August 28, 2008

The Chicago Way

I moved to Chicago in 1982, not too long before Barack Obama did, but, unlike him, I can't recall that I ever once thought of getting involved in Chicago politics. To me, wanting to be a Chicago politician would be like wanting to be an Albanian politician, or dreaming of opening a shop that buys and sells pre-owned hubcaps.

This is not at all to say that the spider's web of Chicago political relationships is boring for the disinterested spectator.

For example, the Chicago Sun-Times reports:

Jabir Herbert Muhammad — son of Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad and former manager of boxing great Muhammad Ali — died Monday afternoon at the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center...

The longtime South Side resident managed Ali's boxing career from 1966 till 1981 and continued to work for him after he left boxing, until 1991 — a relationship that led to legal battles between the two. ...

Mr. Muhammad was an adviser to his father, who was the leader of the Nation of Islam until his death in 1975, and was the organization's business manager.

Mr. Muhammad had been in the news last year because of a lawsuit he filed against convicted political fund-raiser Tony Rezko to stay in his South Side mansion, a home built by the late Elijah Muhammad.

In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times last year, Mr. Muhammad said Rezko had “embezzled” him out of ownership of the home, even though he and his wife never moved out. They sued Rezko and Dr. Paul Ray [another sizable Obama donor], who currently owns the house. The suit is pending.

Rezko is a former campaign fund-raiser for Sen. Barack Obama, Gov. Blagojevich and others and was convicted in federal court in June of wide-ranging corruption involving state deals. Rezko and Mr. Muhammad had been longtime friends and business partners before their falling-out. ...

His survivors include his wife, Amenah Antonia Muhammad; 14 children, Elijah Muhammad III, Isa Muhammad Ali, Safiyya Rahmah, Alif Muhammad, Mourad Muhammad, Gina Driskell, Omar Muhammad, Jabir Muhammad, Samirah Muhammad, Saeedah Hamahouallah, Salimah Zahid, Samiha Muhammad, Saniyyah Sepanik and Zarinah Muhammad; 45 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren.

Earlier, the Sun-Times reported:

The lawsuit comes about nine months after a Chicago Sun-Times story in which Muhammad first publicly claimed that Rezko "embezzled" him out of his mansion and seven other properties. At the time, Rezko called the allegation baseless and "extremely hurtful ... as I have given [Muhammad] and his family millions of dollars over the years."

The Muhammad suit involves only the mansion, in the 1100 block of East 49th Street. The Muhammads say Rezko persuaded them to put the home into a land trust when Jabir Muhammad was extremely ill in the 1990s. They say they had no idea Rezko intended to seize it from them.

Rezko's lawyers have produced a real estate contract that shows the Muhammads sold the mansion and three adjacent lots to Rezko in 1993 for $519,000. Under their contract with Rezko, the Muhammads were to leave the house by Dec. 31, 1995, but they still live there.

I guess it must be hard to buy or sell a South Side mansion without getting Tony Rezko involved.

Obama got about $250,000 in campaign contributions from Rezko and his 100 or so relatives that Fat Tony has brought over from Syria, plus a Rezko-assisted deal on his own South Side mansion that I'm guessing was worth about $70,000. Yet, the Black Muslim founding family got "millions of dollars over the years" from Rezko? Michelle Obama must have been peeved when she learned how they'd been gypped ...

Why were Rezko and Muhammad so close? For one thing, Muhammad was Rezko's affirmative action front.

What was so crucial about Crucial? Minority set-asides. The Sun-Times reported: "Crucial had a contract with the Chicago Park District to sell food on the beaches and in many South Side parks." Rezko claims that during the late 1980s he managed the business affairs of the most famous Black Muslim, Muhammad Ali. God only knows how much he stole from the punchdrunk pugilist.

Marathon Pundit reported in January:
In 1984, Rezko went to work for Crucial, Inc., which was owned by Jabir Herbert Muhammad, son of Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad and a onetime manager for boxer Muhammad Ali.

Eventually Rezko was running Crucial.

In March, 2005 it was widely reported that the City of Chicago had discovered that Crucial, which operated two restaurants at O'Hare Airport under a minority business certification, but it was a front, since Rezko was at the helm of the firm.
The publicity about Jabir Muhammad fronting for Rezko's two Panda Expresses at O'Hare hit the local news three months before Obama had Rezko help him out with the purchase of his mansion.

This kind of thing happens all the time in Chicago (and elsewhere), with white guys like Rezko getting affirmative action contracts for firms with nominal minority or female figureheads. For example, Mayor Daley gave tens of millions of dollars in set-aside contracts reserved for women-owned firms in the 1990s to a maintenance company operated by his close friends and campaign contributors, the mobbed-up Duff Brothers. My favorite part was when Hizzoner announced he was commissioning an in-depth investigation to figure out whether the the Duff Brothers were female or not.

Indeed, the Daley Family was in on the fraud with Rezko and Jabir Muhammad on another Crucial minority set-aside fraud:

Rezko Watch
In addition to Crucial Inc, another company certified as a minority owned, Crucial Communications, was also found to be a Rezko front company. This firm was chosen as a subcontractor by SBC Communications. SBC won a no-bid $10 million contract in 2003, to handle the pay-phone system at the Cook County jail and other county facilities.

At the time the $1.3 million contract was awarded to Crucial, SBC was led by “Combine” member, Bill Daley, Mayor Daley's brother [and former Clinton Administration cabinet secretary], according to the April 4, 2005 Daily Southtown. Bill is now an Obama advisor and a member of his finance committee.

The Times found that Cook County was Crucial's lone customer, and the six employees listed included Rezko’s brother, Aboud Rezko, Jabir Muhammad, Mrs Muhammad, and Bernice Hatchett-Polk, none with expertise in maintaining pay phones. [Most of the "employees" gave donations to Obama, by the way.]

...Under the contract awarded by SBC, Crucial was supposed to be run by Wade. However, on March 26, 2005, the Tribune reported that Wade had died more than a year earlier on January 23, 2004, and Muhammad had been too ill to run the company for three years.

"In their recertification documents in September 2004, they did not indicate that there was any change in the ownership or management," a Cook County spokeswoman told the Daily Southtown.

But on May 5, 2005, the Times reported that the woman who notarized Crucial's latest recertification for minority-owned status, Gwendolyn Duncan, was John Stroger's secretary and was paid $72,000 to be his administrative assistant.

When county commissioners tried to find out exactly how this racket got set up, Stroger said SBC chose Crucial to be the subcontractor, and the SBC spokesman said SBC chose Crucial from a list of certified minority-owned companies provided by Cook County.

On March 15, 2005, the Times reported that there were six Rezkos on Cook County payrolls
It's important to understand that affirmative action is just another way for the bipartisan and multicultural cabal of Illinois insiders, what Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass, Mike Royko's successor, calls The Combine, to rip off the public. Thus, you get these hilarious combinations: the Irish Catholic Daley, the Black Muslim Muhammad, and the Syrian Christian Rezko, all united -- transcending race, as it were -- to steal money.

And Obama played ball with all of them in his pursuit of power.

For example, Rezko is going to prison in large part for packing the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board with five of his lackeys so they would approve hospital construction in which he had an interest. That Board used to have 15 members, making it hard for Rezko to corrupt it, but in 2003, a bill passed the Illinois legislature reducing the number of members from 15 to 9. And who was the chairman of the Illinois Senate Health and Human Services committee that recommended that bill? Why, Rezko's $250,000 friend, the Presidential nominee ...

By the way, something that's long bothered me is this. Obama wrote that the hero of his youth was Malcolm X. Now, Malcolm was assassinated in 1966 by Black Muslim hitmen working for Elijah Muhammad. The chief long term beneficiary of the murder was Louis Farrakhan, who earlier had written that Malcolm deserved death. Whether Farrakhan was directly involved in the killing is unknown -- a number of years ago, one of Malcolm's many daughters hired a hitman to rub out Farrakhan in revenge. Even if he wasn't involved in the conspiracy, Farrakhan's sentiments are clear: he gave Malcolm's old job to one of the murderers when he was finally released from prison.

Yet, where's the outrage against the Black Muslims on Obama's part? If somebody important was tied into the murder of a hero of my youth, like Jerry West or Fernando Valenzuela, I sure wouldn't treat him as evenhandedly, with a mixture of sympathy for his goals and sarcasm at the impracticality of his economics, as Obama treats Farrakhan in Dreams from My Father. Nor would I have chosen a minister who went with Farrakhan to visit Gadafi in Libya in 1984 and gave Farrakhan his Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. Nor would I be happy about having a fairy godfather like Rezko who is up to his eyeballs in dealings with Elijah Muhammad's heirs.

Is that just the Chicago Way: what's a little murder among players like Obama, Rezko, the Daleys, Wright, Farrakhan, and the Muhammads compared to the political and financial benefits of scratching each other's backs? Is Obama really that coldblooded? Or does he believe that Malcolm was murdered by the FBI? Or is there something else going on?

P.S., Craptocracy watched Obama's speech so I don't have to.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


master_of_americans said...

Nah, Obama's just participating in groupthink, i.e. it's easier to hold irrational ideas if your peers hold them, too. Malcolm-X-admiring black activist types are never going to hold NOI and Farrakhan responsible for their complicity (or just plain guilt) in Malcolm X's death. Malcolm's blood relatives are a special category, of course.

By the way, I admire Malcolm X, too. He was ballsy. Farrakhan is just pathetic.

m said...

"Gina Driskell" was the best part of that post.

Steve Sailer said...

I guess Gina Driskell just isn't all that into all the Muhammad stuff.

Darayvus said...

Obama probably read X's autobiography and thought "right on". But I expect he then set X on his mental shelf next to Che and other fashionable radicals. I doubt that X was a real hero to Obama to such an extent that Obama would, when meeting X's murderers, oppose them.

George Lucas has fans and emulators, who would avenge any slight to his name; Joss Whedon perhaps more so. Obama himself has a large set of cultists, and of course so did Malcolm X. But I doubt that Obama invested himself in any one kind of anti-Western extremism. He kinda liked 'em all.

Anonymous said...

"His survivors include his wife, Amenah Antonia Muhammad; 14 children, [...] 45 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren."

It seems that being business manager for Nation of Islam or whatever does wonders for one's Darwinian fitness ;-)

Anonymous said...

I still haven't figured out how Rezko and all his very strange deals (like the power plant in Iraq) can stay out of the national limelight.

Steve Sailer said...

There are weird but plausible connections between Rezko and the Iraqi money pit. For example the Springfield newspaper reported recently:

"DOWNERS GROVE — At his desk in the small consulting office nestled on a quiet back street in this middle-American suburb, Aiham Alsammarae looks like any other conservative businessman.

It’s easy to tell from his accent that he was born in the Middle East, but otherwise nothing seems extraordinary about the friendly 51-year-old engineering consultant whose firm provides services to electric utilities.

Over the last two years, though, Alsammarae has been on a wild odyssey that led from post-invasion Iraq to an American courtroom and reads like pages torn from a Frederick Forsyth novel.

Called on to serve as Iraq’s electric power minister in 2003, he was later jailed on corruption charges, escaped, possibly with help from American mercenaries, and went on Interpol’s wanted fugitive list.

He resurfaced early this year in a homegrown scandal, posting $2.7 million to bail friend and political fixer Antoin “Tony” Rezko out of jail pending the Chicago trial that eventually ended in Rezko’s corruption conviction.

Alsammarae, who has been a contributor to George W. Bush, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, even briefly made the news in the U.S. presidential race. Obama — who replaced Romney in Alsammarae’s political affections — sent his $2,300 in campaign contributions to charity, concerned they might have been solicited by Rezko, a former Obama fundraiser. Alsammarae says they weren’t.

Steve Sailer said...

And then there are the connections between Rezko and shady Iraqi billionaire Auchi, whom Obama shook hands with in 2004 when Auchi wasn't supposed to be in the country in order to impress the convict that Rezko was well-connected in t he U.S. Auchi lent Rezko $3.5 million not long before Rezko helped Obama buy his mansion.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but Mr. Van Carter missed the best line of the entire speech. Obama solemnly told us all last night that we should be our brothers' keepers. What about HIS damn brother out in Kenya? Did no one who vetted that speech follow the news the last couple of weeks?

I didn't hear the whole oration, but this was still the most that I've ever heard Obama talk. He confirmed my impression that he cares more about the emotions he projects than about the words he says.

Luke Lea said...

C'on, Stever, what we really want is your take on Obama's convention speech.

Dennis Mangan said...

"Michelle Obama must have been peeved when she learned how they'd been gypped ..."

That's a good one.

Anonymous said...

Steve -- Kudos for unraveling the extremely tangled web of Obama's past dealings and as well as his equally tangled psychology. There is no other journalist who would have the energy OR the intellectual honesty to do what you've done.

Anonymous said...

45 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren

And people wonder why this nation is going to Hell in a handbasket.

Anonymous said...

Here in Austin, everybody except my wife is from somewhere else. Seriously, I know far more transplanted Chicagoans than actual native Austinites.

I saw several of the transplanted Chicagoans at a party a few weeks ago, and the most telling comment I've yet heard about Obama was this: "I've never seen any politician who excites and energizes people the way Obama does. And you know, those people are going to be heartbroken next year when they wake up and figure out they've just elected an ordinary, average, corrupt Chicago politician."

Anonymous said...

"Saniyyah Sepanik"?

This name invites further scrutiny. Did she marry out, or did a Mr Sepanik marry in? It sure looks Slavic-- one letter away from "Stepanik"-- which in Chicago would mean Catholic or Jewish, with an outside chance of Orthodox.

Of course, maybe it's coïncidence. "Rezko" is also a name that looks Slavic, but is Syrian.

There are only three hits on Google. Two are her father's obituaries, and the third is Steve's post.

Anonymous said...

The post is so good and self-explanatory I don't have a comment. What's amazing is that nobody in the MSM notices the obvious corruption and sleaze and intellectual incoherence. And assuming the MSM purposely sing in one choir, that none of the wider public notices it.

Anonymous said...

The "Chicago Way" - from the 1987 movie "The Untouchables," in which streetwise but honest Chicago cop Jim Malone enlightens naive but ambitious federal agent Eliot Ness about the rules of engagement in Prohibition-era Chicago:

"You wanna know how to get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. *That's* the *Chicago* way!"

Anonymous said...

We had a local tempest in a teapot the other night when a guy called Stanley Kurtz appeared on a local radio show to talk about the Ayers-Obama connection and a huge mass of papers donated to the U of I by a group called the Annenberg Project,a collabaration that included O'B and Ayers as well as many other lefties with the idea of "fixin'" education. I guess it didnt pan out...Obamas people bombed the station---er,with phone calls and e-mails,demanding Kurtz be shut up. Very weird and bizarre! A U of C prof of some note appeared on the (grotesque)Mark Levins radio show last nite to report that Obama's "teaching" career at U of C was a complete put-up job to allow him to run for some political office. He said when he first met Obama,O'B remarked on their differing views on the 2nd amenment,calling him "that gun guy." (Which I believe was a short-lived detective show on ABC in the 60's)When gun-guy suggested a possible lunch date to discuss their differing views,he says O'B coldly,just turned and walked away. HA! His fathers son!! that more the Stanley Dunham in him--"those are NOT my people!" As far as AffirmAction goes,isnt stealing from set-asides basically stealing from the theives? Its a completely stupid idea that invites corruption,as well as breeding waste and incompetence. Given that Rezko is/was the buddy of the current governor,its amazing how much corruption is going on in the city and state!Why set up garbage like set-asides which are only going to invite lying and cheating.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who finds the name "Jabir Herbert Muhammad" to be uproariously funny and ridiculous?

Anonymous said...

astorian Here in Austin, everybody except my wife is from somewhere else. Seriously, I know far more transplanted Chicagoans than actual native Austinites.

Have they done a "Stuff White People Like" episode about "White People Who Don't Know Their Next-Door Neighbors"?