Attorney General Ellison files suit against president of Journey Home Minnesota
Lawsuit alleges Blake Huffman mismanaged JHM’s charitable assets, engaged in transactions with clear conflicts of interest, abandoned JHM’s charitable mission
December 16, 2019 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison today announced that his office has sued Blake Huffman, a former Ramsey County commissioner, for failing to properly oversee Journey Home Minnesota’s (“JHM”) charitable assets, failing to operate JHM in furtherance of its charitable mission, and abandoning JHM. The lawsuit asks that the court appoint a receiver to wind down JHM’s affairs and dissolve the corporation.
“Minnesotans want everyone to be able to afford their lives and live with the same dignity and respect that they want for themselves and their own families. They know everyone needs stable, affordable housing, especially people in crisis, and they’re willing to open their wallets to help,” Attorney General Ellison said. “Journey Home Minnesota took advantage of their generosity and trust. If nonprofits and their executives don’t use Minnesotans’ money for the purposes they gave it, I’ll hold them to account.”
JHM is a Minnesota charity that solicited donations to provide affordable housing to people in need. The lawsuit alleges that Huffman, as JHM’s chairman, president, and executive director, ran JHM largely on his own and engaged in transactions that presented clear conflicts of interest. For example, JHM purchased property from one of Huffman’s for-profit companies, and sold a JHM property to one of Huffman’s sons while using another of his sons as the realtor. The lawsuit also claims that JHM helped solicit tens of thousands of dollars to build a handicapped-accessible home for a Minnesota family with terminally ill children, only to abandon the project, and that Huffman has attempted to cancel leases midway through tenants’ terms and increased tenants’ rent to market rates, contrary to JHM’s charitable mission. The lawsuit further claims that Huffman has abandoned JHM and its charitable mission, failed to pay its bills, and has allowed some of its properties to be foreclosed upon.
JHM has owned property throughout the metro area, including Ramsey, Hennepin, and Anoka counties. The lawsuit, filed in Ramsey County District Court, asserts that Huffman and JHM violated Minnesota’s Nonprofit Corporations Act, Supervision of Charitable Trusts and Trustees Act, and Charitable Solicitation Act.
Attorney General Ellison encourages anyone who has been a tenant of JHM or who has information they would like to share about Huffman or JHM to contact Assistant Attorney General Collin Ballou of the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office at (651) 757-1474 or 1-800-657-3787. People may also file complaints with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office about JHM by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or submitting an online complaint form on the Attorney General’s website at www.ag.state.mn.us/Office/Complaint.asp.