Saturday, January 31, 2015

Scuttlebutt Bubbling, Gossip Circulating And Dissatisfaction Brewing With Ishmael Israel, Kind-Of, Sort-Of, But-Not-Really "Executive Director" Of NRRC...

Facebook photo used under First Amendment Fair Comment
and Criticism, blog post by John Hoff

Pictured on the right, Ishmael Israel of NRRC. (On the left, of course, Al Flowers) 

I had to swear a blood oath upon Minnesota's shield law to obtain this information from a neighborhood source, who has been very reliable, insightful and detailed in the past. But I'm still trying to make sense of the story, which is a tangle of neighborhood politics. In other words, the kind of thing only a neighborhood blog cares about for a neighborhood audience. 

If Mr. Ishmael Israel of NRRC would like to send me an email with his side of the story, I welcome his response and will publish it, within reason. 

But here's what I'm being told...

Scuttlebutt in the neighborhood is that some time back the female treasurer of NRRC was forced to resign. WHY was she forced to resign? Well, to my way of thinking it's rather interesting but I'm choosing not to concentrate on that. 

Here, according to my source, is the "more relevant issue," which concerns Mr. Ishmael Israel. Is he the Executive Director of NRRC? Or is he an independent contractor? Word is Israel tries to have it both ways and, increasingly, it's causing questions and dissatisfaction within a small group of neighbors who, admittedly, could fit comfortably within a metaphorical teapot. 

But here's what I'm being told in an email from a neighborhood source in the know, who has talked to other sources:

The more relevant issue is his employment status and his construction company...Ishmael is widely called the "Executive Director" at NRRC and he presents himself that way. He's seen as the same level ED in the community as Cathy Spann or Chris Morris or Roberta Englund, at least in that he has the same title and responsibilities for the NRRC. 

But reportedly he's NOT the ED. He is simply an independent contractor acting in an executive capacity. And this allows him to have it both ways. He has the political cache that comes with being a neighborhood director, but not the responsibilities and apparently not the conflict of interest requirements that would be part of that role. Because of that, he allegedly funnels projects his way when he has insider knowledge and insider clout to get these deals. 

My source goes on to note the source is unaware of any complaints about the quality of the quality of work by Israel's company however:

I have heard rumblings of how highly inappropriate all of this seems. 

To which Johnny Northside says: Rumble away, people. I'm happy to sponsor the discussion right here. 

My source also reminds me that NRRC's last executive director, Sherri Pugh, nearly ran that organization into the ground with real estate speculation. This caused NRRC to lose major funding, and this right at the height of the foreclosure crisis. 

In closing, my source adds: 

I don't know how or to what degree the NRRC organization is involved "on paper" with any [property] ownership, here. But they have to be aware of what he's doing and complicit at some level. 

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