05/27/97 Doc # 440-1 EOD 05/27/97
Kenner, J. Order Denying [384-1] Motion For Recusal by Thelma Barros FOR THE REASONS SET FORTH IN THE SEPARATE MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ISSUED TODAY, THE MOTION FOR RECUSAL FILED BY THELMA BARROS AND TWENTY OTHER RESIDENTS OF THE MANDELA APARTMENTS IS HEREBY DENIED. Entered on 5/27/97.
05/27?97 Doc #439-1 EOD 05/27/97
Memorandum Of Decision Issued by: Kenner, J. Re: [384-1]Motion For Recusal by Thelma Barros A SEPARATE ORDER WILL ENTER DENYING THEIR MOTION. * * SEE MEMORANDUM OF DECISIONS
DOC. # 439 FOR COMPLETE TEXT**
UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTES
Carrol J. Kenner, Chief Judge
V&M Management, Inc., Debtor
Case No. 96-10123-CJK
STATEMENT OF THELMA BARROS, PRESIDENT OF THE MANDELA RESIDENTS COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION, AGAINST CARROL J. KENNER, CHIEF JUDGE
I, Thelma Barros, am writing to the Judicial Council of the First Circuit in regards to Chief Judge, Carrol J. Kenner. Judge Kenner is solely responsible for destroying the empowerment and unity of a Black and Latino community that took over fifteen years to establish. Her actions in this case have clearly illustrated her prejudicial bias and bigoted demeanor towards the Mandela residents, who have standing in the Bankruptcy Court and in the case at hand and the Mandela Residents Cooperative Association, Inc., which is composed of all Black and Latino members. It is undoubtedly fair for Thelma Barros to say, as President of the Association and elected representative of the Mandela residents, that Judge Kenner is either a complete racist and unethical human being or is suffering from a severe psychological or temperamental disorder. Judge Kenner should be immediately investigated and forced to recuse herself from the case at hand. This allegation may seem harsh but is substantially proven by the exhibits included with this statement.
On January 9, 1996, V&M Management, Inc. filed for chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to seek protection from foreclosure on a fraudulent note purged by Mario Nicosia, a creditor in the debtor, and his attorneys. Judge Kenner refused to examine the validity of Nicosia's fraudulent note. The development that was being foreclosed on and is currently in chapter 11 is a 276 unit section 8 housing development called Mandela, (named after Nelson Mandela in his honor in 1987), and houses over 1,500 Black and Latino residents. The rent subsidies, as well as special appropriations made for the residents for specific community and social services come directly from HUD.
On April 1, 1996, a Trustee was assigned to take over and manage the development. The Trustee, Stephen S. Gray, has completely ignored the rights of the Mandela residents by allowing the development to deteriorate physically and by denying the Mandela residents of the community services that were especially appropriated for them by HUD. The Trustee has kept the money appropriated by HUD for specific purposes, including a special appropriation designated only for the purpose of rehabilitating twenty two units and constructing a computer learning center, for his personal legal expenses and has not spent a dime of the appropriated money accordingly to HUD regulations. Judge Kenner is consciously aware of Stephen Gray's destructive conduct and continues to accommodate him, regardless of the fact that the majority of the parties in interest, especially the debtor, oppose him and show strong and conclusive merits in support of their opposition.
Another one of these special appropriations is a community room that was built in the complex for the residents for the sole purpose of self empowerment and has been in existence for over fifteen years. This is were the Mandela Residents Cooperative Association, Inc. held their meetings with community activists and leaders, as well as the Mandela residents in order to better serve the community. It was also used for, drug rehabilitation meetings, meetings with HUD regarding cooperative housing, meetings with the Boston Police regarding the reduction of crime and for social events and gatherings to help unite the community.
Shortly after Trustee Gray came into power, all of the residents were deliberately locked out of the community room and were no longer allowed to use it. This is outrageous, in that the residents have been using the community room for over fifteen years, which is their absolute right to due so, and it has been the key to successfully empowering the 1,500 residents who live in Mandela.
Currently, the Association and the Mandela residents have to conduct their meetings in hallways, on sidewalks, and even have to ask community churches and other community centers for borrowed spaces. The Mandela residents have become refugees, in that they no longer have a grounded base of their own to empower themselves, and it is sad and disgraceful. People might say that access to the community room is trivial or insignificant, but that is exactly what people said about a Black woman (Rosa Parks) who refused to sit in the back of a bus! Rosa Parks' actions were more than enough to spark the Civil Rights Movement and African-Americans still reap the benefits of her courageous efforts to this day. Access to the community room, and what it represents, symbolizes the empowerment of all African-Americans and the destiny of Roxbury.
A complaint was submitted to Chief Judge Kenner, compelling her to order the Trustee to allow the residents to have access to the community room. Judge Kenner allowed a hearing and it was conducted on October 17, 1996. After hearing testimony from both, the Trustee, Stephen Gray, and Thelma Barros, Judge Kenner ordered the Trustee to give the Mandela residents access to the community room. She stated "Mr. Gray, you'll make the community room accessible to whatever tenants want to use it for whatever purposes so long as the meetings are orderly and quiet and not disruptive". Mr. Gray then responds by saying "Are you saying we have to allow people who want to call for a rent strike to meet there." Judge Kenner then says "I'm talking about tenants; it's used for tenants as I understand it. It can be used by tenants who are going to be orderly for whatever purpose. Finally, Judge Kenner says to Ms. Barros "Okay. Well, let's do that. Lets--going forward, lets do that. You've got the use of the community room for organization but just for tenants" (Judge Kenner and Stephen Gray, Transcript from the October 17, 1996 hearing, Pg.'s 51, 52, 57, 58, see Exhibit "1").
A key was eventually given to the Mandela residents, but, on December 23rd, 1996, (Two days before Christmas), the locks were purposely changed by the Trustee so that no one could get in and to this day, the Mandela residents are still not allowed to have access to the community room. The Trustee has completely ignored Judge Kenner's Federal order that was orally given to him in the presence of several witnesses.
On January 14, 1997, a Motion To Compel The Trustee To Give The Key To The Community Room To The Residents was respectfully filed by Thelma Barros. On January 27, 1997, Judge Kenner denied said Motion. In her Memorandum, (see Exhibit "2"), she states "The Court did not at any prior hearing, order the Trustee to give access to the community room to anyone or to do anything regarding the community room, much less give a key to anyone" (Judge Kenner, Memorandum in support of her denial of Motion To Compel The Trustee To Give The Key To The Community Room To The Residents).
It is quite obvious that Judge Kenner purged her Memorandum in order for her to support her denial. This, alone, is grounds for investigation and for recusal from the case at hand. It also clearly shows her prejudicial bias and lack of competence, as well as a possible psychological or temperamental disorder, in that one day she makes a firm ruling on an issue and another day she forgets about it as if it never happened and changes her position without a hearing or any explanation. Throughout the duration of this case, other parties in interest, that Thelma Barros has been associated with, can not seem to understand Judge Kenner's rationalization or logic.
Judge Kenner consciously sabotaged the Mandela residents efforts to unite and meet in a peaceful manner, and she has recently disallowed Thelma Barros to represent the Mandela Residents Cooperative Association in her Court, (also see Exhibit "2"), when in fact, Thelma Barros had previously made several appearances in the Bankruptcy Court without any objection from Judge Kenner.
Thelma Barros had requested a retainer for counsel from the Court and was denied. To Thelma Barros' understanding, the Court allowed her to continue to file Motions as Pro Se on behalf of the residents, and now, all of a sudden, Thelma Barros is no longer allowed to file Motions! The only viable representation the Association and the residents have is Thelma Barros, President of the Mandela Residents Cooperative Association.
Without any funds, without the granting of a retainer by the Court for counsel and by disallowing Thelma Barros to appear as Pro Se, who is supposed to represent the Mandela residents? This clearly illustrates the fact that Judge Kenner is no longer allowing the Mandela residents to have a voice or standing in the Bankruptcy Court when in fact it is their absolute right to have standing. Even Judge Kenner stated at the October 17, 1996 hearing, "The tenants have a cognizable right in this Court to be heard in connection with this case. They are parties in interest, regardless of what the Secretary of State says" (Judge Kenner, transcript from the October 17, 1996 hearing, Pg. 46; see Exhibit "3"). This is clearly another example of Judge Kenner's inconsistent and disoriented temperament, in that she tells the Mandela residents what they want to hear at status conferences and hearings in front of many witnesses, and utterly makes contradictory and tyrannical rulings in support of her memorandums.
WHEREFORE, Thelma Barros respectfully prays that the Judicial Council of the First Circuit scrutinize and investigate Judge Kenner and this entire matter further, and compel Judge Kenner to recuse herself from the case at hand, due to her racial disposition, oppressive and tyrannical demeanor and unambiguous showing of prejudicial bias against the Mandela residents and bias in favor of all parties against the Mandela residents, and for the act of perjury in her Memorandum in support of denying Motion of the Mandela Residents Cooperative Association, Inc. To Compel Trustee To Give Key To The Community Room To The Residents, for the purpose of persevering justice.
I declare under the penalties of perjury
that the statements made in this complaint
are true and correct to the best of my knowledge.
President/Mandela Residents Cooperative Association, Concerned Resident and Party In Interest In the Debtor
1855 Washington Street,
Boston, MA 02110 Apt 3E
Dated: March ____, 1997