Photoshop credit: Leo Alberti
Grab your popcorn: The dysfunctional ObamACORN family is feuding.
Beth Butler, the longtime executive director of Lousiana ACORN, was terminated by the organization’s national leadership Monday amid a power struggle at the embattled advocacy group.
Butler’s sacking came two days after local ACORN leaders criticized President Barack Obama’s planned itinerary for a trip to New Orleans this week — comments that drew an immediate rebuke from ACORN’s national leaders.
On Sunday, ACORN Chief Executive Bertha Lewis said the remarks, which were not uttered by Butler, were “without authority and do not reflect the position of the national leadership.” Lewis said she would “be personally going to New Orleans to deal with the individual involved.”
Less than 24 hours later, Butler was fired. An angry Butler said Monday that the real reason for her firing was not the flap over Obama’s visit, but a simmering tussle over assets that ACORN’s Louisiana affiliate controls and that the national group covets.
In particular, Butler said headquarters has its eye on a land trust set up by the Louisiana branch. The trust owns five relatively modest houses, she said, and has a bank account of perhaps $60,000 intended for rehabilitation work — nothing to sneeze at, she said, “in the nonprofit world.”
As the worms turn, we get a nice, juicy glimpse of the power plays and money grabs that made ObamACORN the racketeering organization we all know and love:
Butler, who has worked for ACORN for 37 years, said her real sin in the eyes of the national organization’s leaders was a failure to concede to their demands. In particular, she said, she had led resistance to a demand to turn over the land trust, called the ACORN Community Land Association of Louisiana, to the national group.
“We were told by national ACORN that we had to give it up to them, ” she said. “We got e-mails threatening our jobs because we didn’t push the land trust people to hand over property and money to the New York people who took over ACORN.”
Butler passed along an e-mail message from Lewis calling Butler’s behavior regarding the land trust “unacceptable.”
The national entity is also making a play for roughly $90,000 in hurricane relief money controlled by the local group, Butler said.
“It’s hardball here, ” she said. “Our local resources are being spirited to New York. ACORN Louisiana is the most lucrative chapter in the country, and we knew they were aiming to take us over. There’s a major meltdown in ACORN. They’re trying to scramble all of us who would fight them.”
ACORN’s criticism of Obama’s original itinerary — essentially, that it was too short and did not include a stop in the Lower 9th Ward — was voiced by Vanessa Gueringer, an unpaid volunteer who heads the group’s Lower 9th Ward chapter.
“I’m thrilled that he’s coming, ” Gueringer said of the president on Saturday. “But, ” she added, “we want to see that change that you ran your platform on. We want to see the hope that symbolized your campaign in our neighborhood.”
The day after Gueringer’s remarks, the Obama administration announced it was adding a stop in the Lower 9th, at Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School.
Gueringer said Monday that she has not received a phone call or an e-mail message from the White House expressing any vexation with her comments.
She said the episode simply provided a convenient smokescreen for ACORN leaders to fire Butler.
Steve Gilbert sums it up:
To review, Bertha Lewis, is trying to make it seem that Ms. Butler was fired for allowing someone under her at ACORN’s Louisiana offices to speak out against Mr. Obama.
And Ms. Butler, in turn, is claiming that ACORN’s national leadership just want to get their mitts on Louisiana ACORN’s assets.
And they want to stress that Ms. Butler is not being punished for her involvement with the Rathkes, who embezzled as much as $5 million dollars of ACORN’s (ill-gotten) swag.
Who says there is no honor among thieves?