Monday, January 29, 2007

Jerry Mallon Problems

Donations sent in good faith from Free Haul NPC, CAT Database, and CAP (City Action Partnership) are being detained by one Jerry Mallon d/b/a Anchor Homes in Bay St. Louis at 609 Central Street. Friday, in order for us to start the process, Mr Mallon demanded a $30,000 tax deductible donation receipt for full service warehousing and distribution. Distribution meaning loading the lumber onto trucks with his forklift. Free Haul gave him that receipt and after 6 hours of verbal abuse and $65/hr for the truck, we were able to get 1 partial load out. Today, Mr. Mallon has refused to let the trucks into the warehouse or to let his forklift come out. Volunteers are now having to load trucks with 40' I-beams BY HAND while taking serious verbal abuse from this man.

No matter what you have heard, this battle (and it is a battle) is being fought between Free Haul and CAP and Jerry Mallon. The donations were revoked from Waveland Citizens Fund solely to get control of the situation with Mr. Mallon. We have no problem with Waveland Citizen's Fund or anyone else who has been previously involved with the donation.

There are people here who say, it's not worth it (we are talking now about 4-5 loads of donated lumber), cut your losses and go home. But it's not just about this load of lumber, it's about being able to get more (much more) and about principle and doing what's right. After all, that's what it's always been about hasn't it? Christina with Free Haul and a lot of other people have made BIG sacrifices in their lives both financially and emotionally to do the right thing in MS. I know you all know what I'm talking about.

These steel magnolias are being beaten down here in Mississippi, both emotionally and financially and the powers that be and many "friends" from the relief effort are not standing with them. I can't tell you whether or not Free Haul will ever come back into MS, but I do know how hurt they are that the "the powers that be" have not taken care of this problem or sent police cars to just drive down the street to show support even if they couldn't interfere with this "civil action" , but I for one am going to stand with them tomorrow, for the third day of this roller coaster to try to get the lumber released. City Team Ministries stood with us today and we were able to get 1 load of lumber and 2 loads of mattresses out. God's Katrina Kitchen and C.C. White are standing with us tomorrow.

We need your support, stand with us. Come with signs that say your organization (even if you are a loan volunteer) supports Free Haul NPC. If this is their last load, let them know you appreciate what they've done in MS.
Thanks for all you do.

City Action Partnership

1/31 From Terra of CAT
It is my understanding that the materials are going to be moved to theHancock County EOC warehouse on Stennis/Airport Rd and that an "open process" is going to be put in place for people to get on the list to getthe stuff. Another couple days and things will be ironed out, as far as the materials that are currently in the Gulf. As for future shipments, that remains to be seen.
I, personally, suggest that groups that are interested in receiving the donated I beams contact FreeHaul directly to arrange for shipment. BUT if you do not have the funds to arrange for shipment of a whole load and need to get the I beams from a site that's already in the Gulf, have faith...there WILL be a process for getting them. The mission is to let the people of the Gulf have access to the I beams and other stuff. It's not clear yet how much demand there is for the I beams,but that will all come clear in the next few days...

1/30 Just got a call from Dayle with CAT - if you are willing to have your name or your agency's name used during the protest as a show of support to get the supplies released, please email Laura stating just that, along with your contact information for her records.

1/30 Article Regarding this issue:

Donation Dispute
Jan 26, 2007, 17:20
controversy over donated materials which have been sitting idle in a Bay St. Louis warehouse came to a head Friday afternoon when the first of four truckloads of lumber made its way out of the Anchor Homes warehouse---headed for a new location. The release of the materials was anything but a smooth operation, however, as the warehouse owner demanded paperwork, volunteers complained of a hostile environment, and before long, five police officers showed up to try to quell the growing tension.
The warehouse, which is the site of the former Alcan Cable, contains thousands of dollars worth of donated materials. Lumber, cabinets, mattresses and box springs, diabetic kits and even some sheet rock, were all left at the warehouse when volunteer Kathleen Johnson moved her operation to a private residence a few weeks ago.
The owner of the warehouse, Gerald Mallon, of Anchor Custom Homes, has said he would not release any of the donated materials until he can see paperwork on who owns the materials and where they are going.
Mallon said he agreed to allow Johnson an office at his plant at the request of the city of Waveland. He said one of his employees who went to seek assistance from the city initiated the conservations.
Johnson works alongside the Waveland Citizens Fund and she uses the funds 501-(c)3 classification as an umbrella to write grants for residents. She has also solicited a large number of supplies and materials from across the country.
Mallon said he believes the materials belong to the citizens of Waveland because Johnson is not a 501(c)3 and he said she represented his warehouse as being affiliated with the Waveland Citizens Fund and the city of Waveland. He said by her using this umbrella, she had basically created her own distribution center in his warehouse.Joan Coleman of the Waveland Citizen's Fund said Tuesday, the mission statement of the fund states it is for anyone south of the Interstate in Hancock County.
She said the mission statement was changed after Johnson came aboard because she was able to use her organization "Katrina Relief" to get supplies and materials, whereas the fund can only deal with cash donations. She said Johnson's aggressive approach to gaining supplies has helped hundreds of people get back into their homes.
"The materials were sent to Kathleen, and she used them as she saw fit," Coleman said. "She has done a wonderful job, it's a shame all of this has happened."One of the groups which donated materials to Johnson was Free Haul Corporation, of Rillito, Az. Friday, Kristina Davis of Free Haul and other volunteers showed up at the Bay St. Louis warehouse in an attempt to get more than $150,000 of lumber she said Free Haul donated and bring it to another warehouse.
"Our goal is to get this lumber released to the people who need it," she said. "We spent months trying to get it here, and if it takes me all of next week to get it out of here that's fine."
Davis said a warehouse located at the Stennis Airport in Kiln is allowing the group to store the lumber there until it can be disbursed.
Waveland officials were also on hand to help facilitate the release.While a truck was being loaded, Davis and other volunteers waited outside the gates of the warehouse. Volunteers told the Echo that nobody was being allowed into the warehouse except a few people who were talking with Mallon.
After one volunteer returned to the gate in tears, the Bay St. Louis Police were called to the scene.
"Its a shame," Jessica Brown said. "I can look across those tracks and see people need this lumber, and we have to go through all of this to get it to them."
Four Bay officers and one from the sheriff's department soon arrived.
Mallon soon walked to the gate and welcomed all media present into the warehouse.
"Who told you you could not come in? He asked. "You are welcome here anytime, we have nothing to hide. These people (volunteers) are using you to portray a negative image of us. I am not trying to stop anything. Trucks have been coming and going, all I am asking for is the proper paperwork."
Mallon said he did not want to release the lumber unless it was to a 501(c)3 group, and he also wanted paperwork from the city of Waveland.
Davis showed the Echo a copy of Free Haul's 501-(c)3.
In the end, the first truckload of lumber left the warehouse and headed for its new home at the airport.
Davis said she believes it will take four or possibly five trucks to get all of the lumber out of the warehouse.
Chris Lagarde of Rep. Gene Taylor's office said in the future he would like to see governmental entities have a say in situations like this.
"Frankly I'm confused," he said. "What we should be concerned about is the people. We need to get over these petty battles. This is a recurring problemthroughout the coast. I would like to see the county or the city be able to have some oversight. I'm not saying anything was done wrong here, but there needs to be some accountability."
Davis said she will not be able to retrieve the rest of the lumber until Monday.

And history on this:

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