Imagine the United States government giving private non-law enforcement organizations in your community the funding to investigate and prosecute housing-related activities in any manner they deem is appropriate?
Imagine the far-left democrat Administration attempting to use taxpayer funds to support non-profit “community” organizations that are known to generate significant voter support for the democrat party?
Imagine the United States government indirectly pressuring regulated financial institutions to make unsound loans to unqualified borrowers in order to avoid significant legal fees for charges brought by non-governmental organizations or being charged for civil offenses based, not on a government investigation, but the word of a third-party with a political agenda?
Think it can’t happen? Think again!
Government interference in the housing markets led to our current crisis …
One of the proximate causes of the mortgage meltdown that was a precursor to the near collapse of the United States economy was the lending policies that the Clinton and Bush administrations forced on the real estate and banking industry. By demanding that financial institutions make loans in depressed and disadvantaged areas or face audits, investigation and/or prosecution, many financial institutions were coerced into making unsound loans to borrowers who could not normally qualify for such loans. In addition, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reduced their underwriting requirements for loans purchased from community sources and from subprime lenders. It got so bad that NINJA (No Income, No Jobs and No Assets) loans were made without formally assessing the borrower’s capability of repaying the loan. So-called “liar loans” by the industry were made on nothing more than the borrower’s representations – thus triggering a slew of “first or early payment” defaults which severely stressed the derivatives (mortgage backed securities) which used these loans as collateral.
How many complaints were settled out of court by lenders and landlords who found it cheaper to settle than to be found not guilty in a court of law? How many of these people pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into non-profit organizations in the guise of purchasing training or other consulting services?
BOHICA: Bend Over Here It Comes Again …
HUD (The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) is announcing that they awarding $26 million in grants to third-party housing organizations to fight “housing discrimination.” Sort of outsourcing the type of enforcement activities that governmental organizations should be undertaking in-house.
According to HUD …
“The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today awarded $26.3 million to 98 fair housing organizations and other non-profit agencies in 37 states and the District of Columbia to assist people who believe they have been victims of housing discrimination.”
“The grants announced today are funded through HUD’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program and will be used to investigate allegations of housing discrimination, educate the public and the housing industry about their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act, and work to promote equal housing opportunities.”
“’In 2010, the fight for fair housing across America continues. The organizations we are funding are respected and trusted groups that emerged from a very competitive process,’ stated John Trasviña, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity. ‘They will help HUD enforce the law and educate the public about their rights and responsibilities under the law.’”
Fair Housing: Fair to Who?
We could not help but notice that the Orange County Fair Housing Council, Inc. was to receive $185,200.00 in a PEI (Private Enforcement Initiative) grant to “investigate alleged housing discrimination, and enforce the Fair Housing Act and state and local laws that are substantially equivalent to the Act.”
About the organization …
“Founded in 1965, the Fair Housing Council of Orange County is a private non-profit corporation governed by a volunteer board of directors and an operating member of the National Fair Housing Alliance. Through comprehensive community education, individual counseling, mediation, and low-cost advocacy, the FHCOC works to eliminate housing discrimination and guarantee the rights of all people to freely chose the housing for which they qualify in the area they desire.” <Source>
So why do I remember this organization?
Wasn’t this the same group that came down heavily on a homeowner who advertised an apartment on Craigslist claiming that the apartment was “well suited for professional adults” and “Perfect for 1 or 2 professionals?”
Let the Orange County Register tell the story …
"Unfair fight? State and local housing councils act as prosecutor, judge and jury against perceived discrimination. Critics see a conflict of interest."
"A few little words could cost Dan Bader a fortune."
"In 2006, Bader advertised an apartment for rent on Craigslist. He wanted $1,950 a month for the adjoining 480-square foot unit in back of his Newport Beach home. As an afterthought, he added, 'Well suited for professional adults' and 'Perfect for 1 or 2 professionals.'"
"That fall, the state notified Bader that the Fair Housing Council of Orange County had filed a complaint against him for "possible discrimination" against people with children. That was a surprise because he says previous tenants had children. Bader eventually agreed to a meeting."
Combined, judge, jury and executioner...
"But when Bader arrived at the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing office in Los Angeles, he says he found a surprise: The council wasn't represented. Only bureaucrats were there."
Pay up or else...
“After an apparent expensive investigation; which featured a process server coming from Los Angeles to Orange County to personally serve the complaint, the review of numerous documents painstakingly provided by Bader, the embarrassing contacting of old tenants and neighbors, Bader's actions were judged to be non-discriminatory.”
"Bader says two state employees told him the state had determined he does not discriminate, but the ads were still a problem. He says they told him the complaint would be dropped if he paid the council $4,000 for expenses and agreed to take five years of the council's landlord classes at an additional cost."
Not all is well within the council...
"The council's board is suing its CEO, D. Elizabeth Pierson, for allegedly interfering with a misuse of funds probe. And that probe, among other things, is looking into allegations that grant money was directed to fill other financial gaps in the agency."
Criminal intent, motive?
"’My conjecture is they needed money, so let's just start filing complaints,’ Bader said."
"I asked Pierson to comment on Bader's case, but she said she couldn't go into specifics because the case was pending. In an e-mail, however, she wrote that Bader's accusations ‘lack any basis in fact. Certainly DFEH would not participate in that sort of unethical conduct and I would never condone it.’"
"Strong words – but even weak ones can cost you."
“The agency that fights housing discrimination in Orange County is riddled with problems that may hinder its mission - including a former staffer who committed fraud and an oft-absent CEO who is feuding with board members over accusations of poor management.” <Source>
D. Elizabeth Pierson was actually placed on administrative leave and then her contract was not renewed. <Source>
Bottom line …
Is our government using taxpayer funds to fund non-profit organizations to act as housing vigilantes … apparently seeking not only justice for those who may have legitimate claims, but who may also be filing actions to extort money to fund their continuing operations?
How carefully are these organizations being monitored and are their agencies audited by a credible party? Are these audits made available to the public? Who is keeping these agencies honest and preventing innocent parties from harassment?
It is my opinion that both civil and criminal housing complaints should be handled by duly authorized governmental agencies acting within the law – rather than by private non-profits acting in some administrative capacity.
Does anyone remember that ACORN received a large portion of its funding from a hyper-politicized HUD? Enough said?
Reference Links …
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell “Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar “Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar
“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS