After Sean Hannity purchased the apartment complex Hampton Place in Georgia for $8 million, the eviction rates went up considerably.
But has the Fox News host anything to do with the high number of residents being kicked out?
For the three years and 10 months Hannity has owned the complex, The Guardian reports, at least 61 residents were approved for removal. But in the three years and 10 months prior to his purchase, only 12 tenants had been evicted. According to the analysis, this adds up to a 400 percent increase.
Hannity has been associated with a group of 20 shell companies that have purchased over 870 homes and buildings across seven states, spending $90 million in the past decade.
While that on its own wouldn’t seem like a problem, the purchase of both Hampton Place and another apartment complex was partially funded with $17.9 million in mortgages backed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That means the host relies heavily on government-backed mortgages to secure his real estate deals.
In an email to The Guardian, Hannity’s attorney, Christopher Reeves, said that the Fox News host “is not involved in the management of these properties. Evictions only occur after a material breach of the lease terms.”
Additionally, Hannity’s site states that the host chooses to invest in “communities that otherwise struggle to receive such support.” The complex is located in Houston County, where 22.6 percent of its 16,200 residents live in poverty. Unlike his statement, the property’s managers often evict tenants who needed help the most, and who have outstanding debts as low as $232. In at least one case, a tenant who was already struggling was allowed to remain in his apartments if he paid $300 in extra fees on top of the monthly rent payments, The Guardian found.
But despite being harsh on rent terms, the building management often failed to help tenants maintain the apartments. Latonia Grady, 51, one of the evicted, said that managers were “aggressive” and never helped her with repairs.
The Guardian also found that one of the companies working with Hannity purchased foreclosed homes through Jeff Brock, a property dealer who pleaded guilty to fraud in 2016 and was sentenced to six months in prison.
While Hannity was not found to have been part of any wrongdoing in this case, it isn’t necessarily a good connection to have if you claim to be investing in communities that need help.
If Hannity truly wanted to support struggling communities, would he be backing a project that involved an aggressive management group that takes people to court for just a few hundred dollars? We don’t think so.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters/Mike Segar