Marvin “Corky” Taylor: latest casualty in the purge of the Mpls Civil Rights Department

THROUGH MY EYES

By Ron Edwards

The dismissal by firing of Marvin “Corky” Taylor earlier this month continues the purge and cover-up of corruption in the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department (MCRD). In fact, rumor has it that when the department’s Roxanne Crossland, head of the SUBP (Small Underutilized Businesses Program) is terminated, it will complete the purge of employees who would not participate in the corruption.

Marvin Taylor became a liability for refusing to participate in the massaging of employment and contract numbers related to an organization called Urban Homeworks. Mr. Taylor was expected to provide the necessary misinformation on a $1,411,500 contract. The funds were to be drawn from CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds, a program of federal dollars.

Mr. Taylor was called upon to provide similar misinformation for the construction of the Twins Target Field. Because he began to protest the illegal acts by filing reports about it, he was demoted from deputy director of the department to the position of contract compliance specialist.  In October 2010, Mr. Taylor was hit with the first step in the City bureaucracy’s arsenal of retaliation and retribution: a letter of warning threatening to take away his job, his livelihood.

The beginning of the end came when the head of a Texas company that conducted the five-year compliance study, Dr. Wainwright, praised Marvin Taylor as a valuable resource in his final report before the city council on October 14, 2010.

Within two weeks, on October 25, 2010, the warning letter was sent to Marvin Taylor from Assistant Director Johnny Burns, charging violations of Civil Service Commission rules, insubordination, and substandard performance. Nine specific points were made to Mr. Taylor threatening his job security. Most interesting in this warning letter were points four, five, and seven.

We live in a small, small world of small-minded departments of small-minded people with small integrity after all. It is a new king of irony that this warning letter came from a former subordinate who had in turn been reprimanded by Mr. Taylor for insubordination and poor performance just six months earlier.
One of the issues that Dr. Wainwright and his diversity study team raised over the five years they conducted the compliance study were facts of omission, “creative” number tampering, and forging of documents. Dr. Wainwright reported this in person to the city council in December 2010. (Members of the team included Charlene Hoyt and Associates of Chicago, who first discovered the tampering through her analysis of the submitted data.)

Prior to his termination, Mr. Taylor was offered an opportunity to get back on the team and become a team player by going along with false reporting. To his credit he refused and, instead, filed a series of administration complaints against Mr. Burns, which were dismissed without review by the Minneapolis Civil Service Commission due to pressure from the office of the mayor.

This shows how the corruption goes all the way to the top and then works its way back down through the various bureaus, including the city attorney’s office that was aware of all of this but stood by silently in support of the continued corruption, signing off on Mr. Taylor’s dismissal on July 14, 2011.

To some observers, the problem for the City was Mr. Taylor’s refusal to misrepresent the $1.4 million contract for these properties in North Minneapolis: 2026 Fremont Ave. North, 1514 and 1601 Irving Ave. North, 1811 and 2129 Emerson Ave. North, and 2701 Lyndale Ave. North.

Mr. Taylor is gone. When Ms. Crossland is terminated, the purge will be complete.

Corruption is the ongoing and accepted doctrine for doing business in Minneapolis government in general and in the Civil Rights Department in particular. Despite whistleblower laws to protect employees, those who choose to challenge corruption in Minneapolis city government as insiders find their careers ended.

In some cases, people have enough evidence in hand to make the City pay for its endorsement of corrupt government, as we saw in the successful lawsuit against the City by Ronald G. Brandon (see my column of June 22, 2010). Old-time political bosses of the 19th century, like Boss Crump of Memphis or the Tammany Hall machine of New York City, would be proud of Minneapolis city government and its corrupt and obedient departments.

See other columns relevant to these individuals of Dec. 15, 2010; November 17 and 24, 2010; January 19, 2011; March 16 and 23, 2011; and June 22, 2011.
Stay tuned.

Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm; hosts “Black Focus” on Blog Talk radio Sundays at 3 pm; and co-hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “ON POINT!” Saturdays at 4 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his solution papers for community planning and development and “web log” at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.