Advice to Fake Pimp Was No Crime, Prosecutor Says
By ANDY NEWMAN
Published: March 1, 2010
The Acorn employees in Brooklyn who were captured on a hidden camera seeming to offer conservative activists posing as a pimp and a prostitute creative advice on how to get a mortgage have been cleared of wrongdoing by the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.
District Attorney Charles J. Hynes said in a statement on Monday that “no criminality has been found” in his investigation of the three employees, who had appeared to advise the woman, who was scantily dressed and identified herself as an “outcall” specialist, not to tell prospective lenders that she was a prostitute and to funnel her earnings to her “pimp” through a third party so that he would not be tied to her.
Mr. Hynes declined to elaborate on his decision.
The videos, made in Acorn’s field offices in Brooklyn and elsewhere, became a YouTube hit. Critics of Acorn (short for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), an influential national organization known for left-leaning voter activism and work on moderate-income housing, had cited the videos as evidence of the group’s corruption.
Last summer, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles visited Acorn offices in several cities using the pimp and prostitute tale and asked for help in getting a mortgage, saying that their lack of on-the-books income would make it hard for them to get a conventional bank loan.
In a statement, Kevin Whelan, an Acorn spokesman, said that the group had been attacked “because of our successful work to empower hundreds of thousands of low- and moderate-families as voters and active citizens.”
“Hopefully today’s announcement, and similar results from independent reviews, will make politicians and media examine the facts more carefully the next time a valuable community organization is attacked.”