Tell us something we didn’t already know: The corruption of disadvantaged business enterprise programs in Minneapolis



When the Monday, November 21, morning edition of the Star Tribune hit the streets, I was amused by the headline: “Preferred Public Works Contracts Get Scrutiny.” I’ve written 20 columns on this since 2005, identifying corruption and criminal malfeasance that has shut African Americans out of programs that were allegedly created to give the African American community a shot at some of the so-called big dollars, such as the $950 million Light Rail Corridor Project and the Gopher and Twins stadiums.

So I welcome the Star Tribune in joining us in scrutinizing the whole issue of how fairness, justice and equality of opportunity for Blacks has been sidestepped by not enforcing disparity/diversity statutes, ignoring them, as politicians and their bureaucratic enablers favor laws/statutes/rules benefiting other groups claiming to be minorities. Had Martha Stewart been a Congress member, she would not have gone to jail for insider trading

But, as the former director of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights infamously said, pointing out how discrimination and exclusion is legal again, “We can meet our minority hiring compliance requirements without hiring a single Black person.”

The danger in this kind of investigative reporting is that there are those who attack you for printing the truth, trying to apply pressure to make your column disappear, as they oppose hope and change in order to keep the changeless status quo and their position in it.

But God is a good God: Be patient, persevere, and lay out the facts, and the truth will make a difference. I haven’t taken my eyes off the prize: prosperity for all through education that qualifies boys and girls and men and women for jobs, and then facilitates equal access to those jobs.

When the City of Minneapolis released its report last year entitled The State of Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises, October 22, 2010 (DBEs: Disadvantaged Business Enterprise programs), I wrote that it contained the evidence, statistics and data exposing the criminal acts against the interests and the future economic opportunity for African Americans in Minnesota.

Think of how much better things could be for everyone if the Star Tribune practiced good journalism all of the time. I am pleased the Star Tribune column of Nov. 21 examines and confirms what this column has long investigated and reported on: the unquestionable and incontrovertible evidence of the efforts against the survival of the African American community.

The Star Tribune reporter provided two examples of DBEs, both owned by women, both White. Not one African American was reported (as “minorities” now seems to mean “women” to many, not “African American”).

This is a very dangerous signal being sent to the African American communities where violence is on the rise as African Americans are being gunned down in the streets and stabbed to death in downtown Minneapolis. Studies indicate a growing depression about the next cycle of economic prosperity, as, for too many African Americans in Minnesota, they feel they will be left behind.

Now that the Council on Black Minnesotans’ executive director was forced out after 23 years, what is left: three human/civil rights departments, Minnesota, Minneapolis, St. Paul. They are either being too passive or too corrupt to enforce the law. Too many African Americans are still in a life-and-death struggle for their economic survival.

With no commitment to statutory enforcement on behalf of African Americans, and with the level of despair and mental depression in existence within the African American community, I again ask: Where is the plan to both protect and provide hope to the African American communities of Minnesota, other than the plans to hold more planning meetings? Where is the vision for Black success on the White Horizon of Minneapolis’ future?

That’s right: a White Horizon, because most reports done by White think tanks clearly indicate that, absent a corrective plan that is then enforced, African Americans in Minneapolis are an endangered species.

Solution Paper #46 in the “Solutions” section of The Minneapolis Story website links to 20 columns dealing with the purposeful disparity and non-compliance by Minneapolis.

See especially November 24, 2010 (“Disparity Study reveals City failed to monitor hiring, contracting jobs and income. Result for Blacks: shameful loss of jobs and income”) and November 17, 2010 (“Disparity study finally released. It took 15 years to tell us what we already knew”). Also see our “Solutions” section for pieces on planning, #42-#45).

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 Hear his readings and read his solution papers for community planning and development and “web log” at