“Black United FUN! Spitzer-Gentrified Black Charity’s Landmark Turned Into a Yuppy-Buppy Bar”

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By James C. McIntosh, M.D.

The building at 2271 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard is now a bar called “Shrine.”ÿ This same building that was once the stylish landmark headquarters of Harlem’s largest Black charity, Black United Fund,ÿÿ is now the haunt of thoroughlyÿgentrified Blacks and bored young whites out for a good time or a night of adventure…ÿ The sign on the front of the building that used to read “Black United Fund Plaza-God Gets The Glory,” now reads “Black United Fun Plaza. God Gets The Glory.” (A picture of the sign is the tongue-in- cheek centerpiece of Shrine’s website and can be seen atÿhttp://www.shrinenyc.com/directions.html.) The sign, the name and location of the bar all seems to mock the events which have led to this shrine to Black Dis-empowerment. How didÿall this happen, when in 2003, Eliot Spitzerÿthe man who was the New York State Attorney General and ÿnow sits as governor, promised that he was appointing aÿnew board of directors ÿfor Black United Fund toÿ “breath new life into BUFNY and help shepherd its finances?”ÿ
This is how!ÿÿReal estate records reveal thatÿin October of 2005, a little more than two years afterÿSpitzer ripped the charity from the control of its founder Kermit Eady andÿ made his pledge of breathing “new life into BUFNY,”ÿ the BUFNY HQ buildingÿÿwasÿ soldÿ right under the noses of a sleeping Black electorate for $3,435,854.00ÿby an entity called BUFNY Houses Associates. The property was transferred via a grant deedÿto an entity called 2273 Realty LLC.ÿ The mailing address of the owner was listed as 1987 7th Avenue.ÿRecordsÿshow that addressÿis owned by Neighborhood Partnership Housing Development Fund Company with a mailing address of 80 5th Avenue. Recordsÿalso show thatÿthe Neighborhood Partnership Housing Development Fund Companyÿÿhas over the last few years been involved in over three hundredÿlandlord-tenant cases-most of them eviction cases. Breathe new life? Partnership? Housing Development?ÿConfused?ÿ Don’t be. The answer lies in the wisdom of our ancestors.
The late Black psychologist, Amos Wilson, taught that in a system of white supremacy,ÿÿ in order to find outÿan entity’sÿpurpose and meaning, simply reverse the name of the entity. The system responsible for mis-educating Black childrenÿis called the Education System, the system responsible for inflicting injustice on Black peopleÿis called theÿJustice System, etc . Likewise, under Governor Spitzer’s reorganization of Black United Fund of New York (BUFNY), William E. (Bill) Davis, a former Commissioner of Landmark Preservation, was appointed toÿBUFNY’s Board of Directors.ÿÿÿArmed with this wisdom of Amos Wilson, it should have been easy to figureÿout what LandmarkÿPreservation would mean for Black United Fund.ÿÿÿIf politicians and community residents were confused at the time, things should be clear in 2007 when the following facts are reviewed…
1. In 2003, Black United Fund was the largest charity in Harlem and was chaired by its founder Kermit Eady. It was involved in 40 million dollars of development, operated 400 units of affordable housing for Black folks as well as a radio station, two ATM machines and two technical centers with services similar to Kinko’s.
2. In 2007, both Black United Fund Technical Centers are closed.
3. In 2007, the radioÿbroadcasting station purchased by BUFNY is now dismantled and silent.
4.ÿ In 2007, the two ATM machines operated by BUFNY are gone.
5. In 2007, the stylish landmark headquarters building of Black United Fundÿthat was on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard is now a bar.
6. As of the time of the publication of this article, there has been no mention by Spitzer or any of the Harlem Politicians to the public of what happened to that 3.4 million dollars that exchanged hands in the sale of the 2271 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard Building.
7. Kermit Eady, the man who founded the Black United Fund of New York,ÿ is out in the cold discharged without a dime of severance pay, never charged or convicted of anything yet never even permitted to return to the headquarters to retrieve priceless possessions saved over 25 years of his stewardship.
All this makes sense only if one applies Wilson’s principle to theÿentire original statement of Eliot Spitzer’s announcement of his takeover of Black United Fund.ÿÿSaid Spitzer, “Our goal here is to help BUFNY flourish. The interim board – comprising talented individuals with proven records of service – will breathe new life into BUFNY and help shepherd its finances and programs.” Applying Wilson’s principle, it is clear to see that Spitzer’s wordÿ[life] means death, [flourish] means perish and [shepherd] means fleece or rip off.
To learn more about Eady Associates and the work of Kermit Eady please visit: www.kermiteady.comÿÿÿ or call 1-888-538-9803.

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