September 8, 2014

Fighting For The Poor: Former ACORN Lawyer Sells Home For $21 Million

The former top lawyer for the Association for Communities Organizing for Reform Now (ACORN) just made a killing selling his ritzy New York City townhouse.

Arthur Z. Schwartz, who served as ACORN’s general counsel during the tumultuous years of 2009 and 2010, sold his 8,540-square foot house for a cool $20.89 million — quite a few pennies more than the $499,990 he bought the house for in 2003. According to the New York Observer, Schwartz did make some significant improvements to the house, which likely drove up its value.

But the legal blog Above the Law wonders how the ex-ACORN lawyer was able to afford such a luxurious house and the ritzy upgrades to it considering his work record of primarily representing left-wing groups.

Schwartz currently serves as the board president for the public law firm Advocates for Justice. According to the firm’s statement of purpose, they “fight for the rights of the poor and the rights of working people, to fight for racial justice and equal rights, and to assist those who organize the poor and working people, and who advance the fight for equality.”

Schwartz’s biography describes him as one of New York’s top labor lawyers and as working for labor interests for over 30 years. It even lists a long quote of praise from liberal Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer.

“All too many people get involved are doing it because they’re saying there’s something in it for numero uno. But there are lots of people who are in it for the right reasons.  And if you had to pick someone who symbolizes that it would be Arthur Schwartz,” Schumer said in 2003. “Whenever anyone calls on Arthur to do something good, he’s there and he doesn’t ask what’s in it for him and he doesn’t ask how much money there is. He just does it.”

ACORN was a community-organizing group that declared it worked for the interests of the poor. It was rocked by scandal after James O’Keeefe recorded undercover video of ACORN workers in 2009 advising him and a fellow activist on how to engage in criminal activity. The group closed down in 2010 following the controversy.

In 2009, then ACORN general counsel Schwartz trashed O’Keefe for going after an organization “whose principal purpose is to help poor people.”


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