Harris makes second request for reparation inquiry from mayor
Dr. Richard Harris has requested that Mayor Soglin again consider his request to investigate the possibility that blacks and others were cheated in the Triangle Urban Renewal Project in the late '50s and early '60s. The mayor admitted he did not fully make an investigation because he could not find the necessary information and he could not comment on whether there was any criminal or ethical problems attributed to the MRA staff. Dr. Harris has indicated that he found the information and would be happy to share it with the mayor's staff.
Dear Mayor Soglin:
I am writing to thank you for your response dated June 12, 2013, and I am again requesting a second reparation inquiry from your office, to investigate the possibility that Blacks and others were cheated in the Triangle Urban Renewal Project in the late 50’s and early 60’s. In your last letter to me, you stated the following:” Setting aside the fact that any statue of limitations has run decades ago, there simply is no way to go back and reconstruct in those sales. I do not even know if any records exist that would allow for the sort of inquiry you request. The same problem of resurrecting what occurred over 50 years ago applies to your allegation of criminal actions by the MRA, an allegation that I do not believe has any basis.”
I disagree with your conclusions, as I have discovered that there are records at the State Historical Museum, 816 State Street that may assist you. In addition, I have several newspaper articles from the 1960s which show there were actual incidents of unethical behavior of MRA Administrative staff. In fact, it was reported that on November 11, 1964, Mayor Reynolds announced that he would personally investigate charges of alleged conflict of interests involving purchases by city employees of property in this urban renewal area.
Other unethical charges were made against the director of the MRA, which led to his resignation, on November 13, 1964.
We don’t know if the behavior of theses city employees had any effect on the purchased price or monies offered to the property owners or tenants in the Triangle area. We also don’t know what impact these ethical violations had on the other issues I raised on page 2 (Item 2) of my first letter, dated April 11, 2013.
I, therefore, am asking you to reconsider my earlier request, in my earlier letter dated April 11, 2013, to investigate the possibility that Blacks and others were cheated as property owners or tenants in the Urban Renewal Triangle Project, and that REPARATIONS be considered for these people.
I am including several newspaper articles and copies of letters written back in the 1960’s sharing the same concerns I am expressing to you.
Richard Harris, Ph. D.
14 Morningdale Circle
Madison, WI 53717