If you listen to talk radio, chances are you know all about Sean Hannity, one of the most watched conservative commentators in the country.
The Fox News host has been a fixture on the Atlanta radio waves since the 90s, and is even said to have the ear of the president. But now, the host is facing criticism for apparently taking federal money to get rich here in Georgia.
There's a fierce debate going on across the country about the future of Housing and Urban Development. HUD is currently facing billions of dollars in budget cuts, and just this week, dozens showed up in front of David Perdue's office in Atlanta to protest what they called an attack on the poor.
But it turns out, Sean Hannity may have used HUD loans to buy up hundreds of properties in Georgia, helping him cultivate a massive rental property empire throughout the southeast.
Hannity was quick to criticize former President Obama for the handling of the recession and recovery, but that didn't stop him from apparently using the federal government to make money in Georgia.
Between 2012 and 2014, right after the recession, Hannity swooped in with a massive property purchase, buying up apartment complexes in Athens, Gainesville and Brunswick for nearly $23 million, including $17.9 million apparently from HUD. Among those purchases was an entire neighborhood of townhomes in Lithia Springs. That neighborhood, the Meadows, cost him more than $3 million.
He then refinanced those loans under the current Trump Administration, a fact he never disclosed on his show, even when he was interviewing current housing secretary, Ben Carson.
His real estate holdings came to light after he admitted to consulting with President Donald Trump's personal, and embattled, attorney, Michael Cohen, on real estate matters.
11Alive's Ryan Kruger went to that cluster of Townhomes in Lithia Springs. For those residents, the Fox News host is their nameless, faceless landlord.
Audrey Moran is one of those tenants.
"I like it here, it's quiet," Moran told 11Alive's Ryan Kruger.
But not everyone had the same positive things to say.
"It's horrible," said one woman, who asked that she not be identified. "The rent has gone up every year like, $50 to $100."
In fact, longtime residents tell 11Alive their rent has gone up nearly 50% in the last five years. They do admit that once Hannity's company took over, they upgraded the duplexes.
In many ways, Hannity represents a changing of the times when it comes to rental properties. Up until recently, experts say it was commonplace for the owner of a rental property to live nearby. But after the housing crisis, many out-of-town investors, like Hannity, jumped in with their pocketbooks.
But the conservative host was quick to defend himself against criticism. In a statement, Hannity said it was "ironic that I am being attacked for investing my personal money in communities that badly need such investment, and, in which, I am sure, those attacking me have not invested their money," the statement read.
"The fact is, these are investments that I do not individually select, control, or know the details about; except that obviously I believe in putting my money to work in communities that otherwise struggle to receive such support," he continued.