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Houston Press Trashes White Linen Night Organizer


s3mh

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Hello, Thank you for this topic.

I would like to share here what I posted in the comments section of the article:

"Cohen says he wanted to go back to the basics and have the event be by and for the Heights merchants ...."

"For her part, Betz believes White Linen Night has strayed far from the event's roots. 'We wanted this event to be for the community, not just one person.' She and Guide believe that the event could be even better than it is were it handled by a professional event planner, one who did not have a vested interest in an art market."

Owning an art market that offers booth space appears to qualify as being a merchant. A merchant who steps into the role of being the event's coordinator would appear to have two roles that can co-exist.

Local merchants seem to have a greater "vested interest" in the operations of WLN than an event planner would. Merchants proactively working together in their local area may be the ideal grass roots effort to sustain and enhance their community and livelihoods.

The art market adds a beneficial layer to the event by providing even more to enjoy while strolling down a closed street festival.

WLN is an event strong enough to sell itself without "fraud". When the coordinator has a long standing, current, and future interest in the community as a merchant via his art market, risking his livelihood and social ties is too high a wager to commit "fraud" over something that can easily sell itself.

It appears that a few people are trying to socially execute someone by twisting human fallibility into something criminal and malicious.

Edited by T2T2
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Fraud is the word that HAAC's lawyer quoted in the article used, not Lomax. Lomax is reporting what the guy said, whether he's right or wrong. If Cohen or his associate's mistake about 501c3 designation and tax-deductible donations was honest, why would he send the correction to a much shorter list of people? Could it be because he was hoping to still get some more signups from those who were enticed by the charity aspect of the event? And if it was being promoted as a charity event, why did he submit a budget to HAAC that had all income being paid out to expenses? Why not just drop the charity charade?

I know that you and others know more about Cohen than me which is why I haven't speculated on his character beyond what's reported in the article.

But it is not clear in the article whether Lomax is directly quoting HAAC's lawyer or quoting Betz quoting the lawyer. Hearsay is a problem. Hearsay on top of hearsay is a bigger problem. Lomax is purposefully vague about the quote to get people to think that the lawyer thought so strongly that it was fraud that he was willing to go on the record with Lomax in the HP.

Also, according to the article, Cohen sent the correction to the people who had already signed up. You would want those people to know first because they are directly affected by the change. And getting a tax deduction on $125.00 is hardly going to be a material term for people who are deciding whether to participate or not. In the end, the for profit entity that ran the event still donated a portion of the proceeds to charity. WLN was never supposed to be a fundraiser. It would not have free admission for 40,000 people if the intent was to raise money. It was always supposed to be a big open house for Heights businesses, artists and performers. With some half-decent business and tax advice, it could have been run as a 501©3 and fairly compensated Cohen. But it looks like they just chose the path of least resistance and put all the tax issues to rest by having it run by a for profit entity. Not a bad idea considering the people with an ax to grind against Cohen and that the IRS lets people report what they believe are violations annonymously.

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Doing a search with the TABC for the address of the Boom Boom Room has interesting results.

http://www.tabc.state.tx.us/PublicInquiry/Status.aspx

It shows the prior owner and business names. And it shows the current owner as "EL MACHETE INC.".

Per TABC, the information regarding the address of the Boom Boom Room includes a violation dated July 1999 for the previous business, Reina's Bar. Per HCAD, prior to that date, Harris became the property owner in October of 1998 (then to Walter E Shannon in 2000 and then to Wildchild Properties in 2005 - whose mailing address is listed as being owned by Shannon).

The below link (reliability of that info is unknown) shows linkages between Harris, Shannon, and three businesses: Wildchild Properties, El Machete, and Strangelove Properties.

http://www.corporationwiki.com/Texas/Houston/strangelove-properties-llc/37124579.aspx

The owner name of the original business, Reina's Bar, listed with the TABC is not the same as the original owner name of the property listed with HCAD. So which referenced owner was/is supposedly "mafia connected" - the original business owner or the original property owner? It appears that the business owner may have possibly been renting the property. Whoever is not "mafia connected" may not want to be thought of as such since these names are available as public information.

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I really don't get this article.

If $100 is a really big deal to you; then get a contract, decide on a timeline of deliverables, and set up how these things will be resolved.

I never knew who was behind WLN but I sure am glad they are doing what they are doing. WLN is the kind of cool quirky neighborhood thing that rarely happens in Houston. It is unfortunate that the group that is brining thousands of people into the neighborhood and doing a great job setting up websites, buses, handouts etc... is so overwhelmed. I mean why would the guy not give you a bus stop? So he could save 10 cents on ink? Seriously, it was probably an honest oversight considering all the goes on and the businesses are only contributing this little cash.

It is really too bad to see this cattyness going on and people not just enjoy themselves and get on with it; otherwise we'll never have a dirty linen night.

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Okay, now we have unsourced claims of anti-semitism from a poster who registered an account 4 hours ago.

Of course Kyle, registering means I'm a troll. I get it. I have no idea whether the owner of BBR carries those thoughts or not. Which is why I said it was from elsewhere, a source, hearsay. Doesn't matter imo, she's a nasty, vicious person.

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I would like to add that I shouldn't have included a few words that I posted, as I agree hearsay is just that. There's no known credibility behind it.

I know Mitch very well. Sounds like he made a lot of mistakes, and perhaps he learned from them. He needed a lot more help and better understanding in various directions. However, with the turnout, if it were that bad, would we not have heard about this sooner?! Not a year after the fact. It certainly doesn't smell kosher imo.

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I do not know what I did that would warrant this but, with no warning, I no longer can even view the Houston Press article as this is the message I receive:

"Your IP address has been banned from accessing this system"

I would really like to know what I did because I was trying to be as thought out as possible in my postings without any inflammatory statements. Have any of you that may have posted in their comments section been banned as well?

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In the article, Lomax states, "Cohen posted that pre-emptive strike against this story," and then quotes from this "strike."

However, this "strike" also states that there were 3 board members that were suggested to Lomax to interview and that only 1 was contacted and the other 2 sought to contact him but he did not contact them in return.

In the story, the only mention I see of these 3 board members is, " By that time, Cohen says, some of his supporters were gone from the board". Why is the one that was contacted not referenced in the article and why were the other two not even interviewed?

I want to know what those 3 board members have to say.

Additionally, regarding the implication of fraud, were there mistakes or were there deceptions? Can intent be proven?

If information is going to damn someone and tear at a community, this information needs to be as accurate and as thorough as possible. Every detail.

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I do not know what I did that would warrant this but, with no warning, I no longer can even view the Houston Press article as this is the message I receive:

"Your IP address has been banned from accessing this system"

I would really like to know what I did because I was trying to be as thought out as possible in my postings without any inflammatory statements. Have any of you that may have posted in their comments section been banned as well?

It is interesting that I now can read the article but I still get this message, "Your IP address has been banned from accessing this system" and am unable to sign in or leave a comment. I am really amazed.

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In the article, Lomax states, "Cohen posted that pre-emptive strike against this story," and then quotes from this "strike."

However, this "strike" also states that there were 3 board members that were suggested to Lomax to interview and that only 1 was contacted and the other 2 sought to contact him but he did not contact them in return.

In the story, the only mention I see of these 3 board members is, " By that time, Cohen says, some of his supporters were gone from the board". Why is the one that was contacted not referenced in the article and why were the other two not even interviewed?

I want to know what those 3 board members have to say.

Additionally, regarding the implication of fraud, were there mistakes or were there deceptions? Can intent be proven?

If information is going to damn someone and tear at a community, this information needs to be as accurate and as thorough as possible. Every detail.

John Lomax here.

I did talk to two out of three of those board members. Bob Domec told me what a success his area (Pink Street) had been last year and Cynthia Hill told me she thought Lori Betz had gone crazy. (And presumably, found a new treasurer and an attorney who shared identical delusions.) What Domec had to say was not interesting enough to put in the story and what Hill had to say was edited out and lumped in with something generic like "Cohen's supporters say he's great" or something similar. The current board says they were pushed, the former board says they jumped; it's all just more he-said she-said stuff.

As to fraud, I laid out the facts of the case as they were given to me, and they are not really in dispute by anyone. Criminal fraud and tax fraud are two different things, however, and I think Colgin meant Cohen was committing tax fraud. "I didn't know I couldn't do that" tends to fall on deaf, unsympathetic ears at the IRS.

I have no idea why your IP was banned but I will ask the person who handles that and post her answer here later today.In the past, people have been banned for abusive/racist/threatening posts and for posting under multiple screen names.

As much as I might enjoy the power, I don't have the power to ban, so Red Scare, that's paranoia worthy of your handle.

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John Lomax here.

As to fraud, I laid out the facts of the case as they were given to me, and they are not really in dispute by anyone. Criminal fraud and tax fraud are two different things, however, and I think Colgin meant Cohen was committing tax fraud. "I didn't know I couldn't do that" tends to fall on deaf, unsympathetic ears at the IRS.

You do know that businesses can expense donations to non-©3 501 groups if the donation serves a business interest? Most WLN participants would be able to expense the cost of their participation because they receive publicity and increased sales in exchange and would be in basically the same position tax wise whether the event was run by a 501©3 or ©6. Or did you just take what Colgin said as authoritative without doing any independent investigation of his presumptive tax fraud claim?

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Hey, T2T2, this is Brittanie, web editor for the Press. I haven't banned your IP. In fact, I haven't banned anyone since we switched to the new commenting system (see below). John doesn't have comment moderation abilities.

I'm not sure why you're having trouble commenting, but I can assure you, you haven't been banned.

8107428.0.jpg

(Edit: Well, the image was showing up at first, but here's the direct link so you can see what I mean. http://media.houstonpress.com/8107428.0.jpg)

Edited by Brittanie Shey
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John Lomax here....

First off, thanks for the article and also for jumping in here. I know as a reporter you must be objective, unbiased in your work, and that ideal must be difficult to achieve at times, especially when dealing with the loose association of artists, businesses and committee members involved in WLN. My read is that you were talking to some real crazies or at best some folks with long-held grudges and rivalries who would stretch the truth if given the chance. By opening with the local philanthropist Jacqueline Harris, I think you set the tone for doubt about the facts reported in the article. The woman clearly fits the above description as does her photo in the story, which incidentally follows the article text on every web page. By page three I had to hold my hand up to block it out so I wouldn't think I was reading The Onion. However, she did serve as a good hook, and on balance I think you got it right. After all this is still the Heights, and no matter how homogenous certain ordinances try to make it, all comers are welcome.

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Yes, I knew that, and that distinction is made in the article. But you can't file a false tax deduction and when the IRS questions you about it, simply say "Whoops, it basically comes out the same."

People make mistakes on their taxes all the time. The vast majority of the time, the IRS just corrects the mistake and adjusts the final result. You can even amend your tax return after the IRS corrects your mistake to properly categorize an incorrect deduction as an expense.

The fact that it comes out the same negates any possible "badges of fraud" on the part of Cohen or anyone incorrectly claiming the deduction. And that is the big problem with the story. Too much "where there is smoke, there is fire". Not enough research and objectivity to provide proper context to the accusations being made. The result is a lot of mountains being made out of mole hills.

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Let's say I get a bunch of sponsors to pony up some cash for what I am calling a non-profit party. And then I open a cash bar in the middle of that same party and I pocket all the money from it. Isn't that essentially what Cohen did with the art market last year and tried again to do this year?

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Hey, T2T2, this is Brittanie, web editor for the Press. I haven't banned your IP. In fact, I haven't banned anyone since we switched to the new commenting system (see below). John doesn't have comment moderation abilities.

I'm not sure why you're having trouble commenting, but I can assure you, you haven't been banned.

8107428.0.jpg

(Edit: Well, the image was showing up at first, but here's the direct link so you can see what I mean. http://media.houston...m/8107428.0.jpg)

At one point late last night, I was banned from Houston Press. Please see attached picture.

Today however, I'm no longer banned. Thank you.

post-11302-0-47490000-1345058986_thumb.p

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T2T2 — Hey, I'm sending you a private message, That is certainly not normal behavior for our site, even if someone *had* been banned.

When first banned, I could not even access the "White Linen Fight" article though I could read other articles on HP (the previous pic in post #71 shows how the article itself was inaccessible). Then later the site switched to me being able to access the article but still not being able to access the system. Please see second photo attached here where it states in four places, "Your IP address has been banned from accessing the system.".

CLARIFICATION: I am no longer banned. The 2 screen shots that I've posted were taken late last night.

post-11302-0-50061100-1345080783_thumb.p

Edited by T2T2
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When first banned, I could not even access the "White Linen Fight" article though I could read other articles on HP (the previous pic in post #71 shows how the article itself was inaccessible). Then later the site switched to me being able to access the article but still not being able to access the system. Please see second photo attached here where it states in four places, "Your IP address has been banned from accessing the system.".

post-11302-0-50061100-1345080783_thumb.p

Additionally, I will re-iterate that I am no longer banned as I originally stated in post #71:

At one point late last night, I was banned from Houston Press. Please see attached picture.

Today however, I'm no longer banned. Thank you.

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Let's say I get a bunch of sponsors to pony up some cash for what I am calling a non-profit party. And then I open a cash bar in the middle of that same party and I pocket all the money from it. Isn't that essentially what Cohen did with the art market last year and tried again to do this year?

With all due respect. Let's say someone takes time and effort to organize a massive party in your neigborhood where there wasn't one (and in a city where there are few).

Year after year it is more and more successful to the point where you want to pitch in a very nominal fee.

Then you feel like your very nominal fee wasn't worth it. Most people would simply get over it, but instead you take your $100 slight to the newspaper where they make it in to a big deal. I really struggle to see the outrage here.

For all the hype about the conflict of interest, I never remember one business being highlighted over another in the handouts or maps or bus stops, you'd be hardpressed to know such a conspiracy was going on without someone making an extraordinary effort to connect these disparate dots.

Houston would be a much better place if there were more things like this going on, but with such a public shaming over a $100, why would anyone sign up for that?

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With all due respect. Let's say someone takes time and effort to organize a massive party in your neigborhood where there wasn't one (and in a city where there are few).

White Linen Night preceded Cohen's involvement in it.

Year after year it is more and more successful to the point where you want to pitch in a very nominal fee.

Then you feel like your very nominal fee wasn't worth it. Most people would simply get over it, but instead you take your $100 slight to the newspaper where they make it in to a big deal. I really struggle to see the outrage here.

Why do people have to consider it "a big deal"? An article is simply an article. The accusations are all there in black and white, and you can give them whatever weight and significance you wish.

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Houston would be a much better place if there were more things like this going on, but with such a public shaming over a $100, why would anyone sign up for that?

There's plenty of events all around the Houston area that have been successful for years, decades even, that while aren't exactly like WLN, they are great little 'festivals' that one can attend to experience all sorts of neat culture.

They're usually free to get in to, and you pay for the beer/food/random knickknacks, just like I'm sure WLN is, when I know about one of them, I try to throw something in the community announcement area here on HAIF (maybe not the right place, but I haven't been told of a better place), but there's probably enough random little events just around Harris county that one could spend every weekend at another festival. And not even just festivals, but events, there's the art car parade, the Bayou Arts Festival, Greek Fest, Strawberry Festival, Hotsauce Festival, Crawfish Festivals all over the place, Houston Festival, Earth Day celebrations at Disco Green, the Shell Eco Marathon. Ren fair, Tomball German Heritage, random beer festivals, Pride, the list goes on, and that's just in the Houston area.

Or, you can travel a bit farther out of Houston/Harris County comfort zone, and head up to the West Fest up in Waco, Texas Folklife Festival in San Antonio, Galveston for Dickens on the Strand, Wurstfest up in New Braunfels. Bluebonnet festival up in Chappell Hill.

No, they're not 'like' WLN, but if one was so inclined, they could probably hit a neat and varied cultural event every weekend out of the year.

That was longer than I expected, tl:dr version: there's a ton of various free/cheap events in and around Houston all year long, they aren't exactly like WLN, but they're still fun to go to, if you know about them. There's usually not large marketing budgets for these things...

Edited by samagon
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Let's say I get a bunch of sponsors to pony up some cash for what I am calling a non-profit party. And then I open a cash bar in the middle of that same party and I pocket all the money from it. Isn't that essentially what Cohen did with the art market last year and tried again to do this year?

It is clear you have not done sufficient background research into what tax-exempt non-profits can and cannot do when putting on events. There is no such thing as a "non-profit party." There are only non-profit organizations. Non-profit organizations can put on events to make a profit. It is what they can and cannot do with that profit that is the distinction.

Non-profits are organizations that apply with the IRS and Texas Comptroller for tax exempt status because they agree that their members/directors (or anyone) will not have an ownership interest in the entity that will entitle them to a distribution of the entity's net income like a shareholder in a for-profit business. For the IRS, non-profits have to fit within one of the six different kinds of organizations that can be a non profit (501©1-6). You can't form a tax exempt entity to allow you to drink beer and go to strip clubs with your friends on weekends. Non-profits can hold events to raise funds for themselves or contribute to others. Non-profits can use the funds raised to pay for expenses incurred in putting on the events, to pay the expenses of the organization, or for whatever purpose the non-profit was organized for.

Non-profits can hire their own directors and officers to put on events and compensate them with the income generated by the event. Non-profits can hire for-profit event organizers to put on events for them and even pay them on a contingeny fee based on a percentage of the event's profit (very common).

HAAC and HHMA are both non-profit organizations. HAAC is a 501©3 and HHMA is a 501©6. As you know, donations to a c3 are tax deductible, donations to all the other c1-2; 4-6 are not. But they are still both non-profit organizations.

Subject to proper internal procedures to approve the transaction (most non-profit bylaws have provisions on approval of transactions with interested directors/officers requiring approval of a majority of non-interested directors), HAAC could certainly contract with Cohen's arts market to provide art vendors at WLN 2011, just as they would contract with a for-profit printing company to provide maps, traffic control equipment, tents and tables or any other good or service the event needed.

The argument that Cohen was "using" a non-profit to generate a profit is silly. It happens all the time. It is called contracting with vendors. Cohen's relationship with his art market for-profit business, according to Cohen, was disclosed and approved by the HAAC board.

Just because it looks bad doesn't mean that it is. The issue should have been fully researched before dragging this guy's name through the mud. HP should have talked with a non-profit attorney, CPA or tax attorney to get their opinion. HP could have probably even got a generic statement of the rules from a public info officer at the IRS. If they saw an issue, then fine. Go to print. But that obviously did not happen.

I am no specialist in the area and could be wrong. But, I have looked at these issues before and consulted with some people who are specialists. That is way more than the author did and is my problem with the story.

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It is clear you have not done sufficient background research into what tax-exempt non-profits can and cannot do when putting on events. There is no such thing as a "non-profit party." There are only non-profit organizations. Non-profit organizations can put on events to make a profit. It is what they can and cannot do with that profit that is the distinction.

Non-profits are organizations that apply with the IRS and Texas Comptroller for tax exempt status because they agree that their members/directors (or anyone) will not have an ownership interest in the entity that will entitle them to a distribution of the entity's net income like a shareholder in a for-profit business. For the IRS, non-profits have to fit within one of the six different kinds of organizations that can be a non profit (501©1-6). You can't form a tax exempt entity to allow you to drink beer and go to strip clubs with your friends on weekends. Non-profits can hold events to raise funds for themselves or contribute to others. Non-profits can use the funds raised to pay for expenses incurred in putting on the events, to pay the expenses of the organization, or for whatever purpose the non-profit was organized for.

Non-profits can hire their own directors and officers to put on events and compensate them with the income generated by the event. Non-profits can hire for-profit event organizers to put on events for them and even pay them on a contingeny fee based on a percentage of the event's profit (very common).

HAAC and HHMA are both non-profit organizations. HAAC is a 501©3 and HHMA is a 501©6. As you know, donations to a c3 are tax deductible, donations to all the other c1-2; 4-6 are not. But they are still both non-profit organizations.

Subject to proper internal procedures to approve the transaction (most non-profit bylaws have provisions on approval of transactions with interested directors/officers requiring approval of a majority of non-interested directors), HAAC could certainly contract with Cohen's arts market to provide art vendors at WLN 2011, just as they would contract with a for-profit printing company to provide maps, traffic control equipment, tents and tables or any other good or service the event needed.

The argument that Cohen was "using" a non-profit to generate a profit is silly. It happens all the time. It is called contracting with vendors. Cohen's relationship with his art market for-profit business, according to Cohen, was disclosed and approved by the HAAC board.

Just because it looks bad doesn't mean that it is. The issue should have been fully researched before dragging this guy's name through the mud. HP should have talked with a non-profit attorney, CPA or tax attorney to get their opinion. HP could have probably even got a generic statement of the rules from a public info officer at the IRS. If they saw an issue, then fine. Go to print. But that obviously did not happen.

I am no specialist in the area and could be wrong. But, I have looked at these issues before and consulted with some people who are specialists. That is way more than the author did and is my problem with the story.

Very well said and I agree with your entire post.

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Why would Cohen even try to get HAAC to pay for electricity for the First Street Art Market thing? If that's his thing, why not just fund that out of his booth rentals in there?

If I remember correctly MC is on facebook. Why not ask him directly? Seems odd that you are so invested in Mitch and an event that took place well over a year ago.

Anyone can contact him and I'm certain he'd reply, the only ones hiding are the people slandering MC.

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It is clear you have not done sufficient background research into what tax-exempt non-profits can and cannot do when putting on events. There is no such thing as a "non-profit party." There are only non-profit organizations. Non-profit organizations can put on events to make a profit. It is what they can and cannot do with that profit that is the distinction.

Non-profits are organizations that apply with the IRS and Texas Comptroller for tax exempt status because they agree that their members/directors (or anyone) will not have an ownership interest in the entity that will entitle them to a distribution of the entity's net income like a shareholder in a for-profit business. For the IRS, non-profits have to fit within one of the six different kinds of organizations that can be a non profit (501©1-6). You can't form a tax exempt entity to allow you to drink beer and go to strip clubs with your friends on weekends. Non-profits can hold events to raise funds for themselves or contribute to others. Non-profits can use the funds raised to pay for expenses incurred in putting on the events, to pay the expenses of the organization, or for whatever purpose the non-profit was organized for.

...

I am no specialist in the area and could be wrong. But, I have looked at these issues before and consulted with some people who are specialists. That is way more than the author did and is my problem with the story.

There are over 25 types of non-profits under the Internal Revenue code, not 6.

You can certainly form a non-profit to drink beer with your friends and go to strip clubs. That falls under 501c7 Social Clubs. The dues you pay are not deductible, but the club can own property, hold events (limited in income), etc.and the income from related purpose activities is exempt from tax.

There are limits on how much non-exempt purpose income can be earned wihtout losing the non-profit status. Income from non-exempt purpose sources is subject to taxes.

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Please tell me this is a different individual than in the story:

http://www.hcdistric...lic/Search.aspx

choose the "criminal" tab

for defendant, enter "harris, jacqueline p"

search, then click on the link under "style"

a new window will open, then click on the "Criminal History" tab

Not a bit shocked. She needs to lower herself from that imaginary pedestal she thinks she is sitting upon.

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It was never about me having a bad night. I first figured that it was all screwed up because Mitch was just an idiot. Oh well. It wasn't til some of the 19th street business owners came in to the BBR that night after the event that I found out how pissed off everyone else was and that's when my friends from 19th told me about the non profit scheme. It's about Mitch turning a great event into a con game. The event was put on by the 19th street businesses to help the small businesses that make up most of the Heights. I have participanted every year since it started. It was run by Karen Mann and it was always a good event with no problems. Til Mitch got his greedy hands on it last year. People paid from $100-$1500 and that money was to go for services that in the end were never delivered. Everyone spent a lot of money getting ready for what is usually the best night of the year. It was a very bad year for everyone so we looked forward to what should have been a great night. Instead no one had any business except 6th Street(Pink Street) because that was the only street promoted and I suspect it was because that was where Mitch was selling alcohol in the name of the phony non profit. He did not spend the money on what it was suppose to go for, shuttles,advertizing, printing, etc. and he took money from businesses that he new he could not possibly include. They were to far a way. But most of all it's about the non profit scheme. This is the real story. When he refused to show anybody the financials I contacted the proper authorities that handle non profit frauds. There are investigations going on at this time. Out of 97 business that participated last year only 39 joined this year. That is 58 pissed off business owners. Out of the 39 that did participate I know many of the 39 hate Mitch and know he is a con artist but joined anyway because it is a great event. The other participants this year are all new to the Heights. The rest of us will come back to it when we get rid of Mitch. For the puplic this is still a great party. It was hard for John Lomax to really get the whole story out there because so many of the businesses that were involved last year and are pissed off at Mitch are afraid of the type of harassment that Mitch always engages in towards his critics. I am not. I hate scamers especially ones who mis-use charties. As for my bar since you all seem so interested, here's the story. I moved into the Heights 32 years ago way before any yuppies got here or even many artists. I moved into a great warehouse that was next door to a closed cantina. My neighbor at the time told me that it would never open again because there had been to many murders there. Good I thought. I was a young artist living by myself and working at one of Houston's many topless bars. Back then the north Heights was 100% barrio. More than a little dangerous. To my surprise the cantina open up a month later. I was constantly opening my door in the morning to drunks passed out on my door step, people doing drugs and having sex in my yard, extremly drunk drivers, blocking my driveway, parking in my driveway, shooting guns off almost every night in front of my warehouse, etc. You see back then HPD would rarely come into my hood except for emergencies. So I got sick of it and one day when somebody from the bar parked in my driveway I went over there with my machete and told the whole bar that if who ever owns the car didn't move it ASAP their tires were going to be rubber bands. After that I had a lot fewer problems with parking. After living next to the bar for 17 years the last 8 of which were really wild, my neighbors and I had enough. I looked up the property and was surprised to see my landlord was the deed holder of record. His name was Jesse Cougot and I knew he had sold it 20 years ago. I had bought my warehouse from him several years earlier and Jesse had died a few years earlier. I knew the current owner and I realized that for some reason he never registered his deed. The other people you mentioned in connection with Reina's Bar were just fronting for him. He also had never paid any taxes and owed a lot. He owned many, many bars on the north side, some of them very big and very notorious all of them cantinas. Everyone in the northside knew what he was thats how I found out and I was best friends with a former accountant of his, that helped. The fight went on for three years in court and then he agreed to take half of what the bar was worth( he could never produce the deed) and give up all claims to the bar. The neighborhood was very thankful. Of course John Lomax's use of the machete story is just a metaphor and for shock effect.By the way,Walter Shannon is my husband and El Machete Inc. is my company. Wildchild and Strangelove are our real estate companies that own the two commercial properties. Since we own most of the block and it is our homestead the bank requires seperate entities own the frontage so we can't homestead it.

Edited by JackieHarris
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There is some serious mud slinging going on in this thread...I'm inclined to just default to agreeing with whoever s3mh is arguing with, but since I really have zero opinion on what seems to be a cat fight, I will sit back and just watch the train wreck in slow motion.

Im not really sure what all the hoopla is about anyways....only about 10 people even read the houston press....slightly more than the 8 who read the chronicle...

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However, this "strike" also states that there were 3 board members that were suggested to Lomax to interview and that only 1 was contacted and the other 2 sought to contact him but he did not contact them in return.

In the story, the only mention I see of these 3 board members is, " By that time, Cohen says, some of his supporters were gone from the board". Why is the one that was contacted not referenced in the article and why were the other two not even interviewed?

I want to know what those 3 board members have to say.

I'm not sure I understand what you think is going to come of these board memebers. It appears to me when looking at it that its is a futher indictment of Cohen and not a path to exhonerate him.

Board members have a fudicary repsonsibility to protect the organization and not the CEO of the organization. All the board members which are now gone, were recommended by Cohen to sit on the board. Dont forget this fact. Although Cohen's timeline is wrong, none of his 'supporters' left prior to him abruptly withdrawing his bid. But, the fact that he says his supporters were gone from the board in my opinion seems to be an admission that he did not recommend those board memeber with the best of intentions. In hindsight maybe, he placed them there to protect his interest and maybe have them help him mask his activity. This seems to show a little forethough, or maybe pre-mediation on Cohens part that he felt he had to have supporters on a board. It is something i never thoughto of before, but maybe something that should be considered. Maybe he thought he could get his way regardless of its legality? Should not board members support the laws and charter of the non-profit.

It is my personal feeling when i see a pix on facebook of one board member sitting in Mitchs lap at a bar and others comment underneath, Oh look its the Overload, Maybe its time for them to go becasue its obvious they are not there for the non-profits best interest, which is what board members are compelled to do.

This is all in my own opinion.

Anyway, these people were ask to leave or voted out because of their lack of committment to the non-profit best interest goals. Two left because they could not meet the time commitments, two were asked to leave, and subsequently voted out. Nothing more nothing less.

Edited by Myth Busters
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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm not sure I understand what you think is going to come of these board memebers. It appears to me when looking at it that its is a futher indictment of Cohen and not a path to exhonerate him.

Board members have a fudicary repsonsibility to protect the organization and not the CEO of the organization. All the board members which are now gone, were recommended by Cohen to sit on the board. Dont forget this fact. Although Cohen's timeline is wrong, none of his 'supporters' left prior to him abruptly withdrawing his bid. But, the fact that he says his supporters were gone from the board in my opinion seems to be an admission that he did not recommend those board memeber with the best of intentions. In hindsight maybe, he placed them there to protect his interest and maybe have them help him mask his activity. This seems to show a little forethough, or maybe pre-mediation on Cohens part that he felt he had to have supporters on a board. It is something i never thoughto of before, but maybe something that should be considered. Maybe he thought he could get his way regardless of its legality? Should not board members support the laws and charter of the non-profit.

It is my personal feeling when i see a pix on facebook of one board member sitting in Mitchs lap at a bar and others comment underneath, Oh look its the Overload, Maybe its time for them to go becasue its obvious they are not there for the non-profits best interest, which is what board members are compelled to do.

This is all in my own opinion.

Anyway, these people were ask to leave or voted out because of their lack of committment to the non-profit best interest goals. Two left because they could not meet the time commitments, two were asked to leave, and subsequently voted out. Nothing more nothing less.

It's probably best said if you post nothing at all. Your path of incredulous remarks is astounding. You come up with lunacy, mind numbing attacks that you think MC had a master grand plan. Who knew there were so many preposterous

ways of thinking and then trying to pen them to others.

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  • The title was changed to Houston Press Trashes White Linen Night Organizer

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