Fox News host Sean Hannity said he had no direct discussions with the Department of Housing and Urban Development regarding loans for his real estate holdings revealed in a Sunday report by the Guardian.
The Guardian reported that Hannity has investments in shell companies that have bought real estate properties discounted after banks foreclosed on the mortgages of their previous owners. The loans for some of those deals were backed by HUD under a program implemented by the Obama administration.
Hannity bought two apartment complexes in Georgia for $22.7 million in 2014 with mortgages totaling $17.9 million that HUD insured through the National Housing Act program, according to the report.
The Guardian noted that Hannity did not disclose his business involvement with HUD when he interviewed the department’s secretary, Ben Carson, on his Fox News program in 2017.
But Hannity said Monday he was not involved in any of the discussions regarding the HUD-backed loans.
“The fact is, these are investments that I do not individually select, control, or know the details about; except that obviously I believe in putting my money to work in communities that otherwise struggle to receive such support,” Hannity said in a statement.
“I have never discussed with anybody at HUD the original loans that were obtained in the Obama years, nor the subsequent refinance of such loans, as they are a private matter. I had no role in, or responsibility for, any HUD involvement in any of these investments. I can say that every rigorous process and strict standard of improvement requirements were followed; all were met, fulfilled and inspected.”
A Fox News representative referred to Hannity’s comment on the matter.
Hannity was under fire last week when it was revealed in a court hearing that he is a client of Michael Cohen, the attorney for President Trump who is being investigated by the FBI. Hannity, who downplayed the connection, had not revealed his dealings with Cohen to his bosses or the viewing audience despite having the lawyer on his program.
Hannity said Cohen had only advised him on real estate matters, which is now putting his business dealings under scrutiny.
Hannity is the top-rated prime-time anchor on Fox News, typically drawing more than 3 million viewers a night, and is television’s most outspoken supporter of the Trump administration. He has been friends with Trump for years and has frequently offered advice to the real estate mogul and former reality TV star since he entered the White House.
The Guardian said shell companies involving Hannity have spent up to $90 million on foreclosed properties, purchasing 870 homes in seven states.