Friday, June 16, 2006

Speaker of the House Makes a Mint

Dennis Hastert is another Republican who may have some questions to answer about shady land deals. It was recently discovered that Hastert turned a tidy little profit from a land sale he made after appropriating money to build a highway close to his investment properties. Four years ago, he started purchasing land through a anonymous land trust, and then resold the property three months after the bill to appropriate money for the new highway was signed. Hastert will pocket $3 million in the deal. Ironically, the Land trust was titled "Little Rock Trust."

Records reveal Hastert's hand in land deal
By Mike Dorning and Andrew Zajac
Washington Bureau
Published June 15, 2006

WASHINGTON -- Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert and two partners turned a profit of more than $3 million on property they accumulated and sold in just over three years near the route of a proposed controversial freeway on the western fringe of suburban Chicago, according to land records and financial disclosure reports released Wednesday.

Hastert spokesman Ron Bonjean rejected the notion that the land, located 5 1/2 miles from the proposed Prairie Parkway route, rose in value because of the highway project. The speaker long has been an aggressive proponent of the highway and helped secure more than $200 million in federal funding through an earmark in federal transportation legislation.

The property near Plano, Ill., was sold three months after the transportation bill was signed into law. It was purchased by a real estate developer who is planning to build more than 1,500 homes on the land.

(Full Story)

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