State Rep Tyrone Brooks indicted for glorified stealing

May 16, 2013 15:41 pm

by Stefan · 15 comments

From WSB:

 

A federal grand jury has indicted Georgia state Rep. Tyrone Brooks Sr. on 30 counts including mail, wire and tax fraud charges.

Brooks, 67, is accused of soliciting contributions from individual and corporate donors to combat illiteracy, but then used the money to pay for personal expenses for himself and his family.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne informed Brooks of the indictment. When asked if he broke the law, Brooks told Winne, “Not to my knowledge. I don’t want to discuss it right now. I want to discuss it on the Moore’s Ford Bridge. That’s what this is all about.”

Brooks has maintained the investigation is backlash into his investigation into the lynching of two African-American couples on the Walton County bridge in 1946. He claims an FBI cover up because there were never any arrests.

This has been a long time coming. These charges first surfaced awhile back. Now that he has been indicted, feel free to speculate on what this means for GABEO, one of the organizations he is alleged to have stolen from, and for Brooks himself. He shows no inclination to resign, but eventually it won’t be his decision.

The FBI press release is here, and goes into detail about the alleged scheme, selections after the jump…

Essentially the indictment (which I haven’t yet read, but will when it is available) states three schemes, one defrauding GABEO and its donors:

 In December 1997, Brooks secretly opened a second GABEO bank account at a different bank. Brooks set himself up as the sole signatory on this account and had the account statements sent to his address rather than the address of the GABEO treasurer. Brooks then deposited the donations he solicited on behalf of GABEO into this undisclosed account, and used much of these funds to pay personal expenses for himself and his relatives.

Between 2002 and 2012, businesses, civic, religious groups, and individuals contributed approximately $300,000 to GABEO through Brooks, which he then deposited into the undisclosed GABEO account.

two, defrauding donors to his allegedly fake charity, Universal Humanities, Inc:

From at least 1995 through 2012, Brooks solicited contributions for Universal Humanities from corporate and individual donors purportedly to combat illiteracy in disadvantaged communities in Georgia and across the southeastern United States, eventually raising more than $780,000. Donors included the Coca-Cola Company ($400,000), Georgia Pacific Company ($140,000), Northside Hospital ($240,000), and others who gave smaller amounts. Brooks made specific false representations in his written solicitations about the work that Universal Humanities was doing to combat illiteracy and how the donated funds would be used, claiming that Universal Humanities had established literacy programs and was conducting workshops and tutoring and mentoring students. He also falsely claimed that Universal Humanities utilized a staff and operated under the direction of a board of directors.

The indictment alleges that in reality, Brooks did not use the donations to promote and address literacy in Georgia or elsewhere, or to retain a staff, occupy office space, fund workshops, hire instructors, or conduct programs attended by students. Instead, Brooks used the money to pay personal expenses for himself and members of his family, including home repairs, furniture, lawn service, life insurance, entertainment, personal credit card expenses, utility bills, food and clothing, dry cleaning, electronic equipment, jewelry, and payments on personal loans, among other personal expenses.

Brooks generally accomplished the diversion of funds by depositing the solicited donations into a bank account he established in the name of Universal Humanities, then almost immediately transferring the funds to a personal account, from which he paid personal expenses. At times, Brooks paid personal expenses directly from the Universal Humanities account.

And the third, most boring scheme was that he didn’t put any of this on his tax return or pay taxes on the falsely appropriated money.

 

ricstewart May 16, 2013 at 4:11 pm

I wonder if Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler (of “Madea Gets Elected” fame: bit.ly/Azq0Nr) feels silly about this speech now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsBoy7_pCCw

gcp May 16, 2013 at 4:46 pm

While Sally Yates is a Democrat her prosecutions are truly unbiased. She is one of the best federal prosecutors and would make an excellent U.S. Attorney General. As for Mr. Brooks and his 1946 murder investigation perhaps he should concentrate on more recent murders like the for which his stepson was convicted.

sockpuppet May 16, 2013 at 7:10 pm

No deal. The Moore’s Ford Bridge lynching investigation should go on until it is resolved. It is a shame that the people who know who the perpetrators were refuse to come forward. Talk about the “no snitch” culture …

gcp May 16, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Many unsolved murders involve witnesses that refuse to come forward. Why is one case from 1946 more important than all other the other unsolved murders that occurred since 1946?

Mike Hassinger May 16, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Can we focus on the 3/4 of a MILLION dollars that DIDN’T go to combating illiteracy? Please?

George Chidi May 16, 2013 at 8:53 pm

I actually think Sally Yates would make an excellent U.S. Senate candidate.

ricstewart May 16, 2013 at 9:50 pm

I’ve been wondering why the Democratic Party of Georgia hasn’t been trying to recruit her. Seems she’d be a stronger candidate than Nunn.

Stefan May 16, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Who would recruit her? Who is left over there? What could they offer? There are a ton of great Georgians who could be good Democratic candidates, but what any prospective candidate needs is communications, finance, ad research assistance and what can the party offer along those lines?

sockpuppet May 17, 2013 at 9:19 am

1. She could run for Senate without resigning her current job. Not being able to do so was the deal-breaker for Barrow.
2. She wouldn’t need those things as much because being a female she has built-in support AND she has a successful prosecutor background – a Democrat who puts criminals in jail instead of getting criminals out of jail – would allow her to claim the center while the GOP candidates are trying to out right each other during the primary.
3. She would get a ton of assistance from the national party in terms of both money and organization. Of course, that would run the risk of her getting tied to Nancy Pelosi, but she could counter by reminding everyone that Pelosi never put Tyrone Brooks and Bill Campbell (oh, and Eric Rudolph) in federal prison.

And if she wins, she could remake the Georgia Democratic Party in her own image by being its de facto leader.

griftdrift May 17, 2013 at 10:53 am

“1. She could run for Senate without resigning her current job. Not being able to do so was the deal-breaker for Barrow.”

There’s a big problem with that. While technically true, having a prosecutor full cross the political line would generate incredible problems for her. I mean we are talking about the person who literally puts politicians in jail.

Having said that, surface level look, I think you are correct she would be a good candidate.

And given the roadblocks for advancement within the Democratic Party ( i.e. what’s Jason Carter going to do? Primary Hank Johnson), they need to start thinking creatively.

sockpuppet May 17, 2013 at 11:49 am

Representing that district – a majority black one – would be worse for Jason Carter’s future prospects, not better. But aside from that, the party’s main problem is itself. A big reason why so many politicians choose to be RINOs in the GOP instead of sticking with the Democrats is because the Democrats in Georgia don’t give their party members to be moderate on economic or social issues. You get frozen out by their tiny coalition of urban liberals and the college activist/progressive crowd. They keep telling themselves that eventually the GOP will mess up so badly that it will create an opening – not true – or that demographics are on their side (also not true).

The Democratic Party’s biggest problem right now is ideological rigidity. When it is claimed that the GOP is extreme in Georgia, they merely mean that the Georgia GOP lacks outright RINOs like Rudy Giuliani, Olympia Snowe etc. who disagree with 70% of the GOP platform. When considered in context of actual GOP officeholders and voters, there is much more ideological diversity in the Georgia GOP than there is in the Georgia Democratic Party, and that is because the Georgia GOP has a leadership and an activist/donor base that allows it while the Georgia Democrats would rather keep wishing and pretending as if they were running for office in another state.

griftdrift May 17, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Yep. I know that moment of lucidity was going to be short.

Carry on.

gcp May 17, 2013 at 11:43 am

Doubt if Yates would run for office. Husband Comer lost in a dem. Congressional primary several years ago. I still say she would be a fine US Attorney General but it looks like the useless Eric Holder is going to remain until 2016.

sockpuppet May 17, 2013 at 10:10 am

And this is exhibit 1 million on how the black leadership doesn’t actually care about black people. Now I am not going to necessarily state that blacks should consider voting Republican until the GOP acknowledges that blacks have the right to choose their own agenda just like everybody else instead of being lectured about the issues that blacks SHOULD care about (most of which aren’t even political issues at all and would result in the GOP enacting pretty much nothing for blacks but giving away a ton to their other constituencies) but that is another issue for another day. Instead, black voters need to choose better, more capable and more ethical Democrats than this.

Yes, Tyrone Brooks is corrupt, but this points to a deeper problem: electing lifetime professional activists who have no qualifications or means of support other than working for civil rights organizations. I remember when Nathan Deal appointed those DeKalb school board members. All the outsiders to the black leadership were impressed with their background and competence, but the black leadership criticized people for praising them merely because “they came from corporate America.” It’s like they go from job to job whether in politics or some civil rights group or maybe some bogus academic post where all they have to do is lecture on their politics and organize their students for political campaigns, not actually teaching and especially no research. It isn’t so much that their ideology never gets challenged, because some very liberal Democrats have proven to be pretty effective leaders. (Hate Jerry Brown all you want, but he has done a pretty good job with the mess in California, and before that was a good mayor for Oakland.) But it is that these career civil rights activist/politicians never have to prove that they are able to DO anything, from prioritize a budget to handle zoning to managing an infrastructure project.

Black Democrats with real world experience are the biggest threats to people like Brooks. Republicans can’t beat them in elections, and even if Republicans win statewide office guys like this will still have their little fiefdoms. So there has to be some way of extricating the black community from the grips of this self-perpetuating leadership caste.

Dave Bearse May 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm

The AJC reported that if Brooks is removed from office because the charges interfere with fulfillment of the duties of office that his seat stays open until the next General Election.

I understand the GOP to have 119 seats in the House. Another Dem (even temporary) vacancy and the GOP will have a 2/3 (119 / 178 = 66.85%) majority (during the period of temporary vacancy).

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