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Why is Someone With Two Robbery Convictions Getting City Grants?

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  • Why is Someone With Two Robbery Convictions Getting City Grants?

    South L.A. activist accused of misusing public funds
    October 8, 2009 | 5:25 pm

    Police today arrested James Harris, a South Los Angeles community activist and neighborhood council chairman, on suspicion of misappropriating $85,000 in city funds allocated to his neighborhood group.

    Harris, 46, the longtime chairman of the Empowerment Congress Southwest Area Neighborhood Development Council, is the fifth neighborhood council member charged with the felony crime of misusing taxpayer money over the last two years.

    Known for his anti-gang efforts and work with ex-offenders, Harris surrendered to police and bail was set at just over $1 million.

    Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Max Huntsman said Harris has two prior felony convictions for robbery in Los Angeles. The city agency that works with neighborhood councils does not require members to undergo financial background checks.

    Harris’ attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

    Prosecutors allege that while acting as chairman and treasurer of his neighborhood council between April 2007 and January 2009, Harris made a series of cash withdrawals, money orders and credit card purchases that were not authorized. The city’s 89 neighborhood councils, which are allocated $50,000 a year through city checks and a credit card issued to the treasurer, must approve every transaction by their treasurer.

    Huntsman said Harris spent money on travel and hired his daughter to handle administrative work for the group. In a memo to police last year, city officials expressed concern about what they termed “excessive payments” for two accounting personnel hired through an employment agency. Those payments totaled more than $53,000 between June 2006 and this January, according to the group's accounting reports.

    “The key thing here is that almost none of this stuff seems to be approved,” Huntsman said, adding that Harris allegedly submitted fraudulent receipts for work that did appear to have been done. “Any dime he spends must be with board approval,” Huntsman said,

    Harris has been working at the Community Coalition, a group founded by California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) and focused on improving the quality of life in South Los Angeles. As the head of the group’s prevention network, Harris coordinated the efforts of substance abuse programs in the area.

    —Maeve Reston at L.A. City Hall
    Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

  • #2
    Why is someone with two robbery convictions getting city grants?
    I'd guess that its because people who work with gangbangers and ex-cons are former gangbangers and ex-cons. Unfortunately, not all of them stay "reformed".
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    • #3
      Another misunderstood community activist. The alleged misappropriation would be bad enough if the funds had come from other than public sources-read taxpayer money. You can bet the farm, that had a conservative foundation been accused of similar criminal acts, the hew and cry for prosecution would be heard all the way back to Washington. Seems like a local, somewhat watered down version of ACORN's problems.

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      • #4
        Los Angeles has been there, done that. I can't recall the name of the org, but there was a previous case involving "former" gangmembers getting taxpayer money to help mediate disputes, promote non-violence etc. And guess what, they were dealing in dope & guns!

        Here's another one:
        http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lano...-director.html
        Last edited by Kieth M.; 10-09-2009, 03:00 PM.
        "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

        Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

        Three things I know for sure: (1) No bad deed goes unrewarded, (2) No good deed goes unpunished, and (3) It is entirely possible to push the most devoted, loyal and caring person beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t.

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        • #5
          Yes, it seems to be par for the course. You would think that the city might clean up its act.
          Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
          Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

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          • #6
            The Romans insituted the concept of 'Bread and Circuses' to keep the public fed and entertained, and therefore, not rising up against the Senate.

            Los Angeles just hands out bribe money, in the form of City grants, so that some gangsters won't commit crime.
            "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

            Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

            Three things I know for sure: (1) No bad deed goes unrewarded, (2) No good deed goes unpunished, and (3) It is entirely possible to push the most devoted, loyal and caring person beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Kieth M. View Post
              Los Angeles just hands out bribe money, in the form of City grants, so that some gangsters won't commit crime.
              They probably also get out the vote for the mayor and city council.
              Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
              Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

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              • #8
                He prolly be trained by ACORN.
                Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

                [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Kieth M. View Post
                  The Romans insituted the concept of 'Bread and Circuses' to keep the public fed and entertained, and therefore, not rising up against the Senate.

                  Los Angeles just hands out bribe money, in the form of City grants, so that some gangsters won't commit crime.
                  And, we all know the fate of Imperial Rome.

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                  • #10
                    Oh America. I cannot even get a grant to help fund my station.

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                    • #11
                      Sorry slow computer...or site.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        tripple tap

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