SEC investigating financially troubled housing nonprofit

Better Housing Foundation has defaulted on over $150M in municipal bonds, declared bankruptcy and this month said it would sell off 1K South Side units

SEC chair Jay Clayton (Credit: Getty Images)
SEC chair Jay Clayton (Credit: Getty Images)

Things have gone from bad to worse for the Better Housing Foundation.

The nonprofit this month announced it was selling off more than 1,000 South Side apartment units after defaulting on more than $150 million in debt payments. In late January, it filed for bankruptcy.

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Now, the organization, Better Housing Foundation, is under investigation by the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, Bloomberg reported.

A previous Chicago Tribune investigation found that Mark DeAngelis teamed with Ohio lawyer Merdith Rosenbeck to start BHF, and the foundation began buying buildings in 2016, using bonds issued by the state. The group was able to borrow tens of millions of dollars at reduced interest rates, and the state waived hundreds of thousands of dollars in property taxes. The properties later failed so many inspections the Chicago Housing Authority banned its aid recipients from moving into most units.

Andrew Belew, who took over Better Housing Foundation in late 2018, said he was cooperating with the SEC investigation, according to Bloomberg. [Bloomberg] — Jacqueline Flynn