May 23, 2013
Atlanta, GA – THEFFECTMEDIA interviewed Former Georgia Governor, Roy Barnes following the live press conference held at the Barnes Law Group located in Marietta, GA this afternoon. Barnes is representing GA State Representative Tyrone Brooks as his attorney regarding a federal indictment alleging Brooks “stole” over $1 million dollars from charitable organizations of which he served.
Brooks is accused of “stealing” the approximate $1 million dollars, over an approximate 20-year time period from the non-profit organizations Universal Humanities and Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials.
Roy Barnes stated at the press conference, “Here are the facts…”
- “Tyrone Brooks never took a salary from either Universal Humanities or GABEO.” (Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials)
- “He was paid for expenses and he used that money to pay his bills.”
- “The time period in which Tyrone is alleged to have taken money is almost 20 years”
“The government alleges that over that 20 years he was given expenses of less than $40,000 to $50,000 average per year. If Tyrone had been paid a salary of $40,000 to $50,000 per year over the twenty years for full time work, could there be any dispute that he was entitled to that? I don’t think so.”
“As I stated what he should have done was set up a salary for his full time work, a very modest salary, and if he had done that he would not be here today. Instead he was paid an amount approximating his expenses for his work and somehow that is a crime. Bad bookkeeping – maybe, but not a crime.”
“We have all seen politicians who have manipulated the system for their personal benefit, but that is apparently not a crime of substance, while a civil rights protester who is given money to pay expenses when he works full time in the struggle is a crime.”
“I don’t think that is right. I don’t believe it is the way the criminal justice system should work. Whether a person is guilty of a crime or not should not depend on who hires the best accountant or who holds the highest office.”
“Universal Humanities is a 501(c)(3) which grew out of an effort in the late 1980’s to re-establish the City of Keysville. Keysville is a small, very poor city in Burke County where African Americans are a majority. When it was apparent that African Americans were going to be the majority, the powers that be just disbanded the City. Tyrone led the successful effort to re-establish Keysville as a functioning city governed by the majority of its citizens.”
“While there he saw the poverty that existed as a result of the functional illiteracy of its citizens of color. Tyrone helped found Universal Humanities to advocate for literacy programs to lift the poor of color from the corrosive effects of poverty through education. In its early years Tyrone funded the efforts of Universal Humanities out of his own pocket. Later, through some small grants, Tyrone was able to continue the process of trying to build an infrastructure of increased literacy.”
“As stated earlier, Tyrone did not receive a salary for his efforts, but he was given an expense stipend that he used for expenses of living so he could continue the work. This is the activity that the government claims was criminal. I don’t see it that way, and I don’t think a jury will see it that way either.”
“As to the Georgia Association of Elected Black Officials or GABEO, Tyrone never sought to become the leader of GABEO. It was something he was asked to do, and he reluctantly agreed. Again, he did not receive a salary for what is almost a full time job. When he became President, Tyrone found that his predecessor had a discretionary account to fund special projects and for expenses of the President. It is these expenditures that the government claims there was a crime. I don’t believe it is a crime since there was no salary, and agian I don’t think a jury will think it is a crime either.”
“Finally, I want to say I have the highest respect for the U.S. Attorney and her assistants, but this the broad discretion that a U.S. Attorney has in deciding whether to prosecute should have been exercised in this case by allowing this dispute to be handled as a civil tax matter rather than a criminal case seeking incarceration of somebody who has given his life fighting for the rights of others.”