Memphis politics: Berlin Boyd.
Berlin Boyd is the City Council Chair at Memphis, TN. I am a 30-year resident of Memphis. I am a Greensward supporter, environmental activist, researcher, inventor, and a small businessman in the food business. I hold a patent for a solar powered reefer truck which is the basis for an ongoing startup to build the trucks. I have done professional research since 2009, focusing on public corruption at the Federal Department of Transport, and I have participated in pro-bono research around Memphis Zoo. I was arrested in Overton Park on Memorial Day, which case was subsequently dismissed and expunged.
I am not a resident of District Seven, but Berlin Boyd, Memphis City Councilor for that district, first claimed my attention on July 19th, 2016 at the City Council Executive session. The Greensward ordinance was under discussion. The background of the issue was the lawsuit that Memphis Zoo, Inc. brought against the City, City Council and Overton Park Conservancy(OPC), seeking control of the Greensward. The OPC filed a counter-suit in February 2016.
At the July executive session, Berlin Boyd said that “the straw that broke his back” was that the OPC, which had been set up and funded by the City, had filed suit against the City. This statement struck me as bizarre, as the Zoo, whose current administration was set up by a City contract in 1994, and is also funded by the City, had first filed against the City and OPC, and the OPC’s suit was a countersuit against the Zoo, not the City. The statement was so weird that I took notice. Boyd was interfering in my District Five business.
Boyd, equally inexplicably, later proposed a motion at Council to withdraw OPC funding, alleging falsely that OPC had instigated the Open meetings lawsuit filed in April by stalwart Park defenders Dr. Susan Lacy and Stephen Humbert. The suit was actually dropped pursuant to the July 19th Greensward ordinance, and everyone involved denied that OPC had a hand in the filing of the suit. I know these people and they are straight arrows. Boyd was flogging a dead horse, as his City Council colleagues told him when they made him drop his Council resolution.
I wondered why Boyd was so vehemently against the excellent OPC. The $5,500 in contributions from the Smith family, including Diane Smith, who is on the board of Memphis Zoo, Inc., and Richard Smith, who represented the Zoo in the mediation which took part in the first half of 2016, may have had an influence.
At this time, the Greensward campaign was on the back burner, and, as I was out on ROR on a long court date, I figured I’d put on my researcher hat, take a long, hard look at Berlin Boyd, and stay out of trouble. Right on cue, I was approached by three confidential sources. One of them already had a dossier on Berlin Boyd. The following is the first part of eight postings on Berlin Boyd’s doings. The best is still to come, this is just the aperitif.
Whitehaven High School
Colorado Technical University, 2012–2014 BS Business Admin, Conferred 10th February 2015, online degree.
New College, Stamford, 1997–2000 BS Business Admin (at BetterMemphis.org and Appendix 5)
New College, Stamford, 2000–2003 MBA (at BetterMemphis.org)
New College, Stamford, 1997–2003 Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) (Ballotpedia, Appendix 6 )
Fact-check notes on Boyd’s education claims.
New College, Stamford is a community college about 100 miles north of London, in the British rust belt. It offers second level, certificate and diploma level courses. It does not offer bachelor or masters level courses in business administration. When telephoned on 11/4/2016, the Admissions Office confirmed they do not offer these courses and they can find no record of Berlin Boyd ever being registered there.
A business degree from a UK school would be a B.Comm (Bachelor of Commerce). BS degrees are written as B. Sc. (Bachelor of Science) and are only issued for natural science degrees (Physics etc. and computer science), never for business degrees. We do not know what Berlin Boyd was doing between 1997 and 2003. We are sure he was not studying at New College, Stamford. We also don’t know why he claimed these easily checkable degrees.
Professional Qualifications fact checked.
From 14th July 2008 to 13th July 2014, Berlin Boyd held a Tennessee Real Estate License, # 318029.
It was not renewed in July 2014. Appendix 7 has a screen shot of the TN.gov license screen.
During his 2015 campaign for City Council District 7, he repeatedly described himself as a Commercial Real Estate broker.
Appendix 1 is a screen shot of Berlin Boyd’s Linkedin profile from September 2015 showing occupation as Commercial Real Estate Agent at Slovis and Associates. Boyd left Slovis in 2014 but the listing remained until September 2016. Boyd removed his Linkedin profile from public view when challenged.
In the Commercial Appeal of Sept. 2nd 2015, Boyd gives his occupation as “Boyd and Associates/ government relations and real estate; Slovis and Associates”, over a year after losing his Realtor license. This listing was removed from the CA archives after a CA reporter was informed of the errors in the piece, but the CA did this without issuing a retraction. Appendix 5 has a contemporary screen shot of this piece, which we also viewed on 11/26/2016. The Google cache of the CA profile is here.
Appendix 2 is a screenshot of Berlin Boyd’s campaign website from his City Council run in 2015, claiming membership of Memphis Area Realtors Association. We assume he means MAAR, which, when called, were unable to find records of Boyd ever being a member. Appendix 3 is a listing of MAAR’s membership, taken in September 2015, showing no listing for Berlin Boyd. The campaign website is no longer hosted.
Appendix 4 is a screenshot of Berlin Boyd’s Memphis City Council bio, taken in August 2016, also claiming membership of Memphis Area Realtors Association. This was corrected in September 2016 after Boyd was officially challenged.
The Children’s Campus KARE Day Care Fraud
Kimberly Chism and Remark Chism, DBA KARE II at 1732 East Raines and KARE3/ Kare Enrichment Center at 1852 Winchester Rd and other day care businesses were raided by MPD Organized Crime Unit, USDA, US Secret Service, Marshals Service and DHS on November 14th 2013. The WREG archive was viewed on 1/9/2017.
Subsequently, Remark Chism pled guilty to $2.8M in SNAP and child care fraud. He was sentenced to 37 months imprisonment.
TN DHS forced KARE II to close on the day of the well-publicized raids. On January 3rd 2014, KARE II lost its license to operate. On January 14th Children’s Campus LLC was created at Tennessee Secretary of State(SOS). On March 3rd 2014, Berlin Boyd, as the owner of Children’s Campus, submitted an application for a license to operate a day care at 1732 East Raines. DHS rejected the license application on June 24th 2014. WREG obtained this document via an Open Records Act request.
DHS said in its response that they had determined that the current Application for a License to Operate a child care agency is an attempt by Mr Boyd and Ms Chism to circumvent a history of violations of the licensing law … The application does not demonstrate that the Applicant (Boyd) has the safety, welfare and best interest of children in mind, lacks the proper character and does not have an adequate method of administration… Boyd had attempted to fool DHS.
Kare II and Kare 3 has been set up as corporations in 2009 but were dissolved by SOS in 2010. In an unrelated case of a KARE II van crash in 2011, the judge ruled that the day cares KARE II and KARE3 and one other were operated jointly by Kimberly and Remark Chism as unincorporated partners, at the time of the crash and during the 5 years of the case. A child died in the van crash.
This significantly ties Kimberly and Reveal Chism together in running the two day cares. Mr Boyd’s involvement in applying for a license as a straw man for Kimberly Chism ties his application to the fraudulent enterprise and Remark’s guilty plea.
Berlin Boyd is very likely to have known at the time of his March 2014 day care license application that he was acting as a fraudulent straw man in support of an enterprise that was under investigation for fraud.
Political Contributions in the 2015 election
Total, over $117K.
· Tower Ventures people, 12 contributions totalling $17,500. They want the right to build cell towers in city parks.
· Smith (Fedex) family, 5 contributions for $5,500.
· Boyle Investments, 5 for $3250.
· LEDIC, 3 for $4,500.
· Carol Williamson of Memphis Wrecking (the landfill), 1 for $1000.
· The Hydes, 4 for $1,500.
· Friends of Kemp Conrad, 1 for $1500.
· IAFF Local 1784 PAC 2 for $6,000.
· Reid Hedgepeth, 1 for $1,500.
· Citizens for Better Government $750 and no address given. They are a wingnut anti-government group allied to Trump.
· Brenda Solomito of the Truck Stop proposal, 250.
· George Flinn, $567.
In summary, Berlin Boyd falsified his educational and professional qualifications in the resume he presented to the people of Memphis during the 2015 campaign. He still got the job and the press, although they were aware of his false claims of being a Commercial Real Estate broker, refused to out him.
In subsequent posts, we will be examining, in detail, Boyd’s public statements, the official response to some of his claims, his voting record, his cozy relationships with various entities, including Memphis Wrecking Co and Solomito Developments, his record on CLERB and police transparency and whatever else comes to light. We have many more documents to share.
Contact me with your Berlin Boyd or Worth Morgan information. We have an ongoing transparency cell focusing on Berlin Boyd and we are staffing up a similar effort on Worth Morgan. We are willing to assist anyone who wishes to research any civic issue or representative.
Appendix 1: Page 2 of Berlin Boyd’s Linkedin entry
Date of Listing: Sept. 29th 2015 at 11.23.38 AM
Appendix 2: Screenshot of Berlinboyd.com
Taken 9/29/2015 at 11.21.27 AM. The website is no longer hosted.
Appendix 3: Screenshot of maar.org Member Listings
Taken 9/29/2015 at 2.44.35 PM, listing all Boyds but not Berlin.
Appendix 4: Screenshot of Berlin Boyd’s City bio
Screen shot taken 8/9/2016 at 11:33PM.
Appendix 5: Commercial Appeal Candidate Profile
We viewed this page on 11/26/2016 and saved this URL. We brought the matter to the attention of CA staff, and since then the URL was removed, without a retraction or correction in the paper. This screen shot was saved on 9/29/2015. The Google cache of this page is here.
Appendix 6: Berlin Boyd’s Linkedin Education entry
We viewed Berlin Boyd’s Linkedin profile, https://www.linkedin.com/in/berlin-boyd-80a14912 on 11/26/2016 and saved this screen snip. The Linkedin page has since been removed from public view. Here, Boyd claims only a primary BBA degree obtained between 1997 and 2003. Elsewhere he claimed a BS and an MBA in business studies from New College Stamford.
Appendix 7: Screenshot of Berlin Boyd’s Realtor License, http://verify.tn.gov/