Fox News host Sean Hannity came out swinging Monday after The Guardian published a report on several companies linked to Hannity that have purchased millions of dollars worth of real estate over the past decade. Four more of the shell companies have owned properties in which public records say Hannity or members of his family have lived. Hannity had Carson on his show past year, and failed to disclose the fact that he (Hannity) had benefited financially from the agency that his guest heads.
Dozens of the properties were bought at a discount in 2013, after banks foreclosed on their previous owners for defaulting on mortgages. The department, under HUD Secretary Ben Carson, recently increased the value of those loans by $5 million, The Guardian reported. Hannity had not disclosed that fact, and said he only asked for Cohen's advice on some real-estate matters. Hannity is the hidden owner behind some of the shell companies and his attorney did not dispute that he owns all of them.
Hannity's real estate attorney, Christopher Reeves, said in a statement that there's any significance in Hannity's real estate holdings.
"I don't know that there's anything nefarious that went on between Mr. Hannity and Mr. Cohen, or that there was any NDA-type involvement or anything of that nature". Many were in low-income neighborhoods, which Hannity's companies purchased out of foreclosure.
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When news broke in open court that Sean Hannity was the secret third client of President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen, many raised concerns over his ethics because he had not disclosed the professional relationship. Before and after then, Hannity sharply criticized Barack Obama for the US foreclosure rate.
The Guardian noted that Carson was not personally involved in any of Hannity's dealings but that the HUD secretary has the power to allow Hannity to convert rental complexes into sellable condos.
Fox News on Tuesday said it was "surprised" to find out about Hannity's relationship with Cohen, but added that it conducted a review and stood by its primetime star.
The 20 shell companies tied to Hannity were formed in Georgia and have been used to purchase properties in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Vermont. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.