Lies, Money, and Deception in the District 2 Jefferson Parish School Board Race

Lies, Money, and Deception in the District 2 Jefferson Parish School Board Race

rickeem candidate

The Jefferson Parish Chamber of Commerce and other moneyed interests have taken the unusual step of endorsing and supporting a young man from out of state named Rickeem Jackson, in a local School Board Race.

This 25 year old had never voted in an election himself (although according to testimony he submitted under oath he admitted others may have illegally voted on his behalf before.)  Rickeem claims (as far as he can recall) he was never legitimately registered to vote prior to qualifying as a candidate for the Jefferson Parish School Board.  He has never paid taxes, although he has admitted to collecting paychecks from his father for running a non-profit charity (a charity his father set up so his son could have the title of executive director.)  Other than working for his father at a charity that may or may not exist, this young man has never worked at a real job, never collected a real paycheck and never paid taxes – by his own admissions.  He is in a rough spot here.  If he ever admits to collecting a paycheck, he’s already admitted to not paying taxes the last two years on his notarized sworn qualifying papers, and in a court of law under oath.  The more he talks and the more one investigates his claims it appears impossible to conclude that he is not violating several laws in his pursuit of an elected position in Louisiana.  He’s well on his way to being a corrupt politician before even getting elected.

In addition to not paying taxes (which is still a legal requirement as a US a State citizen as well as to be a candidate for an elective office – even if you dad gives you checks to run his faux charity).  Rickeem has claimed he is a resident of Jefferson Parish, meeting the two year residency requirement to run for the local school board.  (2 years ago he was actually playing football in Pennsylvania.) However Rickeem can produce no documents to prove this.  When challenged in court, Rickeem could produce no lease agreement, no utility bills, nothing.  The first  driver’s license Rickeem produced was issued in August of 2013 (which would give him a year of residency).  His prior license was issued by Florida.  In Louisiana you only have 30 days to obtain a license once becoming a resident.  If Rickeem met the two year residency requirement, he was in violation of state law for a minimum of a year.  He actually claims he’s been a resident since 2009 so by that claim he violated the law to obtain a state license for 4 years.   In court, Rickeem claimed he lived at various residences owned by his father, and that his father “is really wealthy and pays all his bills.”

09:51:11  17        A(Rickeem)        My dad pays all the bills.  He’s very supportive of me.  He doesn’t charge me anything to live with him.

09:51:23  20        Q (lawyer)    — you have no bills, no documents  reflecting bills you’ve paid as far as household  notes, leases, gas, electric?

09:51:33  23        A(Rickeem)        My dad is Rickey Jackson.  He’s really wealthy.  He doesn’t charge me anything to live with him.  I’ll say it again.

This young man’s residency status was challenged in court, but the judge made a very strange ruling.  This judge ruled that candidates do not have to prove residency, that the determining factor is a candidate’s intent. Apparently this intent can be determined upon the day you decide to run for office in this state and applied retroactively.  Of course his intent was never documented prior to deciding to run for school board.  His actual hometown is listed as Orlando Florida and his prior school is a California University.  Rickeem did not seem to find it important to list anywhere in Louisiana as his Hometown when he was playing football. (Of course by his own admission that would have been odd since he never attended school anywhere in Louisiana and just visited his father there sometimes during the summers.  He actually lived with his mother in Georgia and Florida prior to his retroactive discovery of his intent. He could have also “intended” to run as a candidate in Pennsylvania or Florida by this strained logic.)

rickeem college

Imagine for a moment how this strange decision could play out in races across the state and nation. . .

As long as you never register to vote, and never pay taxes, you can “intend” to be from anywhere.  This ruling should be appealed to a higher court, on principle if nothing else.  I have to wonder if this judge was connected in any way to the Rickey Jackson family?

I don’t expect to change the course of this election by revealing the results of my research.  Lots of money and advertising was plowed into this young man who lived most of his life in in Georgia and Florida, until he moved to California for a year for college and then to Pennsylvania for 3 more years.  This is just one of many crazy school board elections I heard about this year.  I will probably cover a few more of them to show you how the Education Reform Movement and charter schools and their operators have made Chambers of Commerce around the state.

So when did this “intent” to become a Louisiana resident suddenly take place?

Rickeem was playing football at Robert Morris University in 2012 and was still attending school and living in Pennsylvania through May of 2013 by his own testimony.  His plans were to find another university to play for in 2013-2014 but presumably no other university would have him.

https://robertmorris.rivals.com/content.asp?cid=1437439

 Wide receiver Rickeem Jackson has been asked not to return to the Robert Morris football team in 2013, and the redshirt junior is not happy about it.

In the statement, Walton said Jackson is welcome to continue working towards his degree and continue rehabbing his ankle at Robert Morris, and that he’s welcome to pursue other options.

“I’m trying everything in my power to land in the NEC next year so we have a chance to meet again,” Jackson said.

rickeemfootball

But that was then.  Rickeem had not earned his degree, but he was welcome to remain at the university to study, just not play football.  By his own words, Rickeem had every intention of searching for a new place to ply his craft, football, in 2013-2014 school year.  Apparently that did not work out, and instead he ended up as an Executive Director of a “charity”.  Coincidentally this “charity” went online in 2013 according to a WayBack Machine search of the domain name http://www.rickeyjacksonhopecenter.org/, the same year that Rickeem was booted from his football team, and the school year he would graduate Robert Morris University, and need something to do afterwards.

Now this kid from Georgia, Florida, California, and Pensylvania, Rickeem, has made the runoff in a Louisiana school board race against a long time local community leader, resident and teacher.  Rickeems’s only qualifications for office seem to be his pretty face (which he modestly claimed as one of his key assets on the stand) and the vast sums of money that have poured into his coffers.

09:45:49   3        Q (lawyer)    First of all, do you recognize the individual in the document?

09:45:52   5        A(Rickeem)    Absolutely.  It’s a nice looking young man.  It’s a nice looking young man on the picture, me.

09:46:01   8        Q (lawyer)   Nice looking young man?

09:46:02   9        A (Rickeem)   Oh, yeah.

09:46:03  10        Q (lawyer)   Is that what you believe, or is that what  you’ve been told?

09:46:06  12        A(Rickeem)    Both.

 

rickeem donations

 

It appears Rickeem did not file any of his paperwork himself or do anything but show up a few times at a few places.  He had a campaign manager, Councilman Mark Spears (who is not a stranger to ethics issues), his lawyer and consultants provided by the chamber to handle everything.  Rickeem is theoretically still responsible for these filings complying with campaign finance laws, which would include providing addresses for his contributors.  That means you can’t submit reports with blanks for the address spot and be in compliance with the law.  Of course, why start worrying about laws now?

My guess is Rickeem is a puppet and he enjoys his role.  He has been “handled” his whole life that was lived in Georgia, Florida, California and Pennsylvania, so it makes perfect sense that he would fall into that arrangement as an agent for the business interests that want to see more business opportunities for charter school construction and expansion in the parish.

When searching for events that his charity had sponsored, run, or endorsed I found zero evidence online.  When I visited their website for this “charity” I noticed the site was hastily put together from a template, with no specific details.  There was no event info or contact information for other employees.  Rickeem is apparently an executive director of himself.  The address of this “charity” is not even a valid address.  Seriously.  The website has the street name misspelled everywhere, and is listed as a Drive instead of a Boulevard.  However the map a Google provides knows what Rickeem’s site designers meant, even if he didn’t.

rickeem charity1

 

Rickeem is a rootless transient without any experience to hold down a real job, let alone be trusted with the care of children of Jefferson Parish.  This is exactly the kind of person The Jefferson Chamber wants on the school board.  They don’t want someone who cares about the community, the children, their personal reputation or the parish’s schools.  They want someone malleable and amenable to anything they suggest; someone they can control.  If the voters of Jefferson Parish want that too, they couldn’t find a better candidate than Rickeem Jackson.

And based on the Rickey Jackson Community Hope Foundation website, Rickeem really needs something else to do with his time.  This foundation does not seem to sponsor any events.  Their “services” are randomly capitalized  in ways that change their meaning, and their mission statement makes very little sense.   Do they really have an Art Computer Center?

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Rickey Jackson Community Hope Center [Misson Statement]

Rickey Jackson Community Hope Center, (RJCH) is a facility that provides support and quality care for at-risk youth and abused children and their families in the Greater New Orleans area.

RJCHC is committed to eliminating barrier that would compromise healthy, person growth and development. We will raise public awareness and support child abuse prevention with our radio public service announcements. Our relationship with the Courage House Network, NFL Teams, NFL Network and other national media outlets will spread our message. “The Youth is our Future”

RJCHC mission is to develop caring relationships with participants that provide support and guidance in his or her personal, academic, and career path development. High school aged participate in Mentorship, after school tutoring, and career path and leadership development services that are designed to empower and enhance their individual ability to develop into healthy productive citizens and avoid behaviors that can jeopardize their own health and well-being and threaten the well-being of their families and neighborhoods as well.

 

I have no doubt this exactly the kind of person the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce wants on the school board.

They want:

  • Someone who lets other people vote for him
  • Someone with no real ties to the community
  • Someone without any real job experience
  • Someone with no experience in education
  • Someone who seems to disregards laws with abandon
  • Someone who will allow others to do his work
  • Someone with a pretty face
  • Someone who is already pretending to help children for his own enrichment
  • Someone from outside, who lives in a castle, who won’t be influenced by the poor constituents around him

 

So the Chamber’s message is this: Vote for Rickeem Jackson. We gave him money, like others have done his whole life, and he’s here now.

 

Here’s Rickeem’s ethics filing in case someone wants to tip off the IRS. It’s probably time Mr. Rickeem was introduced to the adult world where you pay taxes and suffer real consequences for lying. If he’s been running his foundation, as he’s claimed, since he returned home in August of 2013 and earning 25,000 to 100,000 a year, he should have paid taxes in 2013. He claimed on these forms he did not. He told the judge he did not. He claimed he was receiving paychecks in court too as well as on his campaign filing for Jefferson Parish School Board. Can all of these things be true? If Rickeem wins, his claims should be investigated and appealed. He should also be investigated by the State and Federal government for tax evasion. He wants to run public schools, which are paid for by taxes. He wants to get a stipend as a school board member, paid by taxes. It appears he just doesn’t want to pay taxes. I wonder if having a “really wealthy father” and being a darling of the Jefferson Chamber of commerce makes that choice a real option for him?

 

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Charter schools are now paying kids to try them out

Charter schools are now paying kids to try them out

What are the true costs of charter schools?

Are they really free, as all their literature and supporters proudly proclaim?

Some people will point to the funding a school receives and claim that is the entire cost of a charter school to a community. They then compare the cost of maintaining the existing public system versus the cost of discarding what we’ve built and starting over from scratch. The truth is, there are many costs to communities and children that are hard to quantify precisely. That does not mean those costs don’t exist. The messaging of charter schools is very complex and amorphous, and it changes depending upon whom they are talking to. Charter schools try to be all things to all people . . . except their true natures. The truth is, charter schools are not “free” schools. They are not “free” private schools. They are private but they are not free. These schools cost taxpayers and communities quite a deal, but everyone likes to get something for nothing and oxymoronically, free sells.

However, not everyone is buying what they are giving away for free. In Baton Rouge, despite years of assaults on public schools by local businessman and construction mogul Lane Grigsby, the Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce, New Schools for Baton Rouge and Stand for Children, parents are still choosing to bus their children clear across the parish rather than send their kids to these “free” charter schools. It has gotten so bad that some schools, like Inspire Academy run by National Heritage Academies, is literally trying to bribe parents and their neighbors with gift cards to convince kids to try out their schools.

 

50 dollars for a referral might not sound like a lot, but that could buy enough uniforms in used condition to get through a school year. For people living in poverty, every little bit counts. Imagine if you had 3 or 4 kids. . .those cards could really come in handy around Christmas time. From the charter’s perspective, all they need to do is get the kids to stay through October and they get 10,000 dollars in MFP funds. If the kids don’t like the school, they can always transfer to the regular public school system, but those dollars don’t transfer with them. Those dollars that supported their “free” charter school stay with the charter. But the traditional public school has to stretch their funds to support anyone, which means less dollars and resources for kids who didn’t start out in a charter school. That “choice” impacts our choices.

The “free” gift card is funded by tax payer dollars. It was not free to us. The 10 grand that the charter school gets per child also comes from our dollars that was meant to fund our public schools, public schools that don’t pay families with gift cards to attend them; public schools which are being intentionally forced into bankruptcy, by charter schools and their supporters.

Does this matter to our political leaders like BESE President Chas Roemer and his sister, Caroline Shirley Roemer executive director of the Louisiana Charter Association?

BESE approved Willow Charter Academy in Lafayette, over the objections of the local school board. Willow Charter Academy is a NHA school and another NHA is under construction in Lafayette. In Baton Rouge we have Inspire Academy and in Baker we have Advantage Charter School. BESE, under Chas Roemer and his sister like to hand out free money. I guess it makes them feel popular. Do you still think charter schools are free? I guess it doesn’t matter. By all means try out the “free” charter school and collect your “free” gift card. I’m buying.

 

And don’t forget to Tell Your Friends!

 

I will be on WBOK, the New Orleans Imperative, radio show this morning

I will be a guest on WBOK, The New Orleans Imperative, radio show this morning from 1030 to 11.  I was asked to talk about one of my recent posts about the laptops from John McDonogh High School and Future Is Now charters that were never wiped of student data.

https://crazycrawfish.wordpress.com/2014/10/26/another-data-fiasco-at-ldoe-and-another-reason-charters-pose-a-danger-to-our-children-and-communities/

This situation has much wider implications than most people realize.

Tune in to find out what.