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Friday, December 9, 2011

Paul Krugman, "All the G.O.P.’s Gekkos": Was Obama the Beneficiary of a Gift That Should Have Been Reported to the IRS?

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "All the G.O.P.’s Gekkos" (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/09/opinion/krugman-all-the-gops-gekkos.html?hp), Paul Krugman compares Mitt Romney’s lucrative business activity at Bain Capital with the greed and malfeasance of Gordon Gekko, the fictional antagonist in Oliver Stone's movie "Wall Street.” Acknowledging toward the end of his opinion piece that Romney is not a villain, Krugman concludes:

"The truth is that what’s good for the 1 percent, or even better the 0.1 percent, isn’t necessarily good for the rest of America — and Mr. Romney’s career illustrates that point perfectly. There’s no need, and no reason, to hate Mr. Romney and others like him. We do, however, need to get such people paying more in taxes — and we shouldn’t let myths about 'job creators' get in the way."

"Such people" should be paying more in taxes? I agree, and this includes persons such as Obama supporters George Soros and Jon Corzine.

And what about millionaire Barack Obama himself?

On the same day Obama purchased his Chicago mansion, the wife of convicted felon Tony Rezko bought the adjacent empty lot from the same seller, who wanted to sell both properties together. However, as reported by ABC News (http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4111483&page=1):

"While Rezko's wife paid the full asking price for the land, Obama paid $300,000 under the asking price for the house. The house sold for $1,650,000 and the price Rezko's wife paid for the land was $625,000.

Obama denies there was anything unusual about the price disparity. He says the price on the house was dropped because it had been on the market for some time but that the price for the adjacent land remained high because there was another offer."

"Nothing unusual about the price disparity"? As reported by The Washington Times in 2008 (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov/04/fbi-asked-questions-on-rezko-land-deal/?page=all), a Chicago real estate specialist claimed that the price paid by Rezko's wife for the adjoining property was excessive, whereas Obama paid significantly less than market value:

"A former Illinois real estate specialist says FBI agents have questioned him about a Chicago property that had been bought by convicted felon Tony Rezko’s wife and later sold to the couple’s next-door neighbor, Sen. Barack Obama.

. . . .

'Agents and I talked about payoff, bribe, kickback for a long time, though it took them only a short number of minutes of talking with me while looking at the appraisal to acknowledge what they already seemed to know: The Rezko lot was grossly overvalued,' Mr. Conner told The Washington Times Monday.

'Rezko paid the asking price on the same day Obama paid $300,000 less than the asking price to the same seller for his adjacent mansion,' he said. 'This begs the question of payoff, bribe, kickback.'

In a wrongful-termination complaint filed last month in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Mr. Conner said his appraisal of the Rezko property, held in Rita Malki Rezko’s name, was replaced with a higher one and he was fired when he questioned the document."

Let's ignore any possible allegation of a bribe or kickback and also not examine the question of how community organizer Barack Obama and his wife managed to finance a $1,650,000 house. Instead, let's focus on whether Obama received a gift, which went unreported to the IRS. According to the IRS (http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=108139,00.html#2), a gift is defined as "Any transfer to an individual, either directly or indirectly, where full consideration (measured in money or money's worth) is not received in return."

In 2005, when the Obama/Rezko real estate transaction was consummated, there was an annual exclusion of $11,000 to each donee. Did Obama receive a "gift" in excess of $11,000? Should a Form 709 have been filed by the Rezkos, listing Obama as a "donee"?

Meanwhile, a hypocritical Paul Krugman would only have us examine Republican avarice. The reality is that the stench of politics permeates both sides of the aisle.

1 comment:

  1. It's important to remember that at the time of this real estate purchase Tony Rezko was broke and his wife Rita's job for $37,000 dollars a year did NOT qualify her for a loan of this size...However Tony Rezko received a loan of over $3 million dollars just weeks before from Nadmi Auchi. Nadmi Auchi is an Iraqi billionaire convicted in France and he was an arms dealer and banker to Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi.

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