On Your World, Dick Morris claimed that Antoin Rezko sold Sen. Barack Obama a strip of land “for an amount that was substantially below its apparent market value.” However, according to documents posted on the Obama campaign website, Obama paid $104,166 for the piece of property -- well above its appraised value of $40,500.
On the June 4 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, Fox News contributor Dick Morris claimed that Chicago businessman Antoin Rezko, convicted that day on federal corruption charges, sold Sen. Barack Obama a strip of land “for an amount that was substantially below its apparent market value.” However, according to documents posted on the Obama campaign website, Obama paid $104,166 for the piece of property -- well above its appraised value of $40,500.
As Media Matters for America has noted, the property -- which is adjacent to Obama's house -- was purchased by Rezko's wife in June 2005 for $625,000, and the Obamas subsequently purchased one-sixth of the property. Obama told the Chicago Tribune in a March 14 interview how the price was determined: "[T]he appraisal did note that the other parcel, Rezko's remaining parcel, would be fully developable if he sold this to me. And so rather than pay the appraised price, I paid one-sixth of the cost of his property. He agreed to sell that 10-foot strip."
As reported by the Chicago Tribune, Rezko was convicted on June 4 on 16 counts of wire and mail fraud, money laundering, and aiding and abetting bribery. The Tribune also reported that the “criminal charges against Rezko had nothing to do with his connection to Obama.”
From the June 4 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
NEIL CAVUTO (host): All right, we are just learning now that a Chicago jury has found Tony Rezko to be guilty on some counts of corruption and embezzlement. Tony Rezko is the business guy with connections to Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton tried to make a very big deal of that connection. Obama dismissing it, said he was a friend, nothing more. But right now, that's why this gets the attention it does because of the proximity to power to Barack Obama.
There are some 20-odd counts, 24 counts against Rezko. So the jury is going through one after the other right now, but guilty on a few of them. We were going to talk about Barack Obama and the VP situation with Dick Morris, but because this is late-breaking news, I want to switch gears and go to the star, Dick Morris.com, his read on this. What do you make?
MORRIS: Well, the basic vulnerability he has with Rezko is that that he bought this house and Rezko bought the adjacent property. And then he went to Rezko and he said, “Hey, I'd like to buy some of your property.” And Rezko said, “Fine, I'll sell it to you.” And he sold it to him for something -- for an amount that was substantially below its apparent market value. And the issue is, was that illegal? And --
CAVUTO: Or was he buying influence?
MORRIS: Yeah. And -- but there's a deeper issue here. Obama comes from the Chicago Democratic political machine. That is one of the most corrupt places on earth. And I think that what's going to happen now is a whole series of discussions about business dealings that relate to that machine and relate to Obama. Now, I don't have any advance information about that, and he may be honest as the day is long. But it's -- it'll be a surprise coming out of Chicago.