elginjones3web.gifCHURCH CONTROVERSY
Instead of finally being resolved quietly, yet another issue has surfaced related to the long-running fight over finances at New Mount Olive Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale. The church has paid tens of thousands of dollars – and some parishioners have even donated money to – Mack King Carter Ministerial Enterprises, a company owned by church pastor the Rev. Mack King Carter and his wife. The company had been defunct until a few weeks ago. Former members of the congregation’s board say they had no knowledge of the payments. The company was formed in 2001, and was dissolved by the state the next year, though payments from the church continued. After I contacted the firm’s CPA, Pamela B. Watson, she said papers would be filed to reinstate the company, and they were. Carter is not commenting, but Watson said it is not, and never has been, a non-profit organization, and that she assumes all money coming into the company is revenue, not gifts or donations.

Another airline filed for bankruptcy, unemployment is up, crime is out of control, gas prices are at record highs, and now we are in the throes of a shortage of some food crops. Instead of focusing on these critical issues, Sen. Hillary Clinton has joined the Republican Party elitists in a con game to keep the people distracted with Sen. Barack Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The whole thing is intended to distract us from real matters crippling our lives as we wind down from the horrendous George W. Bush tenure. Clinton knows she has lost the Democratic Party’s nomination, but is playing on the fears of the less educated by leading a political beat down of Obama to soften him up for Sen. John McCain in the general election. Clinton is bent on ensuring an Obama loss so she can then run again in 2008. Party politics is a dirty game, and if this doesn’t wake black folks up, what will?

Marshall Hugo Grant is being held on attempted first-degree murder and other charges pending the outcome of psychiatric evaluations. The incident unfolded after he entered the IGA grocery store on 36th Street in West Palm Beach, through the exit door. He and store manager Marino Hernandez began arguing about it, according to the arrest report. Grant and Hernandez allegedly pulled handguns, as did assistant store manager Roberto Espinal. Grant then backed out of the store, firing several shots in the process. The managers never returned fire, but cornered him outside with guns drawn, and ordered him to drop his weapon, which he did.

There will be a free home ownership seminar and clinic next week that could end up helping some people keep their homes or assist others seeking to buy. RAD Financial, Domain Title, Wachovia Bank, Regions Bank, and a host of Realtors and credit repair experts will comprise the team. The event will take place May 8 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the South Regional Library on the campus of Broward Community College, inside the auditorium. The library is at 7300 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines. For more information,  contact Rachael Craig-Dunn at 954-745-2400, ext: 2377.

It didn’t come out of any closet, but a crew cutting back trees in the yard of an Oakland Park home did find near-mummified skeletal remains in a tree after trimming back some of its limbs. Homeowner Glenn Parker says he never smelled anything, and had no idea a dead body was in the tree. Authorities are attempting to identify the remains, and the cause of death.

According to a just-released study by the nonprofit Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a think tank, workers in Florida have seen staggering increases in the cost of health insurance between 2001 and 2005. At the same time, wage increases have not kept pace and many employees are opting to drop the coverage just to make ends meet. This is another disgrace, and when the politicians ask for your vote, ask them to show you what they’ve done, or tried to do, about this, and watch them take off running.

By the time you read this, Gov. Charlie Crist may have already signed a new bill into law that will reap even more penalties on already-struggling renters who break their leases, for any reason. The measure, which would allow landlords to impose several months’ rent as fines, quietly sailed through both chambers of the state Legislature with unanimous votes last week, and is headed to Crist for his signature. This is a bad deal for the people, and hopefully the “people’s governor” will veto it.

The ghost of former Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne, who is serving time in a federal prison after pleading guilty to corruption charges, could soon resurface. Former BSO Deputy Lee Martin will go on trial May 12 on charges of official misconduct for allegedly falsifying crime records. Four other BSO deputies have already been convicted of falsifying arrest reports and making up confessions when pinning crime on innocent people. Sources say that Jenne is singing like a bird to federal investigators who could be questioning him about any number of cases, and it is also rumored he could be called as a witness in Martin’s trial.

The Miami-Dade School Board is throwing its support behind a measure put forth by Superintendent Rudy Crew that will postpone salary increases for teachers, cut hundreds of jobs, raise the price of school lunches, and do away with bus service at some schools. The district is facing a financial crisis in which as much as $75 million could be lost due to state budget cuts. It is expected that other drastic steps like closing down some schools could be on the way. We’re in a mess.

One day after being released from prison, Joseph S. Lumpkin, 31, was shot to death while fighting with a Miami-Dade police officer in Goulds. Authorities say the incident took place after a brief foot chase. The officer held the unarmed Lumpkin at gunpoint after a store security guard pointed him out as a shoplifting suspect. Police say there was a fight over the officer’s gun, which resulted in the shooting. But several witnesses dispute that account, and say there was no struggle at all. The investigation continues.

City of Deerfield Beach employee Wayne Adams has received an apology from AT&T for any “inconvenience” he may have suffered over the company’s release of his personal phone and Internet information to the Broward Sheriff’s Office. The release of the records was based on subpoenas that falsely claimed Adams was distributing child pornography over the Internet. Jennifer Kay, an AT&T attorney, wrote to Adams that the corporation was required to comply with the subpoena even if it did not include the false language, but she never addressed the possible emotional distress, embarrassment, or harm it may have done to his reputation. The American Civil Liberties Union has taken the case and is considering filing suit. Adams is contemplating filing a complaint with the Florida Bar against Dennis Niecewander, the prosecutor in the Broward State Attorney’s Office who processed and issued the subpoenas.