Judicial Watch • Former ACORN Director Gets $445 Mil From U.S. Treasury

Former ACORN Director Gets $445 Mil From U.S. Treasury

Former ACORN Director Gets $445 Mil From U.S. Treasury

JUNE 07, 2012

The Obama Administration has given a former director at the scandal-plagued Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) nearly half a billion dollars to offer “struggling” Illinois homeowners mortgage assistance, a Judicial Watch investigation has found.

It means the ACORN official (Joe McGavin) will go from operating a corrupt leftist community group that’s banned by Congress from receiving federal funding to controlling over $445 million in U.S. taxpayer funds.  The money is part of a $7.6 billion Treasury Department program to help the “unemployed or substantially underemployed” make their mortgage payments.

In this case, JW found that a subcomponent of the state-run Illinois Housing Development Authority, known as the Illinois Hardest Hit Program, received a generous $445,603,557 Treasury infusion. The Obama Administration established Hardest Hit in 2010 to provide targeted aid to families in states hit hardest by the economic and housing market downturn, according to its website.   

In early 2011 McGavin was appointed as director of Hardest Hit. Before that he was director of counseling for ACORN Housing in Chicago and operations manager for a Chicago ACORN offshoot called Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA). His strong ties to ACORN make him a suspect candidate to handle such a huge amount of taxpayer dollars.

The Obama-tied community organization supposedly shut down after a series of exposés about its illegal activities, including fraudulent voter registration drives and involvement in the housing market meltdown. Read all about it in Judicial Watch’s special report, “The Rebranding of ACORN.” The legal scandals led Congress to pass a 2009 law banning federal funding for ACORN, which for years enjoyed a huge flow of taxpayer dollars to promote its various leftwing causes.

The Obama Administration has violated the congressional ACORN funding ban, however. Last summer Judicial Watch uncovered records that show ACORN got tens of thousands of dollars in grants to “combat housing and lending discrimination.” The money came via Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which awarded a $79,819 grant to AHCOA.

In addition to violating the ACORN funding ban, the grant was astounding because federal investigators had previously exposed fraud by the same Florida-based ACORN/AHCOA affiliate. HUD’s inspector general found that the group “inappropriately” spent more than $3.2 million in grants that were supposed to be used to eliminate lead poisoning in its housing program.





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  • Bill LeeMaster

    boblusby — I like your plan! Other noteworthy benefits of implementing it would be:
    1, No “repeat offenders”.
    2. Eliminate the expense to the State/Federal government of keeping these criminals on Death Row.
    3. Free up the judicial dockets since there’d be no need or benefit to appeal the conviction.
    4. Creation the need for a lot of hemp rope to be produced–think of the jobs…
    5. For those areas of the country where trees are scarce, we could build gallows–more jobs.
    6. Morticians, coffin/casket makers and cemetaries would see a rapid increase in business as well.

  • robbinb00

    Why does no one do something about this man’s corruption? Is there no one with the guts to stand up to him?

  • boblusby

    It’s a pity that this whole outrage couldn’t be addressed as it would have been in the early days of this republic. Apprehend criminal, locate a sturdy length of hemp rope, one well appointed tree and presto, no recidivism.

  • kylefclark

    This ongoing criminal behavior in our government has to be rectified period! Many of these agencies & bureaucracies have to be done away with, for their continued waste and fraudulent practices. We can begin this process in Nov., by ridding this country of the most divisive and useless person we ever had to call a president. Then cleaning up our congress of the parasitic dinosaurs that have been milking the American taxpayers for far to long.

  • Kamaatz

    We need to vote obama out.

  • formerselco

    It’s so much worse than this. IHFA has been a Rezko/Obama/ Davis/ Combine cesspool for years. This is just a new and completely outrageous chapter in this corrupt organization’s ugly history.

    Please see:


    Subpoenas probe deals by Obama ex-boss and Daley pal Davis, plus Rezko, Cellini
    February 1, 2009

    BY TIM NOVAK Staff Reporter/tnovak@suntimes.com
    A federal grand jury has subpoenaed records on dozens of low-income housing projects built over the last 30 years by indicted businessman William F. Cellini, convicted political fund-raiser Tony Rezko and City Hall insider Allison S. Davis.

    The mountain of documents the grand jury wants from the Illinois Housing Development Authority includes two projects in which President Obama has acknowledged playing a minor role. Both of those projects involved Rezko, a former fund-raiser for Obama. One of them included Davis, who was once Obama’s boss at a small law firm.

    Allison Davis, pictured in 2003, has yet to start work on a high-rise for low-income seniors approved by the Illinois Housing Development Authority five years ago. Records on the project have been subpoenaed.

    A federal grand jury also has demanded that the Illinois Housing Development Authority turn over records on a dozen other people:
    * Nicholas Hurtgen, a former investment banker awaiting trial on corruption charges.
    * Brian Hynes, a lobbyist who once represented the state agency.
    * Chris Kelly, a close friend and adviser of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
    * Mark Kirincich, president of Commonwealth Realty Advisors, a company started by William Cellini.
    * Robert Kjellander, a lobbyist, Republican Party heavyweight and close Cellini pal.
    * Milan Petrovic, a lobbyist and Blagojevich buddy.
    * Paul Rosenfeld, an IHDA lobbyist and Blagojevich insider.
    * Marvin Traylor, a lobbyist and Cellini associate.
    * John Wyma, a lobbyist and longtime Blagojevich associate.
    * Kelly King Dibble, former IHDA executive director and relative of President Obama’s adviser Valerie Jarrett.
    * Darren Collier, an ex-IHDA staffer.
    * Michael Todd, an ex-IHDA staffer.
    The grand jury is the same panel that’s investigating alleged corruption under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

    It issued the subpoena Sept. 29, 2008, newly released records show.

    Four months later, IHDA officials are still gathering the documents, memos, e-mails and other records involving “more than dozens” of low-income housing projects funded by the state agency, said IHDA attorney Mary Kenney. “It’s a very large production,” said Kenney.

    Cellini — a powerful Republican Party figure ever since he served as transportation secretary under then-Gov. Richard Ogilvie in the late 1960s — has been getting deals at IHDA since 1976, when James R. Thompson was elected governor.

    Cellini’s companies have gotten more than $90 million in loans from IHDA, the Chicago Sun-Times has reported. New Frontier — one of his companies — has built or managed thousands of apartments paid for by the state agency. Among them: Lake Shore Plaza, 445 E. Ohio, which is the only Cellini project specifically mentioned in the subpoena.

    Cellini, 73, of Springfield, is awaiting trial on federal charges that he tried to extort Hollywood movie producer Tom Rosenberg to make campaign contributions to Blagojevich in exchange for state pension business. According to Rosenberg’s testimony at Rezko’s trial last year, the scheme was hatched in a meeting of Cellini, Rezko, Davis and Blagojevich’s close friend Chris Kelly.

    Attorneys for Cellini, Rezko and Davis didn’t return calls seeking comment.

    Rezko was convicted of wide-ranging corruption involving state government deals and has been cooperating with federal investigators.

    Rezko, 53, got his first deal from IHDA after he helped Jim Edgar’s successful campaign for governor in 1991. Rezko got the funding after hiring Cellini’s partner, Robert Kjellander, to lobby the state.

    In all, Rezko got more than a dozen deals from IHDA, often with the help of Davis’ law firm, Davis Miner Barnhill, a small firm that specialized in helping developers get government funding for low-income housing.

    Obama was a lawyer with the Davis firm. The president has said he did six hours of legal work in 1995 on one of the deals now under scrutiny by the grand jury, helping Rezko and his business partners — Bishop Arthur Brazier and the Rev. Leon Finney — turn an abandoned nursing home in Hyde Park into low-income apartments.

    Six years later, Rezko’s company stopped paying the mortgage. IHDA foreclosed on the property in 2001, as Rezko’s low-income housing empire began to collapse, falling into physical and financial ruin.

    Davis has long been one of Mayor Daley’s top allies in the African-American community. Davis left the law firm in 1996 to become a developer, getting IHDA funding for four projects.

    Among those was a senior citizen building he and Rezko built at 4801 S. Cottage Grove, just outside the Illinois Senate district Obama then represented. Though the project was outside his district, Obama wrote letters in 1998 to IHDA and city officials, urging them to give Davis and Rezko government funding for the project. Obama has said he didn’t remember writing the letters, which he has called “form letters” sent out by a staff member.

    Five years ago, when former Rezko employee Kelly King Dibble ran IHDA under Blagojevich, the agency agreed to give Davis as much as $11 million to build Cleveland Tower, a high-rise for low-income seniors. Davis has yet to begin construction on the project at West Chicago Avenue and Cleveland, for which IHDA has given him a two-year extension.

    Cleveland Tower is the only Davis project named in the federal subpoena. It’s being developed by Neighborhood Rejuvenation Partners, a company that listed the mayor’s nephew Robert Vanecko among its principals in documents it filed seeking government funding, the Sun-Times has reported. The mayor’s office and a Vanecko spokesman have said that Vanecko merely did consulting work for the company.

    Davis, 69, and Vanecko, 43, are partners in a start-up real investment company, DV Urban Realty Partners. Five city pension funds have invested $63 million with the Davis and Vanecko company.
    (Response) Lets not forget Patrick Dalet and the Sewer Deal, still waiting!

  • Beverly Cater

    Well….didn’t the Bush administration help the struggling Corporations with a massive bailout?? I’ll bet not one of you commentators jumped up and down about that. It is rumored that the Corporations partied the night away laughing all the way to the bank!
    The Wall Street bankers and corporations were even worse than ACORN.
    Anytime money is spent to help the struggling 99% it then become a corruption issue.
    The pot calling the kettle black.

  • genomega

    Congress did put ACORN out of business. This is just another end run around Congress.

  • raintyday

    Excuse me – I guess there is a way to stop this and put Acorn out of business. Election time! Coming soon. If people realize how much good all this wasted money would have done if used by people with a concience they’ll vote Obama and his crew out. Election time coming soon!

  • raintyday

    I can hardly believe this! What is it going to take to stop this. Do we really believe this is what this money is for or going to be used for? There has to be a way to put a halt to this.

  • Morris Victor

    my question is, who is getting the other 7+ BILLION???

  • Sai-lorr Thom

    Hey Mr President, since you’re giving out all this money would you mind sending me like 100,000 dollars? I’ve been unemployed for over a year simply because no one will hire me. (Since after all its nothing compared to 1/2 a billion right?) :D

  • camblaster

    1) Where in the hell is the Congressional oversight on this theft of the U.S. treasury?
    2) Why isn’t this Gavin guy in jail for what he did at ACORN?
    3) Why is this government making mortgage payments for anyone, even “struggling” Illinois homeowners ??

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