Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Obama, Valerie Jarrett and Olympics 2016

President Bararck Obama and the White House senior staff, has been holding meetings to lobby foreign ministers, diplomats and members of the International Olympic Committee.

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported on some efforts undertaken by the Obama White House to lobby 'unaligned' nations involved in the International Olympic Committee selecetion of the site for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

The money quote: "The Chicago backers have pinned their hopes in part on winning the support of about a dozen African nations, a block of traditionally unaligned votes at the IOC. The administration has tried to make its case in conversations on the sideline of the United Nations General Assembly, at the Group of 20 Summit, during a Capital reception with African diplomats and in a video of Obama personally pitching African IOC Members".

The entity 'Chicago 2016' was formed several years ago to begin the bidding process, and will be responsible for overseeing the Olympics in Chicago. According to a White House source, both the State Department and the National Security Council were asked for assistance in preparing briefing materials for use during the UN and G-20.

It is not just the Obama's.

Obama senior adviser, David Axelrod's firm, AKPD Message and Media, which employs his son and which owes Axelrod money, is one of the contractors on the Chicago Olympics bid, Senior presidental adviser Valerie Jarrett has been deeply involved in the strategizing for the Olympics bid since before the 2008 election, and until accepting her job in the White House, she was a deputy chairwoman of the Chicago Olympics Host Committee.

Crain's Chicago Business reported on Monday that Jarrett and Chicago 2016 committee president (and recent chief of staff to Mayor Richard Daley) Lori Healey met with officials of the Department of Housing and Urban Development to discuss financing options for construction of the Olympic Village. According to the HUD sources, the Obama Administration will seek to use low income housing grant funding options to help the city build the Olympic Village, and when the Olympics are over, some portions of the village will be used for low income rental and purchased residences.

Healey and Jarrett's relationships goes back years to Healey's times as a senior staffer on the city's planning and development in the 1990's arund the same time that Jarrett would have been running one of the city's largest low income housing projects. Healey was also vice chair of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) Board of Commissioners, which would have overseen Jarrett's company's projects.

Another member of the Chicago committee is Martin Nesbitt, who the New York Times, last December identified as one of Obama's 'closest friends' and whose wife is a friend of Michelle Obama. Nesbitt, the godfather to one of the Obama's daughters, was also the Obama presidential campaign treasurer, and is credited with introducing Obama to Penny Pritzker, one of the most influential foundraisers for Democrats in the United States. His ties to Pritzker go back to when he worked for Pritzer's real estate companies, and she later invested in Nesbitt's airport off site parking business, the Parking Spot, a company that stands to make millions from the Olympics bid. The Pritzker family, which holds a number of real estate properties in Chicago, also stands to reap tens of millions from a successful Olympics bid. Nesbitt is also the chairman of the board of commissioners of the Chicago Housing Authority.

Nesbitt did not join the board of Chicago 2016 until March 2009, when he replaced--Valerie Jarrett--who resigned from the board to accept her post in the White House.

edited from Family Security Matters 092909

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