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August 11, 2016

Faith-Based Tenn. Housing Group Faces Federal Investigation

The Securities and Exchange Commission is examining a Memphis religious charity’s use of city financing to buy federally subsidized apartment complexes that have drawn scrutiny for their poor living conditions, according to The Commercial Appeal. The federal agency’s enforcement division last month requested "documents and data relevant to an ongoing investigation" from a court-appointed receiver overseeing housing owned by the Global Ministries Foundation.

The request seeks records associated with employees and board members of the charity, including its founder and CEO, the Rev. Richard Hamlet, and connected to an $11.8 million bond the Memphis Health, Educational, and Housing Facility Board approved in 2011. Global Ministries used the bond to purchase the Warren and Tulane apartment complexes, from which the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development relocated hundreds of tenants earlier this year.

Federal agents executed search warrants last week at the foundation’s Memphis headquarters and the office of the Gill Group, a Missouri company that has appraised properties bought by Global Ministries and is listed on the charity’s website as a major donor. The Commercial Appeal reported in April 2015 on substandard conditions at its units and transfers of millions of dollars between Mr. Hamlet’s housing and religious nonprofits.