Thursday, July 10, 2014

Or, The Yvonne And Walter Johnson Saga: Part 11

Or, It Comes Back To Haunt You

I don't know if the Guilford County Commissioners have been reading the The Yvonne And Walter Johnson Saga but I strongly urge you to ask them to consider the facts I've presented before voting.

You see, several people have e-mailed me today to point me to this Rhino Times article by By Scott D Yost in which Scott writes: 

"One Step Further, which is run by Greensboro City Councilmember and former Mayor Yvonne Johnson, was established in 1982 to help juveniles in trouble with the criminal justice system.  Despite the $100,000 from the Guilford County Board of Commissioners in the new 2014-2015 county budget, the commissioners have continued to ask a lot of questions about whether the group is delivering a needed service – and several commissioners say they expect the recent funding to be the last money the group gets from the county."

Hum, I wonder what kind of questions...

"In the recent Board of Commissioners budget workshop, Guilford County Pretrial Services Manager Wheaton Casey told the board that her office no longer gives the group any referrals.

 Casey said the reasons for that varied from changes in legal system practices to a failure of One Step Further to fill out reports or even to respond to emails that were required for the court system.  She said at one time Pretrial Services relied on One Step Further heavily, but that has dropped off to a trickle in recent years.

 “In 2013, we had six people use them,” Casey said.  “This year, I don’t think we had any.”

 Casey also spoke about not being able to get answers from One Step Further that were needed to certify to the courts that the youths had participated in the program; and when they did get answers, Casey said, they sometimes got incorrect information.

 “Those reports need to be accurate,” Casey said.

 At other times, Casey said, Pretrial Services asked One Step Further for required information but couldn’t get any response at all.  She said that, in one case, Pretrial Services sent an email four times to certify a client for the court system but got no response.

 “We had some communication issues,” Casey told the board.

 According to Casey, another factor was a change in court practices that occurred after the Eve Carson murder in Chapel Hill.  Carson was the student body president of the University of Chapel Hill at North Carolina in 2008, when she was brutally murdered, and an accomplice in that crime was a 17-year-old who was out of jail on bond.  In the wake of that, judges across the state became inclined to leave people in jail on high bonds rather than release them on bond before trial."

I can't say for certain but doesn't that sound very much like the same sorts of questions and the same sorts of problems Yvonne Johnson's husband, Walter T Johnson was having when he found himself disbarred and banned from practicing law?  Read the entire series and I think you will agree.

From the Rhino Times article:

"According to Johnson, One Step Further helped 160 youngsters in fiscal 2013-2014.  Johnson supplied the county commissioners with a client list of about 145 names of individuals she said were in the groups’ pretrial release program.  The list included only first names, a city and zip code, as well as the referring agency.  She said addresses were blacked out and last names withheld to protect the identity of the clients."

Johnson said 160 but only had 145 on her list?  That's the kind of accounting practices that got Walter in trouble, remember? A a list with addresses blacked out and last names withheld? I can understand not releasing such information to the public but how are Guilford County Commissioners to know it's real?


There, I wrote a list, verify it.

From the same article:

"It’s made a difference in the lives of many folks,” Johnson said.

Johnson added that, the county’s referrals for the program began to drop about two years ago.

She said the cost of keeping inmates in jail has been estimated at $72 a day, and she said One Step Further costs the county much less than that.

 Trapp said the Board of Commissioners gave One Step Further the $100,000 this year because Johnson provided the commissioners with a better understanding of the important work her group does.

Coleman said it still makes sense for the county to fund the group."

All that might very well be true but considering what this series has made public about Yvonne and Walter Johnson, Yvonne Johnson may not be the person to manage One Step Further anymore. I strongly urge Guilford County Commissioners to end funding or at the very least demand the board of directors of One Step Further remove Yvonne Johnson from any association with the non profit as a condition to future funding.

The names of the victims I pointed out in this series are not the only ones hurt by Yvonne and Walter Johnson. Their crimes against the poor went on for years before Walter T Johnson faced the NC Bar and restitution was never made. Some of their victims spent as much as 30 years behind bars after Walter and Yvonne took their money and others are still behind bars. And while they might be scared of Walter and Yvonne's connections to powerful lawyers and politicians I'm not.

Had Walter been anyone other than an attorney, his crimes, thefts of tens of thousands of dollars from poor families, would have been considered felonies and Walter T Johnson would have faced a jury but because he was an attorney he went before the State Bar consisting of only other attorneys. Twice he was fined $50, the third time he lost his license to practice law but never did he pay restitution to his victims or almost 3/4 $Million in back taxes. Instead, with the help of his wife Yvonne, his daughter Guilford County assistant district attorney, Lisa Johnson-Tonkins and Judge Henry Frye he devised a plan to put all the family's assets into a corporation with Lisa Johnson-Tonkins, now candidate for Guilford County Clerk of Court, as president of the corporation to shield them from fines and law suits.

And Yvonne made Walter's crimes possible.

Continue reading Part 12