Case 34: Philadelphia Fire Dept.
Part D:  Black Fire Commisioner Harold B. Hairston
and Black Mayor John F. Street

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Racial preferences divide Philly PFD Philly's Black Fire Commissioner Supports Racial Quotas

Philly's Black Mayor John F. Street Is Under FBI Investigation for Corruption in Racial Set-Aside Contracts

Dedication and service regardless of skin color

See Also:   FBI Investigates Philly Racial Quota Corruption (news 10-17-03), below.

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Philly Fire Commissioner Harold B. Hairston
Black, Liberal Democrat, Quota Advocate

Philly Fire Commissioner Harold B. Hairston
Philly Fire Commissioner Harold B. Hairston
          Philadelphia firefighters report that Fire Commissioner Harold B. Hairston is not widely liked by the rank and file.

          It is small wonder.  After all, black Commissioner Hairston has stated publicly (and on the record) that if he had his way he would make the department over 50% black!

          The Fire Commissioner is also a member the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters which is closely allied with the black firefighters' organization called Club Valiants (plaintiffs in the discrimination suit).

Philly Mayor John F. Street
Black, Liberal Democrat, Quota Advocate

Philly Mayor John F. Street
Philly Mayor
John F. Street
          Fire Commissioner Harold Hairston was reappointed as Commissioner in 2000 by the current Democratic Mayor of Philadelphia, John F. Street.

          The black firefighters' organization, Club Valiants, has endorsed Street in his 2003 bid for reelection as mayor of Philadelphia.

          In October 2003 Mayor John F. Street's administration is being investigated by the FBI for corruption in the award of racial set-aside contracts to Street's cronies and friends, including Mayor Street's brother.  See FBI Investigation, below.

          Commissioner Hairston was originally appointed in 1992 by another liberal Democrat and a friend of Al Gore's, Mayor Edward G. Rendell who, as it happens, is now the governor of Pennsylvania and who is the former mayor of Philadelphia.

          What's wrong with this picture?  Do you think the City of Philadelphia is actively defending its fire department against the imposition of racial quotas?

          Not likely.  A brief review of the parties to this lawsuit is in order:

  • On the Plaintiffs' side of the court order to impose quotas -- the pro-quota side -- we have the State of Pennsylvania and the black firefighters' organization Club Valiants.
  • On the Defendants' side -- the side which is supposed to be defending itself against charges of anti-black discrimination -- we have the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Fire Department.

          But wait! Both sides are currently populated by strong advocates of racial quotas!   Do you see the problem?

          Are you surprised that the Court has repeatedly refused to allow the firefighters to present legal arguments against the continued use of racial quotas?

FBI Investigates Racial Quota Corruption
In Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street's Administration

Web Posted Oct. 16, 2003

According to the Associated Press, listening devices (bugs) recently found in Mayor Street's offices were planted by the FBI as part of an ongoing investigation into corruption regarding the award of city contracts to friends, political supporters, and relatives of Mayor John F. Street.
Of particular interest to the FBI are the records of several minority-owned businesses as well as Philly's "Minority Business Enterprise Council" which determines which Philly businesses owned by certain races can receive no-bid city contracts.

Down:  Philadelphia Firefighter Index

Original Zwire.Com Headline:
After bug's discovery, FBI took records from city agency

[The Associated Press - October 14, 2003]  "A city agency that helps minority-owned businesses get shares of public works contracts was asked to turn over records to federal agents last week, shortly after an FBI bug was discovered in the mayor's office, a city official confirmed Tuesday.

          "City Solicitor Nelson Diaz declined to say which specific records were taken by federal agents, but said all were related to the Minority Business Enterprise Council [MBEC], an agency that wields substantial power over which companies may bid on certain lucrative city contracts.

          "Diaz said he did not know why the FBI was interested in the council, or whether the request had anything to do with the bureau's bugging of the City Hall offices of Mayor John Street. Listening devices were found in Street's offices on Oct. 7 during a routine security sweep.

          "Created in 1993, the Minority Business Enterprise Council is the centerpiece of the city's affirmative-action program for companies owned by women and ethnic minorities.

          "... firms bidding for city contracts are required to give part or all of the work to firms certified by MBEC as being minority-owned. The designations are somewhat coveted, as they can help a small company forge partnerships with bigger firms that need a minority as a partner if they are to get a piece of city business.

          "MBEC has given that designation to a variety of companies owned by Street supporters, including a firm owned by Ali's wife, Faridah Ali.

          "Agents have also ... raided a business associated with one of [Street's] supporters, the influential imam Shamsud-din Ali.

          "The firm, Elite Services, is listed in city records as certified to provide vending machines, food concessions, catering services, marketing services and public relations work.

         "... in recent months agents have subpoenaed a variety of records having to do with various city contracts, including a $13.6 million deal to provide maintenance at the city-owned Philadelphia International Airport.

About Imam Shamsud-din Ali

          "Ali, 64, was born Clarence Fowler but legally changed his name in 1984. Shamsud-din means "sun of the faith" in Arabic.

          "In 1970, he was convicted of fatally shooting a North Philadelphia minister in a robbery. He served six years in prison.

          "As a former prison inmate and a devout Muslim, Ali commanded respect in some neighborhoods as "the baddest of the bad," according to Fareed Numan, an author and researcher on Philadelphia's Muslim community.

          "[Ali] also moves among the city's most powerful politicians, serving as a kind of liaison to the Muslim community. He has helped the campaigns of such men as John Street and Ed Rendell - and like many others who also helped, he wound up with city work. The businesses and groups run by Ali and his wife have received a steady stream of city contracts and government grants." [Emphasis added.]

Excerpted from the Political State Report 10-11-03.  Last known link to original story:

          "Earlier this year, city officials revealed that a company that held the $13.6 million airport maintenance contract, Philadelphia Airport Services, had made plans to subcontract more than $1.1 million of the work to the mayor's brother, Milton Street.

          "After a public outcry, the deal was canceled by Mayor Street, who maintained that he had been unaware that his brother had bid for the job."

Excerpted from the Associated Press story as published on  Last known link:

Link to similar story by Associated Press:

Original CentreDaily.Com Headline:
FBI put listening device in Philadelphia mayor's office, sources say
Down:  Philadelphia Firefighter Index

PHILADELPHIA (KRT - October 8, 2003) - "A day after a listening device was found inside Mayor John Street's office, FBI agents Wednesday conducted a series of raids across Philadelphia, including a search of a finance firm with a no-bid city contract to collect back taxes.

          "The bugging, according to people familiar with it, was part of a wide-ranging federal investigation into corruption in city contracts and other matters. Those same sources confirmed that a number of raids conducted by the FBI Wednesday were connected to the investigation.

          "One of the FBI raids Wednesday morning focused on Keystone Information & Financial Services, a Mount Airy business that was awarded a contract in 2002 that netted $60,600 from the city for collection of taxes.

          "The FBI also searched the Cheltenham home of an executive of the business, Imam Shamsud-din Ali, according to a law enforcement official. 

          "People familiar with the inquiry said it focused in part on contracts at Philadelphia International Airport. The mayor's brother, T. Milton Street, who has ties to a firm doing airport business, said that he, too, thought the probe was related to the airport.

          "[Mayor] Street, Gov. Ed Rendell, and a host of other prominent politicians called Wednesday for the FBI to tell the public whether Street or other administration officials are under investigation. The FBI and federal prosecutors, both in Philadelphia and Washington, adamantly refused to do that.

          "[FBI] Agents raided the Germantown Avenue offices of Keystone Information & Financial Services sometime before 10 a.m. They left with cartons of material, authorities said.  The chief executive of the firm, Marcelino Guerrero, contributed $9,000 to Street's mayoral campaigns between 1997 and 1999.

          "The vice president of the firm, [Imam Shamsud-din Ali], is the founder and religious leader of the Philadelphia Masjid, one of the largest and most influential black [Muslim] mosques in the Philadelphia area.  FBI agents searched Ali's home in Cheltenham Township on Wednesday, sources said.

          "He's a supporter. He's a friend," Street said when asked about Ali. "I've seen him at fund-raisers. I mean, I don't know whether he's raised any money."

          "Shamsud-din [Ali] is [Mayor John F.] Street's adviser to the Muslim community," said Fareed Numan, a former researcher at the American Muslim Council and expert on the local Muslim community.

          "[Shamsud-din] Ali has appeared at Street's side in events in the Muslim community, most recently last Friday during the mayor's speech at the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society, the main mosque for Arab and immigrant Muslims who are said to be lukewarm toward Street.

          "Earlier this year, it was learned that a federal law enforcement task force was investigating [Imam Shamsud-din] Ali in connection with alleged fraud at a private Muslim school he runs in West Philadelphia, the Clara Muhammad School.

          "And, in June, the Philadelphia School District gave authorities documents related to a proposed charter school that Ali and his wife wanted to open.

          "It is also known that federal investigators have been exploring contracts at Philadelphia International Airport. In June, city officials disclosed that a federal grand jury was investigating a $13.6 million maintenance contract at the airport. Federal authorities had subpoenaed 25,000 page of contract documents, city officials said.

          "In an interview Wednesday, [the mayor's brother] T. Milton Street said he believed that the hidden surveillance device was tied to the airport probe.  "You can't just bug an office because of politics," Milton Street said. "You need a reason, so I think they're using that whole airport thing as a reason to bug the office."

          "But Milton Street insisted that the low-bid contract was fairly awarded, and that neither he nor his brother [mayor John F. Street] had done anything wrong."

Excerpted from the Wed., Oct. 8, 2003 story by CentreDaily / Philadelphia Inquirer reporters Emilie Lounsberry, Shannon McCaffrey and Clean Benson.

Last known link to the original story:

Original Philadelphia Inquirer Headline:
FBI appears to focus on 'pay to play'
Down:  Philadelphia Firefighter Index

          "In this time-honored game of political fund-raising, candidates are given money by people with a stake in city government, and contributors are rewarded with lucrative city business.

          "Since the discovery of a sophisticated bug in the ceiling of the mayor's City Hall office transformed his reelection campaign, FBI agents and federal prosecutors have sought a broad array of documents about city contracts and campaign money.

          "They have raided three city agencies and the Center City office of lawyer White, a major political ally of the mayor's who has earned millions of dollars from municipal legal work. They also searched the Mount Airy office of a small financial firm that was cut in on a modest, no-bid city contract.

          "Here, so far, are the names and places that the federal authorities have zeroed in on:

          "Minority Business and Enterprise Council. The FBI searched offices of the MBEC, which is part of the Finance Department, and departed with records. It left behind a grand-jury subpoena directing the head of the agency to bring documents regarding companies associated with Ali.

          "MBEC seeks to ensure that minorities, women and people with disabilities get equal access to city business opportunities.

          "Imam Shamsud-din Ali. The Cheltenham Township home of the Muslim cleric, a supporter and friend of Mayor Street's, was searched by the FBI the day after the bug was discovered. Ali is the founder and religious leader of the Philadelphia Masjid, a large and influential mosque in the area.

          "Agents also raided the Germantown Avenue offices of Keystone Information & Financial Services, a company of which Ali is a founder. And they seized records from Ali's accountant.

          "In 1970, Ali was convicted of fatally shooting a North Philadelphia minister in a robbery. He spent six years in prison until the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 1976.

          "After he got out of prison, Ali worked to bring order to inner-city neighborhoods plagued by violence. In recent years, he has counseled prison inmates. Last year, Street appointed him to the city's prison board.

          "Ronald A. White P.C.   On Thursday, FBI agents spent hours searching the tastefully decorated law firm at Broad and Walnut Streets, eventually carting out about 60 boxes of documents. The boxes bore notations that included "PHA" and "Tasker Homes."

          "City Finance Department. Agents also removed about a half-dozen boxes from this key city office where the director of finance acts as the chief financial, accounting and budget officer of the city.

          "The director, Janice Davis, oversees the Procurement and Revenue Departments and the Office of the City Treasurer; chairs the Municipal Board of Pensions & Retirement; and is a member of the Mayor's Cabinet and the City Planning Commission.

          "City Treasurer's Office. It was searched the same day. This office manages the development and administration of debt policies of the city and its related agencies, and coordinates the provision of financial analysis.

          "Municipal Board of Pensions and Retirement. This office also was the focus of an FBI search on Thursday. The nine-member board, which manages the assets of the pension system, is chaired by the director of finance and includes the city solicitor, the managing director, the city personnel director, the city controller, and four employees elected by members of the four municipal unions.

          "Philadelphia Housing Authority. On Friday, authorities delivered a subpoena to the authority, seeking records on businesses, consultants and banks with which it does business.  PHA, with an annual budget of $350 million, is the city's largest landlord."

From the 10/19/03 Philadelphia Inquirer story by Emilie Lounsberry and Joseph Tanfani

Last known link to original story:

Related, Similar Corruption Stories:

          City racial quota programs for minority contractors have been repeatedly investigated for corruption and cronyism.   Black friends of the political elite receive huge "sole source" contract awards, and white-owned contractors "fudge" the books to make it look like they are owned by blacks or other preferred minorities -- all because of race-based contracting quotas.  Below are just a few of the many other examples of corruption in city minority set-aside contracting programs.  -- Editor.

ATLANTA:   Minority Set-Aside Programs Investigated by FBI for Corruption

PITTSBURGH:  Minority Set-Aside Programs Investigated by FBI for Corruption

SAN FRANCISCO:  Minority Set-Aside Programs Investigated by FBI for Corruption

WASHINGTON, DC:  Black Cronyism and Corruption in Suburban Racial Set-Aside Programs

END Case 34: (D) Black Fire Commissioner Hairston and Black Mayor Street


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*  We use the term reverse discrimination reluctantly and only because it is so widely understood.  In our opinion there really is only one kind of discrimination.