Did I just read that? I thought for sure it was a hoax. I truly wanted to believe it was false. Even while I was reading the article in the Sunday issue of the Tulsa World; I still wanted to believe it was false. I was wrong.  The constant contact email I received from City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper was in fact correct. Former Senator Judy Eason-McIntyre had filed an ethics violations complaint against sitting City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper on behalf of former City Councilor Jack Henderson. Who does that?

As I read the Tulsa World article all I could do was shake my head in shame. What could possibly lead Mrs. Judy Eason-McIntyre to do or suggest such a thing.  Why did she file this complaint? (She stated in the Tulsa World she filled the complaint with input and support from Jack Henderson.)  All I could come up with “is their” desire to be relevant and stay in power. They lack both.

When asked what has she done lately? People can easily recall the contributions of Former Senators Don Ross and Maxine Horner. But find it quite difficult to remember her contributions other than her recent attack on State Representative Regina Goodwin. The community has spoken. They simple need to “SIT DOWN and BE HUMBLE”; to borrow from Kendrick Lamar.

As this complaint relates to the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce (GCC); let us begin with the leadership that was put into place at the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce the beginning of January  2017 up until now.  The idea behind the reorganization of the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce board at that time was to bring in more philanthropic dollars to the chamber and GCC needed the “right” people in place to do so.   Drew Diamond was voted on to the board sometime after December 2016.

After the 2017 Juneteenth celebration held on Historic Greenwood; a certain name was being tossed around to serve on the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce. It was during this time, the GCC was in the mist of rebuilding its board I was asked, “How did I feel about Rebecca Marks-Jimmerson being placed on the board?”

It was during this time the community was witnessing a positive resurgence at the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce as it related to its current staff, their effort in creating a positive Juneteenth experience, increased membership, making well need repairs to the buildings. The Executive Director, Sherry Gamble-Smith had developed positive working relationship throughout the City of Tulsa infrastructure, the community, and had increased its membership.  She was literally rebranding the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce with the help of Membership Chair, Vanessa Hall-Harper.

The Greenwood Chamber of Commerce was once known as the only Chamber of Commerce in the city without any members.    Its membership numbers increased from a paltry 16 members to 80 members within a short period of time under the leadership of then Membership Chair Vanessa Hall-Harper and Executive Director Sherry Gamble-Smith.

The Executive Director had even developed an in kind working relationship with local  businessman Bumgarner (BAM) to make well needed repairs to a failing historic buildings. BAM even began to assist the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce with its accounting software.  The Greenwood Chamber of Commerce was extremely grateful.

The buildings had been in need of repairs for many years and under Mrs. Sherry Gamble-Smith direction; the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce received a grant in the amount of 50K from Zarrow Foundation to make capital improvements to the property.  Prior to this grant; the chamber had not received philanthropic support in any significant amount of capital finding due to prior mismanagement of federal funds. She was instrumental in rebuilding the trust of the community. The Greenwood Chamber of Commerce was making a major impact and incremental improvements; something which has been lacking for years. She was rebuilding TRUST.

There seemed to be a disagreement between then Dr. Art Williams, past Chairman of the Board and the Executive Director regarding her public position on lack of food access in the North Tulsa Community. Shortly thereafter, it was announced in January 2017 the sitting Executive Director, Sherry Gamble-Smith would be replaced by board member Rebecca Marks-Jimmerson. The Greenwood Chamber of Commerce has never been the same.

The board has been a revolving door to say the least. The current board members are Rebecca Marks-Jimerson-Board  Chair/President, Dr. Culvert Freeman-Vice Chair/Vice President, Henri Primaux-Treasurer,  Brandon Jackson-Secretary, general board members, former City Councilor Jack Henderson, Princess Brown, Dr. John Sassin  (who is the lone board member serving since 2014) , and former Senator Judy Eason-McIntosh. Senator Kevin Matthews and Drew Diamond have also served on the board in the past.

So the question is, “What motivated Mrs. McIntosh to file this complaint on behalf of the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce”? Because, everything mentioned therein is false.  For the record, this the second attack by the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce against City Councilor Hall-Harper. The Councilor invited the GCC board to three different town hall meetings.  They were afforded several different opportunities to address the community regarding the non-profit organization and their operations. They were no shows on all three occasions.  City Councilor Hall-Harper has repeated what the community has stated; “There is no confidence or transparency at the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce.”  The complaint also states City Councilor Harper encouraged Trayce Love-Chandler to move out of the space she was renting. But failed to mention Mrs. Chandler rental space did not have heat, air, and she had a leaking roof.  They are currently in litigation with Wanda J’s, as well as, a long standing lawsuit with Mrs. Jane Reed/Simon Estes Foundation. Tee’s Barbershop has been without air for several years now. There is also the practice of increasing tenant rental rates without justification other than pricing small business owners out of the building. How could any of these allegations be misconstrued as an ethical violation? When in fact is a picture-perfect example of poor management on the part of the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce; especially when the TRUTH is presented.

Sincerely,

Sherry Laskey

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