OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL | One thing is clear from the report in the East Bay Express Wednesday on Oakland Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney—her personal finances are in shambles and it’s affecting her role as a steward of the city.
In an area of Oakland racked by fears of gentrification, McElhaney has often employed rhetoric in opposition to rich entities moving into the West Oakland neighborhoods and pricing out current residents. But, according to a report in the Express, McElhaney’s housing non-profit has been flipping homes for profit. From the article:
Gibson McElhaney’s house-flipping deals also contradict her claims that she’s concerned about low-income Oakland residents being squeezed out of the housing market. The deals occurred at a time when soaring housing prices and rents have caused a crisis of affordability for many residents — a crisis made worse by shadowy investors, including those that Gibson McElhaney has done business with.
The instances may not be illegal, but likely to arouse cries of hypocrisy against McElhaney, who won the council seat in 2012. While she does not refute the allegations in the article, the report reveals the personal finance of her and her husband, along with the non-profit, are facing troubled times.
In addition, McElhaney still owes $17,000 to the IRS for unpaid taxes that was revealed after her election to the council. McElhaney later indicated the tax lien from 2006 was being taken care of, but it has not nearly two years after the pledge, according the Express. McElhaney’s husband is also in financial dire straits, said the report.
Furthermore, McElhaney told the Express one reason for the house-flipping strategy was to replace state and federal grants that had recently dried up. But, to make matters worse, McElhaney’s sister was also given a piece of the action with a fair amount of obfuscation offered to the paper over the link between the council member’s knowledge of her sibling’s involvement.
Keep in mind, McElhaney is still less than two years from her first re-election campaign, which is, politically, light years away from today and that’s about the only positive she can glean from this report.