Miracle Hands


Nonprofit Leader Sues D.C., Claims Discrimination

Brian Turner / Flickr

The D.C. Attorney General has accused Cornell Jones and his nonprofit of using District HIV/AIDS money to renovate a strip club. But Jones claims it’s a case of racial bias, and now he’s suing the city right back.

Miracle Hands, the nonprofit in question, had plans to renovate a warehouse into a job training center for District residents with HIV/AIDS (the warehouse later became a strip club). Jones’ $2 million suit claims that Miracle Hands used D.C. money to hire an architect to draw up plans for the center and that they hired teachers to run job training classes elsewhere, the Washington City Paper reports:

By 2008, the suit implies, those classes were derailed by racism. Miracle Hands was promised some $500,000 in funding to get their center up and running, but the organization was stiffed when the city rerouted the money to non-blacks.

… If Miracle Hands provided the services it was supposed to, that should be easy enough to prove. The claim that they’ve been victims of discrimination, though, would seem thin, since the Miracle Hands saga played out under two black mayors. That said, a National Institutes of Health study released in August revealed that black scientists weren’t getting their due despite the organization taking pains to avoid discrimination, meaning race bias can be a fickle and complex force.

Jones’ formal claim of discrimination comes after took to his WOL-AM 1450 talk show Saturday to accuse white city leaders of going after him because he’s black. He also used an anti-gay slur in describing two white, openly gay councilmen.


How Not to Claim Racial Bias

Courtesy of Armando Trull / WAMU

Cornell Jones is accused of using HIV/AIDS money to renovate Stadium, a D.C. strip club.

The nonprofit leader accused of using D.C. HIV/AIDS funding to renovate a strip club has claimed racial bias is the reason behind the probe. And then he went on to use an anti-gay slur against city leaders.

Cornell Jones, who is black and runs a nonprofit under investigation by the D.C. Attorney General, made the remarks during his WOL-AM 1450 Saturday radio talk show, The Washington Times reports. He said the investigation is the result of racial bias from white city leaders and then described two white and openly gay D.C. Councilmen — David Catania (At-Large) and Jim Graham (Ward 1) –  as “a couple of gay guys who sometimes get to acting like little faggots.” Councilman Catania urged the attorney general to launch the probe, and Councilman Graham has been vocal about his outrage over the findings, the Times reports.

Some have taken to Twitter to urge people to file complaints with the Federal Communications Commission over Jones’ use of the slur on air.

Jones, a self-described former drug kingpin, runs the nonprofit Miracle Hands. A lawsuit brought by the D.C. Attorney General alleges Jones’ nonprofit was given about $330,000 in public money intended to renovate a Northeast warehouse into a job training facility for District residents with HIV/AIDS. The suit claims Jones used the funds to build out Stadium, a strip club that shares an address with the Miracle Hands.