Monday, June 1, 2009
"True JACC" Lawsuit In The Jordan Neighborhood: Trial Testimony Concludes, Fourth Of July Expected To Be "Independence Day" For JACC New Majority...
THIS BLOG POST CONTAINS ELEMENTS OF PARODY, which is known to cause low birth weight and fetal parody syndrome, best cured by dropping Ben Myers off at an orphanage in Texas. In the picture above, New Majority JACC Board Chair Kip Browne shares high-quality tequila with me.
The movers and shakers of the "Pro City" revitalization movement do not drink cheap crap like "Steel Reserve" beer, but prefer the very finest libations, to set ourselves apart from thug culture.
So, to continue with the testimony of Ben Myers, under cross examination by Defense Attorney David Schooler, Ben was then asked if he could come up with a single instance of financial impropriety by the "New Majority" Board. Ben cited two purported examples: hundreds of dollars of Cub Food gift cards and $1,500 given to Dan Rother to defend himself against Jerry Moore's attempt to obtain a restraining order.
I waited for more. There was no more. That was all Ben had: gift cards and the legal expenses, which the new board believes Rother should be "indemnified" against. The cards were apparently given away at some kind of cancer screening, in accordance with the guidelines of the grant. This was the best Ben Myers had to throw at the New Majority. You have to sit there and wonder, "What the heck are we doing here?"
Schooler asked about the "Old Majority" board--the Myers board, if you will--giving notice to the other JACC board members of having its own special little board meetings. Myers had to admit that, um, they hadn't had any board meetings. Myers said the litigation forces issues to be addressed "day by day." It was hard to remember, at times, that Myers is the PLAINTIFF, here. He's the one trying to sue somebody. At times, Myers had that whipped-dog tone of a guy who just got his car repossessed and served with divorce papers.
Schooler pressed for answers about the issue of administrative costs for JACC, how important that was, and hadn't Myers testified during his deposition that he didn't know, in two years, what those costs were? Hadn't Myers testified he had NO IDEA what bench mark was the goal as far as administrative costs? Myers went into a long blah blah blah response about...
...how he can't give a benchmark, about how things are changing all the time, and it's relative. This long but hardly substantive reply went on for a while, until finally Judge Porter said--without waiting for an objection from the defense--that he's going to strike Ben's whole answer. Myers, now forced to actually answer the question, said he couldn't disagree with an assertion that administrative expenses during the "Old Majority" executive board's reign of fiscal terror were 91 percent.
"Can you name another neighborhood executive director," Schooler pressed, with a $60K a year salary, and Blackberry privileges, and all this with a budget of merely $200K? No, Myers had to admit, he could not.
Soon after this came a break in the proceedings. When proceedings resumed, Jill Clark told the Judge that Ben Myers had suffered a SPONTANEOUS NOSE BLEED out in the hallway, but he'd be all right, as long as he could keep some Kleenex with him on the stand. She tried to be very casual about this "spontaneous nose bleed," but of course inquiring minds want to know WHAT THE HECK IS THAT ALL ABOUT? Most times when people bleed from the nose, it's not spontaneous, but rather a result of being hit. What the heck happened out in that hallway, I wondered, and WHERE WAS JERRY MOORE? Good lord, did Ben give Jerry Moore one of those "sarcastic back pats?"
On the stand, Myers scraped repeatedly at some kind of spot on his suit. I couldn't see the spot, whatever it was, and yet Ben scratched at it, scrunching up his face. I was worried "Brother Ben" was going to unravel, then and there, scraping at the invisible bloody spot. Schooler inquired about the "relocation of the JACC office," asking "on what authority did you rely to move the JACC offices?" Ben replied he relied on the authority of the JACC Chair and Vice Chair, namely himself and E.B. Brown. Myers said the decision "needed to be made."
When asked by Schooler to define the word "major" as in "major decision which requires consulting with the rest of the board" Myers really couldn't define the word "major." Why am I not surprised? There are a lot of common words and phrases he can't define very well, like "Mothers Day."
"But there was no board approval behind it?" Schooler asked.
"Correct," Ben answered.
Schooler asked what Ben had done about relocating the offices, and Ben answered he'd sent a letter.
"What ELSE did you do?" Schooler asked, and it was clear this was heading down that long, hard, stone cold silent path to the Fifth Amendment.
Jill Clark objected on the grounds of the Fifth Amendment. Judge Porter said that wasn't a valid objection.
"You can give advice to Myers, but it's not a valid objection," Porter explained.
So Clark made it clear she wanted to advise Ben Myers, attorney at law, about that whole Fifth Amendment thing.
Schooler tried going another route. He asked if JACC has office equipment. For some reason I started having a flashback to the movie "Sixteen Candles," where the Chinese exchange student (Long Duk Dong) is found beneath a tree "drunk as a skunk" and somebody is asking him where Grandpa's automobile went. And Dong is all, like, "Auuuuuuuutomobile?" And then making sounds like a car splashing into a lake. I kept picturing Ben Myers saying, "Ooooooffice equipment?"
Yes, Myers answered, JACC has ooooooffice equipment.
Schooler asked what does JACC have? And Myers answered computer monitors. I had to wonder why he mentioned THAT, except I can't help but think of a picture I've used on this blog over and over, a messy bit of desk space where a computer monitor used to be, but disappeared. Schooler asked about printers and scanners? At some point, Ben took the Fifth Amendment once again. Schooler began to argue Myers has a fiduciary duty to JACC, whether he is the chair or ex officio. Schooler turned to Myers and asked: Did you move equipment?
Myers took the Fifth.
Schooler asked if Myers had ever known the whereabouts of the equipment after the date it disappeared, and once again, Myers took the Fifth. Later that night, I also took the Fifth, drinking about a fifth of a quart of tequila and wishing to God the mother I share with Ben Myers didn't have to be alive to witness this shameful episode.
Schooler asked if Myers knew the equipment was MISSING. And Myers answered the issue had been brought to his attention, but claimed he had "no direct knowledge." Of course, these are the moments when you just gotta say, "What the hell?" He takes the Fifth over the whereabouts of the equipment, but then claims no direct knowledge?
Schooler inquired about checks written after January 14. Myers answered he MAY HAVE written out checks. Schooler asked by what authority did Myers write checks after he was voted off the board as vice chair? Myers said he still had authority, and he was still the vice chair. Myers admitted he had custody of the checkbook after January 14, but Myers said he doesn't know where it is TODAY.
Asked why he doesn't return the checkbook, Myers said he doesn't "acknowledge the executive officers." He also doesn't acknowledge half of the phrase "death and taxes," but let's move on.
"Who is Atoi Miller?" Schooler asked, and Myers said she was a JACC office assistant, she was paid hourly. Schooler then went into a long line of questioning about Jerry Moore's salary and Bob Miller's objections. Myers said Miller had an objection related to how the IRS would view the contract but these were, Myers said, "not good faith concerns."
Did I mention how Myers has difficulty defining certain words and phrases? Add "good faith" to that list.
TO BE CONTINUED...