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Tony Rezko
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Entrepreneur
    (1955- )
    Born in Aleppo, Syria
    Birth name was Antoin Rezko
    Real estate developer and restaurateur
    Fundraiser for numerous Illinois politicians including Governors Rod Blagojevich, Jim Edgar and George Ryan, Chicago mayors Harold Washington and Richard M. Daley, and Senator Barack Obama
    Convicted of six counts of mail fraud, six counts of wire fraud, two counts of money laundering and two counts of corrupt solicitation (June 4, 2008)
    He used his political connections to demand kickbacks from firms doing business with the state.
    After he raised $148,000 for Cook County Board President John Stroger, Stroger appointed Rezko's wife to the County Employee Appeals Board and gave one of Rezko's companies the contract to maintain pay phones at the Cook County Jail.
    Former business partner Jabir Muhammed sued, claiming he had been swindled out of his home and business interests (March, 2008).
    An arrest warrant was issued against him in Las Vegas for passing bad checks at two casinos (May, 2008).
    Obama admitted that a real estate deal with Rezko's wife may have created the appearance of impropriety, adding, 'I consider this a mistake on my part, and I regret it.'
    He was named 'Entrepreneur of the Decade' by the Arab-American Business and Professional Association (1999).
    He was a bipartisan criminal, partnering in his kickback scheme with Republican fundraiser Steven Levine.
    The Obama campaign donated funds raised by Rezko to charity.
    Shortly after Hillary Clinton tried to score points in a debate by linking Obama and Rezko, photos surfaced of Rezko posing with her and Bill Clinton.

Credit: C. Fishel


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