« BACK  |  PRINT

RS

FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR

When Nuts Collide: ACORN Power Struggle in New Orleans

Over the weekend, an unpaid ACORN volunteer in New Orleans expressed her desire to see a little more evidence of the Hope’n'Change she voted for when President Obama visits the city, however briefly, on Thursday.

Since it’s hard to fire an unpaid volunteer, the Big Wigs from HQ showed up on Tuesday and sacked Beth Butler, longtime executive director of Louisiana ACORN.

But there might be more to the story. Pass the popcorn.

On one hand, there’s the official line:

As it happens, ACORN officials agree with Butler that her termination was not carried out only as retribution for the Obama critique. Rather, according to an ACORN official who would speak only on background, the episode was “reflective of a lack of accountability to process” on Butler’s part.

Butler had repeatedly breached ACORN protocol, and this was the most recent instance, he said.

Butler says it’s about the control of some assets:

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 (sic) 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.

More likely, the move on the part of the national organization is an attempt to purge the unpleasant memory of Wade Rathke & the $1 million (at least) that his brother embezzled:

That [Breitbart video] scandal was preceded by revelations that ACORN employees had registered dozens of phony voters before the last election. And before that, it emerged that Dale Rathke, brother of ACORN’s founder, New Orleans-bred Wade Rathke, had embezzled nearly $1 million from the group. Instead of announcing he’d been caught, selected group leaders allowed him to quietly repay the money over a period of years.

The last scandal resulted in the ouster of Wade Rathke, who also happens to be the longtime companion of Butler. The two have lived together for decades and raised two children together, Butler said.

The moral? Never trust a Community Organizer.

Get Alerts