The District of Columbia city government is reportedly in the midst of a lawsuit with a nonprofit group that the city claims used $330,000 in grant money intended for a job-training facility to build a strip club. Fox News on the bone the city has to pick with the "Miracle Hands," nonprofit group:
"The lawsuit contends the money was supposed to be used to build a job-training facility for people with HIV/AIDS. The city expected the facility -- to be constructed in an old warehouse -- to open in 2007.
Instead, the civil complaint charges that Miracle Hands changed the so-called site of its job-training facility from one building to another, it continued to submit invoices for renovation work at the original location.
The establishment at that location secured a nightclub liquor license in August 2006. The Stadium Club opened in 2007 in the spot. After that, Miracle Hands began billing the district for renovations at the second location, the suit alleges."
"The Stadium Club" nude bar is co-owned by a major city council campaign contributor, and Miracle Hands was founded by a self-described drug kingpin, named Cornell Jones, who is a convicted felon.
WUSA9 found that despite reports to the contrary, the office of Mayor Vincent Gray insists that Cornell Jones had nothing to do with the Mayor's campaign.
According to WUSA9, the scandal goes back to 2006 where at one point a city worker recommended the Aids Administration cut off the money to Jones' "Miracle Hands" organization because nothing seemed to be happening with the building.
The Washington Times reports that the money, which originated from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and were distributed by the District's HIV/AIDS Administration, required that Jones' warehouse be converted into a job-training facility for people with HIV/AIDS, not a high-end stip club.
City financial records found by the Washington Times show that Miracle Hands received more than $5.8 million in D.C. funds from 2000 through February.
Cornell Jones has been profiled in Black Entertainment Television's "American Gangster" program.
The Stadium Club's co-owner Keith Forney was the second highest contributor to Democratic Council member Harry Thomas Jr.'s controversial nonprofit Team Thomas. Thomas has remained silent on the Stadium Club/Miracle Hands connection and is already under federal investigation after a complaint from the attorney general accusing Team Thomas of diverting funds earmarked for youth baseball instead for, among other things, a new Audi and round of golf at Pebble Beach.
The Washington Times reports that Mr. Jones is a regular at the Stadium Club two nights per week. The U.S. attorney's office declined to comment on whether another federal investigation like that of Team Thomas will be conducted in regards to Thomas' connection to the Stadium Club.
The city complaint against Miracle Hands seeks damages and penalties worth $1 million.