

    ===I think you are in complete denile that Obama didn’t know he was earning political capital by completing a partnership deal that Rezko would benefit from.

    And again, this is a gross misunderstanding of the entire process and corroborated statements that Obama simply did 6 hours worth of legal work. Do you know anything about legal work and what a young associate would be doing in such cases? The young associate isn’t the guy bringing people together–the parties do that and then they employ their own lawyers. This is pretty basic.

    ===What you keep ignoring is the fact the Obama and his employer were part of the deal making and the fact that Rezko and his parnters benefited financially from those very deals.

    I’m not denying that, I’m just baffled that this is controversial. Obama hardly did any work on the deal and at the time Rezko was very popular with non-profit developers. The question is what is your point? Law firms work with clients to ensure their endeavors are profitable. That’s not controversial nor anything out of the ordinary. What is bizarre and incredibly stupid is claiming such a thing is nefarious.

    ==When you see Rezko later being an early and often patron of Obama it is clear that the political capital Obama earned began to show dividends – actual cash dividends.

    And again, what is the quid pro quo that is wrong here? There is none. Obama did no favors for Rezko so the question is what did Obama do that was wrong?

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