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Hearing on reinstating bond set for indicted businessman who raised cash for Obama, others
Fundraiser Indicted 4795281
Indicted political fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko leaves Chicago's federal building in this Oct. 19, 2006, file photo. Rezko, who has poured thousands of dollars into Barack Obama's political campaigns, was arrested by federal agents Monday, Jan. 28, 2008, after his $2 million bail was revoked. Rezko has pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud, attempted extortion and money laundering, and is scheduled to stand trial Feb. 25. - photo by Associated Press
    CHICAGO — Lawyers for an indicted businessman who poured thousands of dollars into the campaigns of Barack Obama and others planned to try to persuade a judge at a hearing Tuesday to reinstate his bond.
    Real estate developer and fast-food entrepreneur Antoin ‘‘Tony’’ Rezko was jailed Monday after prosecutors disclosed he received $3.5 million from an Iraqi billionaire while claiming to be broke.
    Rezko was arrested Monday at his home in Wilmette and held after his attorneys failed to dissuade Judge Amy J. St. Eve from revoking his $2 million bond.
    ‘‘This defendant has played a shell game and I think misled the court about what his assets are,’’ federal prosecutor Reid J. Schar said.
    He had been free on bond since he was indicted in 2006 on charges of scheming to pressure companies seeking state business for kickbacks and campaign contributions.
    St. Eve scheduled a hearing for Tuesday afternoon for Rezko’s lawyers to make their case for bond one more time.
    Rezko’s name has surfaced in the Democratic presidential race because of his ties to Obama, who ended up donating to charity thousands of dollars in campaign contributions connected to Rezko. During a South Carolina debate, Hillary Rodham Clinton accused Obama of representing Rezko ‘‘in his slum landlord business’’ when Obama was a young Chicago lawyer.
    Obama actually represented partners of Rezko’s company in government-subsidized apartment rehabilitation projects, not Rezko himself. Obama says he did no more than five or six hours of work for the partners.
    Rezko has contributed thousands of dollars to the campaigns of both Obama and Gov. Rod Blagojevich — neither of whom is accused of any wrongdoing.
    Rezko is due to start trial Feb. 25 on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and attempted extortion. He is charged separately with swindling the General Electric Capital Corp. out of $10 million in the sale of a pizza restaurant business.
    Federal prosecutors say Rezko was deceptive in leading St. Eve to allow various relatives and friends to post their property to secure his bond while claiming he was broke and living off relatives’ generosity.
    An FBI affidavit said Rezko actually received $3.5 million from a Lebanon-based bank account of General Mediterranean Holdings, a Luxembourg company owned by London-based Iraqi billionaire Adhmi Auchi. Rezko’s attorney said Rezko has had business dealings with Auchi.
    Prosecutors said in their filing that $3.5 million was wired into a fund maintained at a Chicago bank by attorneys handling Rezko’s tangled finances. They said the money was later transferred into other accounts and disbursed within a week.
    Some of the money was transferred directly to Rezko, some to a company he owned, some to his wife, Rita, and some to friends and relatives who had posted their homes to secure his bond, according to the filings. Rezko’s legal bills also were paid with a portion of the money, they said.
    Defense attorney Joseph Duffy tried to take some of the blame himself Monday, saying he may not have adequately explained to Rezko his obligations. St. Eve brushed that aside, saying Duffy was not in any way at fault.

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