Deval Patrick’s Housing Hypocrisy

To hear Governor Deval Patrick tell it on the campaign trail for the president, there are basically two types of political leaders in America today: moral exemplars like himself and other Democrats, and Republicans eager to cut spending on the poor while ardently protecting “the interests of large corporations and the very rich.”

But Patrick’s actions as governor don’t always match his rhetoric.

In a state where affordable housing is in desperate need but funding for it is scarce, Patrick’s hand-picked board at the state’s leading affordable-housing agency, MassHousing, just bailed out a select group of politically-connected developers from at least $650,000,000 in bad loans and other debts incurred as part of the notoriously mismanaged State Housing Assistance for Rental Production (SHARP) program, WBZ News has learned.

According to MassHousing documents, in a unanimous vote on November 8, the board moved to forgive more than $205,740,000 in MassHousing loans to an array of deadbeat developers who’ve been pocketing hefty development and management fees for years even as they ran their ill-conceived rental properties into the ground. Repayment of another $349,360,000 in SHARP loans has been deferred for an astonishing fifty years, meaning, outside analysts say, we’ll likely never see a penny. Toss in another $94,490,000 in apparently uncollectable grants and subsidies, and we have what amounts to a Patrick administration golden parachute awarded to a wired-in group of one-percenters.

As frosting on the cake, the board wants to throw many of the same developers who allowed SHARP properties to deteriorate over the years $200,000,000 in “capital needs funding” — and give them a five percent fee for overseeing infrastructure improvements.

When it comes to circling the wagons around “the interests of large corporations and the very rich” – at the expense of a chronically-underfunded social need of the poor – it appears Patrick doesn’t practice what he preaches.

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