Eventually, United asked the HMCC for a proposal to monitor the minority participation and provide consulting. We sent a three-year proposal, which amounted to staffing and totaling an overall cost of close to $1 million. I sent it in. The next thing I knew was that the front page of the Indianapolis Star had a story, "United alleges Harry Alford tried to extort them for $1 million." Nobody believed that, but I learned my lesson: don't trust them!
UAL also told members of my organization that they had to resign from the HMCC or else they would not get any contracts. That was stupid! They weren't going to get any contracts anyway unless the HMCC made UAL do it. Their loyalty remained intact as we built a citywide consensus.
Naptown was beginning to wake up.
It all came to a head, when principals of United Air Lines decided to tell a lie on state Rep. Bill Crawford. They claimed he tried to hit them up for money--like they did me. What a terrible mistake! Rep. Crawford was one of the most powerful figures in the state, and they proved to him that they were evil and dishonest. He joined forces with the HMCC. Victory was certain! United Air Lines had to "eat crow" in Indianapolis. Two hundred million dollars in contracts went to the local Black business community as a result of this fight.
Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce Inc. Website: www.nationalbcc.org. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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