Chicago Sun-Times
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Hastert: Pockets quick $2 million profit in real estate deals.


Annual congressional disclosures were released on Wednesday and I worked with colleague Eric Herman on the Sun-Times story on questions raised over House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) turning a quick profit from the sale of land in Plano, in Kendall County.

We did not have room in the print version of the story to add:
*Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) reported taking in $378,239 in royalties on 2005 sales of his book, "Dreams From My Father.''
* Hastert earned between $15,000 and $50,000 from sales of his 2004 book, ``Speaker'' and as part of the real estate transactions we wrote about he purchased land in Crawford, Wisc. that he may use for a vacation home.

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert pocketed almost $2 million from real estate deals adjacent to his Plano home in booming Kendall County, one of the fastest growing areas in the nation.

The transactions prompted questions Wednesday from the Sunlight Foundation, a new watchdog group, about whether Hastert, who earmarked $207 million in federal dollars for the proposed Prairie Parkway, had his profits swollen because of the highway.

Hastert attorney Randy Evans threatened legal action against Sunlight for the story it posted on its Web site about the deals.

How close is Prairie Parkway?

What's not disputed is that Hastert was able to turn a quick profit. Here's how the deals worked:

*Hastert and his wife bought a 195-acre farm in Plano in 2002, of which 69.5 acres had no access to roads.

*In 2004, Hastert formed a partnership with two friends, GOP power broker Dallas Ingemunson and Tom Klatt. The partners purchased 68.9 acres, with Hastert owning one quarter of the parcel, which fronts a road. This land is adjacent to the other Hastert property.

*In December 2005, the 68.9-acre parcel and the 69.5-acre parcel were sold to a developer, which wants to build at least 1,700 residential units plus commercial space there.

*Hastert's share of the profits from the sale is close to $2 million.

Annual congressional disclosure statements were released Wednesday, and specific information detailing the transactions was reflected in Hastert's filing only to a limited degree, which is about all that is required.

"The speaker has been a long-time supporter of building a north-south highway to address the transportation challenges in northeastern Illinois,'' said Hastert's spokesman Ron Bonjean.

"None of the properties purchased by the speaker are near enough to be affected by the proposed parkway,'' he said. Bonjean maintains Hastert's home is 5.5 miles from the Prairie Parkway; the Beacon News puts the development's edge about three miles away.

Ingemunson told the Sun-Times that the three bought the 68.9-acre parcel from a farmer who wanted "to have cash immediately." Klatt, Ingemunson and Hastert formed a trust, which bought the land in 2004 for $15,000 an acre -- a total price of slightly more than $1 million. Hastert bought his 195 acres for about $11,000 an acre, according to Sunlight.


Lynn for a few weeks now you have seen this Republican talking about Hastert on your blog.J Dennis Hastert has taken money before just like the 70,000 for writing a letter to Gale Norton for stopping a Indain Deal.There has been talk about him recieving money from Turkey to stop a bill from coming to the floor about genecide.This Speaker need to step down as Speaker until this matter is cleared up.Its now wonder his people Swiftboated John Laesch the Navy Vet running against him in the 14th district.To keep him on defence instead of offence that he should be on.

Lynn I am obsessed with J Denny Hastert I guess its because I didnt make the wrestling team at yorkville and now I blame Denny because my life is a failure. If all Denny made was 2 mill thats peanuts to what Richie Daley and his boys are making and also compared to Rezko,wheewww! Lets go hire a bodygaurd to drive a 20 year old intern on state time, sounds like a president we had who got impeached!

Sir using my name can get you in deep trouble.No while Dennis was not sevring a day .I was in Vietnam watching my brothers die.As to making the team I was a four letter man.Unlike you and Dennis Hastert my life is not a failure.I am The Republican Head of Veterans For Progress which I run 35,000 veterans an 3500 military families.I hope your life goes better but don't ever use my name again.Use yours or are you a coward like Hastert who ran from his duty 5 times

My name is Peter Dale , I would never want to use your name or anything remotely associated with you. I hardly believe 35,000 people would listen to you, and don't ever call me a coward you weirdo. Vetrans for Progress , I have never heard of that. But you sound like a pretty important guy, Mr. Peter. You are a strange individual. You sound like your group is imaginanary. And as far as 35,000 people listening to you, HA. Tell me how I can verify this group.

Lynn Sweet question
peter dale
and dale peters.....different people?

Anytime a public official makes a huge profit on real estate by flipping in just two years, it's going to look very, very fishy, at best. More so when the land in question is impacted by hundreds of millions in Federal spending sought by the official in question.

The serious ethical questions raised on the face of such a deal is why no official who's not joined at the hip to Dallas Ingemunson seems to be doing it.

Remember how Republicans had kittens over Hillary Clinton's cattle futures deal several years ago? And she herself wasn't even a public official yet, just the wife of one. And what was that profit? Wasn't it just a hundred grand?

Wonder if Denny or his people had anything to say on that back then. The spin from Hastert's camp certainly sounds similar to the "justifications" for Hillary spouted by James Carville back then, that's for sure.

Lynn, has anyone asked how this deal is different from what sent Bob Hickman to jail years ago under Edgar on a tollway land scam? For that matter, how is it different from any insider trading deal?

When Hastert bought the land from the farmer, was Denny privy to special information as a result of his official position as Speaker, information that wasn't shared with the selling farmer. That's the $1.5 million question.

I have never heard of that. But you sound like a pretty important guy, Mr. Peter. You are a strange individual.

Peter Dale,

If you haven't already heard, Dale Peters has been exposed as a fraud. Just thought you'd like to know:

I suspect that’s general public want to read blog….Internet visitors generally create blogs to declare themselves or their secret views. Blog grant them same matter on the monitor screen what they specifically needed,so as the above stuffs declared it.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on June 15, 2006 5:47 AM.

Bush on Iraq trip: Did not call first because ``I'm a high-value target for some.'' Transcript of press conference. was the previous entry in this blog.

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