ByÂ Jeffrey Anderson-The Washington Times
The director of a nonprofit group accused of misappropriating more than $300,000 from the Districtâ€™s HIV/AIDS program to renovate a strip club used derogatory and homophobic terms on his radio program to describe two openly gay members of theÂ D.C. Council, saying efforts to hold him accountable were part of a racist agenda.
Cornell Jones, director of the nonprofit groupÂ Miracle Hands, used his Saturday radio show on WOL-AM 1450 to attack council membersÂ David A. Catania, at-large independent, andÂ Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat, who both requested the probe that led to charges againstÂ Mr. Jones.
Mr. Jones, who is black and frequently employs racial imagery while discussing politics on the show, also claimed that much larger sums had been in question atÂ Whitman-Walker Health, a prominent AIDS clinic thatMr. Graham previously ran, but that racial bias on the part ofÂ Mr. Graham,Â Mr. Catania and other white officials was to blame for the attorney generalâ€™s action against him.
D.C. Attorney GeneralÂ Irvin B. Nathan filed a false-claims complaint last week againstÂ Miracle Hands andÂ Mr. Jones, charging them with misusing city funds set aside for renovations on a proposed job-training center.
Asked to comment onÂ Mr. Jonesâ€˜ remarks,Â Mr. Cataniaâ€™s office responded in an email: â€œThat kind of hateful language has no place in public discourse. It is all the more abhorrent and harmful coming from the director of a non-profit that received public funds.â€
The attorney generalâ€™s complaint, filed in D.C. Superior Court, seeks $1 million in damages and accusesÂ Mr. Jones andÂ Miracle Hands of unjust enrichment and submitting false expenditure reports in violation of the Districtâ€™s False Claims Act. It saidÂ Mr. Jones improperly diverted $329,000 in funds distributed by the D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration for renovations at a warehouse in Northeast that now houses theÂ Stadium Club, a â€œpremier gentlemanâ€™s club.â€
Yet the conversion did not occur and the job-training facility has never opened, the complaint says.
City financial records show thatÂ Miracle Hands received more than $5.8 million in D.C. funds from 2000 through February.
In January, The Washington Times reported that theÂ Stadium Cluboperates with a liquor license reserved in 2007 for a blighted warehouse property at 2127 Queens Chapel Road, whichÂ Mr. Jones owned at the time and used as theÂ Miracle Hands office. By 2009, he had leased the property to a pair of businessmen who were purchasing the liquor license and planning to open a strip club there.
But as plans for theÂ club came together,Â Mr. Jones, a convicted drug trafficker immortalized in the Black Entertainment Television series â€œAmerican Gangster,â€ andÂ Miracle Hands also were receiving the HIV/AIDS grants for renovation work at the same location, the attorney generalâ€™s office said.
To read more, visit:Â http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/sep/6/dc-nonprofit-probe-leads-to-insults/
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