More details have emerged concerning the happenings at the November meeting of the Houston Black American Democrats (HBAD), which was initially described to the Houston Forward Times (HFT) as a major takeover of the organization.
What was believed to have been an all-out coup against the organization and its now, former-President Gabrielle Hadnot, has been clarified and new revelations have shined the light on what actually happened in Judge Zinetta Burney’s Court Room on November 14.
The HFT has heard from several newly elected officials, as well as the attorney who conducted the elections, and all claim that the meeting was handled in decency and in order. As a matter of fact, the HFT has received a copy of the audio file from the November meeting, which you can hear on the HFT website (www.forwardtimesonline.com), which shows that the elections were handled properly and in line with what members voted for in their October meeting.
According to Attorney Michael Harris, who conducted the Officer elections and is also an HBAD member, he was present at HBAD’s October meeting, when members voted to suspend the rules to allow for a November election, as opposed to the December elections that are indicated in their by-laws.
Harris states that the two things that the group decided on in the October meeting were: (1) the group appointed a nominations committee that were charged with bringing back a slate of nominated candidates for the November meeting and (2) the group decided to suspend the rules to allow for a November election and would vote again at November meeting to affirm that decision.
Harris states that he is confident in the outcome of the elections and was only there to help the group conduct the elections in a professional manner. He said that he was not present when the alleged commotion took place, but that he asked that the meeting be recorded, in order to maintain the integrity of the elections and the outcome.
“I arrived slightly after they started the meeting and requested that Pat Frazier record the meeting upon my arrival,” said Harris. “When it came time to conduct the elections, Gabrielle Hadnot produced a list of the HBAD members and only the members whose name appeared on that HBAD list who were members were eligible to vote. To make it even more official, people had to sign the back of their ballot in order to validate their ballot. It was a well-run election.”
Harris has retained those officer election ballots in his office since the election and the HFT not only scheduled a meeting with him, but also verified the validity of the ballots and the outcome of the election, as he indicated.
In the audio coverage of the elections, you can clearly hear Gabrielle Hadnot indicate that she was effectively stepping down as HBAD President and that she wouldn’t be seeking re-election, prior to the election being conducted. Another officer, Smokey Phillips, is also heard on tape indicating that he was also stepping down and was officially declining the nomination he received for Sergeant-at-Arms.
As for the events that took place prior to the election, Harris said that he was not present when it allegedly occurred, and couldn’t speak to what he didn’t witness.
Harris did challenge the organization and offered this bit of encouragement to the organization on their HBAD Facebook page after the election.
Harris said, “Congratulations! All of you have an opportunity to work in concert with one another to restore the credibility and confidence of this great organization. I challenge each of you to place aside any personal agendas you may have and work in unity towards the greater good of HBAD. Reform is generally met with resistance; however your resolve to restore this organization to her place of significance will ultimately prevail. Remember the race is not given to the swift nor to the strong, but to those who endureth to the end. Blessings.”
The HFT too wishes the organization well and will continue to follow the progress of this historic African-American political organization in the City of Houston.