Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Forest City Ratner's prominent place (allegedly) in Bertha Lewis's contacts list

The right-wing Red State blog was leaked a list of contacts for ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis, and Forest City Ratner is notably prominent in the word cloud, which shows frequency of contacts.

States Erick Erickson:
Above is a word cloud of the associations in the Bertha Lewis contacts list we received. Some are legitimate business dealings. Forest City Ratner, for example, is both bailing out ACORN and relying on its support for its construction projects. But others are more intriguing.

The larger the name, the greater the frequency of the name appearing in the contacts list. For many years it has been speculated that SEIU and ACORN share a common foundation. This seems to suggest as much. In fact, in at least one appearance on the contacts list, an SEIU official has an ACORN email address.


FCR's prominence

Erickson focuses on ACORN's political connections, but I consider Forest City Ratner's presence just as intriguing. FCR is more prominent than any newspaper--an obvious contact for a media-savvy organization--or governmental group.

The association with FCR may be a legitimate (if highly controversial) business dealing, but it is notable how important it seems to Lewis and thus ACORN.

In other words, while ACORN is crucial to Forest City Ratner's "political cover," as Lewis put it, FCR, with its $1.5 million bailout (oddly ignored by the press), is also crucial to ACORN.

The FCR connection will be even more important if the latest allegation against ACORN is true. Former board members say the amount of money embezzled by the brother of founder Wade Rathke was $5 million, not $1 million, as previously reported; Lewis says that's not true.

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