Obama's Chicago pals get rich off of his fraud-ridden weatherization programs
The rest of America is just beginning to learn how Cook County politics works. Barack Obama learned his lessons well. He said as much when he let slip his real views: that politics is about "rewarding friends" and "punishing enemies."
As president, Obama seems to be busy "rewarding" his home town pals at taxpayer expense. The giant slush fund known as the "stimulus" has been a rich source of payoffs that extend far beyond mega donors such as George Kaiser and his Solyndra investment. The stimulus fund has also been a honey pot to send money to personal pals of Barack and Michelle.
One way he has found to funnel money to friends is through the fraud and waste-ridden weatherization program. This was a Van Jones approved program to help employment in minority communities. People would be hired from those communities to weatherize homes in poorer communities.
The program has been, surprise, a big loser for taxpayers. But for Obama's pals back in Chicago. Not so-they came out winners.
Amanda Carey reports at the Daily Caller:
...in October 2010, Gregory H. Friedman, Inspector General at the Department of Energy, issued a scathing report on Illinois' weatherization program funded with stimulus dollars.
Among his findings were that 14 out of 15 "weatherized" homes failed final inspection because of poor workmanship and 12 out of 15 homes contained substandard work that could have "resulted in significant property damage or injury to the homeowners."
The Inspector General report has a litany of expensive failures and botched jobs-substituting cheaper material than listed in the contract, dangerous practices leaving people exposed to possible risks to their lives, shoddy work and the like. One Republican who signed onto the group formed to monitor the program resigned in disgust when his views regarding the abuses were ignored by the rest of the panel.
But what is most interesting is the pinpointing of those who benefited from this waste and fraud-ridden program.
The state-run program is being promoted by four separate public relations firms. Two of those firms have close ties to the Obama administration.
According to state records, DCEO has been paying Jascula-Terman and Associates, Inc. of Chicago more than $700,000 a year to promote the program. The firm is headed by Chairman and CEO Rick Jascula; and President and CFO Jim Terman. In 2008, they provided pro bono services to Rev. Jeremiah Wright, at the request of Obama's close friend and adviser David Axelrod.
In 2010 former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel went to Jascula-Terman for help during his mayoral campaign.
The DCEO also hired Avis Lavelle, of A. Lavelle Consulting, to do press work for the program. A former press secretary for Mayor Richard Daley, Lavelle is considered to be a close friend of Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett. She did not return TheDC's request for comment.
Those "pro-bono" services were offered to Jeremiah Wright -- the anti-American, anti-white, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic friend and inspiration for Barack Obama -- apparently were not so "pro-bono" after all. The firm seems to have been well-rewarded with taxpayer funds. Apparently when Obama finally was forced to say sayonara to Wright when Wright became a political problem, Team Obama was looking out for him.
Wright was being taken care via David Axlerod, Obama's campaign guru at the time. Perhaps there was a quid pro quo offer made to Wright: lay low until the campaign is over and you will receive "free" public relations help to burnish your image.
This is how Cook County works. IOUs may take a respectable while to be paid off to avoid too many questions. But the "I scratch your back, you scratch my back" modus operandi still rules in politics. Debts are paid back -- with taxpayer funds. The payback may not be in brown envelopes in alleys or bars anymore but they still take place.
Of course it is nice to see that Michelle Obama's and Valerie Jarrett's gal pal, Avis Lavelle, has also been the beneficiary of our dollars. Maybe the three of them can now enjoy more meals at Spiaggia, the luxe Chicago restaurant that the Obamas consider suitable for them when they fly into town on Air Force One.