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4 hours ago

Atlanta Black Chambers

We must continue to advocate for African American participation on these massive construction projects in Atlanta.POLITICAL ROBBERY in COLLEGE PARK? - By Maynard Eaton

“We advocate, educate, and build on behalf of Black economics, that’s what we do.” - Margaret Muhammad, Georgia Black Constructors Association President.

Margaret Muhammad is livid. That’s a rare emotion for this typically composed and passionate president of the Georgia Black Constructors Association (GBCA).

This day she is ruefully lamenting how members of GBCA and College Park taxpayers were unfairly conned, if not, “robbed” by the College Park Mayor and Council in building the new $43 million College Park Multipurpose Arena. It’s now the controversial home to the College Park Skyhawks, the official G League affiliate of the Atlanta Hawks and the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA.

The city of 12,500 residents has an 85 percent Black population, but despite political promises to the contrary, a dismal few Black contractors profited from this major showcase development, Muhammad furiously alleges.
When the city council surprisingly changed contractors for the Arena at the 11th hour, the numbers for GBCA members potential inclusion fell from about 60% to just 5% bemoans Muhammad, who co-founded the organization 15 years ago.
“I say what are your numbers for black participation. What percentages do you have? That’s who I represent, that’s my constituency,” Muhammad asks rhetorically of the College Park politicos. “I’m am saying that there are the Hispanic Construction Association, representing their people. We have WOSB for women; so, I don’t know why there keep being issues with GBCA wanting to know what’s the percentage for black contractors in College Park.”

The bottom line is College Park had two contractors for the project. The first was a joint venture team of the Barton Mallow Company and the historic H.J. Russell & Company, but Mayor Jack Longino and the College Park Council rescinded their contract. The project price Russell & Mallow requested purportedly exceeded the cost Council had originally allocated by several million dollars.

“Mayor Longino gave it to Choate Construction without any formal bid process,” complains Councilman Roderick Gay, who was finally elected to the College Park City Council in 2015 after a 20-year political struggle and four failed lawsuits against the city. His wife Pamela Gay is now a College Park mayoral candidate.

“They did what you call a bait and switch,” Gay continues. “As soon as we gave it to Choate, this project went from approximately $33 million to $43 million.”

He adds with angst: “We gave Choate a minority participation goal of 30 to 40 percent. Choate said this project was moving so fast, they already had their players in place. They already had their team, so when you start talking to them about minority goals, they claimed it was too late. Margaret Muhammad and the GBCA kept arguing that this was not right. So, I proposed that we give them money to find minority contractors.”

BDR Partners were allegedly paid $1 million dollars by council to help locate minority contractors. GBCA is the largest Association in the Southeast region of America for blacks in the construction industry. The purpose of GBCA was to and is to advocate on behalf of black economics and black contracting opportunities. That’s their main mission. However, they were never formally contacted for the arena reportedly.
In July, Jeff Frasier, Vice President, BDR Partners allegedly boasted that the project was on track at 14% “minority” participation. That should have equated to $2,6 million in revenue, says Muhammad.

“I asked Frasier & Choate to show us who these companies are as well as how much each was awarded. No response as of this date,” Muhammad protests. “We have continuously visited the work site and the only ‘Minorities’ we see are the labor workers. Choate has a history of not being conducive to minority participation. We should be concerned as citizens about these companies being awarded and rewarded with taxpayer money.”

Margaret Muhammad vehemently and righteously requested the College Park City Council to contract them for $250 thousand dollars to find qualified black contractors for the Arena construction. That was denied. After several repeated attempts by Muhammad, they agreed to award GBCA $50 thousand to allegedly identify competent contractors for the Arena construction. It never happened.

“It was a mischievous Machiavellian game to keep us ostensibly quiet,” Muhammad contemptuously contends. “Every company that we sent in was denied. Every single person was denied.”

But Muhammad is far from dissuaded or defeated. This Economic activist’s campaign for political fairness and equity continues unabated.

“The issue that I’m really concerned about right now, even though the Council has put it on hold, is we’re talking about the upcoming 320-acre Aerotropolis Project,” says Muhammad. “It’s called ‘Airport City’, which is like Atlantic Station. We saw what happened when you had a 43-million-dollar project and there was no fairness for black contractors. What happens when its 1/2 Billion dollars?

“I will tell you what happens, nothing! Nothing for Blacks and Minority contractors,” Muhammad wails and worries. “With the election for Mayor and Council on November 5th, will it only yield more of the same?

Journalist Ashley Simmons also contributed to this story.
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17 hours ago

Atlanta Black Chambers

Don't our Veterans look good? Shout out to all of our ABC veterans! We loved this mixer with you. ... See MoreSee Less

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We LOVE our Women's League members of the Atlanta Black Chambers! Today's #WomanCrushWednesday is Cindy Horton!! Cindy is the Owner and Insurance Broker of K.I.S Keeping Insurance Simple, LLC.

Cindy is a licensed Life & Health Insurance Sales Agent, specializing in affordable healthcare. She helps individuals, families, and small business owners in Georgia find low-cost insurance. Cindy partners with the best medical insurers in the business to provide her clients the best rates.
“I have always loved being of service to consumers, but this is different. I am actually helping to change lives. I am blessed that I am able to work full time for myself and to dedicate 100% to my customers. I absolutely love what I do.”- Cindy

Cindy shares that as a business owner, a woman should have these two things: Goals and a Great sense of humor.

This WCW is just in time for Open Enrollment!! Do you need affordable life and/or health insurance, then contact Cindy!!
#wlwcw #wcw

Interested in learning more about the Women's League, contact
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Lorenzo Whitestone is the President & CEO of WhiteStone Investigations, Inc. Lorenzo K. Whitestone, CPP., is a former U.S. Army commissioned officer and retired police investigator, with a history of outstanding leadership and expertise in criminal investigations. Mr. Whitestone is an ASIS International Board Certified Protection Professional (CPP) who has collaborated with multi-jurisdictional teams that secured convictions in cases involving homicides, missing persons, theft, fraud and workplace violence.

Need a private investigator, contact Lorenzo Whitestone!
#wlmcm #mcm
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