Last week, The SA Observer broke the story on the first 100 days of Texas Representative Barbara Gervin-Hawkins. The online response was very interesting to say the least. The political campaig team of Gervin-Hawkins sounded off with criticism that Black people and Black newspapers need to stop trying to bring down a woman who is so giving to her community. Other D-120 citizens were thankful to see there is transparency in our attempt to hold our elected accountable.
The CEO of the George Gervin Youth Center, Frances Gervin-Boynes, defended her sister by saying “There is two sides to any story. Get the facts.” We agree. We reached out to the staff of Representative Gervin-Hawkins on May 4, 2017 to enable the Representative to clarify her side and they declined to reply for today’s paper.
Let’s keep this real. The George Gervin Youth Center IS NOT a family-owned business. Officially it is a non-profit, 501(C)3 organization that is IRS approved to achieve its’ mission. Anybody with sense knows that when you apply for tax exemption, you no longer personally own the organization or school you created.
The George Gervin Youth Center is not a family business. The money that is used for education purposes is not coming out of Representative’s Gervin-Hawkins or George Gervin or Frances Gervin- Boynes personal pockets…this money is coming out of tax payer pockets. You are the tax payer. They are accountable to you. The programs that the school has designed to receive more grant money to support the growth of the school and youth center was compromised by her self-dealing. Again, GGYC is not a private, for-profit business that in the event of death can be passed down to the
heirs of Gervin Family. For all intensive purposes the George Gervin Youth Center is on the same leve as the YMCA, Goodwill, and public schools like Sam Houston High School. These agencies are all accountable to public citizens.
Now if you believe every school that is open is nonprofit you are also wrong. There are schools like New Kids on the Block, right there on W.W.White Road that is for-profit. This means the for-profit school has owners, and at the end of the day is in money making mode. They do not receiving federal, state or city grants as a non-profit school to run. This means that when the owners of the school decide to sell, or raise tuition, or whatever, they are making the money and at the end of the year will pay taxes on their profit or loss. Again, just because a person has their name on something does not mean they own it. Charter schools have been founded by families who have been accused of nepotism and trying to serve themselves over their customers.
For instance the bills she wrote help her charter school’s opportunity to improve. The House Bill 3554 Workforce Development Programs is designed to help nonprofits, like her George Gervin Youth Center to have more funding opportunity. So why is this wrong? Look at the picture. It shows Barbara Gervin-Hawkins – well they choose not to include their Gervin name on the school’s website – as the Special Projects Coordinator. She is also a Texas State Representative. She can’t write bills to support her job interest at the George Gervin Youth Center.
To make you understand, this is not a Trumped up allegation, we spoke to a number of Texas Representatives, who declined to be quoted on the record, but one stated, “As an attorney, if I create a bill to lift up the legal business opportunity, I run the risk of being disbarred from my law profession and could create an ethics violation within the House.” We reached out to Speaker Straus’ office for comment. His office declined to comment at this time.
As it pertains to allegations that Representative Barbara Gervin-Hawkins had complaints under investigation, DeEtta Culbertson,in the Communications Office of the Texas Education Agency stated “we did receive complaints in October (2016) concerning George Gervin Academy. Those were reviewed and referred to our investigations units where they are currently in the review process.” We asked her office what is the maximum amount of time for review of complaints that we believe mirror what was written in last week’s story.
As a Black newspaper, we have the same obligation to hold Black elected leaders accountable. There was nothing unfair about reporting on the bills that Barbara Gervin-Hawkins wrote. In fact, we became aware that when Representative Gervin-Hawkins claimed a Bexar County Homestead Tax exemption on her home located in District 122, she is now required to pay taxes on her home because she claimed in the Express-News that she lived within District 120. This complaint with the Bexar County Tax Appraisers Office was filed in 2016 and acted upon because citizens complained. The old adage is true, “you can’t have your cake and eat it too.”