Front-busting in Indiana

Harry C. Alford | 6/6/2012, 5 p.m.

The written agreement had things like, "For assignment of material purchase orders to you, HH&N will reimburse Thomas Construction Company a fee of 3% over and above the total cost of the purchase order. Joint checks will be issued to Thomas Construction Company in the name of Thomas and the named recipient of the purchase order."

Wow! They actually set up a special bank account where they would jointly go to the bank and make the deposits, but only HH&N had signing authority on the account. In total it was a 9-point agreement full of sinister schemes.

I reported our findings to the state Department of Administration. The general counsel asked us, "Where are you guys going with this?" I responded, "To hell and back if that is what it takes." I was about to leave my position to start a local Black Chamber so I had no fear. At an event for the Indiana Black Expo, I stood on a stage with Rev. Jesse Jackson and took the microphone. I shouted, "Huber, Hunt & No Negroes has been busted for fronting on the State Office Building and the state must punish them!" The newspapers, television stations and radio channels blew it up.

Huber, Hunt & Nichols was banned from state projects for five years. The company eventually changed its name to Hunt Construction. The U.S. Attorney wanted to go after 72-year-old Thomas. We persuaded them to leave him alone. They wouldn't pursue HH&N. (To be continued.)

Harry Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Website: www.nationalbcc.org. Email: halford@nationalbcc.org.

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