Social Credit scores in the Reagan Era
Pride Realty Office
1353 Beacon St #2
Seventeen Years after KingSolomon's Gate
Blackballed by Whitey Bulger
It was difficult to judge their reactions to what I was showing them. They seemed to be interested in all the wrong things. I at least hoped we had put the scandal thing to rest. The Computerized Tenant Housing selection system had hit the Boston ghetto housing market like a storm, and as it began to dominate low income housing in Roxbury and Dorchester in the late 80's. Tenants who didn't get housing now had a target or so it seemed.
Alison and I had decided to have officials from the Boston Housing Authority and the Metropolitan Housing Authority over to my Coolidge Corner Brookline office for a catered lunch and demo to show them exactly what we were doing and how.
We were computer selecting tenants by a computerized score point system, not as ghetto slander had it "doing strange things at night". For months we had been computer generating letters to new landlords in Roxbury and Dorchester promoting ourselves to the landlords and trying to convince them that our computer selection system would get them only the best tenants. I had written a computer program that grabbed housing sales records for the city and mail merged a mass mailer to them. We told the new landlord about our "database confirmed landlord research, Employment and community confirmed references, work history... etc etc etc. We Could get you a REALLY good tenant and save you from Damaging and Criminal tenants.
We mailed many of those thousands of computer generated letters directly to the house address. Many of those letters were opened by those very aforementioned Damaging and Criminal tenants. Maybe they beat up the last landlord, got arrested whatever... they all either read or heard about the letter addressed to the landlord,... "and so and so's Landlord got one too I heard"...
On top of that,... people would call and get entered into the database, get a confirmation letter describing accurately what they told us and how we worked. The next time they called we would say "we already have you". Because every worker, shelter, everybody in the industry,... had our number and gave it out, Confused people in difficult circumstances would bounce through the system in Boston and everybody just gave them our phone number. They would call six to a dozen times over a year or so... always get yep, you lived here and did this and we got ya and we are doing our best, all to the click of a data entry keyboard audible in the background.
Thus started the explosive rumor that "Pride Realty knew everything". In a community where many had much too hide,... those with much to hide were primarily the one's opening the letters addressed to the landlord. Perhaps a piece of leverage they could use? Nope,... bad news in the form of Pride Realty.
We asked a 72 question questionnaire over the phone and data entered the answers. I wrote the program and the stunningly beautiful Alison Hammond handled the phones and tenant communication. I ran the business and Alison ran the tenant database which I designed. We recorded everything, computer tracked the inspections process, who lived where, what they paid ,... who the landlord was,... who were the welfare officials assigned. The references all spun to the same file so we started calling landlords and getting ten references at once to save time. By the third "and Darlene Smith at 32 Dorchester Ave. from jan to may of 78... how was she?", they just dumped all their listings on us. This was 1987 and that sort of thing was unheard of at the time.
We tracked all the housing advocates and shelters and computer generated letters of the apartments we were offering, the list was exploding in volume and we were sending it to the very people who had jobs with the state to find housing for poor tenants.
We got em all (as in ALL of the available apartments).... hardy har har har !
We assigned a score to each reference and Summed and Averaged the scores. Eligible references were Landlords, Employers, Clergy. Any participation in the Community from any perspective got you points. The profile is what the system produced and that corresponded with happy landlords. Tenants they were getting paid a premium for as difficult, were not. Low damage, good relations, HIGH PROFIT. Landlords like Kevin Ryan, Jane Miller, Collins and others made millions and bought and rehabbed more properties as the income stream rapidly grew. When the doors closed 14 new millionaires were generated by the system and it produced 1000 years of stable family low income housing. This Wealth/Prosperity/Advancement effect in surrounding participants is widespread in many of these events, starting with the Dig itself (aka The Career Maker), but often unreferenced. Unfortunately it does not seem to rub off that well :(
The Ghetto gripped by a crippling housing shortage erupted in an emotional frenzy on all sides. Housing was being realigned to tenant performance. Our typical tenant profile was single mother of three, GED, part time at an insurance company for several years, limited but good credit, Church-member...
We were sending those ever expanding lists of available apartments out to the angry and out of business housing "advocates" because we were creating a viable low income property industry... generating housing. We totally Dominated the market to be sure, by the end we had 80 percent of the market. But it was a market we were creating. It was time to be recognized, even if it did cost us our weeks profits for the caterer.
But as we put the system through its paces for them. X of the Boston Housing Authority and Y of the Metropolitan Housing Authority (later went to jail I believe) were polite but distant. They got intensely interested as I demonstrated the Data Entry and reporting and analysis capability. What information we were capturing interested them, but they did not seem to care about the fact that most of our units were with repeat landlords coming in with new rehabs, more of them all the time.
We did not know it, but as we sat there demonstrating what a social benefit we were, our guests were looking to see how much we knew and were discovering that we did indeed know everything, even if we didn't know we knew...
"He hasn't figured it out yet...but..."
We argued that we were realigning the influence of property in the ghetto away from drugs, violence, and problems,... and instead were directly rewarding community involvement. Kids on Honor Roll got the family points,... and in several cases tipped the balance for several families.
But they were watching the financial records we were generating outside the government mainframe. They knew before we did that with the data we had,... worker, hotel, price, week. We had the goods on them even if we didn't know we had the goods on them. Disaster for them was a simple computer sort by us on the "welfare worker", "Motel", "Price" and "Family size"... away.
Who got what when and for whom. Mafia Motels and Welfare worker kickbacks and special pricing's eating a third of homeless emergency funds for the Boston Area.
The resistance suddenly got fierce after that meeting. Harder inspections, more scandal rumors that were absurd, all sorts of things. We were trading sex for apartments was the standard ghetto cry against landlord oppression. We printed out our entire placement list, all 200 families and got an interview with the premiere investigative Newspaper in Boston journalism. The writer chose to ignore my nightly clubbing at a heavy metal joint and acquit me of strange things at night, strangely, placing heavy metal as innocence by parallel :) and irrelevant.
The result was a full page Boston Phoenix feature article,... complimentary but it made me sound a little more hippy idealist intellectual than I liked. We had housed 200 families for five years each, we were having an impact. We had literally generated 1000 years of stable housed family life for families who would not have had it but for our efforts. Enough was enough. The staffs at the housing authorities had figured it out after several years of "Praise Jesus" tenants streaming through to sign leases, what was the politicos problem?
The Low income housing industry, the tenant advocates, the pols, the
community leaders, the churches were all impacted. Ministers suddenly,
almost invariably, saw the regulars in their congregation get housing,
often with a choice of two or three units. Tenants with a lot of
trouble in their background and nothing going on were just plain
stopped cold. Toward the end the phone was ringing with...
"You gonna get ma mama an partment o i'm gonna come up dere n' kick yo ass....
The entire industry exploded in frenzy. Landlords building, housing advocates slandering, the ghetto exploding in emotional anguished outbursts. Dukakis had just been defeated and the only thing North East democrats had left was the homeless issue as the christmas televised fund drive for the homeless came up that year, only five short weeks after the Dukakis defeat to George Bush. The advocates had decided to finish off Pride Realty in a scream of McCarthy style accusations on the Air Live, and get back to the business of finding houses for their friends.
It had been obvious for weeks something was up. Advocates (not staff) we had talked to for several years now but never met face to face sounded different. The system warmed up on some small time Landlord who had had sex with a tenant. I don't know how the man survived the press assault, it was brutal. It was a warning. The Mainstream News took its lead from the Housing Authorities and the Housing Advocates and was sharpening its knives to remove the cancer when the Boston Phoenix feature article appeared and forever altered the situation.
I had at the time, decided to send out a Christmas Newsletter to these same said people. It talked about the irrational pricing system and how much better deals could be cut for the homeless. "Why we could buy a building and equip every unit with advanced computer training tied to an immediate rewards system based on training performance with this much money"... I sent it innocently and without guile to everybody at the same time, where many but not all were a part of it, but all knew about it.
The entire community exploded in a frenzy of whispers. It got all the way to the State House from where a voice transmitted that I had better shut up quick or be shut up. Veiled threats in columns from the likes of Presidential Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, to one on the editorial page of the Boston Globe, appeared. Close friends and ally's like the head of the Boston NAACP chapter called with worried concern.
And then came the night of the Christmas Homeless Telethon. I watched it from my Beacon Street apartment and could hear my name carried by acrimonious voices arguing in the background. The housing advocates ambush had been short-circuited by the research of the premier journalistic source in Bean town. The advocates backed by the Officials were ready to filet me in public and were arguing for the coup de grace in the background as the show droned on in a collective political scream "What about the Homeless".
The Press, caught between the advocates and officialdom on one side and their own journalistic leadership on the other was confused,... and paused. Nothing else happened the night of the Boston Christmas Homeless Telethon of 1989, or over the next few days, which gave me the time I needed.
As I puzzled over the situation during the days that followed, one memorable call came from a priest we had done a placement for some months earlier. Father John Geoghan, the man who would shortly start the priest molestation scandal, called and counseled about strength when facing such baseless accusations as were regrettably so common in the ghetto.
The situation was really disturbing to me to say the least. Why the resistance from the officials who had seen the system? seen its results, knew what was going on? I sat late one evening at the computer in my office puzzling over the situation. It just did not make sense. Then I did the sort. The exact list of everyone involved in overpriced payments, and the critics, floated right to the top. Bonfire of the Vanities all over again.
I called the press and after a long conversation hit the print button, printed out eight large boxes of records, our entire database and sent it by courier to the Boston Herald on their tab,... the republican newspaper in Boston.
Then I sat back to wait on events and see what would happen next. A week later the Housing Authority emergency cancelled all outstanding certificates without a signed lease. The Housing Authority had for years been forced to return a large portion of it's federal budget allocation for low income vouchers. We had expanded their placements to the point now where they were oversubscribed.
Then nothing. With no leases being signed we were out of business, it was over, but the pot was boiling on high.
The phone rang occasionally with anonymous threats of people who still thought somehow we could get them an apartment if they scared us enough. We were more scared when we figured out who owned the various Motels involved. All sorts of rumors of investigations swirled around. Then the story broke like a storm and the Mafia was out six million a year thanks to us. Our luncheon guests were on their way to jail. I hid in my apartment with an axe for weeks as public investigations and recriminations dragged on. Right in the middle of it,, when tension was at its highest, Eileen Green, a familiar name from the Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health center was murdered, beheaded ala John the Baptist.... and then Finally a very nice letter was delivered from His Honor, the honorable Mayor Raymond Flynn. He thanked me for my public service and all I had gone through and for what I had contributed.
I felt like I had been properly and honorably discharged. Besides, there were people who worried me a whole lot more than the Mayor at this point. I financed a car, with the assistance and creative application editing of friend and now car salesman, Greg Hummel, loaded it with goods, told everybody I was moving to Washington DC and then left for New York to join my loyal friend Alison and start a computer consulting career with my newly learned database skills. Greg later became a multi-million dollar landlord, which would make him the 15th millionaire for just this one event, this time independently. Thereafter Greg was also one of many questioned in the murder of Swedish nanny Karina Holmer and subsequently released. Note: I never sensed evil in Hummel in the time I knew him and the accusation seems absurd. The Holmer murder was also by dismemberment and beheading...
I did not start out to find 200 homeless families housing, become the
personal target of scandal, expose a multi-million dollar theft of
funds intended for the poor, get Eileen Green
of the Solomon Carter Fuller Center murdered
(beheaded Ala John the Baptist), become the hero of Roxbury churches
and get insulted by an ill informed JFK Jr (which he retracted the second and last time I met him at the Ear inn) whilst being virtually
"Banned in Boston" for a time. It just sort of worked out that way.
A very familiar list at the top of the expose I must say.
The Paul Revere Inn in Revere was at the top of my list as I remember.
When they say Whitey Ran Southie they are not kidding. He really ran everything. In 1988 Southie was up in arms over the forced integration of the Whites and the Blacks in South Boston Public Housing. At the time I ran a computerized housing placement service for Section 8 housing (see above). I had the great idea that I might have a solution for them. My service searched for the very best tenants with certificates or vouchers. Southie already had a few black families who were accepted as "Good People". I figured I could sell them on it as a better solution than what was about to be forced down their throats. I was already placing about 80 percent of the Section 8 in Dorchester and Roxbury and the landlords loved it. I asked and got a meeting with the tenant board. I met with about a dozen of the members in a Room in Southie and made my pitch. Many had already heard of my service. Almost all were nodding in agreement as I presented my solution as the best of a set of bad alternatives. It would avoid violence, and give them more "good blacks" like they already had. As the meeting progressed I knew I had it in the bag, they were nodding at every point and really getting very positive during the conversations. After about a half an hour, the woman who was head of it said "Well....? and looked over at this figure sitting back against the wall whom I had not even noticed. He gently shook his head back and forth,... her eyes fell, she sighed, looked at me and thanked me for spending the time. The figure in the chair leaning against the back wall was already on his way out the door and everybody else just stood up to leave. Several shook my hand and thanked me for the effort. I was floored, and started to stutter. I looked at the now empty chair and muttered "who the hell was that"? it was Whitey Bulger
Been a strange life.
Damn, he really was a monster wasn't he?
formerly Pride Realty of Boston.
Documentary Sources: His Honor Ray Flynn sent a letter thanking
me for my public service which I am trying to retrieve. Numerous
articles to be added
This is just one of the Paranormal Events surrounding
King Solomon's Gate
The First Archaeological Proof of King Solomon's Life