Obama's House is Back in the News
Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's discount on a $1.32 million loan from Northern Trust in Illinois has again focused attention on the senator's purchase of his home three years ago.
In 2005, Obama, then a freshman Democratic senator who had first joined the U.S. Senate, bought a $1.65 million restored Georgian mansion in an upscale Chicago neighborhood. To finance the purchase, he secured the loan, which was locked in an interest rate of 5.625 percent on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, below the average for such loans at the time in Chicago.
The loan was unusually large, known in banker lingo as a "super super jumbo," The Post's Joe Stephens reports. Obama's rate could have saved him more than $300 per month.
In March, the Obama campaign posted documents related to the home loan on its Web site. Those documents can be found here.
The real estate deal has come under scrutiny before. The Chicago Tribune reported in March that the house and adjoining yard had been owned as a single property, but the owners were listing them separately and asking $1.95 million for the house and $625,000 for the landscaped side lot.
Obama's friend and campaign contributor, Antoin "Tony" Rezko, took over the option on the side lot after Rezko learned Obama was bidding for the house.
Obama told the Tribune that he knew next to nothing about those transactions and does not recall when he learned that Rezko was interested in buying the side lot -- or even how Rezko learned it was for sale.
But they talked about the upcoming sales, the Tribune reported. "He said, 'I might be interested,' " Obama recalled. "My response was, 'Well, that would be fine.'"
Obama added: "This is an area where I can see a lapse in judgment." He said his motivation was "if this lot is going to be developed, here's somebody I knew. So I didn?t object."
Obama's mortgage questions come in the wake of the Countrywide VIP mortgage investigation. Conde Nast Portfolio magazine found that favorable loans also were extended to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.); President Bush's former housing secretary, Alphonso Jackson; former United Nations ambassador Richard Holbrooke; and former Health and Human Services secretary Donna E. Shalala.
Former Fannie Mae chief executive James A. Johnson was chased from his job vetting potential running mates for Obama just four days after the Wall Street Journal reported that Johnson may have received preferential treatment on his own Countrywide loans.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: KathleenVS | July 2, 2008 4:12 PM
Posted by: Insult Comic Dog | July 2, 2008 5:06 PM
Posted by: Clio1 | July 2, 2008 8:33 PM
Posted by: John Ryskamp | July 3, 2008 7:08 PM
Posted by: Jeff | July 5, 2008 7:14 PM
Posted by: Tina | July 6, 2008 7:35 AM
Posted by: MHR | July 9, 2008 8:19 PM
Posted by: Yvonne Allen | July 12, 2008 12:33 AM