"The records link Hannity to a group of shell companies that spent at least $90m on more than 870 homes in seven states over the past decade", the Guardian reported. Hannity was found to be owner of numerous shell companies listed in the report, a fact his attorney did not dispute in a statement to the newspaper.
Dozens of the properties were bought at a discount in 2013, after banks foreclosed on their previous owners for defaulting on mortgages.
Despite his criticism of President Obama over the USA foreclosure rate, Hannity was an apparent beneficiary of the high number of foreclosures that accompanied and followed the great recession. For some mortgages, Hannity obtained funding from HUD under the National Housing Act Loan Program, which refers to encouraging improvement in housing standards and conditions, to provide a system of mutual mortgage insurance which was first guaranteed under former President Barack Obama's administration. Though the fact that the two men do business together was disclosed on air, a recent op-ed penned by Lako and published on the Hannity show's website had no such disclaimer.
Hannity has said he consulted with Cohen on real estate matters but that he never actually retained Cohen's services. The shell companies formed in Georgia reportedly purchased properties in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Vermont.
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"He also declined to note his financial interest when he hosted Carson on Fox News last June for a discussion about Hud and housing", Swaine wrote.
In his statement, Hannity said that he did not "individually select, control or know the details about" the real estate investments that he made but that they were going to communities that he said "badly need such investment". "I had no role in, or responsibility for, any HUD involvement in any of these investments".
The Guardian released the findings of an investigation, based on thousands of pages of public record, into the Fox News host's real estate holdings, in a detailed article on Sunday. "Mr. Hannity is no different".
Hannity spoke with Carson, who heads HUD, on Fox News a year ago but did not mention funding he received from the department.