Don’t cry for ACORN, the left-wing group that stands to lose all federal funding after some investigative pranksters busted volunteers for giving tax and housing advice to a “pimp”
The group is set to reap a windfall from real estate developer Bruce Ratner, who bought off the group in order to clear the path for his big stadium/residential/commercial plans in downtown Brooklyn.
NY Post: The left-wing organisation — longtime boosters of the $4.9 billion NBA arena and residential- and office-tower project — says it expects to be tapped to market and help decide who gets to live in the coveted, but long-delayed, 2,250 affordable-housing units planned for Atlantic Yards.
This, after Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner helped bail ACORN out of financial trouble last September with a $1 million loan and a $500,000 grant, according to memos.
The work would include community outreach and screening people to determine qualified applicants, and then scandal-scarred ACORN would be entrusted with overseeing a lottery system to choose who gets the housing. Ratner’s firm is expected to manage the housing.
When asked how much ACORN might make off Atlantic Yards, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation & Development referred questions to Ratner, who said via a spokesman it wasn’t the “appropriate time” to make such “decisions.”
But Anita MonCrief, a former ACORN official-turned-whistleblower, estimates the anticipated deal could bring the group $5 million to $10 million annually over multiple years from the public and private sector based on other housing deals ACORN has nationwide.
In 2006, indie paper The Brooklyn Rail explained how the group was bought off by Ratner:
Bruce Ratner has finalised a long-standing promise that his $3.5-billion arena and residential project would be linked to 600-1,000 below-market-rate condo units.
But the question is where.
Under Ratner’s agreement with the housing group ACORN, the units can be built anywhere in Brooklyn — and that has opponents screaming that the project would do nothing to solve the ghettoization of Brooklyn.
“We shouldn’t be segregating homeowners by class,” said Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Prospect Heights).
ACORN says that as long as the developer comes through with his promise to include 2,500 units of affordable rentals in the 8,300-unit Atlantic Yards site, the organisation won’t tell him where to put the low-cost condos.
So in case it’s not clear: Any politician who stood in the way of Ratner’s ambitions was also standing in the way of a powerful, grassroots political organisation.