Remembering Rezko's Home

Wilmette mansion on auction block

See the dining room table where Tony cut his checks!

Look behind the paintings for the hidden safes!

Ponder the impromptu campaign strategy session walk-in closet!

That's right, Tony Rezko's mansion -- a stunning piece of Chicago history that President Obama would rather you forgot sold  today for $2, 835, 814 to Bank of America.

Obama knows well what the inside of the 8,400 square-foot home in Wilmette looks like -- and how much it was worth to his campaign fund as Rezko helped it along (and apparently was helped in return).

Obama, who used to call Rezko his "political godfather" until he started pretending he barely knew him, was feted at the mansion in 2003 as he embarked on his U.S. Senate run. Rezko was on Obama's campaign finance committee at the time.

Three months later, Rezko took out a $5.15 million loan against the home which the Bank of America is still trying to collect on. Analysts don't expect the mansion's sale price to recoup the entire amount owed; Wilmette residential brokers told Crain's they expected the property to go for $3 million to $4 million. Rezko reportedly bought the home for $1.9 milliion in 1999, which means that B of A got a deal.

The Obamas returned to the Rezko mansion at least one more time in 2004 when they attended a reception for controversial Iraqi billionaire and Rezko pal Nadhmi Auchi, according to testimony in Rezko's trial and sources who told the Sun-Times they were there.

The Obamas said during the campaign they had "no recollection" of attending the event.

Perhaps news of today's auction will jog the Obamas' memory. Perhaps the other 100 or so folks who were there will also recall the good times they had that evening.

And let's call on the dignitaries throughout the state to pause for a moment of silence to reflect on the passing of a home from the hands of man whose wheeling and dealing reverberates to this day.

Sell the home if you must, but maybe it ought to be preserved as a crime scene.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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