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Op-Ed: Misleading photo-op confirms the lack of integrity in Hill and his campaign


UPDATED 10-25-18: Added "ex-cop Councilman Baines was the chair of Fresno CDFI during that time" + other grammatical errors.

Integrity defined: “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.”-- The Cambridge Dictionary

That word, “integrity,” has been used very often by Fresno City Council District 3 candidate, Jim Tate Hill. I even heard him use it during the district 3 candidates’ interview on KSEE 24’s Sunday Matters last night—how ironic.

His actions speak much louder than the words he says on live camera. The shenanigans Hill and his campaign supporters and staff pulled last week at a reception for black candidates held at Kocky’s Bar and Grill are unfathomable. It only proves that a conversation I initiated with a candidate running for office in my district went on deaf ears—it confirms my continued comments and beliefs that Hill is not the leader I would want representing me for district 3.

I am a constituent in his district and a business owner, yet he treated a delicate matter as a photo-op and article to distribute online, hoping to get more votes by suggesting that all is well between The ONME Network and Hill—it was barely even a first step in any direction.

It would be a misnomer to assume that all is well because a photo was taken, posted and used without permission to insinuate to everyone that everything was fine between us—had people listened to the conversation, they would have found that the dialogue was respectful yet very intense—nothing to be used as a promotion or endorsement.

I would be remised if I did not tell people what happened to me earlier that day; hence, the reason for my visit to last Thursday’s Black candidates reception at the local restaurant—I wanted to find answers.

It was the final straw: I wanted to inform Hill, that he and Councilman Oliver Baines had finally taken this beyond politics, possibly endangering me and my family’s lives, (Hill denied that he had anything to do with the activity or incident.) I was shocked as I gave a full description and explained the incident to Hill, questioning him about the incident that had taken place just hours before; he appeared apathetic, as if it was not his problem—way to work out situations with potential constituents in one’s district.

Here is why I went to Kocky’s last Thursday night (October 18, 2018):

Prior to last Thursday night, individuals who wished not to be named, approached us on the street with defaming threats specifically from current Councilman Baines and Hill campaign directives. We were alert to the information and kept our eyes open, with a feeling of dread that people whom we had never met, knew where we lived and personal information about us.

Last week, my husband, Lennice Najieb, was called by a concerned member of the community, (this person does not wish to be named or be a part of this matter.) This individual asked to meet Lennice in person because of the circumstances. Lennice went immediately over that day to deal with the incredible situation. The individual informed him, “I have your wife’s ID.” Lennice returned with the item; indeed, it was my physical ID that had expired in 2014—yet it was being pirated on the streets by a “pretty light-skinned black woman.” This concerned individual bought it from the light-skinned woman immediately to get it off the streets; it was apparent that this woman was trying to give it to anyone in this very impoverished area of town, where people do what they must to survive, especially identity theft. The description of the black woman fit only two people I know of on Hill’s campaign, whom I had intended to approach that night at the reception about the situation, letting that person know they had gone dangerously too far.

One of the individuals involved, who also has knowledge and access to our confidential business loan information and credit file, Joi Eubanks, currently works under candidate Hill at Access Plus Capital, and works for him on his campaign. She also served as his former treasurer when Hill was CEO, President & Chair of the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce (FMBCC.)

Eubanks certainly would be the one suspect to have shared my and Lennice’s credit file with the public, as well as hired promoter, Adrian Harris, because of the prior dealings our company had with her in 2013—her lack of experience and unprofessional tactics hurt a number of Black and minority businesses like ours, applying for a business loan under the auspices of The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) which she was a part. She was eventually let go from the company listed under MBDA because of the rap sheet of complaints against her from business owners applying for loans. We later had to pursue a lawsuit due to the amount of financial damage we incurred from Eubank’s direct lies and illegal mismanagement of our business loan files. Her suggestive, public Facebook profiles said a lot as well, before she was hired by Fresno CDFI—now Access Plus Capital, a few years later; ex-cop Councilman Baines was the chair of Fresno CDFI during that time.

Kina McFadden would also be a suspect who fits the description because of the prior attacks she posted to social media attempting to get information on myself, and husband, Lennice Najieb—McFadden was also paid through Hill’s campaign this year a number of times.

The Hill campaign used bullying tactics hiring Harris to directly slander our names with “rumors” as so quoted in numerous Facebook posts by Harris, and cut-and-pasted false information, which absolutely had no facts to back up ridiculous claims. Harris also distributed this very spiteful, false information multiple times through text messages, Facebook messenger, email, and other various media outlets—paid for by Hill’s campaign. Colleagues, friends and people who know us, shared or forwarded the messages Harris was distributing throughout the community. People came to our business office with their concerns about the situation. Harris sent us messages through various people we mutually knew that there was more to come to slander our names if we did not concur with his wishes …

As these extortion and bullying tactics continued from Harris, there is evidence that there was direction coming from the Hill campaign camp and Councilman Baines; The ONME Network, myself and Lennice never posted any responses on Facebook to Harris’ continued harassing postings and emails to our accounts. We simply took note …

The defamation of character and false allegations were so unbelievable that members of the community who know me and Lennice were concerned about our safety, and puzzled that Hill and his supporters were so focused on us, although we were well-known constituents in district three—they just could not understand why they would go this far to try to ruin our reputations—they even had numerous people calling our landlord, hoping to get us kicked out based on this false information. Luckily no one believed the rumors—only the younger crowd who have never met us or do not know anything about us—they were the main ones commenting on Facebook about me, the non-profit I serve, and my husband, Lennice. People who know our background know that we are far from being “sell-outs” of the community, nor had we taken any money from Hill’s opponent, as Hill’s campaign claimed.

African-American Museum SJV board members I serve with, Harris then began contacting and harassing a few of them via text messaging and phone calls, even though he had never met them, nor had he any prior dealings with the AAHCMSJV Board or the organization. He also created and posted defamatory video making false allegations without proof about my personal dealings with the non-profit I serve. The AAHCMSJV Board was disappointed about the misinformation and false claims about myself, the chair, that a statement of clarification was made from the AAHCMSJV Board as a whole immediately.

Some would have to look at the irony of a “democratic” politician bullying his local constituents to this extent, and calling our ethnic media outlet, ONME News, fake news or insignificant; how can one possibly criticize President Donald Trump as a bully when members of the Democratic Party and Black community are hypocritically doing the same thing?

In fact, early on, Hill’s campaign dragged in other members of the community through a derogatory survey that was distributed via email. The email dragged in his opponent and another Black public elected official whom Hill or his supporters assumed was providing ONME News with information for our news articles and op-eds; sad to say, that was not the case. However out of fear and as a diversion, they sent out a mass email of the following:

Our information was either researched or individuals who wanted to speak, volunteered information—such as was the case with Alex Grimaldi, with whom Hill had undeniable on-and-off intimate relations with in the year of 2018 (we have not released all of these photos as of yet.)

And for a point of clarification, Grimaldi has a multi-ethnic background and considers himself Black. He, too, was bullied by members of the Black community who took it upon themselves to believe the denials coming from the Hill campaign camp.

Finally, the photo of the group hug by Harris was unexpected and staged; it is confirmed that the apology from Harris was empty on purpose to corner us and get us on stage in front of the Black public, continually calling us out of the crowd from the stage and mic in his hand; the fake photo-op and article would have more value for Hill’s campaign—wanting to win so badly at all costs, no matter what, no matter the consequences.

How could one believe that after all the slander, all the bullying, all the defaming tactics to hinder us financially, all the credit breach and fraud that a fake apology and photo-op with candidate Hill says everything is okay now?

This local-heated city election for the seat of Fresno’s district 3 has unnecessarily harmed our business and family, putting us in danger due to the confidentially breach of local lending institutions and from candidates who say they have “integrity,” releasing our private information to the public—we are still private citizens although we own a media network. We are not running for office.

As a former educator for over 15 years, myself and Lennice, our adult children, local friends, former students and community supporters have contacted us and were very upset with Harris and Hill supporters posting these false comments online and throughout social media, wanting to know what they could do to help resolve the issues.

Another step backwards

That night after the impromptu discourse I had with candidate Hill, I and an AAHCMSJV board member were leaving for the night. No less than five minutes after, Hill’s former FMBCC employee and campaign supporter, Chasitie Anita, who was drunk, was shouting directly in my face, cursing out profanities and degradations concerning my position as the AAHCMSJV chiar. Councilman Baines quickly left the building, as I and the board member were first stunned about Anita’s abrupt outburst. Once we realized that Hill supporter Anita was more serious, physically lunging her body toward me, attempting to swing her arm at me, she continued to accuse me of allegations regarding the AAHCMSJV Museum.

Instead of being able to leave the facility, it became matter of physical defense. Luckily the two owners stepped in, held her back, as she was drunkenly out of control ready to attack; we were then able to leave the local restaurant.

Anita, who came to Fresno, CA via AmeriCorps, and who has been here for about five years, unfortunately had the same run in with me before this incident upon my first meeting with her, under the direction of Hill. At the time, Hill was the president and CEO of the FMBCC. Based on misinformation Hill gave her, Anita cussed me out via a phone call, hung up in my face, and refused to pay the fees for rental of the AAHCMSJV facility—as she was representing the FMBCC staff who held an event there. She had since then apologized a few years after the incident.

However the most recent incident by Anita shows the deadly influence Hill has on his supporters and other young, naïve members of the community who view Hill’s knowledgeable countenance as plausible, although very flawed …

It only confirms that Hill will do anything to win, anything to pretend that he is the victim; he, is the former FMBCC president and CEO bashing, bullying and lying on local Black business owners, hiring subcontractors like Harris and McFadden to do his dirty work. And readers should also know, the very next night at a different private event, candidate Hill ignored me and two friends I was with, whom he knows very well. This is further confirmation that candidate Hill's conversation with me was a ploy, to deceive the crowd as if he were attentive to what I was saying.

To Candidate Hill:

Remember, candidate Hill, I came up to you last Thursday night to find out why you attacked our company in the first place, (by the way, I never got clear answers. Only comments on what a member of the community told you.) As I told you that night, you have had plenty of times to approach me, text me, meet with me about any issues you had with me, my company or anything else way before and after the primary elections. You even came to the grand opening at the Bitwise Hive at the end of June and said nothing to us—even then you could have expressed whatever the problem was. To this day, we have no idea on why you attacked us within the community and outside the community in public to others several months before the primary election. I can only surmise on a few assumptions.

Finally:

Again, these are desperate tactics that the Hill campaign camp continues to dig, to try to get the upper hand of a situation, when really, it is simply digging them into a deeper hole.

#TheONMENetwork #ONMENews #CouncilmanOliverBaines #FMBCC #JoiEubanks #TheMinorityBusinessDevelopmentAgency #MBDA #KinaMcFadden #AmeriCorps

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