Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Sun-Times: Rev. Leon Finney Jr.’s free fall

This story seemed to have broken over the weekend. Leon Finney Jr. is something of a power broker who has a church in Bronzeville and largely has been an important person in Woodlawn. This report from the Chicago Sun-Times has been quite damning!
The Rev. Leon Finney Jr. spent the last half-century building a real estate empire on Chicago’s South Side while amassing political power and hobnobbing with politicians like Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, Richard M. Daley and Toni Preckwinkle.

Now in his twilight years, Finney’s fiefdom teeters on the brink of collapse.

Once revered for his community work, Finney, 81, stands accused of fraud, self-dealing and mismanagement after his nonprofit, the Woodlawn Community Development Corporation, filed for bankruptcy in October and the curtains were pulled back on its finances.

Finney has been ousted at the organization he helped create. And, in a rare step, a federal judge appointed a trustee in April to take control of Woodlawn, a move the nonprofit fought. Piece by piece, its real estate holdings are being sold off.

After the bankruptcy came more financial blows. Woodlawn’s main source of revenue — lucrative contracts to manage more than 4,300 apartments for the Chicago Housing Authority, bringing in about $170,000 a month in management fees — was canceled in June after the CHA accused Woodlawn of mismanagement resulting in nearly $400,000 in damages.

Finney’s personal finances are in tatters, too, with the bank going after his church and his home.

And his wife has filed for divorce.

Investigations into allegations of wrongdoing and mismanagement have dogged Finney for decades. But the troubles he now faces represent the gravest threat to his legacy.
Read the whole thing.

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