Green Room

Thirty Degrees Below Zero

posted at 9:31 am on August 16, 2009 by

For more than five weeks during the brutally cold winter of 1997, tenants suffered without any heat in a government-subsidized apartment building. The 31-unit building in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood had been “rehabbed” just four years prior at taxpayer expense, no less.

How cold was it? Temperatures routinely dipped around ten below zero. With wind-chills factored in, the effective temperatures approached 30 below.

And the residents of the building had no heat for more than a month.

The building’s owner — Rezmar Corporation — didn’t bother to turn on the heat for weeks. In fact, it didn’t do so until it was sued.

And the Englewood building wasn’t the only one of Rezmar’s properties that had scores of code violations. At least a dozen times, Rezmar had to be sued in order to simply turn on the heat in its properties.

Rezmar’s properties turned out to be catastrophic failures: 17 buildings ended up in foreclosure, 6 are boarded up, hundreds of apartments are vacant and require repair… and taxpayers were stuck with millions in unpaid loans.

All of these buildings were in — or just blocks away from — a single state senator’s district. A district belonging to a young, up-and-coming politician named Barack Obama.

In fact, during the brutal winter of 1997, even while Rezmar refused to heat its Englewood apartments, it was donating $1,000 to state senator Obama’s campaign fund.

During the winter or the scores of subsequent code violations, did state senator Obama ever lift a finger to protect his constituents from “predatory slumlords” like Rezmar?

The answer appears to be a resounding “No“. In 2007, Obama’s own campaign staff stated, “Senator Obama does not remember having conversations… about properties that [Rezmar] owned..”

The shivering tenants in in and around the district were left defenseless for weeks at a time. Assailed on one side by predatory slumlords like Rezmar, they were — for all intents and purposes — left out in the cold by their state senator, Barack Obama.

There’s a simple reason Obama didn’t lift a finger to protest these horrific violations. His political patron, Tony Rezko, was the driving force behind Rezmar. And Rezko helped raise a quarter of a million dollars for Obama’s various campaigns.

And after stating he’d “never done any favors for” Rezko, the Chicago Sun-Times discovered letters Obama wrote to city and state officials supporting Rezko’s bid for $14 million in taxpayers’ money for an elder-care facility.

While Obama didn’t expend an ounce of energy to protest Rezko’s outrageous violations, he did take time to write letters on behalf of Rezko in his efforts to secure an additional $14 million in taxpayer funds.

State senator Obama couldn’t effectively represent his abused constituents… perhaps because he was otherwise occupied helping his slumlord patrons advance their own agendas.

And as a so-called “community organizer” and then a state senator, Obama — and close friend and confidante Valerie Jarrett, who was responsible for property management — couldn’t even keep huge, federally subsidized housing complexes like Grove Parc habitable. And ‘habitable’ is kind of a low bar, I would think.

State Senator Barack Obama did a really lousy job representing his constituents in a tiny district in Chicago’s south side, appearing to side more often with corporate interests than his own, downtrodden citizens.

And his cronies — like Valerie Jarrett — were linked to dozens of failed projects that burned through millions in taxpayer funds.

And these failed, small-time bureaucrats want us to trust them to control 20% of the entire U.S. economy — the whole American health care system?

It’ll be a cold day in hell before that sounds like a good idea to the American taxpayer. Say, thirty degrees below zero cold

Cross-posted at: Doug Ross @ Journal.

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I can not understand why ‘poor’ people continue to vote for d’s. These people in IL were treated horrible by people, bho for one, who were getting rich at their expense. If you hear a rattlesnake, you don’t bend down and try to pet it. It will bite you. Maybe some day the ‘poor’ will finally realize they have been bitten by the d’s.

letget on August 16, 2009 at 11:50 AM


larvcom on August 16, 2009 at 12:27 PM

We just moved from western Illinois to Alabama—mostly because we couldn’t take the cold winters (I survived three). I cannot fathom how people were able to live in houses without heat for over a month. People should be in jail for allowing this to happen. And this is just one story about atrocities being committed in the fair city of Chicago. By all means let’s reward them with the Olympics! (sarc)

texabama on August 16, 2009 at 5:36 PM

Is Tony Rez singing about his buddy the Big Zero yet or is it that now not healthy since the Feds are now run by the 0 and if Tony’s in the federal slammer he could be in danger of catching something nasty and fatal while in there?

shmendrick on August 16, 2009 at 6:12 PM

Can anyone point at this and claim it to be false? “Out of context?” Ahistorical or revisionist?

Can anyone explain why Chicago citizens put up with this garbage for so many years? Do all Chicagoans just like to vote “present” when it comes to accountability from their politicians?

That man Barry sure has a lot to be proud of, in his past.

George Orwell on August 16, 2009 at 6:28 PM

This needs a front page bump. He doesn’t care about his brother in a hut. His Auntie Zumie, taking advantage of the by the citizens of Massachusetts. He can not even do right by his own blood, why would America thinks he cares anything about them. He is a raw, naked, power hungry, sociopath, most likely lacking a soul. Thanks 52%.

tessa on August 16, 2009 at 9:32 PM

This needs a front page bump. He doesn’t care about his brother in a hut. His Auntie Zumie, taking advantage of the by the citizens of Massachusetts. He can not even do right by his own blood, why would America thinks he cares anything about them. He is a raw, naked, power hungry, sociopath, most likely lacking a soul. Thanks 52%. Thanks Oprah

tessa on August 16, 2009 at 9:33 PM

sorry about the double post, did not reflect that.

tessa on August 16, 2009 at 9:34 PM

It’s like Charles Barkley said. Black people have been voting for Democrats for 50 years. What’s it gotten them?

Great video on the subject. However, some of the racism in the comments shows that there is some distance to go before some people open their minds to being color blind.

watson007 on August 16, 2009 at 9:53 PM