If you’re planning to open a nudie strip club, what’s the best place to get your investment cash? If you thought of finding investors or borrowing from a bank, you’re not blessed with the business genius of Washington, D.C., con artist Cornell Jones — who’s known as a “reformed gangster.”
In a lawsuit filed by the District of Columbia, it’s alleged that Jones and a non-profit organization he controlled bamboozled the city into giving $330,000 to open a job training center for people with AIDS. I’m not sure what kind of jobs the Stadium Club trains people for, but it’s safe to say it’s like no other job training center around.
You can read the whole convoluted story for yourself, but it’s clear that the city was asleep at the switch in handing out the money and continuing to make payments. Did no one bother checking what was being done with the money? It might very well be something even more cozy, because both local newspapers in the city have done stories questioning the relationship between Jones and the contract officer who administered the grants.
I got the information for the story from a friend who also used to work in politics, so he knows how this game is played. He said, ” Just when you think it can’t get any more absurd, they pull through and renew your faith.” That’s the cynical and realistic way to look at it. The people who spend our money have no incentive to be careful with it, so what they do is absurd.
The D.C. government is allegedly the victim in this case, but the real victims are taxpayers. How many more projects such as this have been funded and we’ll never know about? How many projects have been funded that aren’t even bogus, but that fail and leave taxpayers holding the bag? I could talk to you for the next hour or so about the various multi-million dollar projects that taxpayers have funded just in the Birmingham metro area, ranging from a horse track to an amusement park.
Governments need to quit playing venture capitalist with our money — because it’s our money, not theirs. I know that some politicians actually have sincere motives when they do these things, but even when their hearts are pure gold, they’re still using the coercive power of the state to steal money from one group of people and give it to favored friends and associates. That’s wrong, even when it’s not funding strip clubs.