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I am sure you remember the old cliché about what should never be done by stone-throwing people who live glass houses. However, the folks running the ProPublica news site apparently forgot that cliché.

Last week, the site published a flurry of articles about HomeVestors of America, which has approximately 1,150 franchises and promotes itself as the “largest homebuyer in the U.S.” In its coverage, ProPublica said that it “found HomeVestors franchisees that used deception and targeted the elderly, infirm and those so close to poverty that they feared homelessness would be a consequence of selling.” ProPublica added the company complained the questionable transactions represented a “tiny fraction of the company’s overall transactions, which have totaled more than 71,400 since 2016.”

Earlier in the month, ProPublica ran a series of articles that called into question the ethics of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, including several real estate transactions that the news site considered to be fishy – although they stopped significantly short of declaring them to be in violation of any federal or state laws. The articles highlighted Thomas’ friendship with a prominent Republican Party supporter, although there was no evidence presented to show that Thomas’ very rich friend encouraged his high court decisions.

I have no clue what sparked ProPublica’s interest in HomeVestors – last July, the site ran a piece that sought public input for a proposed article on “we buy houses” companies. The heavy focus on Thomas was obviously part of an effort to discredit the Supreme Court after several decisions that were denounced by progressive partisan factions. ProPublica actively promotes itself as being nonprofit, but it never self-identifies as non-partisan.

But what is amusingly ironic is ProPublica’s recent aim at questionable real estate activities, especially when one considers that ProPublica only exists because of questionable real estate activities – specifically, those of Herbert M. and Marion O. Sandler, the former chief executives of the Golden West Financial Corp., which was one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders when the couple sold the company to Wachovia Corp. in 2006 for roughly $26 billion.

If you were working in the real estate and mortgage space when the Housing Bubble went awry, you’ll remember the Sandlers and Golden West – to make a long story short, Time magazine ranked them in twelfth place on its 2009 list of the “25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis.” The New York Times and “60 Minutes” ran harsh profiles of how the Sandlers did business, and even “Saturday Night Live” got into the act by lampooning them in a skit about the financial meltdown.

But the Sandlers had the funds to hire aggressive lawyers and public relations specialists to conduct a not-subtle campaign to re-edit the media’s view of how their role in the subprime mortgage fiasco. And they got their money’s worth – the New York Times made multiple changes to its coverage and attached a letter to their coverage from the Sandlers that disputed how the Times portrayed them, while CBS CEO Les Moonves wrote to the Sandlers Moonves stating that he had “come to appreciate why your ethics and integrity have been recognized as the gold standard in the industry” – although he did not specifically apologize for the “60 Minutes” coverage. But Lorne Michaels did apologize for the “Saturday Night Live” skit that poked fun at the Sandlers.

As for ProPublica, the site makes no mention at all of the role played by the Sandlers and Golden West in the 2008 financial crisis. Indeed, its page honoring Herbert Sandler emphasizes that “Fortune magazine ranked Golden West as the nation’s most admired mortgage services company, and on seven separate occasions named Golden West America’s most admired savings institution.”

Also absent from ProPublica’s citation of its founders is the fact that the Sandlers were major donors to the national Democratic Party. With that kind of influence as a foundation, it is no surprise that ProPublica has yet to publish a negative article about Joe Biden’s performance as president but has written several pieces barbecuing Clarence Thomas.

ProPublica notes that the Sandlers were “committed to giving away their wealth philanthropically” – the couple committed $10 million a year to ProPublica when the endeavor launched in 2007. But for some of us, philanthropy is an initiative designed to create a better future and not a tool for rewriting the past.

Phil Hall is editor of Weekly Real Estate News and he can be reached at