Michael Gaynor
REALLY expose ACORN, Anita MonCrief!
By Michael Gaynor
December 18, 2008

What is needed, Ms. MonCrief, is an expose of what The New York Times knew, when it knew it and what it did (and did not do) with what it knew.

It's astonishing (and outrageous) how the liberal media has covered (and not covered) ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now).

You don't find whistleblower Anita MonCrief quoted in The New York Times, but the idealistic young mother who yearned for both an honorable ACORN and the election of the President-Elect and only got the latter deserves applause, appreciation and respect for bravely coming forward to let her fellow Americans know what ACORN has been doing.

I use the word "bravely" advisedly, because Ms. MonCrief is neither foolhardy nor fearless and ACORN is dangerous as well as deplorable.

Ms. MonCrief's latest blog is illuminating, but not sufficient to win the degree of public attention necessary to remedy the sinister situation that rightly distresses Ms. MonCrief and her allies.

Ms. MonCrief:

"In the past week the public has been inundated with nonstop coverage of the corruption scandal in Illinois and the Bernard Madoff financial scandal. Many people have expressed shock and outrage at the unbelievable events, however, ACORN insiders know that bribery, corruption, and pay for play endeavors are just a day at an ACORN office.

"Since deciding to come forward, I have been duped by reporters with agendas, and partisan views, I have seen real news buried and must wonder why. The answer, unfortunately, is very simple,- like Governor Blagojevich, and Bernard Madoff — power and money are a dangerous mix.

"ACORN has been brokering power for decades in inner cities across America. Local politicians become state and national politicians and ACORN will do whatever it takes to further its agenda.

"As the nation and the financial world were coming to grips with the full implications of the Madoff scheme, ACORN's board was learning of ACORN's own 'Ponzi Scheme.'

"According to a meeting held between ACORN staff, and members in Chicago on July 19th 2008, Mesirow Financial was hired by the ACORN Board to 'conduct a thorough review of CCI's financial management and controls, make whatever recommendations they see fit....'

"During the 3 day board meeting that began on December 12th 2008 in New Orleans Mesirow delivered its report. According to insiders, Mesirow implied that ACORN is no different from any other Ponzi Scheme. Mesirow also implied that Citizen's Consulting Inc. (CCI) was nothing but a washing machine for a giant money laundering scheme that encompassed over 200 active or defunct organizations. However, all money that flowed out of CCI came out all dingy and and tinged with corruption. The presentation left members with the impression that all of ACORN's activities were nothing but 'smoke and mirrors.'

"Last week's meeting also brought more news of embezzlement as the board learned that money was missing from the latest Katrina Fund and that the thefts were not confined to 1999-2001. Board Members were also advised that ACORN's firing of the ACORN 8 board members, as quoted below from CNN was illegal.

ACORN board fires members

Posted: 02:19 PM ET

November 14, 2008

The community organizing group ACORN, investigated this year for filing fraudulent voter registration forms, has fired two board members it had appointed to look into the possible embezzlement of nearly $1 million by the brother of one of the group's founders.

An internal document from the ACORN executive board, obtained by CNN, shows that members Karen Inman and Marcel Reid were 'removed from any office or committee position you may have held.'

"Mesirow allegedly advised ACORN that it appeared that the only reason that they got rid of the board was because it was investigating the theft and would eventually uncover the fact that it was much larger and deeper that just Dale Rathke. The evidence of corruption in ACORN is so glaring and obvious, that it makes me wonder why they are still operating. I wonder who is getting paid off and who has something like a elected position to protect.

"As noted in my blog The Great ACORN Bank Heist, I exposed the connection between SEIU and ACORN. I think a review of the recent events surrounding SEIU will give anyone a clue as to what is going on. A review of the notes from the Chicago meeting documents that it was mentioned that paperwork filed by SEIU Local 100 may have been incorrect and 'there were questions on if proper paperwork was filed, especially in terms of finance going to Wade.'"ACORN's own lawyer Steve Bachman mentions RICO in an email dated July 27th 2008:

'In short, the evidence suggests that Wade Rathke is a liar, a manipulator, and anti-democratic. Whether the evidence will also establish that Rathke has engaged in criminal activity remains to be seen. One question I have is the degree to which people working with him on the Dale 'solution' are subject to RICO prosecution. My recollection is that Gail Harmon told me that the Dale "solution' appeared all but criminal on its face....'

"There may be one person who realized early that ACORN was rotten and one person who refused to let the stinking, dripping laundering of funds meant for the poor reach her members: Madeline Talbott. Talbott, is well known in Chicago politics and much has been made of her ties to President-Elect Obama. What most people do not know is that in January of this year, Chicago ACORN shocked the organization but as Wade put it 'going Rogue.'

"In an all staff memo entitled Going forward and dated February 11, 2008 Wade Rathke details the incident:

Almost a month ago a posting on the internal conference informed all of us that the staff of Chicago ACORN had resigned. In the subsequent weeks we have found that this was not a simple resignation and announcement that a new organization was being formed. In fact it seems that this was a coup d'état in Chicago and an effort was underway not to build a new organization in Chicago, but rather to 're-brand' ACORN under a different name. It also appears that this was something that had been in the works for many months. The ACORN Executive Board has voted to place Illinois ACORN under administratorship under the appropriate provisions of the bylaws given the allegation that the Chicago ACORN board may have been involved in some of this tragedy and because of the ACORN Executive Board's horror that the bylaws, rules and procedures of ACORN were so completely disregarded and ignored. We are attempting to deal with these problems in a restrained and responsible manner.

Efforts are being made through our attorneys to recover ACORN property and equipment. We have been able to recover our telephone number. A temporary office has been rented. The ACORN tax site opens this week (members are calling asking when!). The first communication from Maude Hurd, as ACORN President, is going out today to our members. Alicia Russell and Toni McElroy, both members o the Executive Committee as regional representatives, have been appointed by Maude as 'trustees' to meet with our members and help them restore full functioning and power to Chicago ACORN.

Steve Bradberry and Monica Sandschafer have agreed to 'tag team' over coming weeks and months to act as directors of our organizing program in Chicago as democratic functioning is returned to Chicago ACORN and as Chicago ACORN is re-staffed locally.

A number of organizers from Phoenix, New Orleans, and other cities have agreed to work in Chicago to rebuild the organization during this period when ACORN is under such an unprecedented assault. As voiced last night in another conference call by the ACORN Executive Board, the legacy of Chicago is now a huge level of distrust of the staff and a keen disappointment that these events could have ever occurred. This is a wound that will take a long time to heal, if ever.

"A quick check of the Internet shows that ACORN's old address of 209 West Jackson Blvd, 2nd Floor, Chicago, IL 60606 now belongs to an organization run by Talbott called Action Now. Action Now is described as 'a grassroots membership organization of low-income families based in Englewood, West Englewood, Austin and Little Village.' Wade describes that act as a 'coup d'état,' but the real coup was the power consoldation by Bertha Lewis who has tapped her old friend Richard Hopson to replace Maude Hurd and help move ACORN's national headquarters to New York.

"Talbott reputation precedes her and I am sure that once she even caught a whiff of what ACORN was cooking up that she made a move to distance her members and their legacy from ACORN's. An interesting point to consider is that Talbott sits on the board of the Council of Organizations (ACORN Housing, ACORN, Project Vote, SEIU Local 880 and Local 100, etc.). ACORN is frantically trying to remove her from all dealings with ACORN, but I see this as an opportunity to demand transparency and change. Action Now is seen by some as a rebranding of ACORN, but I see it as community organizing minus the corruption.

"What I am asking now is for funders, reporters and politicians to stop burying your head in the sand and deal with the ACORN problem. How many other schemes will lead back to ACORN? How many politicians, reporters and other officials does ACORN and SEIU have to buy or corrupt for this go away? I [hope] the department of Justice will help me answer these questions."

To be sure, Ms. MonCrief is still young and still idealistic.

Asking "funders, reporters and politicians to stop burying your head in the sand and deal with the ACORN problem" is not enough.

EXPOSING the liberal media's management of the news is necessary.

Telling the WHOLE truth is necessary.

What the public needs is PROOF that it has been manipulated, NOT just an impassioned plea.

Provide the proof, and the problem can be recognized and addressed.

Without the proof being put on the national radar screen by willing members of the media, the problem will not be properly appreciated and addressed.

What is needed, Ms. MonCrief, is an expose of what The New York Times knew, when it knew it and what it did (and did not do) with what it knew.

The official motto of The New York Times is "All the news that's fit to print."

But it's operating rule seems to be "Only the news that fits our agenda."

If The New York Times had fully exposed ACORN, we'd be preparing for the McCain-Palin Administration.

© Michael Gaynor


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)


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