Chicago Sun Times Continues to Examine Obama

Investigative reporters from Chicago's Sun Times continue to examine the record of former Illinois State Senator Barack Obama. A new story emerged there yesterday.

In a September 25 article entitled "Obama grant being probed," Sun Times' reporters Chris Fusco and Dave McKinney wrote:
A $100,000 state grant for a botanic garden in Englewood that then-state Sen. Barack Obama awarded in 2001 to a group headed by a onetime campaign volunteer is now under investigation by the Illinois attorney general amid new questions, prompted by Chicago Sun-Times reports, about whether the money might have been misspent.


The garden was never built. And now state records obtained by the Sun-Times show $65,000 of the grant money went to the wife of Kenny B. Smith, the Obama 2000 congressional campaign volunteer who heads the Chicago Better Housing Association, which was in charge of the project for the blighted South Side neighborhood.


Smith wrote another $20,000 in grant-related checks to K.D. Contractors, a construction company that his wife, Karen D. Smith, created five months after work on the garden was supposed to have begun, records show. K.D. is no longer in business.

The Sun Times uncovered the story when, on August 12, the office of the state's Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity responded to a Freedom of Information Act (FIA) request for information. At that time, a recently "discovered" 52 pages of information was added to a May FIA request from the Sun Times.

The article also notes that:

The relationship between Smith and Obama dates to at least 1997, when Obama wrote a letter that Smith used to help the housing association win city funding for an affordable-housing development near the garden site. Plans called for more than 50 homes; a dozen ultimately were built.

Smith also has donated $550 to Obama campaign funds.

This story has not so far appeared in the New York Times.

[hat tip: Singapore Nelson's]
Investigative reporters from Chicago's Sun Times continue to examine the record of former Illinois State Senator Barack Obama. A new story emerged there yesterday.

In a September 25 article entitled "Obama grant being probed," Sun Times' reporters Chris Fusco and Dave McKinney wrote:
A $100,000 state grant for a botanic garden in Englewood that then-state Sen. Barack Obama awarded in 2001 to a group headed by a onetime campaign volunteer is now under investigation by the Illinois attorney general amid new questions, prompted by Chicago Sun-Times reports, about whether the money might have been misspent.


The garden was never built. And now state records obtained by the Sun-Times show $65,000 of the grant money went to the wife of Kenny B. Smith, the Obama 2000 congressional campaign volunteer who heads the Chicago Better Housing Association, which was in charge of the project for the blighted South Side neighborhood.


Smith wrote another $20,000 in grant-related checks to K.D. Contractors, a construction company that his wife, Karen D. Smith, created five months after work on the garden was supposed to have begun, records show. K.D. is no longer in business.

The Sun Times uncovered the story when, on August 12, the office of the state's Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity responded to a Freedom of Information Act (FIA) request for information. At that time, a recently "discovered" 52 pages of information was added to a May FIA request from the Sun Times.

The article also notes that:

The relationship between Smith and Obama dates to at least 1997, when Obama wrote a letter that Smith used to help the housing association win city funding for an affordable-housing development near the garden site. Plans called for more than 50 homes; a dozen ultimately were built.

Smith also has donated $550 to Obama campaign funds.

This story has not so far appeared in the New York Times.

[hat tip: Singapore Nelson's]