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Crossing Paths Daily: Obama and Ayers Shared an Office (Update: For Three Years)

John on October 16, 2008 at 4:44 pm

It’s nice to be the guy getting tips for once instead of the guy sending them. Yesterday I got two great tips from Morgen, a reader who had found my earlier posts digging into the Obama Ayers connection. Both tips appear to check out and the second one is, I think, big news.

First, the smaller one…

This Chicago Annenberg Challenge website from 2002 shows the total amount of funds given to Bill Ayers’ Small Schools Workshop from 1995 to 2001. The amount is not the $175K I had reported earlier. According to this page, the total given under Barack Obama’s direct supervision was $1,056,162. Adding that amount to the money given by the Joyce Foundation and Woods Fund during Obama’s tenure brings the grand total to $1,968,718. Just shy of two million dollars! That’s a lot of scratch, to put it bluntly. And don’t forget, this doesn’t count the 3/4 million that went to John Ayers during the same time period.

Now here’s the second and bigger break, again big hat tip to Morgen for his work on this…

Bill Ayers and Barack Obama shared an office. Ayers’ Small Schools Workshop, the one Obama directed all that money to is located at 115 S. Sangamon Street, Chicago, Illinois 60607 [Note the link is to a year 2000 version of their website]. Here’s a screen grab from the website’s footer:

In 1998, the address for the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, where Obama presumably worked, was 115 S. Sangamon Street, Chicago, Illinois 60607. Here’s a copy of their 1998 tax return with that address:

The CAC moved to a new address sometime in 1999 or 2000, but the shared office probably persisted for at least three years. I can’t say for sure because 1998 is the earliest tax information available online. [Correction: I can say for sure that they shared the same building for the years 1995-1998. Here is a 1995 progress report from the CAC with the same address.]

Now remember, the NY Times described Obama and Ayers as having “crossed paths.” Ben LaBolt, Obama’s spokesman said:

Mr. LaBolt said the men first met in 1995 through the education project, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, and have encountered each other occasionally in public life or in the neighborhood.

I’m going to suggest that two guys working in the same building for a period of years probably crossed paths pretty often. For all we know, they had lunch together on a daily basis. Maybe, in an effort at conservation, they were even carpool buddies. After all, Ayers is a guy from Obama’s neighborhood.

Would someone at the Times like to contact Mr. LaBolt for a follow-up?

Update: Made the correction above. Also, Obama was a state senator from 1996-2004. However, he still likely spent some significant time at the Sangamon street address, especially in 1995. But even after his election he would presumably be working on his CAC duties at the Sangamon office, not from some other location.

According to this letter dated 1995, Obama’s office was on the 3rd floor:

And according to this memo dated 1996, Small Schools Workshop was also on the 3rd floor:

Do you think maybe Obama and Bill Ayers ran into each other once in a while?

Update 10/19: There’s been a lot of effort to identify the building in question. A tipster from Chicago told me he thought it had been demolished, but apparently one of Ace’s commenters drove by the area today and identified this as the bulding:

Here’s a flickr stream of all the photos. The building is shuttered now, but notice that the word “Hope” has been placed in the windows of the third floor. Maybe that’s as in “audacity of…”

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