First, here's the video.
Here's some things to keep in mind. New York city ACORN is controlled by Steve and John Kest. Despite what Glenn Beck says, all ACORN insiders say that the real power base in ACORN is currently derived from these two brothers. ACORN's current CEO, Bertha Lewis, used to head up the New York branch.
That said, the most recent video prior to this was from Washington D.C. That area was run by Marcel Reid, currently one of the principles in ACORN 8. She categorically denied any knowledge of the video though she said she knew the folks in the video on Glenn Beck. She said the same in an email to me right after the appearance. So, it's not necessarily a given that the Kest's knew about this behavior.
One thing that insiders tell me is that the Kest brothers want their own names out of the media. This video will do the opposite. It's also time to start speculating if and when these videos will bring down ACORN. This is the ultimate manifestation of the drip drip factor. It can't go on much longer before major funders follow the census withdrawing their money. This will hit ACORN in its most important place, the pocket book. It is money that leads to their ultimate goal, power. Their money will dry up first and then their power. These sets of videos, in my opinion, are going to finally once and for all bring down ACORN.
Here's the press release I just received from ACORN 8
As members, former leaders and dedicated community activists; we are
saddened and troubled by the recent transgressions of the Association of
Community Organizations for Reform Now, especially the recent stories about
“pimps and prostitutes” condoned by ACORN staff from Baltimore, Washington,
DC and Philadelphia. Unfortunately, this is yet another example of poor
governance, mismanagement and corruption within the once venerable
Margaret Williams, Maryland ACORN board member and Sonja Merchant-
Jones, Baltimore ACORN President both reported that the low level ACORN
employees caught on tape in the Baltimore office and two additional employees
from DC ACORN were immediately terminated for behaving unprofessionally; but
yet, senior staff members who assisted and concealed a million dollar Rathke
embezzlement remain employed.
While we commend these board member’s decisive action, we find it
extremely ironic since the board of directors do not actually control ACORN
employees; according to ACORN’s by-laws that authority is exclusively exercised
by the “Chief Organizer” formerly Wade Rathke. This fundamental disconnect
between an actual functioning board of directors and senior management is the
true problem and real scandal within ACORN, it causes low-income members and
staff to become mere pawns of senior management.
The existing board of directors has been dumbfounded by ACORN’s
complex organizational structure in the past – but the future is crystal clear. If
ACORN is to survive then the know nothing, see nothing, do nothing board of
directors must by replaced by individuals with the strength and capabilities to fulfill
their fiduciary responsibilities and the courage to reign in corruption by ACORN’s
Ultimately, ACORN’s low-income workers are simply trying to meet and
fulfill unreasonable membership quotas set by senior staff, this undue
management pressure results in fraudulent voter registrations, tax assistance for
“pimps and prostitutes” or worse. However, all community based organizations
providing tax preparation assistance to low and moderate income individuals
should not become scapegoats for individual wrongdoers. Don’t fault poor
workers – blame the board!
DC ACORN President (and ACORN 8, LLC co-founder) Marel Reid was
physically removed from the DC ACORN office for fighting for truth, transparency
and accountability in the DC ACORN office. Carol Hemmingway, President of
Philadelphia ACORN was a member of the management committee that first
sought ACORN’s books and records following the discovery of the Rathke
embezzlement. We are simply trying to correct the saddest of sadness, the living
out of the proverb that corruption of the best becomes the worst. We are few but
we are mighty and we’ve been fighting for truth and transparency inside ACORN
for the last few years. We’ve filed lawsuits, sought injunctions, called for a boycott
and reported wrongdoers to the Justice Department.
Unfortunately, the media’s focus on the trivial and salacious actually
distracts and detracts from legitimate investigations and true reform efforts. For
instance, ACORN would much rather talk about Mickey Mouse or Tony Romo
voting rather than explain why there was never a forensic audit following the multi-
million dollar embezzlement.
Poor governance and lack of accountability are the real problems. Voter
Fraud or rather Voter Registration Fraud are mere red herrings. They are
symptoms of a far greater problem. And that is the lack of meaningful control and
accountability by the membership. ACORN has been hijacked by senior staff and
executive leadership who are acting in their own personal interest and not the best
interest of the association or its membership.
Consequently, the ACORN national board of directors must wake up, step
up and right the ship – the crooks are not going to remove themselves. But
instead, the ACORN board members who stood up for fairness and righteousness
were improperly and illegally removed from the national board. By ejecting the
ACORN 8 from its national board of directors, ACORN and other alleged
perpetrators conspired to “injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate” these
members “in the free exercise or enjoyment of their rights or privileges secured to
them by the Constitution” and as dues-paying ACORN members; violating their
First Amendment right to speak out on matters of importance to ACORN
and petition government for related relief. Moreover, one or more of senior
staff members may have acted to avert liability for the referenced embezzlement, the
unlawful concealment of that crime, and/or other breaches of fiduciary obligations.
On January 7, 2009, ACORN 8 representatives submitted criminal
complaints to 15 different FBI and/or U.S. District Attorneys offices across
America including the District of Columbia. These complaints allege
violations of Title 18 U.S.C. §241 - Conspiracy Against Constitutional Rights, and
possible RICO violations. Additionally, a blistering report released by Rep. Darrell
Issa (R-CA), the Ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government
Reform Committee, also supports ACORN 8 allegations of wrongdoing and
enterprise corruption; and presents compelling evidence that ACORN has evaded
taxes, obstructed justice, engaged in racketeering, and created a conspiracy to
defraud the United States.
Unfortunately, in the words of House Judiciary Committee Chairman
John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich), as reported on June 25, 2009 by the Washington
Times, the “powers that be” do not want an investigation of the Association of
Community Organizations for Reform Now.
ACORN 8 is a group of current and former board members that are acting as a watchdog group in an attempt to create reform within ACORN.
Please check out my new books, "Prosecutors Gone Wild: The Inside Story of the Trial of Chuck Panici, John Gliottoni, and Louise Marshall" and also, "The Definitive Dossier of PTSD in Whistleblowers"