Reverse Robin-Hood: Buchanan Embroiled in Ponzi-Scheme To Rip-Off Charity
Tallahassee, FL — More disturbing, but unsurprising allegations have come to light about Congressman Vern Buchanan’s financial misdeeds. This time Buchanan is under fire for allegations that he “benefited” from shady real estate dealings: taking advantage of Habitat for Humanity and using the funds swindled from the charity as collateral to finance a multi-million dollar loan from Bank of America. Buchanan has not yet explained whether this loan was used to pay for his legal defense.
“Scandals and Vern Buchanan are like rain storms in Sarasota: you can be relieved when one passes, but don’t pretend another one isn’t coming,” said David Bergstein, spokesman for the Florida Democratic Party. “Whether he’s ripping off a charity or voting to give tax breaks to millionaires at the expense of middle class families, Buchanan continues to show the people of Florida that he’s part of the problem in Washington. Sarasota residents deserve a Representative who will focus on growing our economy and helping businesses create jobs — not continually defending himself from scandals, investigations and embarrassing his constituents.”
Habitat for Humanity has stated this week that they were “misled” by the Congressman and his associates. But this is hardly the first time Buchanan has put wealthy millionaires like himself over Florida’s families: Buchanan voted for Ryan’s budget which would provide tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires while increasing taxes on middle class families and raising the cost of healthcare for seniors by over $6,000 per year.
Buchanan “benefited” from shady real estate dealings, swindling Habit for Humanity to secure a multi-million dollar loan. “Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit group that builds homes for the poor, is now stuck with undeveloped land worth less than $500,000, about a third of what it paid…Rep. Buchanan benefited from the deal, as well. Habitat still owes $1 million to a company owned by Buchanan’s wife and one of his top executives. And unbeknownst to Habitat until Thursday, Buchanan has been using the Habitat mortgage as collateral for a multimillion dollar loan he got from Bank of America.” [Tampa Bay Times, 9/9/12]
Habitat for Humanity said they were “misled” by Buchanan and his associates. “All I can do is to confirm that in my professional opinion Habitat was misled to believe they paid the right amount for that piece of land” [WUSF, 9/10/12]
Buchanan remains under investigation by the IRS and House Ethics Committee. “Buchanan still faces an iquiry by the IRS…Buchanon also still faces the House Ethics Committee on allegations that he offered to pay off a former business associate to influence his testimony in the campaign contribution case.” [WTSP, 9/11/12]
Buchanan Voted for Paul Ryan’s budget which would raise taxes on most Americans while giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires. ABC News: “While Mitt Romney would reportedly pay less than one percent of his income in taxes under Paul Ryan’s previous tax plan, most Americans making less than $200,000 would see a tax hike under the budget of Ryan proposed” [H Con Res 112, Vote #151, ABC News, 8/14/12; Tampa Bay Times, 3/31/12; New York Times Editorial, 3/20/12; Center for American Progress, 3/20/12; Tax policy Center, 3/23/12]
Buchanan Voted for Paul Ryan’s budget would raise healthcare costs by over $6,000 per year. House Republicans voted to raise health care costs and prescription drug costs for women seniors. The FY2012 Republican Budget would force seniors to pay over $6,000 more a year in health care costs. In addition, the Republican Budget reopens the Medicare Part D prescription drug “donut hole.” This would raise prescription drug costs by an average of $599 a year for seniors. [Link to vote: Vote #277]
The Tampa Bay Times wrote that under the Buchanan-Ryan budget the “Rich get richer.” “House Republicans envision a country where Americans would be increasingly on their own to afford food and medical care even when they are elderly, disabled or poor. It also would be a nation with a tax code that tilts further toward benefiting corporations and the wealthy.…Floridians should be concerned about all these misplaced priorities, but Medicare and Medicaid are particularly at risk…Congressional Republicans want to exacerbate the nation’s yawning income inequality while making life harder for those at the bottom.” [Tampa Bay Times, 3/31/12]