Incorporating the The Germantown Chronicle & The Northwest Independent

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Chaka Fattah: The Rest of the Story

Part III

If you read the first two installments in my review of how Chaka Fattah was the long term source of funding often run through false front nonprofits, you will recall my outline of one of the largest of the scams he funded was a taken over Quaker organization known as Germantown Settlement. After Settlement was caught defrauding the private funders who kept sending money after the Quakers lost control, federal and state dollars replaced the lost stream (in much greater amounts) and the majority of funds were federal.

However, that 27-corporation monopoly was so reckless and cavalier about their operations that complaints generated both FBI and City Inspector General investigations in the early to mid 2000s. These investigations went on for years and were gathering facts and data and at the same time causing the political class to take some very desperate steps after the presence of the investigators caused some of those who were dispensing the funds regularly without compliance documents to withhold the funding causing Settlement to miss payrolls and vendor payments alike.

A joint meeting was held by the FBI, City IG, and HUD officers where the investigators told HUD and some other federal agency officials that they had been connecting the dots on the funding practices for Germantown Settlement and found that these agencies continued to fund Settlement corporations year after year when they almost never met even the most basic compliance requirements. The federal and city investigators wanted answers and they were not forthcoming. Of course, it was already known by those doing the investigations that the dispersing individuals claimed they were told by political operatives to just keep sending checks to Settlement corporations and entities as if they were compliant and that “the folks at the top” wanted it that way.

The man at the top of that funding was Congressman Chaka Fattah, who approved all major HUD and other agency funding in his district. From time to time Fattah even used the facilities of Germantown Settlement in Germantown, not far from his home, as a forum from which he announced other federal programs he was supporting and sponsoring.

When the FBI and city investigators pressed these federal agency leadership types for answers and told them that their efforts were about to move from investigation to prosecution, the bureaucrats began to stonewall and deny any involvement. Needless to say there were some upset high level individuals in that room and they in effect stormed out without admitting anything.

You may ask, how do you know what took place at that meeting? The answer is, I was there.

Only a short while later the FBI investigation was shut down, and the two agents who ran it and gathered all the data were split up and sent far away from the Philadelphia office individually; one of them overseas, and the Germantown Settlement investigation was buried in the files of a junior level agent who later had a political career.

The city investigation was also shut down as one of the first official acts of a new Inspector General, sworn in only a week after Mayor Nutter was elected. This IG shut down the city investigation into Settlement, and “referred it” to the same junior level FBI agent referenced above. Names and details on request.

The politicians all the way up the ladder protected Fattah and all those intermediary HUD and federal, state and city officials that moved hundreds of millions of dollars through many nonprofits, and for a few months a massive rescue mission using state money through Dwight Evans and city money through City Council and its own agencies tried to salvage Germantown Settlement and keep the scams working. Most local politicians were cooperative but one state rep refused to participate in the fraud to fund Emanuel Freeman and the whole empire collapsed into bankruptcy. At the time of the filing Settlement and its subsidiaries had $10 million in standing judgments on the dockets of Philadelphia courts and a substantial number of other cases pending trial. In addition many employees were never paid for their services and employment taxes were sidestepped in the process.

Not only was the community of Germantown raped and pillaged by that process of creating blight with intent and then supposedly federally funding the rebuild that never came, it also shortchanged the residents of city services and many staffers never got paid. Claims to city, state and federal agencies were squashed as bureaucrats and judges looked the other way.

The only difference between what Chaka Fattah was doing in those years and what he is on trial for now, is that the investigations were short circuited by the most powerful political types to be found in Philadelphia and Washington.

Yes, I kept all my records.

Jim Foster

The Independent Voice