Forum - [Empowerment Zone Assembly ]

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From: Erica Lang
Date: 07/24/2002

I am responding to your front-page article on the Miami-Dade
Empowerment Trust (Trust). I am disappointed on how your
article compares their funding process to “spoon feeding”
and accusing them of “punishing” individuals inquiring about
pending disbursed funds. I would think that, as a journalist
such as yourself would have done your homework before you
spew the name of the organization that provided you with the
funds to publish this fallacious piece. If I am reading your
article correctly it also states that the Homestead
Empowerment Zone Board Members are allegedly using underhand
dealing to approve Empowerment Zones (EZ) funding for
members of the City of Homestead Council. First and foremost
the “spoon-feeding” process is essential to ensure that the
funds are being used correctly. The Trust is not a bank,
therefore they should not disburse lumps sums of money to
any individual just because they summit a plan with an
outlined budget. Well if they did, you would be writing on
how they give away free money. How are they going to explain
to their sponsors what you did with the funding if $20,000
were misused. As far as “punishing for inquiries” is
concerned, it clearly states in Section XIII-E of my
contract that: The parties agree that the processing of a
payment request from date of submission shall take a minimum
of thirty (30) days and a maximum of sixty (60) days from
receipt, if supporting documentation/invoices are properly
documented.. If you had read your checks (which I’m sure you
did), they are disbursed from Miami-Dade County Finance
Department who writes checks for Miami-Dade County as a
whole, not just the Trust. So for you to write that the
Trust has a financial department is absurd I am not
understanding your comment on the boards alleged underhand
deals, but someone slipped up when you got funded because
there are too many errors in this paper and it should be
suggested that they review your funding status. Not because
of your lack of business ethics but for hindering the dreams
of future business owners who could benefit from their
program as you and I have. I personally believe that overall
the Trust has done more for the Empowerment Zones as a whole
than you and your comrades could ever do in a lifetime.
Word to the wise: Never publish without performing a spell
check and never bite the hand that feeds you. This article
is a good example on why African Americans will not make it
as a whole.

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