The Jim Clyburn Files Part II: Public Housing Corruption, The Clyburn Center, and the 2008 Recession

This is part two of our four part series into Rep. Jim Clyburn.

The first part of our series took a look into Jim Clyburn’s acceptance of donations from the Pharmaceutical Industry, Tobacco Industry, and Insurance Industry, and how this has shaped his votes on various bills including his strong opposition to Medicare for All. Now we shift our focus to Clyburn’s corruption as it relates to public housing and the 2008 housing crisis.

Johnathan Pinson “F— HUD! … Don’t any of y’all mention it to ’em,

Clyburn Contributor but Clyburn already sent the letter to Larry Knightner.”

The year was 2011, when Rep. Jim Clyburn asked the Department of Housing and Urban Development to extend its deadline on a low income housing project in Columbia, S.C. Although, this project was unique in that the Justice Department had launched an investigation into the project and had already wiretapped Johnathan Pinson’s phone a developer and wealthy contributor to Jim Clyburn. The Island Packet reported that four days after Clyburn requested an extension for the project Pinson would be caught on a wiretapped conversation with a business partner saying, “F— HUD! … Don’t any of y’all mention it to ’em, Clyburn Contributor but Clyburn already sent the letter to Larry Knightner.” Larry Kinghtner was the HUD’s director in Columbia at the time. This housing project was known as the Village at River’s Edge, and was to provide low income housing. Pinson would also be charged with 29 crimes ranging from bribery, racketeering, and money laundering, all related to the project spear headed by Clyburn. Pinson had earned $234,000 from the project, but he was not the only person in Clyburn’s circle who had connections to the project. Lancelot Wright, a friend of Clyburn, was an investor in the development and pleaded guilty to fraud as it pertains to the housing project. Clyburn’s former aide Robert Nance was also awarded the landscaping contract to this project. Court testimony revealed that Clyburn’s aide’s company did very little work on this project if any at all. James Thurber the director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential studies at American University was quoted in the Island Packet when referring to this project he said, ” Members of Congress should do due diligence, it was not wise by the member’s office and the members to intervene, especially since the project was already having financial problems and the people he acted for were campaign donors.” This project was never completed and currently their sits about 60 vacant houses at the project’s site.

Unnamed Sources “Jim Clyburn knows where each penny of

Fits News that project went… We spent it exactly how he told us to.”

The Jim Clyburn Center, which also is routed in corruption, as Clyburn was found to be funneling money to certain recipients. The Jim Clyburn Transportation Center, which sits on the South Carolina State University campus, is also a central player in the congressman’s long history of corruption. Fits News did an investigation on the project in 2011, and found that the $107,000,000 project was $30,000,000 over budget and $27,000,000 was unaccounted for. Sources told Fits News in 2011, that ““Jim Clyburn knows where each penny of that project went, We spent it exactly how he told us to.” Another source in the South Carolina State University accounting office told Fits that when Clyburn received a federal grant for the project, Clyburn called South Carolina State’s office and told them, ““He started rattling off a list of people who were to receive checks, A hundred thousand here, a hundred thousand there – he was dictating specific names and exact amounts.”, and Fits reports that during the call a woman in the SCSU accounting office asked Clyburn what the checks were for and he said “That’s not your concern.” Clyburn when asked by Fox News about this scandal responded angrily and stated that the SCSU staff were, “Victims of vicious manufactured attacks by political partisans, and that is unfortunate for the university and the students who would benefit from this program.” Ironically James Clyburn also opposes the proposal for Free College for All including two year community colleges, which Joe Biden favors. When asked about this Clyburn responded by arguing that: ““You’ve got to think about the consequences of things, [If] you start handing out two years of free college at public institutions are you ready for all the black, private HBCUs to close down?” So, Clyburn would put the interests of private colleges of citizens, who want to go college, but can’t afford it, the answer appears to be yes. Maybe Clyburn could use some of the money he spent allegedly writing checks to individuals with grants from the federal government to actually helping HBCU’s in the event this proposal would pass and the odd issue he argues happens.

The 2008 Housing Crisis also has roots to Jim Clyburn’s corruption while in Congress. Jim Clyburn in 2008 accepted close to $40,000 from The Blackstone Group, which is an investment company that was involved in buying foreclosed houses in bulk during the 2008 Housing Crisis and amassed a real estate empire in the process. The Blackstone Group was also responsible for buying overing 1,400 houses in Atlanta in one day. The 2008 Housing Crisis saw African American wealth reduced by over 55% and Hispanic wealth by over 60%. Jim Clyburn also received a donation to the tune of $22,500 from Bank of America. Bank of America, which took $45 billion of aid from the Government in 2009 after the Wall Street Bailout. Jim Clyburn, also served as honorary co-chair of the Third Way Group, which in December penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in December of 2013 attacking Elizabeth Warren’s plan for economics to take on Wall Street with a tax increase on billionaires. While, other democratic leaders in the group disavowed their attacks on Warren, James Clyburn was notably absent from commenting.

Part one of our series introduced Clyburn’s corruption when it comes to his acceptance of over a million dollars from scandal ridden pharmaceutical companies, Tobacco, Companies, and Insurance Companies, and how he votes on issues pertaining to those industries as well as how his endorsement of Joe Biden made sense if you consider his record. Part three of our three part series will examine Jim Clyburn’s rise to prominence and the future of Representative Clyburn’s district.

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