'Populist' Senator Elizabeth Warren made a quarter-million dollars flipping houses

Senator Elizabeth Warren has made a name for herself excoriating big banks, Wall Street, and the rich; slamming income inequality; and heavily criticizing shady business practices.

But back in the 1990s, Warren had no problem feeding off the misery of the middle class by buying foreclosed homes for a song and selling them after a few months for a huge profit.

It's known as "house-flipping," and if it was anyone else, you might be inclined to admire the business acumen and eye for bargain real estate that Warren showed in amassing about $250,000 in profits from the sales of those homes.  But this is Elizabeth Warren, champion of the little guy, railer against those who take advantage of other's economic misery.

National Review:

House flipping is commonly defined as the practice of buying and selling a home within six months, as the future senator did with the Hickman property. Warren held onto at least four other properties for longer periods, sometimes waiting a year before relinquishing ownership and, at other times, as long as seven years.

Warren bought two homes after they’d fallen into foreclosure. And though she spent money fixing up the Hickman home before selling it, records suggest she sold others at a significant profit without making any meaningful upgrades.

In 1993, Warren bought a foreclosed property on N.W. 14th Street in Oklahoma City for $4,000. National Review attempted to contact the couple who had owned it. No phone number or email could be found on record for them, and they did not respond to a letter mailed to their last known address, in Colorado. No public records could be found elaborating on the events that led to the foreclosure of their home.

In 2004, Warren transferred the home to her brother, John Herring, and his wife, who sold it for $30,000 in 2006, a 650 percent increase over what Warren initially paid for it. Neither Warren nor her brother filed any permits to make improvements.

In June 1993, Warren bought another foreclosed property in Oklahoma City, this one on West Wilshire Boulevard, for $61,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Because properties purchased from HUD are sold as is, and because foreclosed homes can have damage ranging from simple poor upkeep to stripped copper, “the only reason you do that is for profit,” says Steve Stout, residential field supervisor at the Oklahoma County Assessor’s Office.

[...]

A year after buying the foreclosed property on West Wilshire Boulevard, Warren also bought the house next door for $72,000. Despite filing no building permits to renovate at either property, Warren pocketed $34,000 in profits when she sold the first house in December 1994, and she and her husband, Bruce Mann, made an additional $32,000 when they sold the one next door in 1998.

How can she reconcile her populist rhetoric with flipping houses?  She can't, of course, which is why she has refused to comment on the NRO story.  Populists like Warren can't stand to be exposed as hypocrites, and given her lecturing and hectoring about the rich preying on the poor and middle class, it just wouldn't do to have it be known that she was as greedy and grasping as any enthusiastic capitalist out there.

Warren could be accused of murder, and the left would still stoutly defend her.  In this case, they won't have to.  This is a story destined for a very deep rabbit hole and has a shelf life shorter than a stick of butter at a mid-summer Grant Park picnic.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has made a name for herself excoriating big banks, Wall Street, and the rich; slamming income inequality; and heavily criticizing shady business practices.

But back in the 1990s, Warren had no problem feeding off the misery of the middle class by buying foreclosed homes for a song and selling them after a few months for a huge profit.

It's known as "house-flipping," and if it was anyone else, you might be inclined to admire the business acumen and eye for bargain real estate that Warren showed in amassing about $250,000 in profits from the sales of those homes.  But this is Elizabeth Warren, champion of the little guy, railer against those who take advantage of other's economic misery.

National Review:

House flipping is commonly defined as the practice of buying and selling a home within six months, as the future senator did with the Hickman property. Warren held onto at least four other properties for longer periods, sometimes waiting a year before relinquishing ownership and, at other times, as long as seven years.

Warren bought two homes after they’d fallen into foreclosure. And though she spent money fixing up the Hickman home before selling it, records suggest she sold others at a significant profit without making any meaningful upgrades.

In 1993, Warren bought a foreclosed property on N.W. 14th Street in Oklahoma City for $4,000. National Review attempted to contact the couple who had owned it. No phone number or email could be found on record for them, and they did not respond to a letter mailed to their last known address, in Colorado. No public records could be found elaborating on the events that led to the foreclosure of their home.

In 2004, Warren transferred the home to her brother, John Herring, and his wife, who sold it for $30,000 in 2006, a 650 percent increase over what Warren initially paid for it. Neither Warren nor her brother filed any permits to make improvements.

In June 1993, Warren bought another foreclosed property in Oklahoma City, this one on West Wilshire Boulevard, for $61,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Because properties purchased from HUD are sold as is, and because foreclosed homes can have damage ranging from simple poor upkeep to stripped copper, “the only reason you do that is for profit,” says Steve Stout, residential field supervisor at the Oklahoma County Assessor’s Office.

[...]

A year after buying the foreclosed property on West Wilshire Boulevard, Warren also bought the house next door for $72,000. Despite filing no building permits to renovate at either property, Warren pocketed $34,000 in profits when she sold the first house in December 1994, and she and her husband, Bruce Mann, made an additional $32,000 when they sold the one next door in 1998.

How can she reconcile her populist rhetoric with flipping houses?  She can't, of course, which is why she has refused to comment on the NRO story.  Populists like Warren can't stand to be exposed as hypocrites, and given her lecturing and hectoring about the rich preying on the poor and middle class, it just wouldn't do to have it be known that she was as greedy and grasping as any enthusiastic capitalist out there.

Warren could be accused of murder, and the left would still stoutly defend her.  In this case, they won't have to.  This is a story destined for a very deep rabbit hole and has a shelf life shorter than a stick of butter at a mid-summer Grant Park picnic.