TOP and the TOP Education Fund are two ACORN successor groups that were created in anticipation of the November 2010 bankruptcy filing of ACORN Inc. (the lead corporate entity that controlled the ACORN activist network). The two Texas nonprofits are part of a new network created to carry on ACORN’s work under other names. That new network consists of at least 25 new groups. Many of ACORN’s state-level chapters that incorporated as new nonprofit corporations are controlled by ACORN personnel. In some cases they operate out of the same office space that ACORN occupied.
TOP and the TOP Education Fund have extensive ties to the old ACORN network.
TOP is run by Ginny Goldman, who headed Texas ACORN. Former ACORN employee Allison Brim is an organizing director at TOP.
TOP’s president is Charlie (Carlos) Rodriguez, a veteran ACORN activist in El Paso who was previously a chief shop steward in a local of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). TOP’s treasurer is Steve Halvorson, an ACORN activist from Pasadena. Former ACORN member Melba Williams of Dallas is a member of TOP’s board of directors.
The TOP Education Fund’s deputy director is Michelle McClelen, who was head organizer for Texas ACORN and that group’s legislative director.
The Fund’s three most generous institutional donors in 2010 also underwrote the old ACORN network. Those philanthropies are George Soros’s Open Society Institute ($150,000), Marguerite Casey Foundation ($100,000), and the extremist Tides Foundation ($20,000).
Texas Organizing Project officials are practically salivating at the prospect of getting their hands on federal relief funds related to damage caused in 2008 by Hurricane Ike.
In May of this year Houston Mayor Annise Parker, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Texas Organizing Project jointly announced that the city of Houston was expected to receive $151 million in “Hurricane Ike Disaster Recovery Round 2” funds held by the state’s General Land Office.
TOP helped to select which neighborhoods in Houston would receive the money. HUD Assistant Secretary Mercedes Marquez even commended Mayor Parker “for working together with TOP and other housing stake-holders and advocates to advance an initiative reflecting the community’s desire for comprehensive, targeted community development.”
Last year TOP’s Ginny Goldman returned the compliment, calling HUD’s Marquez a “true believer” in taxpayer-funded neighborhood revitalization schemes.
“We’re very confident that with HUD’s commitment and investment that we’re going to start to see things turn around not just with the hurricane recovery money, but with future federal housing dollars that come into this city,” Goldman said at the time.
Of course HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan is a longtime ACORN ally. Under his leadership HUD continued to shovel taxpayer money at ACORN even after Congress banned the practice.
No one should be surprised when the new Texas ACORN spinoff groups chow down on still more taxpayer dollars.
After all, that’s what these parasitic left-wing groups were organized to do.
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