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NYPost: Another example of Odama's judgment and largess with taxpayers' money'

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by Angus, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. Angus

    Angus Active Member

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    FAMILY SLAMS O CHARITY BIG
    MAN BEHIND 100G 'GARBAGE GARDEN' SUED OWN MOM
    By ADAM NICHOLS, Post Correspondent

    Posted: 3:56 am
    October 6, 2008

    CHICAGO - A charity being probed after it was handed $100,000 of taxpayers' money by Barack Obama is headed by an "opportunist" whose own family wouldn't trust him with a dime, The Post has learned.

    Chicago Better Housing Association boss Kenny Smith is so desperate for cash, he launched a bitter courtroom battle with his 73-year-old disabled mom in an unsuccessful bid to take control of her $1,400-a-month pension and Social Security payouts, according to court papers and relatives.

    His family last week told The Post they were amazed that Smith - a former volunteer for Obama who has donated $550 to his various campaigns - was trusted with the hefty state grant to build a botanic garden in his blighted South Side Chicago neighborhood.

    Land earmarked for the plan is still overgrown and covered in garbage - eight years after then-state Sen. Obama steered the pork-barrel funds to the program.

    The Illinois attorney general last month launched an investigation to find out what the Chicago Better Housing Association did with the cash.

    "I wouldn't go as far as saying Kenny's an out-and-out crook, but he's an opportunist," said his brother-in-law, Robert Thomas.

    "Nothing that man does would surprise me. Never mind $100,000. I wouldn't give him $10."

    The relationship between Smith and Obama dates back to at least 1997, when the then-state pol wrote a letter that Smith used to help his group win city funding for an affordable-housing development next to the garden site, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

    Even that project failed - only 12 of the planned 50 homes were finished.

    The botanic-garden project was unveiled by Obama and Smith in 2000, when Obama promised to "work tirelessly" to raise extra cash it needed.

    The Sun-Times reported that Smith signed over $85,000 of the cash to his wife, Karen, who is the charity's treasurer. A spokeswoman for the AG said Obama's actions in giving out the grant were not under investigation

    Smith's family hasn't spoken to him since January, when he lost his legal fight to take control of his mother's estate, claiming she was incapable of caring for herself. She fought his claim in court.

    In legal papers, he called his mom and his sister prostitutes, claiming his sister was addicted to crack and his stepdad was a sex-crazed drunk.

    The papers also accuse Smith of trying to intimidate people by claiming to be a detective.

    Repeated efforts to contact Smith and his wife were unsuccessful.

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/10062008/news/politics/family_slams_o_charity_big_132273.htm

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