Michael Gaynor
What Fox's Glenn Beck and ACORN 8's Michael McCray did not tell you
By Michael Gaynor
February 12, 2010

I should have added that McCray had quietly acted in his own interest in pushing Kappa Alpha Psi Federal Credit Union (KAPFCU) to replace Citizens Consulting, Inc. (CCI) as ACORN's accountant and ACORN 8 leaders and former ACORN national board members Marcel Reid and Karen Inman quietly helped him.

At Andrew Breitbart's Big Government, what is supposed to be a description of contributor Michael McCray is a simple statement that McCray is "the National Spokesman for ACORN 8" and this noble-sounding description of the ACORN 8 (also posted at its website):

"The ACORN 8, LLC (www.acorn8.com) consists of national, state and local board members, presidents or chairs. As such, we are leaders in our communities and within ACORN who are struggling to reform the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now following the discovery of a multi-million dollar embezzlement.

"Who We Are — The ACORN 8 are members and leaders within ACORN. The ACORN 8 consists of national, state and local board members, presidents or chairs. We are typically loyal Democrats and we don't understand why Democratic leaders have not rallied to help us. But regardless of political party affiliation, we all share a passion for helping the underserved and disenfranchised through direct community action.

"What We Believe — ACORN is not living up to its original mission; and that is to give meaningful voice and empower low and moderate income members of society. ACORN has been corrupted from its original purpose by senior management and an organizational structure that exploits the low and moderate income membership ACORN was founded to serve.

"Voter fraud, voter registration fraud, unpaid taxes, unfair labor practices, etc, while tantalizing are not the problem, but merely symptoms of ACORN's corrupt leadership. The real problem with ACORN is its governance — and the lack of transparency and accountability of that leadership.

"What We Are Not — The ACORN 8 are NOT trying to Destroy ACORN. We are members and leaders of ACORN and are only attempting to reform the association and return it to its original mission and purpose.

"We are NOT disgruntled ACORN employees or GOP/Republican operatives. Thus, we do not have a partisan axe to grind or a political agenda to support.

"What We Want — The ACORN 8 demands an immediate suspension of all federal, state and local funding of ACORN until after an independent audit and Congressional hearings on ACORN and its related entities. And all members BOYCOTT ACORN until after a forensic examination of ACORN and its related entities....

The ACORN 8 slogan is "fighting for truth, transparency and accountability within ACORN."

I have a problem with limiting "truth, transparency and accountability," as the ACORN slogan does.

Evidence available on the Internet shows that ACORN 8 leaders have a big problem with being truthful and transparent even "within ACORN."

Beck has not called that evidence to the attention of his listeners and viewers, either due to ignorance or a desire to help the ACORN 8.

Beck guest McCray, an attorney and a CPA, attracted my attention last year by denigrating United States Marines.

In "ACORN 8's Michael McCray Demeans Marines, Defends ACORN, Decries Current ACORN Leadership" (July 16, 2009) (http://www.webcommentary.com/php/ShowArticle.php?id=gaynorm&date=090716), I responded:

"The ACORN 8 are out to take control of ACORN from the current ACORN leadership by comparing ACORN to the United States Marines, claiming ACORN is a wonderful organization and criticizing the current ACORN leadership as a corrupt cabal that hijacked ACORN.

"Michael McCray, ACORN 8 spokesperson: 'In a way ACORN is like the "Marines." ACORN will go into areas where few (if any) traditional organizations will go and organize chapters. ACORN will protest, demonstrate and fight institutions which more traditional organizations shy away from — like banks, corporations and high ranking politicians. So if you are a poor or working class person and you have a serious grievance against the "establishment" but you can't call Johnnie Cochran — you better call ACORN. They are the only chance you have.'

"Bulletin for Mr. McCray: Comparing ACORN to the America's heroic Marines is malicious and Mr. Cochran is dead.

"Mr. McCray: 'I believe ACORN has been hijacked by a cabal of individuals who are acting in their own interest.'

"But (1) there has not been any hijacking, (2) like the current ACORN control group, the ACORN 8 are acting in their own interest, and (3) ACORN remains the subversive organization that it was founded by Wade Rathke to be (although Mr. Rathke's formal ties to ACORN were severed after 38 years as a result of the public disclosure of the ACORN embezzlement scandal and its cover up)."

Wikipedia: "A cabal is a number of people greater then two together in some close design, usually to promote their private views and interests..., often by intrigue. Cabals are sometimes secret societies composed of a few designing persons.... [The term's] usage carries strong connotations of shadowy corners, back rooms and insidious influence; a cabal is more evil and selective than, say, a faction, which is simply selfish; because of this negative connotation, few organizations use the term to refer to themselves or their internal subdivisions."

Was McCray projecting? Is the ACORN 8 national spokesman's calling the current ACORN control group a cabal and example of "the pot calling the kettle black"?

Wikipedia: "The phrase 'The pot calling the kettle black' is an idiom used to accuse a person or thing of being marked with or guilty of the very thing they are pointing out. This may or may not be hypocritical or contradictory."

I should have added in my article that McCray had opportunistically responded to the ACORN embezzlement scandal by pushing for Kappa Alpha Psi Federal Credit Union (KAPFCU) to replace Citizens Consulting, Inc. (CCI) as ACORN's accountant and ACORN 8 leaders and former ACORN national board members Marcel Reid and Karen Inman quietly helped him.

It calls to mind Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel's admonition not to let a crisis go to waste!

I quoted McCray as follows: "We believe that any [who] participated in, benefited from or knew about and withheld information about the embezzlement from the board should be terminated and/or removed from any association with ACORN. We demanded a forensic examination and independent financial audit of ACORN and all of its related entities to ferret out the wrongdoers."

With respect to the late Paul Harvey, people need to know "the rest of the story."

I should have presented evidence that "truth [and] transparency...within ACORN" was something about which McCray and his ACORN 8 helpers were...selective.

The truth is that the ACORN embezzlement scandal presented a golden opportunity to take control and make lots of money and McCray recognized it and acted, with the assistance of ACORN 8 leaders and without disclosing McCray's interest in KAPFCU (http://www.kapfcu.org).

KAPFCU's bid to replace CCI and do ACORN's accounting work failed, despite the best efforts of McCray, Ms. Reid and Ms. Inman.

As reported in ACORN's Submission in Support of Its Petition for Writ of Quo Warranto in the now dismissed ACORN v. Rathke case filed in a Louisiana state court (available at http://www.capitalresearch.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/acorn-v-rathke1.pdf):

"...ACORN had already retained the Sidley Austin Law Firm to investigate and make recommendations regarding the 1999-2000 embezzlement that had occurred, and it had hired the Meisirow Accounting Firm to make recommendations regarding internal controls and other financial matters. It is ACORN's surmise that the two Board members [Ms. Reid and Ms. Inman] filed the lawsuit in an attempt to coerce the Board into their way of handling the situation surrounding Mr. [Wade] Rathke's termination and the resulting turmoil of the organization.

"These two Board members, and their attorney, further attempted to coerce the Board by reporting that the Temporary Restraining Order had been granted, attaching a copy, instructing the Board, IMC, Senior Staff, and the Executive Committee to comply with its terms, and warning the Board that it may otherwise be participating in concealment of evidence and violations of federal law. In fact, at the time Mr. Gray wrote the Board, IMC, Senior Staff, Executive Committee and Corporate Counsel, he and his clients knew that the bond had not and would not be paid and that the TRO was not in effect. This pesky fact was not reported to the members of the ACORN Board, all of whom are non-lawyers or to ACORN's Corporate Counsel."

Even more significantly, the Submission continued: "ACORN is also concerned about the relationship between the two Board members who filed the suit, their attorney, and KAPFCU, an organization that the two Board member promoted to take over the financial responsibilities of ACORN from CCI, one of the named defendants in the Petition. Mr. Gray holds himself out as representing both ACORN and KAPFCU in this matter, which appears to present a conflict of interest. ACORN has not hired KAPFCU, the KAPFCU proposal is not responsive to the Board's resolution for financial review, and KAPFCU has no legal interest in the litigation. KAPFCU's only interest in this litigation is in taking over ACORN's business from CCI. Mr. Gray has ignored ACORN's request to explain the relationship, and ACORN specifically refuses to waive the conflict."

"Meisirow Accounting" appears to be Mesirow Financial (http://www.mesirowfinancial.com/company/history.jsp), the firm hired to provide financial advice to ACORN and previously headed by a major Obama donor, Richard Mesirow.

The Submission reported in footnote 7 that Ms. Reid and Ms. Inman submitted the KAPFCU proposal on KAPFCU's behalf. A copy is at pages 62-68 at http://www.capitalresearch.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/acorn-v-rathke1.pdf).

The minutes of KAPFCU's December 13, 2008 annual board meeting minutes (www.kapfcu.org/pdfs/2008_4th_annual_meeting_minutes.pdf)show that McCray is an Associate Board member listed as attendee 8 and that he made a presentation during the meeting. McCray reported that KAPFCU is the only African-American fraternity credit union with Community Development Financial Institution certification. That distinction notwithstanding, the KAPFCU financial statements show total assets of $831,083.41 and year-to-end net income of less than $10,000, so it would have been a bonanza for KAPFCU to obtain ACORN's business. (McCray's name appears on the KAPFCU stationery, but his first name is misspelled.)

As Beck's guest on his television on May 12, 2009, McCray presented the ACORN 8 position on ACORN's history and embezzlement problem as follows:

"...Wade Rathke is the founder of the organization, and he is an incredible organizer. And it was his vision that allowed ACORN to progress to kind of where it is today. Unfortunately, with, you know, absolute power comes some corruption, and the board members found out about eight or nine months ago that there had been $1 million embezzlement by his brother.

"Now, what the board did at that point of time was that, once the full board found out about it, they immediately moved to terminate Wade and Dale, then they tried to put in place the young ladies that you interviewed on Friday — Karen and Marcel — in order to try to set the record straight and get to the bottom of what happened to the money."

McCray described CCI as "basically the financial nerve center for ACORN and all its entities" and asserted that "we requested a forensic examination and financial audit of CCI" in order "to try to follow the money."

Tellingly, McCray, supposed advocate of truth and transparency, did NOT mention the failed KAPFCU bid to replace CCI for ACORN, much less disclose his personal interest in KAPFCU and having it replace CCI.

Amusingly, Beck said that he agreed with McCray "on principle."

It's necessary to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

© 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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