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Nonprofit Charities, a News Story, and Religion, and POVERTY

Former New Orleans Councilwoman Renee Gill Pratt faces feds alone in racketeering trial “. . . Federal authorities began investigating the case after a 2006 Times-Picayune story traced. . . defendants raided nonprofits they created to help disadvantaged people. . .”  http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2011/01/former_new_orleans_councilwoma.html

Witness Betty Jefferson describes ‘sinful act’ of looting charities, during Gill Pratt trial http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2011/02/witness_betty_jefferson_descri.html

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The above scenario is very close to my heart because (1) I am exiled from New Orleans, (2) I attended church and interacted with the Jefferson family — particularly (indicted and off-to-prison) former Congressman Jefferson, his wife, and his also indicted former New Orleans property assessor, Betty Jefferson.   Since we all attended the same church, and his political undertakings occurred, I often volunteered and therefore became acquainted with other Jefferson family members, including the also indicted brother, Mose Jefferson who was the boyfriend of the City Councilwoman whose acts of steering money to the nonprofit charities caught the eye of a news reporter whose story sparked the whole thing with the Feds.    This reporter’s story caused the Feds’ getting in the amazing picture of this family who was using DISADVANTAGED people’s situations to obtain federal funds, but they did not use the money for those people. But aside from volunteering, I had hoped to have a productive livelihood by offering to them some skills that would land me a job position in some of their enterprises. Little did I know that I could have been unwittingly performing a duty that could have also landed me in federal prison.

What they –and what others, who are of different races and powers did, is primarily why New Orleans’ atrocious problem was able to be exposed to the world when Hurricane Katrina blew through there.   The reason for this post is to highlight an even more sinister matter.   Moreover, the fact that some of the people involved in the nonprofit racketeering have died, or have received sentencing for various things has nothing to do with why urgency and attention is crucial.

The critical matter for attention is conflicting relationships that nonprofits, politics, and churches have established with each other.  That conflict is not confined to those parties, just like the Jefferson family’s scams are not / were not confined to poor people and the Jeffersons!  Further, is the grief I feel as I reflect on the fact that the primary reason why atrocious pre-Katrina conditions -that became revealed to the entire world when spotlights showed people at the New Orleans Superdome- was the fact political corruption and cronyism were the culprits, in the same apparent manner it appears to be a factor in this city I now reside.  The post I wrote in 2006 sums up what things were like then: “Casualties From New Orleans’ Ineptness and Corruption Are Coming To A City Near You” http://www.lawgrace.org/2006/06/30/casualties-from-new-orleans-ineptness-and-corruption-are-coming-to-a-city-near-you/

STAY TUNED, there is a lot more I would like to say about this topic. . .

IN MY NECK OF THE WOODS here in Shreveport, is a curious situation of Nonprofit organization that lists 2842 Martin Luther King Drive as its operating address, and its website links its location to the CADDO Parish School Board, namely the *Lake Community Development Corporation (LCDC) http://www.nlacf.org/members/?id=7903220.  Lake Community Development Corporation TAX RETURN, showing an amount of $400, 000.00 is another curious situation –as these seemed connected to the Caddo Parish Title I “Homeless” Program.  Relevantly another Nonprofit “homeless program” is interesting, and under scrutiny by my colleagues.  The City of Shreveport Mayor’s wife is associated with this one:  “Community Support Programs, Inchttp://www.cspla.org/contact.cfm *Further, information has been provided to my colleagues, and ultimately me (which I formerly ignored), but dots are associated to a scandal that occurred back in 2009 where there were criminal investigations into Shreveport City “housing inspectors” (and somehow the Mayor? associated with Inspection frauds and people who were arrested) against the poor, elderly and disabled.

Shreveport, Louisiana – Criminal investigation says the city funded a housing scam against the poor, elderly and disabled http://katysexposure.wordpress.com/2009/12/31/shreveport-louisiana-criminal-investigation-says-the-city-funded-a-housing-scam-against-the-poor-elderly-and-disabled/

Contractors inspectors for Shreveport Community Development arrested http://www.stormtracker12.org/story/11018825/contractors-inspectors-for-sport-comm-dev-arrested

**NEW / LATEST reports associated with the Shreveport Mayor:

Three Fold Consultants, pleaded guilty of paying former New Orleans Mayor Nagin $72,000 to secure no-bid engineering contracts, has been paid more than $769,000 over the last ten years by the City of Shreveport (authorized by its mayor) http://www.ktbs.com/news/Guilty-plea-in-New-Orleans-raises-questions-in-Shreveport/-/144844/17840538/-/10yvn7b/-/index.html

FED PROBE, NAGIN & OTHER TIES TO SHREVEPORT MAYOR “A key figure in the wide-ranging federal investigation of former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin is also a campaign contributor to Mayor Cedric Glover, and recipient of Shreveport city hall contracts.” http://forward-now.com/?p=5471

*Also, concerning Nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations in Mississippi continue to unfold. Mississippi is highest ranking in the U S for POVERTY –and sadly, it is the best location for which to operate charities fraud, via religious and financial exploitation of poor (disadvantaged) people.

“The Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain helps DMR Director Bill Walker buy his son’s property. A DMR friends and family program update” http://www.slabbed.org/2012/11/12/the-land-trust-for-the-mississippi-coastal-plain-helps-dmr-director-bill-walker-buy-his-sons-property-a-dmr-friends-and-family-program-update/

“Mississippians are being robbed blind by Phil Bryant’s political cronies. Exactly where are all the bucks stopping?” http://www.slabbed.org/2012/12/10/mississippians-are-being-robbed-blind-by-phil-bryants-political-cronies-exactly-where-are-all-the-bucks-stopping/

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**To further highlight the impact of NONPROFIT FRAUD, here is a very recent news report.

Political operative Jon Johnson (and the preachers in is his confederacy) exemplifies what occurs in lots of cities!  According to the news story, Johnson makes deals and buys property ‘under the table’. , Some properties become blighted, and Johnson obtains federal money, http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.ssf/2012/08/corruption_undermines_recovery.html but he makes personal use of that federal money.  As the story shows,  people who are unjustly and permanently affected by NONPROFIT FRAUD are many –including the hurricane exiles!  *Usual elements of this kind of nonprofit fraud: *Federal funding purportedly for “Disadvantaged” people * Religious organizations –mainly preachers and pastors * Distressed property  * Nonprofit status  * Political Corruption

**Certainly other names will surface along with Johnson’s.

NEW — UPDATE \\  ALARM!!!

Louisiana Superintendent John White Continues to Shield Records on Voucher Program; Hires High-Priced PR Consultant to Lead Communications http://cenlamar.com/2012/09/28/louisiana-superintendent-john-white-hires-high-priced/

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Louisiana’s bold bid to privatize schools

By Stephanie Simon

June 1 | Fri Jun 1, 2012 6:04pm EDT

(Reuters) – Louisiana is embarking on the nation’s boldest experiment in privatizing public education, with the state preparing to shift tens of millions in tax dollars out of the public schools to pay private industry, businesses owners and church pastors to educate children.

“Starting this fall, thousands of poor and middle-class kids will get vouchers covering the full cost of tuition at more than 120 private schools across Louisiana, including small, Bible-based church schools.

The following year, . . .” * ENTIRE story here>> http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/01/us-education-vouchers-idUSL1E8H10AG20120601

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Here is some VERY SIGNIFICANT INFORMATION  about schools and vouchers and charities,  provided by CenLamar:

A User’s Guide to Governor Bobby Jindal’s School Voucher Program

http://cenlamar.com/2012/08/20/a-users-guide-to-governor-bobby-jindals-school-voucher-program/

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The reason why I believe there is cause for alarm about money being given to “church pastors to educate children,” is due to the fact that some church pastors are incompetent for educating children, and their pattern of conduct demonstrates that they are not the type of “pastor” who serves the interest of Jesus Christ, but their own.

In particular, too many NONPROFIT organizations are abusing charity status for illegal enrichment and other unlawful purposes.  Not only is the Federal Government being cheated, but people are being denied all of the services the funds are supposed to furnish –and worse, sometimes friends and kindred are being favoured with job positions and fringe benefits unfairly at the expense and disadvantage of the very people who are supposed to receive the help!

The school voucher program may work, but it will not work when corruption and politics is at the helm!  Neither will such a thing work when recipes abound to create corruption, and you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.   Mishandling of public funding promotes disparity and crime; and it pits neighbors, families, friends, and church members against each other! This occurs when jobs become awarded unfairly because of WHO one knows, instead of one’s job application, skills, and qualification. In particular, as it pertains to shifting school education to church pastors, a not closely regulated or not careful selection of awarding voucher programs can become socially injurious when it comes to pastors.  There could be serious spiritual and emotional damage for church members as they become torn between loyalty to their pastors after observing their respected leaders involved in manifest impropriety in terms of hiring, and in terms of using government funds.  Also, there’d be the likelihood of wanting to shield and conceal the pastor–and infuriating their loved one who saw and knew the truth– as the members tried to do for former Greater Salem Church co-pastors, the Jinwrights. http://www.qcitymetro.com/news/index.cfm/channel/F711AC3E-D029-7127-5D9F500FA49D138F

Furthermore, in situations where the school kids and their parents are disadvantaged, and they reside in impoverished neighborhoods, their backs are already against the wall. Thus, when their parents are deprived and denied basic things like the dignity of decent employment –as well as dignity when they seek public handouts, it does not bode well; it is certainly hard for children to thrive in those environments.   Fundamentally, oppressed people can become driven to robbery, home invasion, gambling, violence, prostitution (and hello more AIDS!) anger, apathy, drugs, etc.   Also, economic disparity vastly contributes to disintegration of poor households, and fatherless homes! There is a whole lot more to be recognized about these matters –which “Ivory Tower” thinking people fail to realize, or they refuse to do so.  Hopefully before it’s too late, DISCONNECTED (un?)intellectuals will stop ignoring the fact that inequity places the safety of wealthy people in as much danger as anyone else.  Hopefully, the Ivory Tower people as well as lawmakers will not only realize that inequity is just plain wrong, but input safeguards to lessen likelihoods of misconduct -or even human error- concerning government funding!

The following well-written article from the cenlamar website is helpful for a vivid picture of a pastor / preacher who has no business being given program $700,000 to educate anyone’s children.  From my pre-Katrina association with Mr. Lucas –as well as his dozens of NONPROFITS, I have surmised him to be more interested in entrepreneurship and skillful at playing politics, than ministering for God. By the way, coinciding with my perception about Lucas needing a little more education, the New Orleans Times Picayune newspaper, stated that Lucas “sent out a statement riddled with grammatical errors saying he will formally announce his candidacy” (in a city council race). http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2009/11/post_162.html Frankly (for reasons beyond the scope of this discussion), I think that Leonard Lucas (and others) is long overdue for federal probes, and that he should be included with that long overdue investigation (and subsequent indictment) of Councilman Jon D. Johnson.  On the other hand, their fate is not my business. *In a nutshell, what is my business –and the people to whom I minister– like any rational people, what we would appreciate not being denied or deprived of opportunities, or become subjected to harm because of political cronyism, financial greed, or blatant malice.

“SHOCKING: Bobby Jindal’s Vouchers Will Provide Over $700,000 Per Year To School Led by “Prophet, Apostle.” http://cenlamar.com/2012/08/07/shocking-bobby-jindals-vouchers-will-provide-over-600000-per-year-to-school-led-by-prophet-apostle/

ANOTHER columnist weighed in on Mr. Lucas.   “The Gospel of Lucas” http://www.bestofneworleans.com/gambit/the-gospel-of-lucas/Content?oid=2057017 written by Clancy DuBos contains a discourse on Louisiana Governor Jindal’s school vouchers and Lucas.

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SADLY, Mr. Lucas is not an isolated situation, as “preachers” seem to be more in the business of building their personal kingdoms, and less concerned with building God’s kingdom. While earthly business and enterprises are certainly not wrong, there is certainly something wrong when it resembles dog-eat-dog, back-stabbing, mean-spirited, refusal to talk to each church members, but salacious talk that irreparably impairs those members while smiling in their faces.

Furthermore, there is a BIG problem when a pastor’s business pursuits causes him or her to have more regard for business cronies, than for his church members who actually and consistently labor as missionaries –without compensation.  Such a pastor should resign his pastoral or preacher position, become a business person, and cease abusing his or her nonprofit status.  But of course, that would be the right thing to do –and that would not serve that type of “pastor’s” personal interests.   Furthermore, there is the appalling problem of NONPROFIT FRAUD, and victimization as it pertains to who is and is not awarded the dignity of employment!  When pervasive evidence of this kind of behavior is prevalent in a pastor or preacher, it is more than likely that ‘evil companions have corrupted morals’; as it is ‘not possible to serve both God and mammon’.

Actually, the title of “pastor” simply doesn’t mean the same thing as it did when religious values mattered to so-called religious leaders!   And some of them are DANGEROUSLY DELUDED (example> 2 Thes.2:10-11) Also, too many of today’s preachers and pastors (and their wives) unabashedly display their aims for prestige, social status, and wealth.  The venerable Mr Stokeling is an “activist” for affordable housing, he gives speeches, and he is a pastor.  None of that impacted his conscience when he struck and killed an 88 year old woman with his vehicle and fled the scene.  In fact, he had prior vehicular arrests, and no license. GRANDMOTHER KILLED IN BROOKLYN BY PASTOR http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/12653618-grandmother-dies-in-brooklyn-streets

Kris E. Benson, writer for Wonkette (and the people who commented on Benson’s piece), “EDUCATION IS THE DEBBIL Louisiana GOP Does Not Believe The Children Are Our Future,” summed up the Louisiana education & pastor  affair situation thusly:

Is Louisiana not part of the U.S. anymore, or something? Did some important event transpire wherein the other 49 states and the federal government all got together and decided to let Louisiana fend for itself? Because here are some Fun Facts about Louisiana: it is home to the highest infant mortality rate, the fifth-highest maternal mortality rate, the fourth-worst life expectancy rate, the fifth-highest violent crime rate, the second-highest poverty rate, and the fifth-highest obesity rate in the country. Now, on top of all of this, it may soon be home to the first highest rate of unedumacatedness because the legislature is dismantling public education in Louisiana. . . .” http://wonkette.com/474335/louisiana-gop-does-not-believe-the-children-are-our-future

*ALSO, from educationclearinghouse.com>>”Wow! When Religious Leaders Attack Jindal’s Plan – You Know it is Nuts!” http://educationclearinghouse.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/wow-when-religious-leaders-attack-jindals-plan-you-know-it-is-nuts/

**MORE about preachers, pastors & wives:

*Grandmother killed by Pastor-Community Nonprofit Activist-PREACHER after his vehicle hit the 88 yr old woman; and fled the scene; he had no license http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/12653618-grandmother-dies-in-brooklyn-streets

*Anthony and Harriet Jinwright, Former Co-Pastors of Greater Salem Church, owned 2 funeral homes — went to Federal Prison for: Tax Evasion failure to report $$$$$$ millions, hiding “Love Offerings,” etc. http://www.blackchristiannews.com/news/2012/07/anthony-and-harriet-jinwright-former-co-pastors-of-greater-salem-church-in-charlotte-nc-go-back-to-p.ht and http://www.qcitymetro.com/news/index.cfm/channel/F711AC3E-D029-7127-5D9F500FA49D138F

*Pastors Abusing The 501(C) (3) Status? http://www.pimppreacher.com/Pastor-501C3-abuse-308.html … and http://www.christiancentury.org/article/2011-01/senator-concludes-probe-ministry-finances …

*The Preacher’s Wife or Co-Conspirator http://www.pimppreacher.com/Preachers-wife-or-co-pastor.html

*An Open Letter to Joel Osteen http://www.patheos.com/Progressive-Christian/Open-Letter-to-Joel-Osteen-Greg-Garrett-05-10-2012.html

*Religious power couple convicted on tax charges http://www.myfoxhouston.com/story/19243229/2012/08/09/religious-power-couple-convicted-on-tax-charges

*Dr. Shine’ gets 2-year sentence http://www.somdnews.com/article/20120803/NEWS/708039806/1074/-dr-shine-gets-2-year-sentence&template=southernMaryland

*Church members told news reporters they wanted to ask questions about finances –A BRAWL took place during worship. . . http://www.blackmediascoop.com/2012/08/01/brawl-breaks-out-during-church-services-over-money/

*Fleecing the Flock: A Snapshot of America’s Richest Pastors http://www.patheos.com/blogs/paperbacktheology/2012/01/fleecing-the-flock-a-snapshot-of-americas-richest-pastors.html …

*Pastor Frank E. Ray’s drama w/ wife who was formerly his mistress http://thechurchladyblogs.com/2012/05/02/rev-frank-e-ray-pastor-wives-drama-real-life-divorce/ and http://thechurchladyblogs.com/2012/06/09/the-churchladys-take-on-frank-e-and-deborah-ray-saga/

*Ex-Pastor, Sentenced to 10 Years In Prison for Stealing Nearly $1 Million http://www.blackchristiannews.com/news/2012/07/ex-pastor-toris-young-sentenced-to-10-years-in-prison-for-stealing-nearly-1-million.html

*Bishop Darryl Brister Closes Houston Church Unbeknownst to Church Members http://www.atoast2wealth.com/2011/06/08/bishop-darryl-brister-closes-houston-church-unbeknownst-to-church-members/