Sunday, September 20, 2009

"About Ten People" Reported At "Uncle Lennie's" Business Rally...

Photo By John Hoff
While I was out of town for two days driving a truck hauling live carp and crayfish, I received word that Lennie Chism's disadvantaged business enterprise rally/expo/whatever happened at the former "Uncle Bill's" store, a structure which has been living on borrowed time. One eyewitness told me there were "about ten" people who attended.

Frankly, that's nine more than I expected.

Lennie advertised the event with a news release, which I'm going to reproduce on my blog for the historical record since this building is so sadly, tragically doomed. The weak, desperate arm flailings of its last, bitter days are sadly, sickly fascinating...

Anyway, here's what was said about the disadvantaged business rally, and I didn't bother to currect the typos.

Corners of Plymouth and Sheridan Avenue North in front of Uncle Bills in Minneapolis. 2426 Plymouth Ave North, 55411.

(JNS wishes to note: This intersection ACTUALLY EXISTS. I just thought it was important to mention that. Obviously Al Flowers wasn't involved in organizing this)

If you ever thought about opening a business, are a business owner - or interested in getting information about becoming a DBE (disadvantaged business enterprise) or WDBE (women disadvantaged enterprise) join Springboard Economic Development Corporation, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Internet Marketing Giant iNetGlobal and other local business for the "Bring Small Business Back to North Minneapolis - A Small Business Rally!"North Minneapolis has not seen business growth, (small or major) in over 30 years.

This is your opportunity to show there are entrepreneurs and small businesses in North Minneapolis that want to grow, live and become profitable in our community. Join us.

Limited booth space will be available for businesses that want to display or provide information about products and services. A $100 fee will be charged for individual tables provided by the event planner Additional promotional packages available.

Jerk Chicken - Jerk Chicken

If you've never tried it, now's your chance. Crispy, juicy and tangy jerk chicken. If you've never tried it, now's your chance. (sic) This is the real deal, folks, presented by Jamaican chef. Watch her expertly recreate this amazing chicken exactly - come take a fantastic voyage of Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Red Beans and Rice. The hottest Jamaican dish with a smile!"

Saturday, Sept 19th, 10am-2pm, 2426th Plymouth Ave North, Minneapolis, 55411. Corner of Plymouth & Sheridan Ave, formerly Uncle Bill's.

(JNS notes: I have a word-of-mouth report that the jerk chicken was actually there as promised)


Anonymous said...

I have to admit, Lennie has some nerve too-

1) Insinuate that MNDOT was a sponsor of this "small business rally."

2) Charge $100 to table on public property.


Anonymous said...

JNS - oh that is a lie. The neigborhood embraced having Jerk Chicken - George Roberts even came boy.

Johnny Northside said...

What are you saying is a lie? I'm not saying the neighborhood didn't embrace jerk chicken! Heck, if I'd been there I would have embraced it, too.

Anonymous said...

I purchased some of the jerk chicken JNS. Uncle Lennie did for sure bring "Jerk Chicken" to the Old Uncle Bills. Spicy and finger licking good. Authentic Jamaican jerk chicken would be a fine addition to the northside. A dish that I purchased before I played golf at Theo Wirth Golf Course Saturday. JNS, Kudos to Uncle Lennie for the efforts. P.S. I am a white guy btw.

Anonymous said...

"George Roberts even came by"

The fact that George Roberts reportedly came by, after all that Lennie and Don Allen have done to try to smear Homewood Studios with their ugly e-mail campaign, is such a beautiful example of George's humility, lack of ego, and great faith that all good things come from reaching out with kindness.

Thank you, Anon 4:56, for sharing this nice anecdote about George.

Anonymous said...

About half of the ten people seemed to be Lennie's friends from the right-wing slumlord rights group ( They had glommed onto Uncle Bill's (they claimed that it was perfect just the way it was, and residents were persnickity to be concerned about the constant gang warfare) in solidarity with their own slumlordy dealings, and so now have adopted Lennie as their new poster child.

As little respect as I have for Lennie's business acumen, it's still somewhat disturbing to see him letting himself be used in this fashion.

The Mortgage Geek said...

Even though I would have gone more for amusement than anything else, had I been in town, I would have purchased Jamaican jerk chicken as well. One good food vendor, however, does not make the event itself worthwhile.

I'm not sure how many people would come to something where the term "disadvantaged business" is tossed around like a badge of honor. It should go without saying that I was even more doubtful of small businesses wanting to PAY money to be associated with that label.

I read the email that the property rights group was passing around (and am willing to post it on JNS as well if asked). That email described Jackie Cherryhomes as a "neighbor" in quotation marks, although she lives nearby and in this case is indeed a neighbor. It also downplayed the crime and the store's role in it, while calling a neighborhood meeting to address concerns "hastily convened."

(To which I respond: what about the WHO meeting of several weeks ago? THAT seemed rather hastily convened to me.)

I've made this comment in various settings and at different times on this blog, and I'll do so again:

At the WHO meeting, it was brought up that the store needs $350,000 in structural repairs; a zoning variance requires the approval of 75% of the immediate residents; and such a variance would require a 100% parking variance as there is no on-site parking, something that is rarely if ever granted by the Zoning and Planning Commission.

(That commission is separate from Don Samuels and the city council, by the way.)

What is Lennie Chism's plan to address these things? And what is his business plan to bring forward a viable business to the site? The requirements for preventing this building's demolition, although steep, have been clear for quite some time now.

Can any of his supporters, or Lennie himself, comment on what is being done to address those concerns? If not, then I hope Lennie is good at charging $100 for table space at sparsely attended disadvantaged business enterprise meetings at a vacant lot, because that appears to be the only way he's going to generate income here.

Anonymous said...

Has Lennie Chism received "due process" with Uncle Bills?

Judge Alrich ruled the Zoning and Planning Committee violated due process, which is part of the the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution and MN Constitution in Hoyt v. City of Minneapolis on Sept 26, 2009.

The right to "due process" for Lennie Chism is an issue.

Johnny Northside said...

Well, if Lennie wants to complain about due process I guess he needs to get himself into court and make his little complaint. And, from what I see, Lennie is "all flash, no cash" so I doubt that will happen.

I suspect that by the time Lennie gets around to making his due process argument, he'll be arguing about a big hole in the ground.

Johnny Northside said...

Let me add to that remark: If Lennie wants to provide me PDF documents of everything he's sent to the city asking for "due process" or hearings or delays or whatever...I'd be happy to post that stuff on my PDF support site. Let people read it and decide.

Send me the stuff! Lennie has my email.

The Mortgage Geek said...

I could be wrong of course, but it seems to me the idea of Lennie not receiving due process is rather dubious.

He bought a building that was ALREADY slated for demolition at the time of its purchase. The issues in need of being addressed were made known to him some time ago in a very public setting. And yet, it appears he has not even remotely brought forward detailed plans that would meet the criteria needed to reconsider the fate of the building.

I know the city can sometimes use rehab dollar amounts that are higher than what the real costs wind up being. But in regards to the $350,000 in repairs, has Lennie even presented proof that the repairs are, let's say, $150,000? And then has he shown that he has the capacity to make those repairs?

Very early on, I speculated (and so did others, perhaps before me) that Lennie's plan all along was to buy a building slated for demolition in hopes of cashing in on the city lawsuit payout gravy train.

I'd love to see organic food being sold in my beloved NoMi, so I had HOPED to be proven wrong. Unfortunately, I think we'll see the structure demolished soon, and then Lennie will follow through on his plan to sue the city for a payout.

Margaret said...

What Mortgage Geek said, although my earlier theory was wrong that he was going to bid on the demo.

I was disturbed to see that some people got sucked into this as "property rights" issue. I agree with Mortgage Geek, the fact that it was already slated for demolition when he bought it is the most salient one, whether or not you think that Lennie can pull off the project he is talking about. For that he needs government intervention (stopping the demo AND a zoning exception) and most likely a government subsidy sooner or later. It's hardly a "constitutional" or rights issue. None of that has to do with Jackie Cherryholmes or the previous owner's relationship with the city. It was clever of him to spin it that way to get some support for his cause but if you live near the place and know the back story, it doesn't wash.

Anonymous said...

I'm just curious...
Does anyone know where Lennie buys his groceries now? Lennie, if you're reading this, please share.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

The "property rights" crowd had already decided to use this property child as the face of their "movement," when it belonged to William Saningular. It's my understanding that William McGaughey had contacted Matt Snyders at City Pages to get him to write an article claiming that Uncle Bill's was a fabulous shop meeting the needs of the community, and that a few elitists wanted to close it down for no reason at all--just as they feel that anyone who complains about their own slumlord activities should be silenced. After a very young and gullible Matt Snyders dutifully transcribed all this propaganda and had it published verbatim, the property rights crown now continually quotes it as objective fact. While City Pages editors, and even Matt himself, admitted verbally at the time that he "got the story wrong," they never actually manned up enough to print a retraction, or correct any of the factual errors in the story. Whatever.

Anyhoo, now that Ali and Uncle Bill are out of the picture, the property rights crowd has glommed on to Lennie in their neverending quest to make the Northside safe for slumlords to operate with impunity.

There may be legitimate "property rights" concerns out there, but that's not what this group is all about.