RecoveryPark supporters voice concerns about the company
RecoveryPark provided employment opportunities, but also created a commercial enterprise that could transform and redevelop vacant land in Detroit through urban agriculture, Vaughter said.
“It was a huge undertaking, and RecoveryPark diligently ate the elephant – one bite at a time, becoming its own 501 (c) 3, raising funds, working to change land use regulations and, in the end, hired people and supplied products to local people. shops and restaurants. “
“We strongly support the free enterprise system this country is based on, but we also need to balance this by operating ethically without violating conflicts of interest and other business-related principles,” Vaughter said.
Its Executive Assistant, Patricia Scott, has served as Recording Secretary for RecoveryPark since 2008, recounting the meetings of its officers, board members and investors. Meetings on RecoveryPark’s plan for commercial hydroponics began three to four years ago, she said in a letter to Crain’s.
“It’s interesting to me that now former investors and staff, who attended meetings to discuss this same type of business, are now launching this type of project,” Scott said.
“These former investors and employees had access to valuable information: business contacts, financial data, intellectual property in particular, etc.”
The idea that previous investors in the concept developed by Wozniak “would pull out of the investment and take the concept out of Detroit is unethical to say the least,” said Sandra Turner-Handy of the Denby Neighborhood Alliance.
“This is a glaring example of the wealth of the rich on the backs of the poor who must tackle the life challenges of living in a city of great poverty and few jobs, focused on changing the lives of returning citizens and those who are recovering from addiction. “
In a letter he wrote to Crain editor-in-chief Wozniak took issue with the Detroit Metro Times article published last week and, in particular, the comments of former RecoveryPark impact manager Anna Kohn.
The Metro Times delved into Wozniak’s past, including the five years he spent in minimum security federal prison for using the money entrusted to him as a broker to fuel his drug addiction, the obstacles he faced in finding a job after his release, the businesses he subsequently started before he had the idea of starting a commercial farm to provide income for SHAR and jobs for those coming out of prison, its fallout, the support garnered for commercial / hydroponic farming operations and the subsequent financial hardships she faced.
The story questioned whether RecoveryPark’s plans for the growing operation would recover, following the news of investors leaving and Wozniak spoke of the difficulties the nonprofit had faced amid the pandemic. . But Wozniak maintains the organization still has funding in place and plans to move forward.
Kohn has been out of the nonprofit for 15 months and is therefore unable to speak about its operations and finances since leaving, Wozniak said in the letter to Crain editors.
“More puzzled are her comments about me personally and how she sees the ability of people to overcome a criminal past and to change,” he said, highlighting Kohn’s comment that she wanted to believe people formerly incarcerated may change, but learned that they usually cannot.
“These are harsh comments that contradict the work that Kohn says is important to her. Coming from the chairman of the State Community Corrections Board and chairman of the board of directors of Safe & Just Michigan, Ms. Kohn’s remarks are reminiscent of the crime. justice in the 1930s, ”Wozniak said in his letter.
He asks Governor Gretchen Whitmer to immediately remove Kohn from his roles in both organizations.
“She shows callousness to returning citizens who deserve better,” Wozniak said.