From Chicago Sun-Times December 23, 2007 BY FRANK MAIN: "In addition to a land deal, Sen. Barack Obama’s ties to indicted dealmaker Antoin “Tony” Rezko include an internship the senator provided the son of a contributor at the request of Rezko, an Obama spokesman confirmed today.
John Aramanda served as an intern for Obama for about a month in 2005, said Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs. His father is Joseph Aramanda, a Rezko business associate who was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal corruption case against Rezko. Aramanda has contributed $11,500 to Obama since 2000, Gibbs said.
“Mr. Rezko did provide a recommendation for John Aramanda,” Gibbs said. “I think that it’s fairly obvious that a few-week internship is not of anything of benefit to Mr. Rezko or any of his businesses.”
The revelation of the internship comes after Obama acknowledged a mistake in buying property from Rezko in January 2006 — a deal that enlarged the senator’s yard in the Kenwood neighborhood on the South Side. The transaction occurred at a time when it was widely known Rezko was under investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office.
“It was a mistake to have been engaged with him at all in this or any other personal business dealing that would allow him, or anyone else, to believe that he had done me a favor,” Obama — a likely presidential candidate — told the Sun-Times in November.
Rezko was indicted in October for allegedly trying to collect nearly $6 million in kickbacks from government deals and trying to shake down a Hollywood producer for $1.5 million in campaign contributions to Gov. Blagojevich.
Obama and Rezko have been friends since 1990, and the Wilmette businessman has raised as much as $60,000 in campaign contributions for him.
After Rezko’s indictment, Obama donated $11,500 to charity — the amount Rezko contributed to the senator’s federal campaign fund.
Gibbs said he did not know whether Obama was considering returning any contributions from Aramanda given his alleged role in the federal corruption cases against Rezko and former Teachers Retirement System board member Stuart Levine.
Aramanda is identified as “Individual D” in Rezko’s indictment. And when Levine pleaded guilty in October, Aramanda again was listed as “Individual D.”
Aramanda was identified by the Sun-Times as “Individual D,” who allegedly received a $250,000 kickback tied to a scheme to steer lucrative state pension deals to firms and consultants that donated to Blagojevich. Aramanda is not specifically named or charged with criminal wrongdoing in the court papers. He could not be reached for comment Saturday.
Aramanda has contributed $11,500 to Obama's campaigns since 2000, Gibbs said. He gave $1,000 toward Obama’s run for Congress against Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago) in 2000; $500 to Obama’s Senate campaign in 2003 and $10,000 to his Senate campaign in 2004, Gibbs said.
Gibbs said John Aramanda served in Obama’s Capitol Hill office from July 20 to Aug. 26, 2005, during which he received an $804 cost-of-living stipend. Aramanda was one of nearly 100 interns who worked for Obama in 2005, Gibbs said. "