Valerie Jarrett: ‘Lapping for Action’

By Carter Clews
Americans for Limited Government

Who is Valerie Jarrett? It’s a question gaining increasing interest in the conservative blogosphere. And even some members of the mainstream media are starting to take a second look at this woman who has earned the sobriquet “Obama’s eminence gris.”

Indeed, in the Obama household, Valerie Jarrett is considered nothing less than a member of the family. Asked about his unique relationship with the shadowy Ms. Jarrett, Obama told the London Independent’s Robert Draper, “Well, Valerie is one of my oldest friends. Over time, I think our relationship evolved to the point where she’s like a sibling to me … I trust her completely.’

Added Michelle to the Chicago Tribune’s Jodi Kantor, “She’s always one of the people he and I talk to when we’re about to make a move.”

So, who is this pseudo sister, this Obama alter-ego, this sounding board with sign-off stature who has become the power behind the Obama throne?

Simply put: Valerie Jarrett is a radical leftist with a rapacious appetite for power and wealth. In Richard Daley’s Chicago, she was the turn-to person for flexing muscles, padding pockets, and covering tracks. In Barack Obama’s Washington, she is the single advisor most responsible for both for originating and orchestrating his most brazen attempts to impose what many see as a socialist regime upon the American people.

Policy decisions and key appointments, brickbats and bouquets, the mendicants and the mercenary – they all come through Valerie Jarrett’s office.

As the New York Times recently wrote: “Jarrett is also the president’s closest friend in the White House, and it is not lost on her colleagues that when senior staff meetings in the Oval Office break up, she often stays behind with the boss.”

American Spectator offered an idea of what transpires at those intimate tête-à-têtes:

“Jarrett’s office isn’t just about hiring anti-American presidential senior staff or inviting them to posh official dinners at the White House, though. Jarrett’s office, according to White House sources, was influential in advocating for the creation of a “chief diversity officer” (CDO) at the Federal Communications Commission, as well as numerous other senior positions on regulatory and advisory commissions within the federal government bureaucracy.”

Among her colleagues and fellow travelers Jarrett has stuck in top White House senior positions:

  • Van Jones – the former Obama Green Czar, a self-avowed communist who believes that the United States engineered the attacks on the World Trade Centers. Of him, Jarrett enthused, “We were so delighted to be able to recruit him into the White House. We were watching him…for as long as he’s been active out in Oakland…and all of the creative ideas he has…and now we’ve captured that…and we all that energy in the White House.”
  • Cass Sunstein – the Obama Regulation Czar who believes that farm animals should be able to sue their owners and that traditional marriage should be abolished.
  • Kevin Jennings – the Obama Safe Schools Czar who believes that elementary school children should be taught that homosexuality is normal behavior (along with the techniques for “enjoying” it) and who in 1990, as a teacher in Massachusetts, founded the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN.

But to get the full flavor of Valerie Jarrett’s august substance and cunning style, one has to go back to Chicago, to the seamy backrooms of Richard Daley’s unholy empire. There, Valerie Jarrett established a stern reputation as the no-nonsense progenitor of pay-to-play run amuck; as the very embodiment of what celebrated columnist Mike Royko suggested as the Windy City’s slogan: Ubi Est Mea? – “Where’s Mine?”

In 1995, while serving as Executive Vice President of Habitat (more about that later), the ineffable Ms. Jarrett was also appointed by her good friend and guru Mayor Daly to chair the board of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). There, under his direction, she approved two multi-million dollar property sales.

One parcel was sold to the city for the princely sum of $3.29 million. In an unusual move, the Board agreed to accept payments from the city through 2013 with a 5% interest rate. This transaction was a bit unorthodox in that normally a lump sum payment would be made.

Within a remarkably short period of time – and despite the long-term payments due — the city then sold the land to a certain Mr. Michael Marchese. Perhaps not so coincidentally, Mr. Marchese, like Ms. Jarrett, was a close friend and frequent traveling companion of Mayor Daley. Marchese’s price: $1. In total.

Defending the unusual transaction, Ms. Jarrett commended the Mayor on his shrewd deal, telling the press, “It’s been an enormous challenge to get anyone to step up.” Even at one-3.29 millionth of the city’s Jarrett-negotiated purchase price?

And that was just the beginning. The Jarrett-Daley-Marchese juggernaut was just picking up steam. The second multi-million-dollar deal Ms. Jarrett helped negotiate for the triad involved the sell another CTA property, this one to Limits LLC for $14.35 million. Predictably, the Mayor’s friend Marchese’s Harlem-Irving Companies was a part of Limits LLC.

What makes this transaction particularly fascinating is that in accepting the $14 million bid, Ms. Jarrett’s CTA rejected a rival offer of $20 million. And it is more than fair to ask what hand she had in drafting the request for proposals for the property, including the following statement: “CTA reserves the right to make an award based on the greatest benefit to the CTA and the community and not necessarily on the highest amount proposed to be paid to the CTA.”

It is also fair to ask what Ms. Jarrett, the Mayor, and Mr. Marchese considered “the greatest benefit to the CTA and the [cash-strapped] community,” if not $6 million in cold, hard cash.

And that brings us to what is, perhaps, the set piece of the Valerie Jarrett’s Chicago bucket shop: the Habitat Company. As mentioned, Ms. Jarrett served as the Executive Vice President of that company while also serving at the Mayor’s pleasure as the chair of the Chicago Transit Authority, shortly after leaving her powerful positions as the Mayor’s Chief of Staff and the director of the Mayor’s Department of Planning and Development.

The Habitat Company, it should be noted, is a property management company that had been appointed by Chicago’s courts to oversee the construction of all public housing in the city. In short, hundreds of millions of dollars were funneled by the city into Ms. Jarrett’s company.

And how did Valerie Jarrett handle that responsibility – and the attendant largess? Well, here’s one fairly typical example.

In the year 2000, Ms. Jarrett’s Habitat Company helped implement the lofty-sounding “Plan for Transformation” that would replace existing public around Chicago’s United Center. As of July of last year, according to the Chicago Tribune, “the city had lost more than 13,000 housing units for the poor at a time when low-income families face one of the worse housing crises in recent history. After years of neglect and abandonment, many residents doubt that Jarrett and CHA officials have their interests at heart.”

Meanwhile, “Habitat has earned $6.8 million in fees and $10.8 million in administrative expenses since the plan started in 2000, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ….” And all the while, Valerie Jarrett lived very comfortably, thank you, at her lakefront apartment, pulling in a six-figure base salary – in addition to her hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation for serving on boards.

Carl Sandberg once described Chicago as “The Hog Butcher of the World … Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness.” Having conquered that piker’s paradise, Valerie Jarrett has now moved on to the Pork Capital of the Universe, fiercely “lapping for action,” cunning as ever in a wilderness long-since shorn of even the barest vestige of basic integrity, or the sheerest dictates of common decency.

And Barack Obama trusts her completely.

Carter Clews is the Executive Editor of ALG News.

Reprinted by permission of Americans for Limited Government.

Comments are closed.