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Tilting at Windmills

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December 24, 2008

MEET ISAAC TOUSSIE.... Yesterday, the Bush White House released a list of 19 presidential pardons and one commuted prison sentence. The new batch didn't include any of the "famous" people seeking clemency, but there was one name that warrants a closer look.

President Bush pardoned a Brooklyn real estate developer accused of scamming hundreds of poor, minority homebuyers -- and whose father donated $28,500 to the Republican Party this year.

Bush pardoned Isaac Toussie, 36, two days before Christmas in a gesture of mercy that outraged ex-customers who said they were duped into buying overpriced, defective homes.

"We're in the middle of a mortgage crisis [and] this is somebody who was alleged to have participated in predatory lending practices," said Peter Seidman, a lawyer who represents 460 people who say they were fleeced.

"To pardon Isaac Toussie is a kick in the teeth to homeowners struggling with mortgages they can't afford."

Toussie, who falsified the finances of prospective homebuyers seeking HUD mortgages, pleaded guilty in 2003 to mail fraud and lying to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Despite having scammed hundreds of families -- selling overpriced, poorly built homes to minority first-time buyers who couldn't afford them -- Toussie was sentenced to only five months in prison and five months house arrest, and has been out of jail for several years now, working as a real estate and marketing consultant.

So why on earth give this guy a pardon now? Given the economic circumstances of the day, is now really a good time for the president to pardon a scam artist who got off easy running an illegal mortgage scheme?

Making matters worse, Toussie's father, Robert, made his first political donation in April, giving the Republican National Committee $28,500. Four months later, the U.S. Pardon Attorney received Toussie's pardon petition, and five months after that, Toussie's record is suddenly clean by presidential fiat.

Toussie's victims, as one might imagine, are not at all happy about Bush's decision.

Without additional information, it's hard to know whether Toussie's father effectively bought a presidential pardon for $28,500. But given the Republicans' new-found interest in revisiting the Marc Rich controversy, this is a pardon that seems to deserve a lot more scrutiny.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (20)

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Comments

As St Ronny said of the Iran-Contraites, "But, not criminals at heart".

Still waiting for Drudge to tie in Eric Holder to this.

Posted by: berttheclock on December 24, 2008 at 8:02 AM | PERMALINK

"But, not criminals at heart"

If deep down they're really nice people, put them in a dungeon.

Posted by: Danp on December 24, 2008 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

Does anyone know if Bush can "prepardon" administration officials before they are charged with any wrong doing?

While I was upset that the Dems in congress did not act more aggressively in investigating Bush, Cheney, etc., after Libby's sentence was commuted, it became obvious that Bush would use pardons so that underlings could not be flipped. It also became obvious that the "Villagers" would look the other way whenever Bush parsons anyone.

In the long run, maybe waiting until Bush is out of office to start legal proceedings is better. Without the threat of jail sentences, no Reoublicans would ever come clean.

Posted by: esaud on December 24, 2008 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

One of the strange things about these pardons is how small the sentences were. Toussie, for example, was given 5 mo. in prison plus a $10,000 fine. Yet the Newsday called it largest real-estate discrimination lawsuit ever in New York State.

Another, was given three years probation for conspiracy to harbor and transport illegal alients.

Only one got a reduction in sentence - from 10 years for possession of meth with intent to distribute, reduced by 2 months.

Posted by: Danp on December 24, 2008 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

Where are the Patrick Fitzgerald wire taps?

This easily stinks just like the "Blago" scandal. Why are their no reporters and media talking heads wondering aloud if this is the Presidents last scandal?

Posted by: Winkandanod on December 24, 2008 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

“”In the long run, maybe waiting until Bush is out of office to start legal proceedings is better. Without the threat of jail sentences, no Republicans would ever come clean.””

Yes indeed, my same feelings too, the very reason a huge conversation is rippling through CNN, FOX, and MSNBC that thousands of investigations maybe initiated especially from those who have been fired from their current jobs, will with diligence participate and seek into those deep corruption problems that are not even addressed now.

Bush and Company will very likely have to appear and be accountable for all sorts of stuff from International and Domestic, Military and Economical events during the last eight years. Likely Bill Clinton will also come under fire which might really terrify the Neo-Con factions.

Plus a huge calling towards the Mainstream Media, especially Journalist on Radio and Cable news must either come forward or find themselves complicit to the government agencies they report on. The news these people have been sitting on is incredible and strategic placing America in jeopardy with no recourse but to avoid any war right now. America is in retreat because of a failed patriotism and consciousness towards the truth.

The most out standing example is the war. The Media has been embedded in this war for six years with the argument that America was wining the war. But yet it was only within the last year the “SURGE” was the turning point to win the war. Ladies and Gentleman if one looks at the issue of the surge, it is just another word for re-enforcements necessary to employ or loose the war.

Even if a light sentence is given to Bush for war crimes, at least Bush should have to put on his orange suit, then get picked up and dropped off by his brother Jeb and father Herbert to do the work. Maybe Herbert Walker should parachute George in for a little photo op to pick up the garbage around the veteran hospitals, take out bed pans and do the dirty laundry.

All followed with Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity in real time cameras cable television with DVD recording on sale at the Bush Library with special on the spot interviews for the next ten years or so. Mission accomplished. Very funny huh…

What size shoe do you wear for free flying Iraq foot wear … as a bonus special believing in tax cuts did the trick.

Posted by: Megalomania on December 24, 2008 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

Selling a pardon for so little - isn't that in itself criminal to Republicans?

Posted by: jen f on December 24, 2008 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

Given the economic circumstances of the day, is now really a good time for the president to pardon a scam artist who got off easy running an illegal mortgage scheme?

Bush has 27 more days. Is he really going to get a better time in that period? He clearly feels a philosophical affinity for scam artists, especially when they screw poor people. Among all of Bush's disgusting character traits, is that even remotely surprising?

Posted by: Shalimar on December 24, 2008 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

>"Selling a pardon for so little - isn't that in itself criminal to Republicans?"

Well... times are tough. Pardons aren't moving off the lots.

Posted by: Buford on December 24, 2008 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

The point I've been making for the past couple of weeks. The GOP likes to prey on the weak and poor.

Just about a week ago, I mentioned a number of large corporations refusing to bring profits to the U.S. unless congress lets them pay 5.25% tax, so they are offshore, refusing to fund pensions & medical benefits.

The Bush program, remember he said, "anyone who wants a home will be able to buy one." It wasn't Clinton as he'd like people to believe. With Bush, people were able to get loans like SISA (stated income, stated assets), NINJA (no income, no job, no assets), interest only, NINA (no income, no assets), pick-a-payment.....

House flipping - didn't you notice when Bush came into office, they were a lot of programs on flipping houses.

People don't understand, when an investment is no longer a secret among a few afluent people, there's no more money to be made, it's more of a risk, or the profits are no longer as great. They've already made their money, now they will sell it to you through seminars.......

But then let's look at Madoff, his bail was $10,000 only his bail was made on signatures of he and his wife. How's that possible when everything he own should have been subject to forfeit - example, you steal a luxury car, you can't use that car as collateral can you? Or you rob a bank, you can't use the money for your bail!

Posted by: annjell on December 24, 2008 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

BTW, Madoff is alleged to have land the size of an island in Tobago (Trinidad & Tobago aka T&T).

Posted by: annjell on December 24, 2008 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Shalimar's post up above was spot-on. Bush is just a pathetic piece of scum.

Posted by: Paul in KY on December 24, 2008 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

I think Madoff was getting ready to flee. In many countries in the Caribbean, as long as it's not money laundering from drugs, they welcome people owing the U.S. money as long as you have lots of money to take care of yourself, and prop up their economy.

As an example, remember the rich guy that fled to Mexico and dog the bounty hunter went there to apprehend - dog got into trouble with Mexican authorities because they don't allow bounty hunters in Mexico.

I wouldn't recommend anyone to do this because you just don't know.

Example, in the Cayman Islands, a gay man from Massachusetts was arrested for kissing (a peck) his boyfriend in public at a night club. (source: caymannet news)

Posted by: annjell on December 24, 2008 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

The bright side of this is that right about the time Specter and the Republicans start hearings about Holder's role in the Marc Rich pardon, Bush will be pardoning people like this guy, and Holder will skate into the Attorney General's office.

Posted by: Wally on December 24, 2008 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

The pardon definitely will aid him in attending his ceremony at the White House for his Medal of Freedom. Thieves of a kind flock togethe.

Posted by: berttheclock on December 24, 2008 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Liberals called that "giving minorities a chance for home ownership" before said spent their money on liquor and gambling instead of making mortgage payments. Then the predators were at fault. LOL.

Posted by: Luther on December 24, 2008 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, but at least Toussie didn't flee the country to avoid prosecution like Mark Rich. THAT would have made the pardon inexcusable. /snark

Posted by: Cal Gala on December 24, 2008 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

"Does anyone know if Bush can "prepardon" administration officials before they are charged with any wrong doing? "

Bush already did that. Poppy Bush, that is. He pardoned Caspar Weinberger before he was indicted.

Posted by: Cal Gal on December 24, 2008 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

"Only one got a reduction in sentence - from 10 years for possession of meth with intent to distribute, reduced by 2 months."

Was that Bridget Palin's soon to be mother-in-law?

Posted by: Sarah Barracuda on December 24, 2008 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

So why on earth give this guy a pardon now? Given the economic circumstances of the day, is now really a good time for the president to pardon a scam artist who got off easy running an illegal mortgage scheme?

Because he's a perfect Republican, why else!

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on December 24, 2008 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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