The tenants of Eureka Garden Apartments have complained of deplorable living conditions and the city responded with a two-day code raid spearheaded by Mayor Lenny Curry.
Eureka Garden is owned by the Rev. Richard Hamlet and Global Ministries Foundation, the focus of a News4Jax investigation. His evangelical nonprofit and real estate portfolio spans across the country and does big business in Jacksonville where he owns six low-income apartment complexes.
In an independent audit obtained by News4Jax investigator Lynnsey Gardner, the profits accrued by the property owner have become clear and the mayor is formally asking for help from the state and members of Congress.
In one year alone, Hamlet profited more than a half-million dollars from owning and operating these Jacksonville properties. The audit exposes that Hamlet spent just 3 percent of $7 million of federal funding on maintenance and repairs.
The other complexes Hamlet owns are Washington Heights, Springfield Residential One, Southside Apartments, Market Street Apartments and Moncrief Village.
The audit shows that from 2012 to 2013, Hamlet reported close to $7.2 million in revenue for the six Jacksonville properties alone. The $7 million came from tenant assistance payments — federal tax dollars granted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
For all six properties, $4.5 million went to operating costs, including payroll and administrative needs. Only $242,757 went toward repairs and maintenance and $576,080 went back into Hamlet’s bank accounts as profit.
Hamlet’s Global Ministries Foundation website says "GMF's desire is not only to provide safe, decent, and sanitary housing, but also to give our residents access to education and training venues which should improve their toolset to become more productive and fulfilled citizens in their community."
Hamlet owns 61 low-income housing apartments in eight states. News4Jax found other media reports investigating Hamlet and the conditions at his housing communities in Orlando, Atlanta and Memphis.
The independent auditor explained that these audits are done annually in accordance to HUD regulations and government auditing standards.
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