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Rubio Urges Federal Agencies To Open Investigation Into Global Ministries Foundation

May 24, 2016 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today urged the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of the Treasury to open an investigation into the Global Ministries Foundation (GMF). After visiting the nonprofit’s federally-funded Eureka Garden Apartments in Jacksonville, Florida earlier this month and witnessing the deplorable living conditions, Rubio vowed to “bring to bear the full efforts of every agency with jurisdiction over this issue in order to hold GMF accountable.”
In a letter to the Justice Department, Rubio pointed out the discrepancy between GMF’s claim of intense bidding competition for its properties and its inability to make key improvements. He also expressed concern about the lack of transparency surrounding GMF operations since it reportedly failed to disclose that family members of its CEO, Reverend Richard Hamlet, received compensation from the organization.
“GMF has received millions of dollars in federal funding, raised hundreds of millions in municipal bonds, and claims exceedingly high property values – yet they can’t seem to find the money to maintain a decent standard of living at their facilities,” Rubio wrote in the letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
In a letter to the Treasury Department, Rubio raised concerns about GMF’s mission to minister to the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of its residents, and its tax status as a 501(c)(3) organization. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would be able to use GMF’s Form 990’s to verify how much of the over $6 million it receives annually for its Jacksonville operations were spent on repairs.
“[T]he practice of receiving federal dollars without spending much on repairs raises concern regarding the organization of the nonprofit and the purpose of transferring funds between Reverend Hamlet’s nonprofit organizations,” Rubio wrote in the letter to Secretary Jacob Lew.
Rubio asked the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to support the investigation requests and to initiate its own investigation through the agency’s Office of the Inspector General.
“It is my hope that the coordinated effort of responsible agencies can correct the failures created by a faulty process and a slumlord,” Rubio wrote in a letter to HUD Secretary Julian Castro.
He also encouraged the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs to hold a hearing to investigate property owners like GMF and conduct oversight of HUD’s inspection process.
“Your Committee can do a great service to many Americans by shining light on the problems currently afflicting federal housing programs,” Rubio wrote in a letter to Chairman Richard Shelby.
In addition to requesting these investigations, Rubio is one step closer to reforming HUD’s inspection process now that the Senate passed a bill (H.R. 2577) which includes three of Rubio’s amendments to improve the agency’s oversight of housing projects and to protect tenants from slumlords.