Other than an insidious tabloidism, it’s hard to figure why the NY Post is once more up to its mischievous, devilish, racist ways-this time in last Sunday’s paper in a general probe of the financial affairs of one of our cities most effective service organizations, The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, and more specifically its highly respected president, Lloyd Williams.
It certainly wasn’t a slow day at the press that prompted the scurrilous attack on one of the nation’s most revered business, civic, educational and cultural institutions and its tirelessly hardworking leader. If the Post wishes to look for malfeasance, it needs look no further than right under its nose, where its parent, News Corporation, and one of its international papers are now snared in a hacking scandal of monumental international proportions.
With News Corporation and its leaders under investigation, we wonder if that company could survive the kind of close scrutiny of its tax filings that the Post reporters used to go after Williams. And it’s not far-fetched to think that such information was probably acquired by the same means News of the World sought to unsuccessfully obtain malicious gossip and negative information on Williams. At this very moment, the Post is being sued for defamation of character in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn rape case in which they persistently alleged that the Black victim was a prostitute.
If the paper has lied about the maid, then who in their right mind would believe anything they have to say about the financial relationship between the Chamber, HARLEM WEEK, Inc. and the company owned by Williams? When asked about the story, Williams said he “had no comment,” preferring to not dignify the allegations.
“I’ve known Lloyd Williams for more than 30 years,” said Assemblyman Keith Wright. “And in regards to the story in the Post, which I read, the first thing I looked for was ‘Did he do anything wrong?’ The answer is emphatically ‘No.’ It is clear to me that it was just a nonprofit entity payment to a for-profit company for services properly rendered. What’s wrong with that?”
Wright said that HARLEM WEEK” is recognized as the biggest and best annual tourist attraction in the state, something that Lloyd-under the guidance and leadership of the late great Hon. Percy Sutton, Hal Jackson, Max Roach, Harry Belafonte, Voza Rivers, Hon. David Dinkins and others-put together with smoke and mirrors. Go by the Chamber on any weekend and you’ll find Lloyd there working, devoting every ounce of his blood, sweat and tears to make HARLEM WEEK a success.”
As far as Wright was concerned, “the New York Post is just trying, again, to sully our community,” he said.
That HARLEM WEEK has become “the biggest and best tourist attraction in the state,” may be a reason the Post is going after them. A reporter told an informant at the recent gala at Gracie Mansion kicking off HARLEM WEEK that Williams and HARLEM WEEK have gotten to be too big and powerful. The reporter was stunned to see such a massive turnout at the event and to witness how diverse the crowd was.
Williams, in the mind of many, is one of the last people in New York to need any character references; his works and many accomplishments speak louder than any words. But the moment this story broke, a number of outraged folks called the Amsterdam News in support of Williams, to vouch for his integrity and longstanding commitment to the development of Harlem and New York City.
One of the first to respond was Council member Inez E. Dickens. “Lloyd Williams has been an effective force in The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce for many years. In my view, New York City in general and Harlem in particular owes Lloyd Williams a debt that we can never repay, for he has fought for economic development projects, more jobs for our communities and he has been an advocate voice for inclusion of MWBE’s in procurement throughout the City and the State of New York.
“Moreover,” said Dickens, who is also the Assistant Deputy Majority Leader, “Lloyd has been a tireless civil and human rights leader to insure that African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans and Caribbean-Americans uptown and in other communities across this city, state and country have equitable access to every resource that is granted to Main Street or, as you would say, ‘mainstream America.’”
Several others insisted that compared to other leaders of city and a state cultural institutions, Williams, if anything, is being grossly underpaid. “What his company was able to earn in four years, other similar organizations around the city and the state make that much in six weeks,” said a resident of Harlem, who chose not to give her name. “On this matter, I just consider the source and it’s nothing more than the New York Pest up its usual shenanigans of divide and conquer.”
They have obviously selected Lloyd Williams to be their “Black attack” flavor of the month.