President Barack Obama recently announced his latest community initiative, “My Brother’s Keeper.” Ironically, the name obviously taken from a Biblical passage is similar to the name of a group caught up in a fraud scheme.
That scheme was one in a number of fraud schemes The Chicago Sun-Times said were related to “state health or commerce department grants and contracts.”
In September, 2013, the paper cited a total of $16 million siphoned off in the schemes. Not all were related to fraud associated with We Are Our Brother’s Keeper, but many of the schemers had connections to Democrats elected to office and in two cases, the president.
The paper listed a number of the cases, including:
“Defendants: Former County Club Hills police Chief Regina R. Evans and her husband, Ronald W. Evans Jr., former inspector general for the south suburb
Filed: April 4, 2012
Charges: Conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering
Details: The Evanses admitted spending about half of a $1.25 million commerce department grant on gifts for family members and friends and to pay off personal debt, including a mortgage on the New Regal Theater on Chicago’s South Side. State Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) helped the couple’s not-for-profit organization, We Are Our Brother’s Keeper, get that state grant, which was to be used for a job-training program that was part of theater restoration efforts. Trotter has not been charged.”
The paper also said Jeri L. Wright was charged in the case of We Are Our Brother’s Keeper. Wright is the daughter of Jeremiah Wright, notorious pastor who was mentor to the Obama family.
Besides Wright, another case involves a top state official with close ties to Obama’s old friend Eric E. Whitaker when Whitaker was Illinois’ public health chief.
Quinshaunta R. Golden was chief of staff to Whitaker. Golden’s uncle is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Wright’s daughter was convicted on various charges related to We Are Our Brother’s Keeper on Friday.
Numerous other cases, some involving people tied to members of the state legislature, have also been prosecuted or will be.
No media have reported whether federal money made up some of the funding in the defrauded state grants.
Did the Obama team think about the fraud associated with We Are Our Brother’s Keeper when they selected the name My Brother’s Keeper? Maybe not, but it might be a good idea to rethink the name for the president’s community-organizing-on-a-national-level initiative.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/March 13, 2014)