Friday, June 5, 2009

"True JACC" Lawsuit In The Jordan Neighborhood: Kip Browne, Ben Myers Go Back And Forth On The Stand..

Contributed Stock Photo, Kip Browne, last night
THIS POST DOES NOT CONTAIN PARODY. Sometimes the truth is funny enough.

After Ben Myers temporarily left the stand--with the Goddess of Truth pretty much worse for wear, walking around in a torn toga with evidence of date rape drugs in her system--Kip Browne was sworn in to testify.

(No, that was not parody, that was metaphor) 

So, with Myers only half done, and Browne on the stand, but Myers scheduled to return, once again, when Browne was finished, it was truly a case of "dueling JACC leadership," just like the competing agendas which were the first salvo in this long, arduous battle.

Before Kip took the stand, Plaintiff Attorney Jill Clark rose to take care of what she called a "housekeeping matter." She wanted to put affidavits in the record, including the affidavit for Kip Browne. Here is the list of affidavits Jill Clark put forth:

Linda Baker. Robert Wilson. LaFayette Butler. Jernell McClane. Alfred Flowers. And Zachary Metoyer.

Judge Porter said, "With the exception of Flowers, those are received." The court reserved ruling on the Flowers affidavit, which was pretty much a bizarre rant about how Council Member Don Samuels supposedly plotted to back into Flowers, step on his feet, get Flowers to shove Don Samuels, and start the video cameras rolling at RIGHT THAT MOMENT. It was apparently Jill Clark's contention that Flowers' affidavit about a "set up" with Samuels tended to corroborate the Jerry Moore "fracas" incident was also a "set up."

Yeah, well, it's about time for an editorial remark, here and now: Jill Clarke, there's no "set up," you lawyer-to-loons. The individuals you represent like Flowers and Moore are temper-prone thugs who can't keep their paws to themselves. That's why they find themselves in this position, and then have to blame their simple, crude, pathetic loss of emotional control on some elaborate conspiracy.

Where was I? Oh, yes, listening in a state of idol worship as "New Majority" Chair Kip Browne took the stand and described his impressive educational background. Browne said he once helped run a non-profit on behalf of a charter school. This was where Browne learned about the need for a non-profit to be open and inclusive. Browne got involved with JACC to improve his neighborhood, in particular with regard to boarded houses and crime. In October of 2007, he was elected to the board.

"Did you have an axe to grind when you were elected?" Defense Attorney David Schooler asked.

"No," Kip answered. Over and over, Kip would give these simple, direct, yes-and-no answers. Browne said "since Ben Myers is an attorney, I thought it would be a professional board." However, Browne discovered things were "rocky" and it was "learn as you go."

Browne said the promulgation of the neighborhood's strategic plan was a "remarkable incident." The contractor was a guy named Todd Barnes, and copies of the finished product were passed around which were, in Kip's understated description, "lacking." Ben Myers, Brian Smith, and Jerry Moore left during the presentation. Myers came back and demanded everybody turn in their copies of the presentation, which had cost $15,000, given to Todd Barnes. 

I will say I have seen the document in question. It has a very unprofessional appearance. I've seen better from college freshmen. Some in the Jordan Neighborhood call this document "the comic book." (Another source says Barnes and Moore are good friends going back to at least the time when they worked in the city council office of Natalie Johnson Lee. Barnes reportedly defaulted on a rather large contract with another non-profit, and Moore was advised by NRP not to have further business dealings with Barnes. But as it became apparent Moore was going to give this contract to Barnes anyway, then NRP advised Moore not to pay up front, to get the finished product and then pay. But Moore didn't even do THAT. He paid everything up front)

Browne said the Myers board was "secretive." Jerry Moore made some changes to the strategic plan, but Kip Browne thought the revised version was "equally deficient." In yet another classic understatement, Browne said "the conclusions didn't seem to be driven by the data" and the strategic plan was "not addressing crime and boarded houses."

Moving on to the subject of grievances, Browne said during this time there was "distrust between those in control of the organization" (the executive board) and members of the community. Grievances were being filed left and right. Around this time, according to Browne, "Jerry Moore floated a concept or idea there were one year terms." Browne described Moore as "obnoxious and rude," and said Moore had "published an unvetted slate of candidates, never mailed notification to the community, created a ballot nobody on the committee saw and authorized some expenses to Linda Baker."

According to Browne, Moore not only told Browne that he (Browne) "like(s) to kiss the white man's ass" but, in fact, Moore said this to Browne TWICE. Whether you believe Moore or Browne, it is undisputed between the two of them that Jerry Moore, JACC Executive Director at that time, told Browne something about how Browne "kisses ass."

Browne went on to discuss how, on November 12, 2008, the board members voted to extend their own terms, and then participated in the elections of executive officers.

Flashing forward to "the fracas" involving Jerry Moore on the night of board elections, in January of 2009, Kip Browne recalled a woman named "Catrice Champion" was talking to Denny Wagner about youth programs. In the course of this conversation, Wagner patted Moore on the back in what Browne would characterize as "a sarcastic manner." Jerry then swiped at Wagner with an open hand to the face, "Like a cat," Browne said.

I couldn't help but think of another name for "cat," but this is mostly a family blog.

At that point, according to Browne, Jordan super-volunteer Megan Goodmundson came close to Moore and said, "Jerry, don't do that, that's criminal." Jerry shoved Megan backwards. At that point board member PJ Hubbard went up to Jerry and said, "You're out of order, you don't put your hands on a woman like that." Moore hit PJ in the forehead and PJ's glasses flew off. Kip Browne recalls Moore being "restrained" and "escorted out a back door" by "church people."

Attorney David Schooler turned the questioning to Moore's application for unemployment compensation. Browne said he had received an unemployment submission from Moore. No employment contract was contained within this submission. Having now reviewed the alleged and purported Jerry Moore employment contract, Browne feels the fracas incident fits under the "moral turpitude" clause of the document.

"What was the reason for Moore's termination?" Schooler asked.

"Misconduct," Browne answered, simply.

Shortly after that, some discussion came up about the whereabouts of evidence, and Judge Porter--in a tone that was half kidding, but the other half was NOT kidding, and the two halves didn't necessarily weigh the same, oh no,--said something a little like this:

"I just recalled there was this typical remark by Ms. Clark about not getting something which, this time, actually turned out to be true!" (Usually she's complaining about) "not getting stuff from these people, and blah dee dah. I just wanted to make sure she is off that particular rant now."

In fact, Porter went on to use the word "rant" twice. I tried to write all of it down, but it was hard. Porter was on a roll, laying into Jill Clark, and Clark had no choice but to paste a fake smile on her face because, hey, it's THE JUDGE, after all. It's the guy who is going to decide the case. You can't bicker with him like you can with opposing council. I remember thinking how this little aside by the judge was the clearest indication I'd seen about how he regarded Jill Clark and her case: with disdain.

Soldiering on bravely with what seemed, at that point, pretty much a doomed loser case just waiting to get drop-kicked to the Fourth of July, Clark proceeded to cross examine Kip Browne. She introduced into evidence an email from Megan Goodmundson to Kip Browne, dated January 9, 2009, in regard to a woman named "Tamara Hardy." Browne said Hardy's name was removed because her employment could not be verified despite numerous attempts.

Clark asked Browne "what about inclusiveness?" Browne answered Hardy had every opportunity to prove her employment and yet she didn't.

Clark switched gears and asked if Kip Browne knew what a blog was. Of course, Kip answered, he knew. Then he added, "You mean like Johnny Northside?"

Dang. I owed Kip a drink. Or, more precisely, Kip (who had owed me two drinks) now owed me merely ONE drink.

"Should JACC financial details appear on public blogs?" Clark asked.

Browne said he didn't disagree with that. Let the financial details be on the blogs. There is nothing to hide.

In regard to officer elections, Browne asserted board members are elected first, THEN officers are elected. Clark, seemingly reading from a prepared question, asked, "What plan was there for a smooth transition when removing the Executive Director and all the executive officers in one night?"

"We were going to handle it," Browne answered.

There's your answer, I thought. The question was rather like, "What plan was there for a smooth transition when taking back the cockpit from the hijackers?"

The day of testimony ended. More to follow.

SOON, I promise.


Anonymous said...

If the Jerry Moore fracas was a set up: it follows that Ms. Catrice Champion, Ms. Linda Higgins, and Mr. Moore would have to be in on the set up. It was Ms. Champion's insistent questioning of Ms. Higgins "Where's the money?" that caused Mr. Wagner to write a note to Ms. Champion, a person he had never met before. (Who set up Ms. Champion to badger Ms. Higgins?") It was Mr. Moore that invited Mr. Wagner to speak directly to Ms. Champion after the meeting, because she had been questioning Mr. Moore about "Where's the money?" (Who set up Mr/. Moore to invite Mr. Wagner to re-engage Ms. Champion?) It was Mr. Moore that interjected his own personal ideas, and tried to scratch out the numbers on the note that Mr. Wagner had given Ms. Champion and tried to redirect the conversation between Mr. Wagner and Ms. Champion, after he invited him to discuss the note with her! Why not bring her in as a witness to the set-up, she knows better that anyone. "It riles them to believe that you perceive the web they weave"

Anonymous said...

If/when Myers takes the stand again I'd like to see the defendants attorney open a line of questioning regarding the closed selection process (there's nothing else you can call it) of the ballot prior to the New Majority taking control of the neighborhood organization.

It'd be very interesting to learn how he would explain the fact that candidates (for the board ballot) were basically hand-pcked by himself and the E.D., with very little (if any) public knowledge.

Anonymous said...

It's an old post but is there a mistake in this paragraph?

"Flashing forward to "the fracas" involving Jerry Moore on the night of board elections, in January of 2009, Kip Browne recalled a woman named "Catrice Champion" was talking to Denny Wagner about youth programs. In the course of this conversation, Wagner patted Moore on the back in what Browne would characterize as "a sarcastic manner." Jerry then swiped at Moore with an open hand to the face, "Like a cat," Browne said"

Jerry then swiped at Moore(??? should "Moore" be Wagner instead?) with an open hand to the face,

Johnny Northside! said...

You are correct. That was a typo. It is now fixed. I'll fix an old typo when it's brought to my attention.

Anonymous said...

Heh. U kno why that came up!