OPINION | Follow the bread crumbs to the shell game


In this column I will respond to the commentaries and letter written by Mr. English, Mr. Staten, and Mr. Easter respectively in regards to my previous column [MSR, March 11] inquiring into the Coalition of Black Churches/African American Leadership Summit (COBC/AALS).

Like I said in my previous column, I was not trying to bash the organization nor the individuals associated with the organization. I don’t have anything against these men personally, and I will not stoop to the level of the personal, juvenile attacks that they have since leveled against me.

But I must clear up some things and put them in perspective.

First, if you go to www.unpmn.org/partners/aals_cobc.htm, which is the website for partners for the University of Minnesota North Minneapolis Partnership, you will see the listing provided that indicates that Operation Resurrection was folded into COBC/AALS. Mr. Staten is listed as co-chairman, and Mr. English is listed as the other co-chairman.

Mr. English is also listed as the contact person for questions about the organization. The address for COBC/AALS is listed on the website as 1526 Penn Ave. N. If you go to www.center4neighborhoods.org/mc
/vendorMaster.cfm?VendID=213, you will see the address of Operation Resurrection as 1423 Penn Ave., which was Staten’s residence.

If you go to www.411.com/search/ReversePhone?full_phone=612-521-4914, you will see that the phone number of COBC/AALS is registered to 1423 Penn Ave. N., and is in the name of Larry Maxwell. We went to 1423 Penn Ave. N. and discovered that it was a vacant house.

So here is where the shell game begins. Mr. English states that he has never been involved with Operation Resurrection. Well, I beg to differ. From what we found, Operation Resurrection “was folded into” COBC/AALS, as the websites listed also indicate.

Now, the notion that they have not received any money is simply not true. You can go to www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-62639196.html and see a $50,000 payment to Operation Resurrection, which is part of COBC/AALS.

You can also go to www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/news/publication/ota/19980728-19990101-(1997-07-18)-On-The-Agenda—-July-18,-1997.html, and look under the Ways and Means portion, and see a contract with the City of Minneapolis and Operation Resurrection, which is a part of COBC/AALS.

You can also go to the Minnesota Council on Foundations’ website at www.mcf.org/mcf/whatsnew/grants/tmf050816.htm and see grant dollars given to Operation Resurrection, which is a part of COBC/AALS. I listed sources going back to 1997 and how COBC/AALS has received money.

I could waste this entire column on listing websites, but I won’t. As you can see, the notion that they received no money is simply not true.

COBC/AALS is not registered with the State of Minnesota as a business or a
nonprofit. As a result, they don’t have any tax documents for us to review.

As far as the State is concerned, they do not exist.

And here is where the shell game continues. English and Staten continually speak at meetings as representing COBC/AALS, which allows them to get their foot in the door to get money for their other organizations such as Operation Resurrection and others.

For example, English shows up to a Minneapolis School Board meeting speaking on behalf of COBC/AALS and fails to mention the fact that he has been and continues as the director at The City Inc. of The City School, an alternative high school funded by the Minneapolis Public Schools, thus totally misrepresenting his interests.

Go to www.thecityinc.org/index.asp?Type=B_DIR&SEC={554527E3-C32F-4380-B828-6B72023E1D1D to learn more about the alternative school that he has drawn a salary from. Go to http://tfcny.fdncenter.org/990_pdf_archive/410/410942352/410942352_200712_990.pdf, page 6 to see his salary, and go to page 23 to see The City Inc. President/CEO and English’s best friend Wilfred Easter’s salary as well.

By doing this, they are able to make statements that COBC/AALS has not received any money. They use COBC/AALS to browbeat people to give money to Operation Resurrection and other organizations, allowing them to hide who is getting the money. It’s a shell game.

I could go on and on, but I won’t. When I wrote my original piece, all I was trying to do was to ask the question, “Who is this group?” I guess some people consider themselves above questioning.

These individuals in their collective responses were all willing to take credit for getting some of our community leaders elected to office. They were willing to assert and acknowledge their position of power within our community in their collective responses, but they are still unwilling to answer the question about who they really are.

For the record, the Minneapolis NAACP has never been a member of COBC/AALS, as was indicated in one of their responses.

Again, I will say that if you want to find out what these guys are doing, just follow the bread crumbs like the Gingerbread Man and be aware of the shell game that they play. I have presented information here for you to examine; you be the judge as to who you believe.

Again, I have nothing personal against any of these men, and I will not play tit for tat with them. I am done. I stand by what I wrote!

Booker T Hodges welcomes reader responses to bhodges@spokesman-recorder.com.