Bertha Lewis, ACORN's chief organizer, appeared on Fox News Sunday yesterday, and even though Joe Wilson was nowhere to be found in the studio, you could hear his unspoken words as she misrepresented the fates of several of her employees.
Lewis's performance during the interview with U.S. Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and host Chris Wallace was the finest in liberal arrogance and dishonesty. Throughout, she didn't bother to acknowledge Issa with eye contact and she often evaded their questions so she could continue to assert ACORN does so much good for poor, working class minorities.
Following two clips Wallace showed of the undercover videos filmed by James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles at ACORN offices in Baltimore and Brooklyn, this exchange between Wallace and Lewis took place:
WALLACE: I want to point out, because you've also attacked FOX, FOX did not produce, did not make, did not buy those videos. We've just put them on the air like everybody else now has. You were brought in a year ago to clean up ACORN. Is this the new and improved ACORN?
LEWIS: Well, what did I do? Immediately these folks were terminated. Immediately...
The word terminated was used by Lewis four times in the interview to describe the status of employees that have been caught on these undercover videos. But, in Bertha's world, terminated, sometimes means suspended without pay.
Unlike other ACORN workers nabbed on undercover video, two Brooklyn ACORN employees have not been fired -- nearly a week after they were exposed in their office giving helpful advice to a fake pimp and prostitute on how to launder money. A spokesman for New York ACORN Housing Corp. told The Post that the employees, Volda Albert and Milagros Rivera, have been suspended without pay. (emphasis added)
Thus far we've heard various stories about the status of employees that have engaged in unethical behavior to advise the conservative couple posing as a pimp and prostitute with a plot to begin a child prostitution ring and evade paying taxes on their earnings. From what we can tell, employees from offices in Baltimore, D.C., and San Diego have been fired, but the organization has defended Tresa Kaelke of San Bernadino and only suspended without pay Volda Albert and Milagros Rivera.
The question that has to be raised is why have these two only been suspended without pay when they clearly committed offenses that warranted immediate termination?
A further look into the backgrounds of these two individuals may explain why.
Volda Albert has been with ACORN's NY office, where Bertha Lewis was the Executive Director before her promotion last May, since at least 2002. In 2006, she was highlighted for her work counseling members of the United Federation of Teachers. Milagros Rivera has been the Office Administrator since at least 2007, when ACORN used her to testify before the New York City Council's General Welfare Committee in order to get a homelessness prevention measure passed.
Milagros Rivera lives at 1889 Sedgwick Avenue, #6H, Bronx, NY, 10453. It is a former Mitchell Lama building owned by landlord Larry Gluck. Her landlord refused to accept her Section 8 voucher. Her rent is over 90% of her income. She can only pay it by borrowing money from friends and family. If this bill passes, her landlord will have to accept her Section 8 voucher and her rent will be approximately $200 a month.
Perhaps Lewis is just looking out for a couple of her own, but in the case of Albert, she's been with the organization for at least 7 years. Given her depth of experience, is she someone they want to turn into a disgruntled former employee with intimate knowledge of the organization's operations?
Tara Benigno was the third employee in the Brooklyn video and somehow went unmentioned in the Post's article. She perhaps is the most important employee of them all. Benigno has been a housing developer with ACORN since 1999 and was named the 2004 Housing Developer of the Year. She also works with the Mutual Housing Association of New York which serves as one of ACORN's many fronts and operates out of the same office at 2-4 Nevins Street.
In the case of these three employees, in terms of titles and experience, we can no longer believe the original myth perpetrated by ACORN that all of these individuals were just junior level type employees who out of nowhere decided to go rogue. If anything, these three women understand the inner workings of the liberal criminal enterprise they work for and the behavior we saw on the videos was just business as usual.
J.C. Arenas is a frequent contributor to American Thinker and welcomes your comments at jcarenas.com.