Fox News reporter, host baselessly claimed Obama bought land from Rezko at a "discounted price"

››› ››› KATHLEEN HENEHAN

On The Live Desk, Steve Brown and Greta Van Susteren both baselessly asserted that Sen. Barack Obama purchased land adjoining his Chicago home from Antoin Rezko at a "discounted price." In fact, Obama paid $104,500 for the land, substantially more than what an Obama spokesman reportedly said was the land's appraised value.

On the March 4 edition of Fox News' The Live Desk, reporter Steve Brown and guest host Greta Van Susteren both baselessly asserted that Sen. Barack Obama purchased land adjoining his Chicago home from indicted businessman Antoin Rezko at a "discounted price." Brown stated: "After sales of Obama's books netted him a fair amount of money, he went out and purchased a sizable home on the South Side. Adjacent piece of property was picked up by Tony Rezko and later transferred at a discounted price to Senator Obama." Later, Van Susteren asked: "[T]he question is, did Senator Obama know that it was, quote, 'a discounted price' when he got it? Or, I mean, was he -- was this part of the sort of the boneheaded, that he was busy with other business, didn't pay much attention?" In fact, when purchasing the land in January 2006, Obama paid $104,500, substantially more than what an Obama spokesman reportedly said was the land's appraised value. Obama purchased one-sixth of the lot adjoining his own property that the Rezkos had purchased in 2005 for $625,000. The Washington Post reported on December 17, 2006, that an Obama spokesman said the strip of land Obama purchased from Rezko had been appraised at $40,500, "but Obama considered it fair to pay one-sixth of the original price for one-sixth of the lot."

Brown later stated: "I presume that he had an idea that he was getting a deal, or some sort of discount at that particular time, but it's hard to know what it is that's going through somebody's mind when they're, you know, going through a real estate transaction, and I don't pretend to know what details the senator knew about that transaction."

Brown also asserted that "while it was clear that Tony Rezko was in the favor-collecting business, the question is -- for as far Senator Obama is concerned -- whether or not there were favors repaid." Brown added: "And that portion of the equation -- the quid pro quo, if you will -- but if they know what the quid is, they haven't figured out what the pro quo is -- or at least prosecutors and investigators haven't been able to connect the dots on that." In fact, several news outlets have reported that there is no evidence of any wrongdoing or "pro quo" on Obama's part regarding the real estate deal with Rezko.

From the March 4 edition of Fox News' The Live Desk with Martha MacCallum:

BROWN: After sales of Obama's books netted him a fair amount of money, he went out and purchased a sizable home on the South Side. Adjacent piece of property was picked up by Tony Rezko and later transferred at a discounted price to Senator Obama. Senator Obama called later that transaction "boneheaded," and said it was a mistake and he wished he could take back.

But while it was clear that Tony Rezko was in the favor-collecting business, the question is -- for as far Senator Obama is concerned -- whether or not there were favors repaid. And that portion of the equation -- the quid pro quo, if you will -- but if they know what the quid is, they haven't figured out what the pro quo is -- or at least prosecutors and investigators haven't been able to connect the dots on that.

SUSTEREN: I guess, Steve, the question is, did Senator Obama know that it was, quote, "a discounted price" when he got it? Or, I mean, was he -- was this part of the sort of the boneheaded, that he was busy with other business, didn't pay much attention?

BROWN: Well, this is a gentleman who did get a Harvard law degree, and it wasn't his first time through the real estate business. So I presume that he had an idea that he was getting a deal, or some sort of discount at that particular time, but it's hard to know what it is that's going through somebody's mind when they're, you know, going through a real estate transaction, and I don't pretend to know what details the senator knew about that transaction.

*VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, I'll defend him on the "having gone to Harvard" thing because, frankly, he's got so much -- many other things on his plate that he may not pay that much attention to his business, but anyway -- but he is a smart man, but may not pay attention to that. Steve, thank you.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Steve Brown, Greta Van Susteren
Show/Publication
The Live Desk
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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