Fox News host Sean Hannity, who makes a reported $36 million per year, often rails against social programs to help the poor, but doesn’t mention that he takes out loans insured by the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development loans to buy up real estate under shell companies that hide his identity.
The Guardian notes that the FBI raid of Trump/Hannity lawyer Michael Cohen’s office revealed hw Hannity benefits from programs put in place by President Obama, whom Hannity attacked on Fox News for eight years:
The records link Hannity to a group of shell companies that spent at least $90m on more than 870 homes in seven states over the past decade. The properties range from luxurious mansions to rentals for low-income families. Hannity is the hidden owner behind some of the shell companies and his attorney did not dispute that he owns all of them.
Dozens of the properties were bought at a discount in 2013, after banks foreclosed on their previous owners for defaulting on mortgages. Before and after then, Hannity sharply criticised Barack Obama for the US foreclosure rate. In January 2016, Hannity said there were “millions more Americans suffering under this president” partly because of foreclosures.
Hannity, 56, also amassed part of his property collection with support from the US Department for Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a fact he did not disclose when praising Ben Carson, the Hud secretary, on his television show last year.
Christopher Reeves, Hannity’s real estate attorney, said in an email he would “struggle to find any relevance” in Hannity’s property holdings, which he said were highly confidential…
The Georgia purchases were funded with mortgages for $17.9m that Hannity obtained with help from HUD, which insured the loans under a program created as part of the National Housing Act. The loans, first guaranteed under the Obama administration, were recently increased by $5m with renewed support from Carson’s department…
Late last month, Hannity’s mortgages were replaced with loans for $22.9m that were rewritten with Carson’s HUD and a new bank. There was no indication that Carson was personally involved in the process. Carson does, however, have the authority to allow Hannity from 2019 to convert the rental complexes into condominiums for sale, which could be lucrative for the television host.
Bret Stephens, an op-ed columnist for The New York Times, mocked Hannity’s hypocrisy on MSNBC:
First, I want to apologize to Sean. I once called him Fox News’s dumbest anchor. He’s clearly the shrewdest real estate developer. I think it’s funny Sean Hannity turns out to be a welfare queen for HUD, having taken advantage of guarantees that were put forward by none other than the Obama administration.
HUD and Fox News refused to comment, but Hannity claimed in a statement that he is helping people (by lining his own pockets), notes Joe My God:
It is ironic that I am being attacked for investing my personal money in communities that badly need such investment and in which, I am sure, those attacking me have not invested their money.
The fact is, these are investments that I do not individually select, control, or know the details about; except that obviously I believe in putting my money to work in communities that otherwise struggle to receive such support.
I have never discussed with anybody at HUD the original loans that were obtained in the Obama years, nor the subsequent refinance of such loans, as they are a private matter. I had no role in, or responsibility for, any HUD involvement in any of these investments.
I can say that every rigorous process and strict standard of improvement requirements were followed; all were met, fulfilled and inspected. The LLC’s are REAL companies that spend real investment money on real properties.