Shirley Sherrod & The Pigford Cover-up: Part One

Shirley Sherrod may not want to talk about family ties. 

J. Christian Adams has a  piece up at PJ Tattler about Former USDA employee Shirley Sherrod suing Andrew Breitbart’s widow.

Yes, it’s as horrific as it sounds. 

Here are a few bits of information on Mrs. Sherrod. I’m working on a longer piece but thought it’d be worth it to get some of this out there as soon as possible.

Georgia Farmer Says Sherrod Knew About Pigford Fraud

Here’s a 90 second excerpt from an interview I did this morning with Georgia Farmer Eddie Slaughter. Eddie says he knows Mrs. Sherrod well and that she knew all about the Pigford fraud and that the people behind Pigford actually view it as reparations.

You can listen to the entire conversation with Eddie here.

Who Is New Communities, Inc. & Why Did They Get $13m?

The biggest claimant by far in the Pigford Settlement was the $13,000,000 that went to Shirley & Charles Sherrod and their former New Communities farm and land development project in Georgia.

It bears repeating: Shirley and Charles Sherrod and New Communities got thirteen million dollars from the Pigford settlement. That’s about double what the second largest winning Pigford claim was. 

And then just days after New Communities won that huge claim, Mrs. Sherrod was offered a job with the USDA.

There are several things odd about this story. For one things, Pigford wasn’t for companies or corporations. It was for individuals. So, how did New Communites collect?

And just as important: who IS New Communities? 

Let’s take a look at their corporate records, shall we?

I see three people listed. Is this who got the money? There’s Charles Sherrod, Paul Jones and Hosea Miller.

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Who is Hosea Miller?

Hosea Miller is Shirley Sherrod’s brother.

Mr. Miller is a police officer in Albany, Georgia. He got into a little trouble a few years ago. As was reported in 2007,

A longtime Albany police officer is appealing disciplinary action stemming from sexual harassment accusations by two Albany Police Department recruits.

Lt. Hosea Miller, a 20-year veteran of the department, was disciplined Wednesday after a female officer filed a complaint, charging that he had inappropriate contact with her. A second officer has said that Miller made inappropriate comments to her.
Thursday, Miller had a meeting with city officials to appeal the action.

Shirley Sherrod, Miller’s sister and family spokesperson, said that the claims levied against her brother were ridiculous, labeling the action political.

Ms. Sherrod’s persucution complex is apparently longstanding.

DEVELOPING: More on New Communities coming…

The Timing Of Sherrod’s Defamation Lawsuit

This is from a piece I wrote for The Huffington Post a couple of years ago about the timing of her suit against Andrew Breitbart.

The timing of Shirley Sherrod’s lawsuit is interesting. For one thing, months after the incident it’s very clear that Mrs. Sherrod’s reputation hasn’t been hurt by the controversy, but in fact seems to have been enhanced by it. She seems to be a folk hero who gets honors, awards and speaking engagements. She was offered another job the next day and spoke to the president. I’m not a lawyer but I thought lawsuits — especially those that might have chilling first amendment effects on publishers — were usually filed by people who had suffered damages.

She doesn’t seem to be feeling especially harmed by the video controversy from months back. Just a few days ago at a speech in Oregon, she described the incident by saying, “That moment was just a bump in the road.”

Stranger still, Mrs. Sherrod’s former attorney Rose Sanders told me via phone a couple of weeks ago, “Tell Andrew Breitbart I’m not going to sue him” because she’s left the practice of law. Technically, she didn’t — Mrs. Sherrod seems to have retained the high priced, powerful Kirkland & Ellis law firm — but in retrospect it was certainly a strange message for Sherrod’s former attorney to tell me to relay to Breitbart.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this lawsuit comes just as things are starting to heat up in the Pigford investigation. Mrs. Sherrod is connected to Pigford. She’s the largest recipient of a Pigford claim; she, her husband Charles Sherrod and the New Communities farm won over thirteen million dollars while most other farmers only got $50,000. Mrs. Sherrod was hired by the USDA after this award. Prior to being hired, she worked to help keep angry black farmers from pulling out of the lawsuit after they objected to the terms of the consent decree. And despite her hero status with many, the farmers I have personally interviewed about Mrs. Sherrod have decidedly mixed feelings about her.

Andrew Breitbart and I had just put on a press conference at CPAC that released a two-hour, unedited audio clip that showed how easy it was to commit fraud in Pigford and that people are coached on exactly how to do it. A week ago Friday, the National Review released a 4,000+ word article detailing the Pigford scandal. Other major media outlets have pieces in the works and politicians are looking seriously at investigating Pigford. The USDA has been stonewalling me for weeks. And after Media Matters published a deceptive piece calling the Pigford investigation a ‘smear’ against Mrs. Sherrod, this lawsuit comes. I have a number of questions I’d like to ask Mrs. Sherrod about Pigford but now that seems highly unlikely as she’s sure to lawyer up on the issue.

 

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