Tom Fitton: Sean Hannity Targeted by Deep State with Illegal Leaks from HUD After Michael Cohen Raid
Tom Fitton, the President of Judicial Watch, posted to his personal Twitter account Sunday night his belief conservative radio and TV icon Sean Hannity is being targeted by the Deep State with illegal leaks to the Guardian about some of his private real estate investment loans being guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Tom Fitton often appears on the Fox News Channel, including on Hannity.
Jon Swaine reported in the Guardian on Sunday that companies owned by Hannity have around $90 million in real estate investments in houses and apartment complexes, including two apartment complexes in Georgia purchased using HUD loan guarantees that Hannity’s companies pay insurance premiums to HUD for the guarantees.
Fitton wrote in response, “Deep State targets @SeanHannity, @RealDonaldTrump supporter, with illegal leaks out of HUD. Is it a coincidence this story appears a few weeks after raid on Cohen?”
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) April 23, 2018
Fitton was likely reacting to this passage from the Guardian:
“A Hud source said Hannity was identified in non-public filings as the 100% owner of the apartment complexes.”
In addition to an overall Deep State hit on Hannity, Swaine is trying to make an issue out of Hannity not disclosing his HUD loan guarantees in an interview last year with HUD Secretary Ben Carson even though the loan guarantees originated in 2014 under the Obama administration.
“He also declined to note his financial interest when he hosted Carson on Fox News last June for a discussion about Hud and housing.”
When Sean Hannity was named in court this week as a client of Donald Trump’s embattled legal fixer Michael Cohen, the Fox News host insisted their discussions had been limited to the subject of buying property.
“I’ve said many times on my radio show: I hate the stock market, I prefer real estate. Michael knows real estate,” Hannity said on television, a few hours after the dramatic hearing in Manhattan, where Cohen is under criminal investigation.
Hannity’s chosen investment strategy is confirmed by thousands of pages of public records reviewed by the Guardian, which detail a real estate portfolio of remarkable scale that has not previously been reported.
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.
…The real estate holdings linked to Hannity are spread across more than 20 shell companies formed in Georgia. Each of the companies uses a variant of the same name, which combines the initials of Hannity’s children. Public records show the companies have bought up dozens of properties in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Vermont.
Among the most valuable are two large apartment complexes in Georgia that Hannity bought in 2014 for $22.7m. The developments are in the cities of Perry and Brunswick, which have higher poverty rates and lower median incomes than the US averages. One- and two-bedroom units in Hannity’s apartment complexes are available to rent for $735 to $1,065 per month, according to brochures.
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.
…The Georgia mortgages supported by Hud were guaranteed as part of a program aimed at protecting investors such as Hannity who buy rental apartment buildings. The government promises to cover losses if borrowers default on their mortgages. Borrowers pay an insurance premium to Hud in return. Bigger loan guarantees are available if the building houses low-income families.
Paperwork relating to the agreements with Hud, which was filed to county authorities, named Hannity as the principal of the shell companies used to buy the apartment complexes and to borrow the funds. Hannity personally signed several of the documents. A Hud source said Hannity was identified in non-public filings as the 100% owner of the apartment complexes.
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.”
It is worth noting Swaine and the Guardian do not claim to have done the legwork researching the “thousands of pages” pertaining to Hannity’s real estate investments. Swaine wrote, “reviewed by the Guardian” and “But the Guardian obtained records in which Hannity signed deeds and other documents on behalf of four of the LLCs”, leaving open the likelihood the Hannity records were handed to the Guardian by Hannity opponents.
Hannity is not accused by Swaine of breaking the law with his real estate investments, but Fitton is accusing Swaine of being the recipient of illegal leaks by Deep State operatives in the wake of the raid on Michael Cohen instigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller that included the taking of Cohen’s attorney-client records. Hannity has denied being a formal client of Cohen’s but has said he at times sought legal advice on real estate from Cohen.
“”Deep State targets @SeanHannity, @RealDonaldTrump supporter, with illegal leaks out of HUD. Is it a coincidence this story appears a few weeks after raid on Cohen?”
(Disclosure: Kristinn Taylor worked for Judicial Watch from 1999 to 2004.)