Hicks won’t talk about nonprofit relationship with others

Published 10:59 pm Monday, November 30, 2009

SELMA — Despite questions raised by his participation in the nonprofit SCOPE, Selma Coalition Offering Peaceful Experiences, Henry Hicks, a candidate for president of the Selma City School Board, declined to answer questions about the nonprofit and its association with a nonprofit in Jackson, Miss., with a branch in Georgia.

Hicks appeared at a forum for candidates Monday night at the Performing Arts Center. When asked about SCOPE’s relationship with Community Aid and Development of Jackson, he said, “They printed what they wanted to print about that, so y’all can print what you want to print. I’m not responding to that.”

During the forum when asked about how at-risk funds should be protected by the school board, Hicks, whose SCOPE has received thousands of dollars of the money said, “You don’t write a blank check just give to somebody and say ‘this is what your going to do with it’ because nine times out of 10, if you give it to them, they’re not going to put the amount you told them to put on there, even if they do cash it.

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“So what we would do with that at this point is the people who are profiting from our reach, that we need to start monitoring. Documentation. Documentation. If you have this at-risk program then some board members might need to get up out, drove out and actually look at these at-risk programs and see if they actually exist. Who are the people that are working on these and with these things. It’s often times been said that if you’re going to give people money, make sure they are doing what they are supposed to do.”

Already, Selma Schools Superintendent Dr. Austin Obasohan has acknowledged the FBI is looking into how at-risk funds have been spent by the school district in years past.

City school records show the Community Aid and Development Corp. of Jackson, Miss. filed papers to do business within Alabama as a foreign corporation on Feb. 3, 2004.

That day, Cliff Albright, treasurer of the Alabama office of the Community Aid and Development Corp. wrote the Selma City Schools, saying SCOPE could use the nonprofit status to receive “funding for consulting services related to the at-risk grant.”

An inner-office memo directs whomever is making out the check to SCOPE should also make it out to Community Aid and Development and SCOPE.

SCOPE did not organize until 2004. Then, Hicks served as its vice president.

A check with the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office shows the Community Aid and Development is a nonprofit with offices in Decatur, Ga., created in July 1989 in the state of California.

The agent in Mississippi is Nubia A. Lumumba.

The 990 tax return for Community Aid and Development shows it runs education camps for children. The last tax return was filed in 2007. The return shows the president of the organization as Watani Tyehimba of Decatur, making $50, 765 per year and devoting 20 hours a week to the nonprofit. No other officers are listed on the return.

In an earlier return, dated 2005, a year after SCOPE started, Community Aid and Development stated it spend a little more than $15,000 in Alabama on a camp for children, but did not specify where the camp was located within the state.

These are not the first questions raised about the nature of SCOPE and how it has spent its at-risk monies. Copies of the 990s filed by the nonprofit are available online at