The Divine Nine Fraternity Association held a private rally/protest at the Forum on June 6, 2020, which the city confirmed was a non-permitted event on private property. A public records request revealed the event organizer neither submitted a special event application, to the Permits & License Committee, nor was a special event permit granted, for the event. A review of the upcoming October 13 city council agenda shows the Public Works – Sanitation division is seeking to pay an invoice, to an on-air personality, out of the city’s FY 2020-2021 budget despite the event taking place in the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
The event was coordinated by Sharis Rhodes who shared with 2UrbanGirls that “it was a no brainer that money allocated towards the city’s annual Earth Day Festival were being used” to subsidize her event. The event flyer mentioned that Mayor James T. Butts was slated to speak, however, it made no mention of Guy Black as the event’s “emcee”.
On-air radio personality Guy Black, had a check on the July 7, 2020, warrant register for $4900 for services performed for “The Divine Nine” rally.
After this author wrote about the unauthorized use and appearance of the payment being a gift of public funds, Mayor Butts started the July 7, 2020, regular city council meeting, by pulling the check from the warrant register.
“I have no idea who authorized this payment and we are pulling it from the warrant register,” said Butts.
This week’s agenda includes a revised invoice from Black, for $400 for services at the “Unity Rally”, held on June 6, 2020, which is the same event he previously requested payment for. Both checks are written against the city’s sanitation fund’ “public education/broadcast” as if the rally was a “public benefit”. Many residents took to social media in protest of the protest rally’s taking place in the city after chaos and mayhem erupted at other protests around the nation.
State Controller Betty Yee and Treasurer Wanda Brown have put the public and the city of Inglewood on notice that they are giving away taxpayers money with no oversight. This is another example of the mayor using city funds to promote himself.
The accompanying staff report says that Mayor Butts made the decision to make this a “community event” which contradicts his statements made on July 7, 2020, that he had no idea why the check for Black was on the warrant register.
A variation of City Manager Artie Fields’ signature is on the approval line. It’s amazing what Butts is able to get away.