We aren’t going to refer to you by your Dr. handle, or your Reverend handle, or your Mayor handle at this point. Nor will we refer to you as a tax fraud-not yet at least. We are simply going to refer to you as Dwight, a simple citizen. Why, because that is what you are soon to become. And rules that apply to everyone else will hopefully soon start applying to you as well.
We have one simple question though, Dwight: Have you paid your taxes?
And please don’t go calling this someone else’s responsibility. You set up the non-profit to which you funneled donations from your church (First Baptist Church of South Richmond). You named it the Imani Intergenerational Development Corporation. You applied for and received multi-million dollar taxpayer generated grants to fund your Hull Street development operation in Manchester, and enriched your contractor buddies to whom you could award work along the way. However, the IRS inconveniently came knocking for theirs. And when you refused to pay? Well, the IRS filed a $27K delinquent tax lien against your Imani Intergenerational Development Corporation for unpaid taxes spanning from 2004-2007. And according to the Internal Revenue code, officers and directors are often personally liable for unpaid taxes. But then you “resigned” your Board President position as the head of Imani-the day before becoming Richmond’s mayor. How convenient.
Yes, there is a record of this-so please don’t cry injustice. Just refer to Style Weekly’s coverage of the tax mess back in 2009. And prior to that, Style covered the lack of success you, your church, and Imani had on restoring the Hull Street corridor in it’s 2008 Dwight’s Dilemma piece. In fact, the Hull Street corridor remains a boarded up embarrassment for Manchester to this day, nearly 8 years later. And ironically you claimed success on Hull Street as part of your Mayoral campaign despite the lack of success, entangled dysfunction, lawsuits, lack of transparency, and sworn secrecy related to the financial dealings between you, First Baptist Church, and Imani Intergenerational Development Corporation (sound familiar Richmond?). Style forewarned us all of the bad behavior we were about to inherit as you began testing the bounds of your new authority as our new Mayor. But no one listened. Rather, we threw caution to the wind in a desire to put the City infighting of the Douglas Wilder administration behind us. And while no one was looking, the bad behavior you exhibited at First Baptist Church and Imani was replicated and taken to a whole new level as Richmond’s Mayor.
But one question remains, Dwight. So what’s the verdict?
Have you settled up and paid the full taxes that were legally owed by Imani, plus interest, penalties, and fees, that you failed to pay prior to becoming Mayor?
A simple yes or no will do.
And proof of payment of course.
And while you are at it, can you explain why you never filed taxes for Imani from 2002-2009 as is required by law? According to online tax records, late into 2010 and running into early 2011 while you were Mayor but after you “resigned” officially, Imani filed massively delinquent tax returns going back 7 years for 2002-2009. Those were the years you were officially at the helm, Dwight. As part of those filings (we attached only one as a sample because of the sheer size of the backlog that was filed nearly simultaneously), there is a letter of explanation attached to many of the IRS filings stating that misappropriation of funds was occurring at Imani (that means embezzlement, commonly referred to as stealing). What was that all about?
I am afraid fellow Richmonders that Dwight Jones’ shenanigans (and those of the bad actors that surround him) at the First Baptist Church of South Richmond and Imani Intergenerational Development Corporation, have repeated themselves at City Hall. The current state of the heaping pile of disarray of the City of Richmond’s finances is eerily similar to that of Dwight Jones’ Church and his non-profit development arm-Imani.
History apparently does repeat itself. Be careful Richmond, and please dig deep when scrutinizing and selecting your next Mayor. We can’t afford to get it wrong again.