Chism is in charge of a charitable organization called Springboard Development Foundation. A search under that name turns up information rather quickly, and leads to the address of the organization at 1901 Glenwood Ave. N.
It's a very interesting address, indeed. Here's some things associated with that address:
First of all, the address is in foreclosure as of August, 2008. It turns up on an official list of foreclosures in Minneapolis. The mortgage is held by Capital Lending Group, Inc. The expiration of the redemption date was 2/19/2009. I guess it's beyond redemption.
The amount of money in question actually wasn't very large, considering the size of some mortgages: it was only $34,879.57.
This same Glenwood Ave. N. address was listed for the "Johnson Lee Campaign" as of 3/2/2005, when a $100 donation was made from that address to the campaign of Neighbors for Toni Carter, Ramsey County Commissioner, District 4. One presumes that is the NATALIE Johnson Lee campaign? Don Samuels' former opponent in the Ward 5 City Council Race? The plot thickens.
My source says Lennie Chism has, in fact, heckled Don Samuels before but doubts this was a planned and coordinated effort, describing Chism as a "train wreck."
If so, that's kind of tragic because the heckling made such a bad impression that it may have helped turned the tide of votes away from McKnight. A sense of cosmic justice would make one hope somebody in the McKnight campaign planned or at least encouraged the incident. The idea that it WASN'T planned, but probably BADLY HURT McKnight just seems kind of...well, one hates to be repetitive but returns to the word "tragic."
My source urges me to ask for a list of the board of directors of Springboard Development Foundation and says Lennie Chism is also the owner of Your Black Wall Street which is, once again, located at 1901 Glenwood Ave. N.
Your Black Wall Street lists itself as involved in marketing and public relations. In fact, "YBWS" has put out a number of videos with half decent production values, distributing this material on You Tube. (See, for example, the channel called "yourbw2" on YouTube) Chism is also the founder of "Twin Cities Black Pages," which sounds impressive...until you start Googling the phrase "Twin Cities Black Pages."
Not a lot turns up, actually. By "not a lot" I mean, as of today, 4 Google hits, one a MySpace page for "Deuce City S.W.A.G.," described as a 24-year-old female in St. Paul. Another thing that turns up is a very interesting RFP (Request For Proposal) which was apparently put forward to the Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund of the State of Minnesota. (This program is funded by the State Lottery)
The proposal is by Lennie Chism and asks for $95,540 to fund a Feasibility Study For Solar Manufacturing, Distribution and Installation Center. The money would go to "Glenwood Enterprises," which is DBA ("doing business as") Diverse Minnesota. These entities are both located at 1901 Glenwood Ave. N. The money would go for a lot of things, but would be spent in a period of time from July 1, 2009 to September 20, 2009. The point of the study is "to determine whether a solar panel manufacturing, distribution and installation will create jobs and will be profitable in the metro region."
One can't help but think that sentence makes more sense if it included the word "center." One also wonders how the fact the building at 1901 Glenwood Ave. N. is foreclosed and beyond redemption will play into these grand schemes and dreams.
Diverse Minnesota has a website at www.diverseminnesota.com, but it is a skeleton site, displaying only "sample content."
You might be asking yourself right about now, "Why, Lennie, pray tell what will this $95,000 and change go to fund?"
Here is what Lennie says the money will fund: Direct mail, telephone, and online surveys. Focus group sessions, which will include 10 groups of 5 respondents. Travel to Silicon Valley to determine plant size and cost. Travel to Portland, Oregon to determine quality control. Travel to Vermont to establish vendor relationships. There will also be meetings with "4 Minnesota Partners," which include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota DEED, EXCEL Energy, and some entity called "SBA."
There is, I should add, another rather interesting little entity (apparently) located at that building called "Urban Trends, LLC." According to an "e-democracy" chat, Urban Trends, LLC snatched up a rather interesting domain name on January 13, 2005? What is the domain? I'm glad you asked.
It is www.donsamuels.com. Since that is now an official Don Samuels website, I assume either Samuels managed to buy the name back or the registration expired and Samuels snatched it back. However, who the two names associated with Urban Trends, LLC are interesting: Rudy Rogers and Travis Lee.
Travis Lee is the husband of Natalie Johnson Lee.
So what conclusions does this lead us to? Well, it appears Lennie Chism has been affiliated with opponents of Don Samuels for quite a while and his rather grand schemes--which have a certain positive flair, certainly a sense of VISION if not the actual JUICE to back that vision up--are overextended, and falling apart like so many other things caught up in the mortgage meltdown.
There is some helpful information about Lennie Chism provided in the RFP document. He is described as a graduate of Ohio State and the "University of St. Thomas Mini-MBA program."
I feel like this is a good start on information about the guy who heckled Don Samuels--thank you, thank you, anonymous source--but if folks have info to add, remember what happens on Johnny Northside stays on Johnny Northside.