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What’s Going On

Billionaire philanthropist Robert Smith is under investigation

2020 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTION

Barack Obama

The Presidential convention season has ended. President Donald Trump was renominated Monday night by the Republican Party in Charlotte, NC. Vice President Mike Pence said that the economy is on the US ballot this year. Didn’t President Barack Obama say at the Democratic Convention, last week, that Democracy was on the ballot? Democracy and/or the economy, POTUS 45 does not get high marks in either category. He has no platform nor record which merits a second term. The GOP Convention opening night was peopled by a confederacy of liars. It is imperative that all Americans who still love the country and its promise must get out and vote before or by November 3.

NEW YORK
EDUCATION: The NYC Department of Education has a few problems with brief classroom encounters this school year. The United Federation of Teachers and the Principals unions vow not to return to schools until all parties to school environment are COVID tested, which sounds like a plan considering the experiences at schools of higher learning since the fall semester began. Failure to do so will result in teacher absence, boycott, despite state laws banning those actions. Last week, the Department of Homeland Security classified teachers as essential workers. On Monday NYC’s Schools Chancellor referenced the possibility of outdoor classes. Some NYC K-12 private schools open this week.
BUSINESS: NYC Mayor de Blasio moves forward with the Sale of Tax Liens on Real Property by the City Of New York on September 3 like he is impervious to the disruptions to the economy since the advent of COVID19 this year. Many of the houses on the list are based in Harlem, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, disproportionately affecting Black homeowners. Fortunately, NYS Senator Leroy Comrie is urging Albany legislators to defer NYC tax lien date. Hizzoner needs money … but at the expense of the city’s homeowners.
A NYC initiative with Ernst & Young, Goldman Sachs and Mastercard will aid Black Entrepreneurs anchored at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The aid consists of one-on-one consulting, access to affordable financing, and creating virtual storefront. This initiative should be duplicated throughout NYC, customized to community needs.

BLACK ENTERPRISE
America’s richest Black billionaire/philanthropist Robert Smith, founder of Vista Equity Partners, who paid full four-year tuition costs for the Morehouse College Class of 2019, is the subject of a four-year tax inquiry. Did Smith failed to pay US taxes on $200 million in assets that moved from Vista’s first private equity fund through offshore entities? The problem: Was Smith the beneficial owner of the offshore structures that received subject proceeds or were funds directed to a charity? The Justice Department has not filed any charges against Smith whose net worth is $5.2 billion.
The Black Business Empowerment Commission, BBEC, is a national organization focused on the Economic Health of the Black community, a group which boasts $1.5 trillion in annual disposable income. It is a collective of Black business owners, community and religious groups whose purpose is to devise a plan for Black economic empowerment via business growth and workforce development, which should be a priority for all elected officials. Some of the key BBEC organizers include the Harlem Business Alliance, hbany.org; WEG, a group of Harlem entrepreneurs, wegnyc.org; the National Black United Front, Dallas Texas; and DMG Global Media, umbrella for HarlemBusinessJournal.com and Bmorenews.com, which established the National Black Wall Street Foundation in 2019. BBEC which will host three virtual Town Hall Meetings focused on political accountability and the November US elections. For more info and to register for Town Hall meetings #2 and 3, visit bbecommission.org
There is a C-Suite opportunity for Director of the World Trade Center and Campus Complex in NYC for the Port Authority of NY & NJ. Director is responsible for oversight of WTC facility, its safe and effective operations which includes management of a $200M annual budget. Contact Billburgess@TheBurgessGroup.com or call 212.406.2400

AFRICA WORLD
On August 18, a group of Colonels headed Assimi Goita, staged a peaceful coup in Mali, ousting President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who resigned and dissolved Parliament. For weeks, tens of thousands of Malian protesters hit the streets venting their discontent re: government corruption. The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) intervened holding summits aimed at détente. Coup leader “pledged to restore stability and oversee a transition to elections within a reasonable period.” ECOWAS members have closed their borders with Mali –which has some of the largest gold deposits in Africa. Three West African countries – Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Ghana – hold national elections this year.

ARTS/CULTURE
SIP.EAT.HARLEM Join Angie Hancock and Black-owned restaurants for SIP.EAT.HARLEM on restaurant row, whose participants are Chocolat, Cove Lounge, Lolo’s Seafood Shack, Londel’s Supper Club, Ponty Bistro, Renaissance Harlem, Ruby’s Vintage + Sexy Taco Pop Up, Settepani, and Vinateria, on Wednesday, August 26, from 5 pm-9 pm. SIP.EAT.HARLEM tickets are $25 which includes one appetizer and a cocktail and must be purchased in advance. Some event proceeds will be benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem. Contact: www.experienceharlem.com. About 41 % of Black businesses have closed permanently since COVID-19s arrival.
The 51st African American Day Parade will be held virtually on Sunday, September 20 at 12 pm. The Harlem parade is the largest and oldest procession in America which celebrates African American culture. Four trailblazing business leaders are honored as Parade Grand Marshals. They are Elbert Shamsid Deen, Thruway Builders; Cheryl McKissack Daniels, McKissack & McKissack; Dapper Dan, Dapper Dan Harlem; and Michael Garner, Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Jason Wright

NEWSMAKERS
The NFL Washington team named Jason Wright, 28, as its team president, a first for an African American in National Football League history. Former NFL running back Wright played with the SF 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals. He retired in 2010, earned an MBA at the University of Chicago, before joining McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm, as a partner.
Wedding Anniversaries: Congratulations to New York based African American scholars Linda and Edgar Ridley who celebrate their 49th wedding anniversary in September. Congrats to New Yorkers Nerissa Rivers and Steve Lawrence who celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary on August 9.

Carlton Brown

Happy Birthday Anniversary greetings to Virgoans…Dr. Thelma Adair; Bishop William Barber II; Dr. Janet Dewert Bell; Beyonce; Saniyya Brannon; Carlton Brown, real estate developer; Ursula Burns, former Xerox CEO/Chair; Misty Copeland; Edris Elba; Geoffrey Eaton, NY NAACP/Harlem politico; Jon Haggins, TV travel host; Tamron Hall; Julian Alexander Arriola-Hemmings, Morehouse Class of 2020; Ruth Hunt; Fern Khan, Dean Emerita, Bank Street College; Justin Khan; Debi Jackson, WBLS; Errol Louis, NY1; Gerald Peart, photographer/videographer; Ashley Sharpton; Charles Dion Springfield, lifestyle author; Twins Skylar and Daniel Torruella; Torie Stewart; and Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

A Harlem-based media/branding specialist, Victoria is reachable at Victoria.horsford@gmail.com

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