From the Chicago Tribune:
Just weeks after some 20,000 demonstrators protested what they decried as unequal justice aimed at six black teenagers in the Louisiana town of Jena, controversy is growing over the accounting and disbursing of at least $500,000 donated to pay for the teenagers’ legal defense.
Parents of the “Jena 6″ teenagers have refused to publicly account for how they are spending a large portion of the cash, estimated at up to $250,000, that resides in a bank account they control.
Michael Baisden, a nationally syndicated black radio host who is leading a major fundraising drive on behalf of the Jena 6, has declined to reveal how much he has collected. Attorneys for the first defendant to go to trial, Mychal Bell, say they have yet to receive any money from him.
Only one national civil rights group, Color of Change, has fully disclosed how the $212,000 it collected for the Jena 6 via a massive Internet campaign has been distributed. The grassroots group, which has nearly 400,000 members, has posted images of cancelled checks and other signed documents on its website showing that all but $1,230 was paid out in October in roughly equal amounts to attorneys for the Jena youths.
Yet that transparency did not halt acrimony over the fundraising from breaking into public view on Baisden’s popular radio show this week, when Baisden invited Bell’s father, Marcus Jones, to accuse Color of Change founder James Rucker of misapplying the donated funds.
Jones offered no evidence for his assertion. But Baisden told his listeners that Rucker “sounds shady to me,” before promoting his own fundraiser, scheduled for this weekend, which aims to collect at least $1 million for the Jena 6 and other black defendants across the country.
You can send an email demanding Baisden and ABC Radio retract their baseless attacks and set the record straight here.