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Olympic-sized boondoggle: What Valerie Jarrett and Michelle Obama are up to

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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 18, 2009 09:59 AM

In Culture of Corruption, I spotlight the intimate relationship between Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s crony lawyer Valerie Jarrett and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Jarrett’s slum lord record in Chicago is highly relevant to her current and ongoing pursuit of Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid — which will cost taxpayers nearly $5 billion and bring an untold windfall to developers and contractors.

From my chapter on Jarrett’s role as president and CEO of The Habitat Company, which the Boston Globe probed in a rare, non-fluffy look at the Obama’s consigliere:

In an uncommonly hard-hitting investigative piece, the Boston Globe’s Binyamin Appelbaum blew the whistle on the rodent-infested, sewage-clogged Chicago slums run by the Obamas’ most trusted confidante. Jarrett refused to answer any questions about Grove Parc, “citing what she called a continuing duty to Habitat’s former business partners.” A “continuing duty,” presumably, to whitewash the inconvenient truth about the failed public-private partnerships the Obamas continue to promote in the White House:

“They are rapidly displacing poor people, and these companies are profiting from this displacement,” said Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle of Southside Together Organizing for Power, a community group that seeks to help tenants stay in the same neighborhoods.

“The same exact people who ran these places into the ground,” the private companies paid to build and manage the city’s affordable housing, “now are profiting by redeveloping them.”

In 2006, while Valerie Jarrett was executive vice president of Grove Parc’s management firm Habitat Company, federal inspectors graded the condition of the complex a bottom-of-the-barrel 11 on a 100-point scale. Another Habitat-mismanaged property called Lawndale Restoration was so run-down that city officials urged the federal government to take over the complex.

Jamie Kalven, a veteran Chicago housing activist, told the Boston Globe about Barack Obama: “I hope there is not much predictive value in his history and in his involvement with that community.” Kalven’s hopes will likely be dashed. As Chicago goes, so goes the nation. Obama has made a career of rewarding failure and no amount of overhyped “Hope” will change that. He sponsored a plethora of bills in the state Senate benefitting affordable housing developers. In February 2009, he unveiled a plan to set up a $1 billion Housing Trust Fund “to rehabilitate housing in the nation’s poorest neighborhoods.” “Trust Fund?” Try slush fund, bottomless pit, and eternal stimulus for the real estate moguls posing as saviors of urban America.

In one of those endless Chicago coincidences, Grove Parc Plaza Apartments—now targeted for demolition as a result of years of neglect by Obama’s developer friends—sits in the shadows of the proposed site of the city’s 2016 Olympics Stadium. Valerie Jarrett is vice chair of Chicago’s Olympics committee.

Ever since the Obamas moved to 1600 Pennsylvania, Jarrett has used her power to boost her old pal and employer Mayor Richard Daley’s bid for the Olympics.

Now, FLOTUS is getting in on the act and Jarrett is giddy:

A top White House adviser said first lady Michelle Obama is planning to make a dramatic presentation when she offers the closing argument for the bid by her hometown of Chicago to win the 2016 Summer Olympics.

“There won’t be a dry eye in the room,” said Valerie Jarrett, who plans to travel with the first lady to Copenhagen for the Oct. 2 International Olympic Committee vote.

“I’m sure that it will touch the hearts of each of the IOC members,” Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, said today in an interview.

Jarrett declined to say what the first lady will tell the IOC. The stakes are high because winning the games would be an economic boost nationally, as well as for Chicago, she said.

“It will be a huge economic engine for Chicago, but it will have a ripple effect throughout the country,” Jarrett said, adding that U.S. corporations have voiced support for Chicago’s bid.

That’s the same bogus economic development propaganda government cronies always use for taxpayer-funded corporate welfare (boondoggles I’ve consistently opposed whether championed by Democrats or Republicans, by the way.)

As sports subsidy watchdog Neil deMause properly characterizes the Olympic pursuit:

“The winner gets to be on the hook for billions in dollars worth of velodromes and infrastructure; the losers get to watch on TV for free.”

Crook County will make out like bandits if Jarrett and the First Crony get their way.

I advise the International Olympic Committee to think long and hard about bringing the games to the fetid swamplands of Blago, Rezko & pay-for-play peddlers.

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Jarrett’s role in recruiting Van Jones

Jarrett, Axelrod, and the Michelle Obama horror health care story you won’t hear about

What the NYT’s 8,100-word Valerie Jarrett profile didn’t tell you

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