MLB

Former MLB Star Mo Vaughn Has Rehabbed Thousands of Affordable Housing Units in Honor of Jackie Robinson

Mo Vaughn was one of the top home-run hitters of the ’90s. The slugger spent the prime of his career with the Red Sox and gave fans something to cheer about during a stretch when the team wasn’t great. (The Red Sox made the playoffs just twice in his eight seasons with the team.)

While Boston fans likely remember Vaughn and the way he smashed the ball out of the park, he has built a different kind of legacy since retiring. The former slugger is using some of the money he earned in the majors for good — rehabbing affordable housing units. And his inspiration for it is none other than Jackie Robinson.

Mo Vaughn: MLB slugger

RELATED: You Definitely Forgot These Guys Played For the Boston Red Sox

Vaughn played 12 seasons in the majors for the Red Sox, Angels, and Mets. He ended his career with a .293 average, 328 home runs, and 1,064 RBI. His career year was 1996, when he hit .326 with 44 home runs, and 143 RBI — all career highs.

Vaughn had six seasons when he surpassed 100 RBI, and he had two 40-homer seasons. He became the American League MVP in 1995 when he led the AL with 126 RBI; he also finished in the top five in MVP voting in 1996 and 1998.

Vaughn’s trucking company

Vaughn made more than $100 million in his MLB career. And he invested some of the money into business interests. Crain’s profiled Vaughn in 2013. It wrote about the trucking company he owns in the Cleveland area. The former slugger called “a recession-proof business” if done right.

He began the business, Mo Vaughn Transport, with a single leased truck in 2010. By 2013 it grew to a fleet of 22 owned vehicles and 15 leased vehicles, and the firm contracted with five owner-operators. Revenues were $2 million in 2011 and doubled to $4 million the following year.

Vaughn’s projection for 2013 had the company surpassing $6 million for the year. The trucking company was able to thrive because he partnered with trucking industry veteran Mark Cuccia, whose trucking career dates back to 1979. 

Vaughn rehabs affordable housing

RELATED: The Boston Red Sox Paid Rusney Castillo Nearly $50 Million to Go Away

Vaughn is also a partner in Omni New York LLC, through which he holds a portfolio of more than 8,000 housing units in New York City, most of which are in affordable-housing developments that they have rehabilitated.

The New York Post reported in 2007 that Vaughn and business partner, Eugene Schneur, paid $21 million in bankruptcy court to buy a notorious housing complex in Brooklyn, with plans to spend upwards of $20 million to renovate the units and upgrade the security.

Vaughn said he and Schneur “know it is going to be a challenge, but it is one we’re up to and that I believe will be gratifying for the tenants when we are done.” That’s because tenants charged the previous landlord Abdur Rahman Farrakhan with being a slumlord.

Residents claimed his neglect often caused them to have to live without heat and water. They also charged that their apartments had cracked walls, roach infestations, and faulty piping. Meanwhile, a lack of security led to at least three murders in a three-year span, as well as vandalism and drug trafficking — all of which Vaughn and his partner were looking to end.

At the time of the purchase, Tenants Association President Paulette Forbes said she was confident the new owners would “honor their promises” to rehab the property and keep the housing as affordable under Section 8, and not evict current tenants to increase their own profits.

Vaughn was inspired by Robinson, whose construction company built a building that Omni eventually purchased.  When Vaughn learned about the Robinson connection, he said “it’s like somebody was holding my hand. It’s tremendous” because his prep school baseball coach taught Vaughn to honor Robinson’s legacy, which he says inspired him.