Credit: Illustration by Chris Allen, VOICE

Hardy Brown Sr. | Publisher Emeritus Black Voice News

It was during a special meeting of the San Bernardino City Unified School District School Board on September 7, 2021 when School Board Member Danny Tillman uttered these words, “I am a politician and that’s what politicians do”. He was saying to his board colleagues, if it means breaking the Brown Act to get what he wants, then he would do it.

For example, just before the October 5, 2021 Board meeting, he told several members in the community, he had the four school Board member votes needed to fire the superintendent, Doc Ervin. The only way he could know that he had four votes without a board meeting was to have talked with three other Board members outside of a public meeting, which is a Brown Act violation.

The challenge 

It was during the October 5, 2021 board meeting that Tillman addressed me from the dais and said I could ask the CIA, FBI, the District Attorney and any other agency to “investigate” him and they will not find any conflict of interest or violations of laws from his actions as a board member.

Since he asked for an investigation, I followed up on Tillman’s request and sent the District Attorney a letter on November 22, 2021 stating my concerns regarding these Brown Act violations and possible conflict of interest related to Tillman awarding SBCUSD contracts that involved members of his family. 

Mr. Tillman’s wish also caught the attention of others in the public and school district. They began to voice their concerns about his behavior with staff and involvement in how contracts are handed out. The voices grew louder until, in the fall of 2021 the district entered into an agreement with the Great Gains Company to conduct an audit of all providers of after school services to students.

Eight community organizations that provide after school services to students within SBCUSD were evaluated for Governance–who sit on the board of directors–and paid officials responsible for managing the day-to-day operation.

The audit

Danny and Tracy Lindsay Tillman. Only one organization was pointed out to have a potential “Conflict of Interest”, CYCD, where Danny Tillman’s wife, Tracy Tillman, serves as the organization’s Chief Financial Officer, (Source: facebook.com).

Since 2018, Center for Youth and Community Development (CYCD) has received $6,678,579 in contracts from San Bernardino City Unified School District. Only the YMCA in Redlands has received more money than CYCD from the district. (Why the district does not contract with the San Bernardino YMCA on Highland Ave is another story for another time).

Only one organization, CYCD, was pointed out to have a potential “Conflict of Interest” and that was with school board member Danny Tillman and CYCD staff employee and Chief Financial Officer, Tracy Tillman, Danny Tillman’s wife. 

The Great Gains’ report also listed Allison Bracy as President, Noni Tate as Secretary, Linda Jackson as Vice-Chair, Monica Forbes as Member of the Board, and A. Majadi as CEO of CYCD.

Great Gains reviewed Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Records, State Business Organization Records, Conflict of Interest Records (which is required of all elected officials), and they even reviewed Tillman family obituaries to make sure Danny and Tracy are documented as a couple.

To my surprise, Tracy was the CFO of the Boys and Girls Club while A. Majadi was its Director before it went defunct.  When the Boys and Girls Club closed, A. Majadi moved their CYCD After School Student Service Operations located on Fifth Street.

In Great Gains’ Executive Summary of the full “CAPS Providers Governance Report dated June 23, 2022 it states “We reviewed the Form 700s for all board members and none of them reported conflicts that we believe would warrant further review–other than the matter with Mr. Tillman.”

Recommendations

In addition to that statement, Great Gains has recommended the following:

● District staff and counsel further investigate the potential conflict of interest between CYCD and board member Danny Tillman.           

CYCD Allison Bracy, president and A. Majadi CEO. (Source: facebook.com).

● Business services and the CAPS team review the spreadsheet of Board Members and Statutory Officers to uncover any other potential conflicts based on additional information. 

● Add a provider affidavit to the RFP application to disclose any potential conflicts of interest in future years. 

Another CAPS Extended Learning Program Report dated June 2022 pointed out that the smaller agencies were complaining that the YMCA and CYCD were given greater attention in relation to funding but with very little oversight or accountability for the services provided to students. Great Gains omitted the June date from its report.

The school district spends nearly $17 million on after school services for students. This audit was to evaluate the effectiveness of the contractors programs.

The independent, Great Gains Audit report  pointed out a clear “Conflict of Interest” issue involving none other than school board member Danny Tillman, the politician,who wished to be investigated. 

Well, Mr. Tillman you got your wish and more to come. 

Be careful what you wish for.

Hardy Brown, Sr.

Hardy L. Brown, Sr. was publisher of the Black Voice News from 1980 - 2012. An active community member, Mr. Brown periodically writes opinions for the newspaper on matters or interest to the broader community.