New York State’s highest court has cleared the way for an ambitious $5 billion taxpayer-funded development to be built in Brooklyn.
On his TV show yesterday Glenn Beck pointed out that a group that claims to protect the interests of poor people, ACORN, helped make possible the deal that will make current inhabitants of the Atlantic Yards project footprint homeless. (See video from the show here.) ACORN has long prided itself on fighting the so-called gentrification of neighborhoods as rising property values force the poor to move.
But not anymore. ACORN sold out in exchange for a bailout.
Specifically, ACORN sold out its own constituents for $1.5 million in loans and grants from project developer Bruce Ratner, whose communist brother Michael Ratner is president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. (The anti-American public interest law firm is also representing ACORN in its vexatious lawsuit in which it claims to have a constitutional right to feed at the taxpayer trough.)
In 2005, ACORN signed an agreement with Forest City Ratner Companies, LLC, a megabucks real estate development firm, pledging its support for the Atlantic Yards project. The 22-acre mixed-use project will 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.
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 largely hidden from public view.
For all Americans know, ACORN is being funded by the communist government of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. It’s not that farfetched an idea.
ACORN chief organizer Bertha Lewis is friendly with the Marxist anti-American governments of two South American countries.
Within Lewis’s storied rogues gallery of a rolodex may be found contact information for then-Bolivian ambassador Gustavo Guzman and for Sabine Kienzl, a professional propagandist employed by the Venezuelan embassy. The listing for Guzman contains what appears to have been a direct office telephone number.
Add to this a listing in the rolodex for CITGO executive Andres Rangel and the whole picture begins to come into clearer focus.
Remember that CITGO is a wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA). PDVSA is owned by the government of Venezuela and has been described as a “black box” because it is believed to also fund Chavez’s overseas political ambitions. Oil export revenues fuel Chavez’s petro-diplomacy.
The despot sends the equivalent of millions of dollars to the U.S. every year as part of his public diplomacy campaign aimed at getting the American public to warm up to his government. Venezuelan oil flows to Citizens Energy Corp., a nonprofit headed by former Rep. Joe Kennedy II (D-Mass.) that gives some of the home heating oil away and sells some at a discount to poor people.
Citizens Energy is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, which means obtaining information about its donors is virtually impossible.