Executive director of 'village center' in empowerment zone is suspended

July 10, 1996|By Eric Siegel | Eric Siegel,SUN STAFF

The executive director of one of six neighborhood "village centers" in Baltimore's multimillion-dollar federal empowerment zone has been suspended from his job amid allegations that a forged signature was on a request for funds to pay his salary.

The suspension of Leonard Jackson Jr., who headed the Self Motivated Community People's Village Center that encompassed Sandtown-Winchester and three other West Baltimore neighborhoods, was effective July 3, empowerment zone officials announced yesterday.

Jackson also was also suspended from his positions as a member of the board overseeing the $100 million federal revitalization effort and as chairman of an advisory council to the empowerment zone.

Diane Bell, president of Empower Baltimore Management Corp., said Jackson was suspended after village center board Chairman Noble Drew Ali told her that Ali's name was forged on a request for $6,500 to pay Jackson. Jackson had not yet received a salary, and his pay was being negotiated, officials said.

"I am asking our legal counsel for next steps," Bell said.

Efforts to reach Jackson at his office yesterday were unsuccessful. A call to his home last night had a recording saying the number had been disconnected.

The village centers were designed to create community involvement in the program to revive areas of East, West and South Baltimore.

Pub Date: 7/20/96

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