However, a local spokesman for ACORN says that most of its operations in Missouri and many other states are not financed with federal money and would feel little effects from congressional attacks to cut off government money. The bulk of the local ACORN money is private aid from its members, said spokesman Glenn Burleigh.
The federal money in question, he said, goes to ACORN's housing arm, which does not have offices in Missouri. Burleigh noted that the errant workers in the video have been fired, and contended that GOP critics are primarily engaging in "political theater'' aimed at discrediting the group's efforts to help the poor. (italics mine)
(Update: - St Louis office is now closed, by KC office is still open)
um - Acorn Housing is in Missouri. They're in St Louis, as a matter of fact. Do a search for "4304 Manchester ave" and the Google Maps result it ACORN, with http://www.acornhousing.org as the link
In addition, the St Louis Federal Reserve Bank has a program called, Learn Before You Leap for St Louis Homebuyers. That link will take you to a pdf that identifies ACORN HOUSING on Manchester road as a place to get low-income housing assistance.
So, is Glen lying, or does he not know what is going on in his own state?
The real answer is ACORN officials have been out saying the federal cut off won't affect them, because that's the spin they want. It will, and it does.
As reported at Big Government, AHC gets grants from the federal government, then funnels that money to ACORN activism and political work. Glenn claims he gets no direct federal money, and that's true, but with 300 subsidiaries and access to SEIU/PROVOTE/AFCSME and others, the result is ACORN the political branch feeds off funds the government gives their charity arms.
A perfect example is the 2006 minimum wage battle in Missouri. SEIU, led by Sara Howard, helped fund the measure, and used ACORN to man the petition drives. Those petition drives were then combined with Project Victory 2006, the McCaskill GOV operation. The money was for minimum wage, but the result was voter registration and direct pleas to help McCaskill.
Mannies made a typical mistake. She listened to a left wing political activist and took him at his word. Me, I used Google, because I don't trust left wing political activists.
UPDATE 1:45 p.m.: This blog says ACORN Housing shut its office and fled St Louis, a few weeks after Mayor Slay congratulated them on doing such a good job. It also says a St Louis ACORN board member asked where all the money went.
That said, there is an ACORN Housing in Kansas City. You can find them on the AcornHousing.org site.
ACORN Housing Corp
6301 Rockhill Road, suite 201
Kansas City, MO 64131
I took the step of calling them. They said the St Louis office closed, but the Kansas City office is open.
To find out what happened to the St Louis office, I called the number of the office on Manchester. That is now the Acorn Community Organizing office, but no one picked up the extension. But do you know who is listed as having the number? Julie Terbrock - of ACORN (and of ProVote), who is listed as the contact for HCAN. Apparently, ACORN Housing in St Louis was only here a short time - enough to get $100,000 from the city to file for 24 mortgages. Wait, what?
From the Provocateur Blog:
So, with this program, HUD earmarks money for foreclosure prevention. Then, that money filters to the cities. Then, each individual city uses that money for various foreclosure prevention programs. In this case, St. Louis was earmarked with $500,000. Then, the city used that money to provide grants to various charities and other homeowner services groups including ACORN. ACORN received $100,000 from the city.
With this money, ACORN would then negotiate loan modifications for distressed borrowers with their banks. Here's the problem. According to city spokesperson, Heather Dunsford, ACORN has worked with 59 borrowers, and of those 35 were referred to other agencies. For this, ACORN agreed to charge the city $750 per borrower. 24 borrowers, at $750 per borrower, is only $18,000. So, where is the rest of the money?
That's what Gwen Cogshell, former St. Louis board member of ACORN, wanted to know and so she organized a press conference in St. Louis this past Wednesday. It's a press conference that you will likely hear nothing about. No local media covered the press conference. Fox News sent out a news crew but that was for a documentary due later about ACORN. That's too bad because several troubling things were revealed at the press conference. For instance, ACORN no longer has an active office in St. Louis. Who exactly was going to counsel the borrowers if there's no one locally to do the duties? Second, the city gave ACORN the money up front. In other words, before ACORN had done one thing, they were given the full grant. So, who exactly was watching the money?
What's more troubling is the series of questions raised. What's happened to the rest of the money? Did it go to housing activities or to activities to other parts of ACORN? Why was money even given to a group with no active office in St. Louis? None of these questions will have answers until ACORN opens up its books.
The only other mentions of Gwen Cogshell is the ACORN site itself, from 2004, and a minutes from a Metro St Louis meeting.
What happened to ACORN Housing in St Louis? Did Mayor Slay's office give them $100,000, and what happened to it?