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ACORN’s Flagrant Eminent Domain Abuse

November 26, 2009

“A man’s home is his castle,” Glenn Beck said on his TV show Wednesday. “A man’s home is the shelter from the storm. It’s been decorated by you, has your pictures. It is yours.”

But the poorest of the poor don’t have money to go against huge companies that want to take their homes for redevelopment projects, he said. The government, however, is happy to confiscate private property if it thinks doing so will bring in extra tax revenue.

He took the case of the Atlantic Yards project slated for Brooklyn, New York. “It’s about families that want to keep their homes — they don’t have any desire to move — but there are ton of tax dollars to be made. This isn’t about the developer. This is about the government getting tax dollars,” he said.

Bruce Ratner’s Forest City Ratner Companies, LLC, a megabucks real estate development firm, wants to move forward with the ambitious project.

Beck makes a good case that the families facing eviction to make way for the taxpayer-subsidized 22-acre mixed-use project are getting the shaft. The sprawling $4.9 billion complex would be built in the neighborhood of Prospect Heights and would include the Barclays Center, a proposed sports arena that would become the new home of the New Jersey Nets basketball team.

Curiously, Beck left out the ACORN connection.

The relentlessly sanctimonious radical advocacy group-cum-organized crime syndicate has become the leading cheerleader for the real estate development that is slated to use eminent domain to remove the poor people it claims to represent.

ACORN, which has long prided itself on fighting the so-called gentrification of neighborhoods as rising property values force the poor to move, has taken money from the project’s developer and signed a binding agreement forcing it to stand behind the project no matter what.

In the world of corporate shakedowns it is commonplace for liberal activist groups to use the money they extract from a supposed “donor” to fund operations, but it is very unusual for a group to take money in exchange for betraying those it is supposed to represent.

But the far-left group is doing precisely that.

In 2005, ACORN signed an agreement with Forest City Ratner. In exchange for ACORN’s support, the developer agreed to set aside 50% of the expected 4,500 rental housing units for “affordable housing.”

According to documents posted online by former ACORN employee Anita MonCrief, ACORN also accepted a bailout from the developer consisting of a $1 million loan and $500,000 in donations. The loan agreement stipulated that $500,000 would be paid to ACORN upon signing and a further $500,000 would be paid out on Oct. 1, 2008. A promissory note provided that interest would accrue at the rate of 4.58% with a final balloon payment of $100,000 due on May 31, 2011.

Forest City Ratner indicated in a letter to ACORN that it would disburse $500,000 in grants but the money wouldn’t go to ACORN directly. The grants were to be made to the ACORN Institute, one of ACORN’s 100-plus tax-exempt nonprofit affiliates.

Whether the money will stay at the ACORN Institute, which trains aspiring community organizers, is anyone’s guess. ACORN routinely shuffles cash around its network. Its nebulous legal status and opaque corporate structure allow it to keep its activities –including money laundering– largely hidden from public view.

Beck also didn’t dig into the background of developer Bruce Ratner, who comes from a family chock full of communists and radicals. Bruce’s sister Ellen is a far-left commentator on National Public Radio and his Che Guevara-loving pro-terrorist brother, Michael, is president of the communist Center for Constitutional Rights.

The Center for Constitutional Rights also happens to be representing ACORN in its meritless “bill of attainder” suit in which ACORN argues its so-called rights have been violated because Congress imposed a ban on federal funding for the group. The ban, which is opposed by one of ACORN’s key political allies Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.),  is set to expire Dec. 18 after which ACORN will be free once again to feed at the taxpayer trough.

  1. Carterthewriter permalink
    November 26, 2009 5:51 pm

    If it’s a sleazy deal, you can bet ACORN is involved.

  2. MsHyde permalink
    November 27, 2009 6:19 am

    Didn’t you hear? The ACORN fix is in!!!

  3. Ken permalink
    November 27, 2009 12:24 pm

    ACORN needs to fully investigated by an independent counsel and have ALL it’s records scrutinized. This includes its ALL of its network divisions, as well. Not that it will happen, but it’s what needs to be done. Until this criminal organization is exposed for what it is, there will continue to be probelms eminating from it.

    • Carterthewriter permalink
      November 27, 2009 12:32 pm

      Fact chance for that to happen; most of the culprits operate in the White House, now.

  4. November 27, 2009 1:05 pm

    The tentacles of eminent domain reach beyond the damage done by Acorn — as bad as that is. Private property owners facing the threat of eminent domain quickly learn that they are not standing on a level playing field legally, economically or politically.

    Among other lessons, there is a lot of play in the “just” of “just compensation.” The power of eminent domain brings with it a sense of entitlement. At that point, property owners become merely an obstacle to be swept aside — when, in fact, they possess the key asset coveted by governmentand the corporation.

    But property owners can fight back. Our two-year battle against Houston-based Spectra Energy which seized our property rights for an underground gas storage field led to the development of a website which has begun to attract whistle blowers inside the energy industry. We are collaborating and helping property owners in many states. For info, visit the site:

    By the way, our new neighbor, Spectra Energy, has received two Notice of Violations for “unlawful conduct” over the past two months related to emergency shutdowns and emissions at its storage field in Bedford County, PA. Reports of contaminated water supplies are on the rise since they began operations.

    Like Kelo and the Atlantic Yards project, the ripple effects of eminent domain are never over.

  5. Fritz Becker permalink
    November 28, 2009 7:00 pm

    Acorn can and has been investigated at the state level for various offenses, and has been indicted (at least it’s puppet groups have) in over a dozen states for elections fraud. If what they describe in this matter is actually going on then there would also be grounds for an IRS investigation into their finances since they are supposed to be a non profit organization. But is it any wonder that Acorn behaves like a crime syndicate? It’s head office is in New Orleans and it’s allies in higher office are from Chicago, it’s almost a cliche textbook example of a corrupting criminal organization.

  6. November 29, 2009 4:39 am

    Absolutely corect. I have addressed this any many other issues of concern to Conservatives at my blog I would appreciate your look and comments…

  7. December 17, 2009 4:55 am

    PLease look at most current post from 12/16/09

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