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Scamming the Black Poor and Sick – Lead Paint Settlement Scam

Children poisoned by lead paint exposure suffer lifelong difficulties.

For decades, we’ve known that exposure to high levels of lead can damage the nervous system in children, causing problems that range from hearing loss and seizures to unconsciousness and death. More recent research has demonstrated a link between even relatively low levels of exposure and a variety of subtle cognitive problems including learning disabilities and decreased intelligence.

Children are more sensitive to the harmful effects of lead than adults, because more of the lead they swallow gets into their bloodstream. Children also are at greater risk because they often play on the floor or ground, where lead-contaminated dust or soil is found. And they are much more likely than adults to put this material in their mouths.

This one oddly has a connection to Freddy Gray…

Structured Settlement companies have targeted Baltimore – some of them are crooks.

 

How companies make millions off lead-poisoned, poor blacks

The letter arrived in April, a mishmash of strange numbers and words. This at first did not alarm Rose. Most letters are that way for her — frustrating puzzles she can’t solve. Rose, who can scarcely read or write, calls herself a “lead kid.” Her childhood home, where lead paint chips blanketed her bedsheets like snowflakes, “affected me really bad,” she says. “In everything I do.”

She says she can’t work a professional job. She can’t live alone. And, she says, she surely couldn’t understand this letter.

So on that April day, the 20-year-old says, she asked her mom to give it a look. Her mother glanced at the words, then back at her daughter. “What does this mean all of your payments were sold to a third party?” her mother recalls saying.

The distraught woman said the letter, written by her insurance company, referred to Rose’s lead checks. The family had settled a lead-paint lawsuit against one Baltimore slumlord in 2007, granting Rose a monthly check of nearly $1,000, with yearly increases. Those payments were guaranteed for 35 years.

“It’s been sold?” Rose asked, memories soon flashing.

She remembered a nice, white man. He had called her one day on the telephone months after she’d squeaked through high school with a “one-point something” grade-point average. His name was Brendan, though she said he never mentioned his last name. He told her she could make some fast money. He told her he worked for a local company named Access Funding. He talked to her as a friend.

Rose, who court records say suffers from “irreversible brain damage,” didn’t have a lot of friends. She didn’t trust many people. Growing up off North Avenue in West Baltimore, she said she’s seen people killed.

But Brendan was different. He bought her a fancy meal at Longhorn Steakhouse, she said, and guaranteed a vacation for the family. He seemed like a gentleman, someone she said she could trust.

One day soon after, a notary arrived at her house and slid her a 12-page “purchase” agreement. Rose was alone. But she wasn’t worried. She said she spoke to a lawyer named Charles E. Smith on the phone about the contract. She felt confident in what it stated. She was selling some checks in the distant future for some quick money, right?

The reality, however, was substantially different. Rose sold everything to Access Funding — 420 monthly lead checks between 2017 and 2052. They amounted to a total of nearly $574,000 and had a present value of roughly $338,000.

In return, Access Funding paid her less than $63,000…

But to critics, Access Funding is part of an industry that profits off the poor and disabled. And Baltimore has become a prime target. It’s here that one teen — diagnosed with “mild mental retardation,” court records show — sold her payments through 2030 in four deals and is now homeless. It’s here that companies blanket certain neighborhoods in advertisements, searching for a potentially lucrative type of inhabitant, whose stories recall the legacy of Freddie Gray.

Before his April death after being severely injured in police custody, before this hollowed-out city plunged into rioting, the life of Freddie Gray was a case study in the effect of lead paint on poor blacks. The lead poisoning Gray suffered as a child may have contributed to his difficulties with learning, truancy and arrests — all of it culminating in a 2008 lead-paint lawsuit and a windfall of cash locked inside a structured settlement. By late 2013, Gray was striking deals with Access Funding…More here…

When my mother was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, the scam artists seemed to know to call her. These guys prey on the weak, sick, and uneducated…

Too bad they almost never go to jail.

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2015 in American Greed

 

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Colorado Theater Shooter Becomes Honorary Negro

Killer James Holmes just got a sentence so long… Methuselah would faint at the thought of it. I think the Judge thought he was black!

Holmes looked like this before the sentence…

Colorado theater shooter gets life in prison plus 3,318 years

He looks like this, now.

The man who unleashed a murderous attack on a packed Colorado movie theater was ordered Wednesday to serve life in prison without parole plus 3,318 years – the maximum allowed by law – before the judge told deputies, “Get the defendant out of my courtroom, please.”

The gallery applauded the remark by Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. as he gaveled the hearing to a close, ending a grueling three-year wait to see the gunman brought to justice. Survivors, relatives and a handful of jurors who were in the courtroom cheered and then hugged prosecutors and law enforcement officers. Some wiped away tears.

Samour ordered 28-year-old James Holmes to serve 12 consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole, one for each of the people he killed in the July 20, 2012, attack on a crowded movie theater.

He then added another 3,312 years for 70 convictions of attempted murder, and six years for an explosives charge.

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2015 in Domestic terrorism

 

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Passing the Torch…Amelia Boynton

The folks who led the Civil Rights Marches of the 50’s and 60’s are slowly dying out. Just a week after the death of Julian Bond, another has passed the torch to the next generation…

Amelia Boynton Robinson, third from right.

Civil Rights Legend Amelia Boynton Robinson Dead at 104

Amelia Boynton Robinson, a civil rights activist who helped lead the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” voting rights march and was the first black woman to run for Congress in Alabama, died early Wednesday at age 104, her son Bruce Boynton said.

Boynton Robinson was among those beaten during the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, in March 1965 that became known as “Bloody Sunday.” State troopers teargased and clubbed marchers as they tried crossing the bridge. A newspaper photo featuring an unconscious Boynton Robinson drew wide attention to the movement.

“The truth of it is that was her entire life. That’s what she was completely taken with,” Bruce Boynton said of his mother’s role in shaping the civil rights movement. “She was a loving person, very supportive — but civil rights was her life.”

Amelia Boynton Robinson on Bloody Sunday in Selma after being knocked unconscious

Fifty years after “Bloody Sunday,” Barack Obama, the first black president of the United States, held her hand as she was pushed across the bridge in a wheelchair during a commemoration.

“She was as strong, as hopeful, and as indomitable of spirit — as quintessentially American — as I’m sure she was that day 50 years ago,” Obama said Wednesday in a written statement. “To honor the legacy of an American hero like Amelia Boynton requires only that we follow her example — that all of us fight to protect everyone’s right to vote.”

Boynton Robinson, hospitalized in July after a stroke, turned 104 on Aug. 18. Her family said in a written statement that she was surrounded by loved ones when she died around 2:20 a.m. at a Montgomery, Alabama hospital.

In January, Boynton Robinson attended the State of the Union address as a special guest of Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, who said Boynton Robinson’s 1964 run for Congress paved the way for her as Alabama’s first elected black congresswoman. Boynton was the first black woman to run for Congress in the state and the first Alabama woman to run as a Democrat, according to the Encyclopedia of Alabama.

Sewell said in January that Boynton refused to be intimidated and ultimately saw the impact of her work when the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law. Boynton Robinson was invited as a guest of honor to attend the signing by President Lyndon B. Johnson…

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2015 in Giant Negros

 

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Trump “Deports” Hispanic Journalist From Press Conference

Jorge Ramos is a well known, respected journalist who is an anchor for Univision. Univision is the largest Spanish Language Cable station in the United States, reaching nearly 50 million Hispanic listeners in the US and overseas.

Jorge was asking Trump about his immigration policies…That wan’t good for the Donald.

Hispanic Journalist Kicked Out by Trump

Journalist Jorge Ramos was kicked out of an Iowa press conference Tuesday while trying to ask Donald Trump a question. Trump yelled “Go back to Univision” while refusing to take a question from Ramos. He was later allowed back in to the press conference, at which point heasked Trump how he would deport 11 million people to which Trump responded: “Very humanely.” “Do you know how many Hispanics work for me? Thousands,” Trump said later in the exchange. “You know how many Hispanics have worked for me over the years? Tens of thousands.” Ramos later said, “My job was purely journalistc. My job is to ask questions.”

After protests by other journalists in attendance, Mr Ramos was let back in to ask questions… What ensued was a donnybrook.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2015 in The Clown Bus

 

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TV News Team Gunned Down During Live Interview

Live and on TV…Someone opened fire on a TV News team doing an interview in southern Virginia near Smith Mountain Lake.

WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker was shot to death early Wednesday while running away from a gunman after he shot her cameraman, Adam Ward. Station Manager Jeffrey A. Marks told CNN that Ward’s fiancée, a fellow producer at the station, watched him die on air. “It was her last day. She was moving on to a station in Charlotte,” Marks said, adding that they were planning to hold a celebration in her honor. Ward was reportedly planning to follow her soon.

People from around the globe said they were praying for Parker, Ward, and their families on her Facebook page. In a short bio posted on the page, Parker revealed that she grew up in Martinsville, Virginia, and had interned at WDBJ7 before landing a job there. Ward was a graduate of Virginia Tech. Facebook photos show him proposing to fiancée Melissa Ott.

Parker’s fiancé, a fellow reporter at the station, tweeted a moving tribute to her Wednesday morning. “She was the most radiant woman I ever met. And for some reason she loved me back. She loved her family, her parents and her brother,” Chris Hurst wrote. “We were together almost nine months. It was the best nine months of our lives. We wanted to get married. We just celebrated her 24th birthday.”

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2015 in Domestic terrorism

 

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What a Slavery Museum Teaches…

History forgotten is history repeated. The Atlantic doesn’t quite get it right about the Whitney Museum being the first and “only”.

Why America Needs a Slavery Museum

The Whitney Plantation near Wallace, Louisiana, is the first and only U.S. museum and memorial to slavery. While other museums may include slavery in their exhibits, the Whitney Plantation is the first of its kind to focus primarily on the institution. John Cummings, a 78-year-old white southerner, has spent 16 years and more than $8 million of his own fortune to build the project, which opened in December of last year.

Cummings, a successful trial attorney, developed the museum with the help of his full-time director of research, Ibrahima Seck. The duo hope to educate people on the realities of slavery in its time and its impact in the United States today. “The history of this country is rooted in slavery,” says Seck. “If you don’t understand the source of the problem, how can you solve it?”

Slave Memorial at George Washington’s Mount Vernon marking the unmarked graves of slaves buried next to the Family Burial plot.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2015 in Black History

 

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Fats Domino’s Piano, Like NOLA After Katrina -Still Has a Ways to Come Back

Worked on the post-Katrina recovery efforts in NOLA and Mississippi. The flooding not only killed the houses and infrastructure, but threatened to kill the spirit of a city whose residents were used to adversity.The story 10 years after is one of gradual rebuilding, but how do you knit the spirit of the town’s communities back together when so many are gone? The even bigger question though in my mind – is if we can’t even get it right in America, right in our own back yard…How exactly can we get it right anywhere else?

In terms of the Fat man’s pianos, one black, one white – one working fully, one not restore-able…Seems like a reflection of the whole city 10 years after.

The Piano That Can’t Play a Tune

If you could see Fats Domino’s piano today—white and gleaming on a pedestal at the Louisiana State Museum in the Old U.S. Mint in New Orleans’ French Quarter—you might think he had been kind enough to donate one of his signature grands to the museum for its music collection. That is, if you were unaware of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago, including Domino’s home on Caffin Street in the largely obliterated neighborhood known as the “Lower Nine,” where the white Steinway once held pride of place in Domino’s living room.

Submerged in nine feet of water from a massive breach in the nearby Industrial Canal, it sat for weeks in the fetid lake that covered 80 percent of New Orleans after Katrina. Curators from the Louisiana State Museum raised $35,000 to have it reassembled and restored, and it now sits beneath a spotlight in an exhibit room as if waiting for Domino himself to sit down and play it. At the dedication ceremony in 2013, Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardanne said, “His beautiful grand piano, fully restored, will serve as the perfect symbol for Louisiana’s resilient nature and ever-evolving musical heritage.”

Well, no and yes. Despite the painstaking restoration, the white grand piano is unplayable. It is this last fact that makes the story of this instrument such a powerful metaphor for New Orleans since Katrina. It is a tale about persistence in the face of government neglect, cataclysmic disaster, and the painful incompleteness of reconstruction. More particularly, it is a lesson about the importance of preserving the material remains of the city’s past even as it focuses on the future.

These objects—some partly restored, some not—are all the more important in light of the city’s record of demolition of many significant musical landmarks, despite the recent efforts of preservation groups to turn the tide. Louis Armstrong’s birthplace, for example, was torn down in the 1960s to build a city jail. Other jazz landmarks are in grave disrepair.

The history of New Orleans music had an additional vulnerability before Katrina: The homes of the city’s musicians and writers held much of the city’s musical heritage. Letters, handwritten scores, photographs, cocktail napkins, matchbooks, and musical instruments were under the beds and in the attics of working musicians and their descendants. Most of Michael White’s enormous collection of artifacts from early jazz musicians—some 50 clarinets, reams of sheet music, reeds and mouthpieces, and taped interviews with musicians—is gone. White’s house near the London Avenue Canal in Lakeview took in water up to the roof. The only things salvaged by volunteers were some of his clarinets. “They looked like bodies,” White told me. “And the ones that were in cases looked like bodies in coffins. They weren’t really about me, they symbolized New Orleans history and culture and the present state of the culture.”

Tending to the artifacts the storm left behind, as White did, can feel restorative. And it is not the same as choosing property over people, something that does not bode well in New Orleans. “The black working class in New Orleans,” the historian George Lipsitz wrote in Katrina’s aftermath, “has long refused to concede that white property is more important than black humanity.” After the storm, neighborhood traditions like the parading of Mardi Gras Indians persisted, despite and because of the challenges of rebuilding those communities. But the preservation of cultural artifacts after Katrina, such as Domino’s piano, was something of a different job.

As show-stopping as Domino’s white Steinway grand is, it is the opposite of the first piano he played, acquired by his family in the 1930s. That piano, Domino told his biographer, was “so beat up that you could see the rusted metal through the ivory, it had been played so hard.” According to the authors of Up From the Cradle of Jazz: “The Ninth Ward blues built off of pianos and horns.” There was an old upright in just about every small music club in the Lower Ninth Ward. The white piano, on the other hand, was not even Domino’s regular instrument. Instead, it was the one that greeted visitors to the house on Caffin Street and was a favored backdrop for family photographs. The glorious grand piano testified to his rise from a part-time musician and factory worker to one of the founding fathers of rock ‘n’ roll.

Domino’s upbringing in the Lower Ninth Ward, surrounded by his Creole relatives, inflected his music. His father was descended from French-speaking African Americans who lived as enslaved and then freedpeople in Louisiana’s sugar parishes. Like many Louisiana Creoles, black and white, they had roots in Haiti. When the Dominos arrived in the Lower Nine, the neighborhood was still mostly rural, with unpaved streets, farm animals, and scarce electricity and indoor plumbing. In a recent radio show devoted to Domino, writer Ben Sandmelobserved the artist’s “Caribbean vocal style” in songs like “My Blue Heaven.” “It’s almost like he’s an English as a second language speaker. It’s a very thick regional accent,” Sandmel said. “If you listen to oral histories of people [from the Lower Nine] who recorded around that time there are a lot of thick accents and a lot of French-isms in the speech.” …The rest here

 

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