City Desk

Cheap Seats Daily: An Awful Ending to Monk and Mann’s Neverending Story?

In case you missed it: "Art Monk and Charles Mann Sell Former City Property for Millions, Bail On Anacostia Job Training Center."

Over the years, there aren't many things I've written about more than Monk and Mann's training center.

For a decade, the beloved former Redskins said the Carver Theatre building was going to be rebuilt by their non-profit organization, called the Good Samaritan Foundation, and promised that the building would become an epicenter of goodwill in a neighborhood historically lacking in it.

It never happened. But every time I wrote that the training center still wasn't open — almost like "Saturday Night Live"'s repeating that Francisco Franco was "still dead" in every fake newscast — officials of the organization continued insisting that their actions would soon back up Monk and Mann's words.

It's not like they didn't use Good Samaritan Foundation to make themselves look good. Monk's son even spoke of the organization in the speech he gave during Dad's Hall of Fame induction in August 2008.

(AFTER THE JUMP: Still more on the neverending story? Karl Swanson holds no grudge against the Washington Post? Roger Phegley DIDN'T mess up the Bullets forever and ever? Clearing on the Road to 100 Losses?)

And, of course, they used the promise of a job training center on the other side of the river to raise money, literally millions of dollars in federal grants and through gala dinners and celebrity golf tournaments. Congress kicked in at least $775,000 in the 2003 and 2004 federal budgets, which, according to bill granting the sum, would be used “to acquire and renovate a building to expand outreach and mentoring services to at-risk District of Columbia youths.”

Now, we know there won't be a training center.

A charter school bought the property from Monk and Mann's organization and opened it up as a middle school. There isn't even a Good Samaritan Foundation anymore.

To learn yesterday that the training center won't ever happen, after all that talk from such major local figures, and all that money they collected from well-wishers to accomplish their allegedly noble goal, is just amazing. I can't say I didn't see this sort of bailout coming. But I'm stunned.

I hope they come up with a decent explanation for what went wrong.

In the meantime. I'm gonna have to go dig out my copy of the 1988 Super Bowl, with Monk and Mann making huge plays as the Skins crushed the Broncos and gave me the greatest day of my sports fan life. Good god, they were awesome football players.

***

Cleaning out some sports pages:

From Sunday's Post: Karl Swanson still talks to the Washington Post! Who knew?

And, J. Freedom du Lac provides an oral history of the Bullets 1979 trip to China.

The highlight of the proceedings for me comes with du Lac dusting off Roger Phegley.

Phegley, then a first-year forward with the Bullets, delivers period-piece quotes about the voyage, among them: "You'd take a picture of the huge crowd with a Polaroid, and that baby would develop right in front of their faces and the Chinese would just freak out."

Dig!

The story made me reconsider Phegley's local legacy. I've always thought the beginning of the end of the Bullets dynasty — Awesome Trivia: the team made four NBA finals appearance in the same decade a feat matched by only the Celtics and Lakers — came when the Bullets used a 1978 first round pick on the unknown from Bradley.

I mean, Phegley really was a bust with the Bullets.

But, looking back at the detritus chosen shortly after him, and it's tough to make a case that then-Bullets GM Bob Ferry screwed up by picking Phegley. Marty Byrnes, anybody? Frankie Sanders? Buster Matheney?

Sure, it had Larry Bird, but the Class of '78 was for the dogs.

(Here's a photo from the story of Phegley, Abe Pollin, Wes Unseld, Jerry Sachs...and some woman who doesn't rate a mention. If that's Irene Pollin, you know the Post got at least one phone call about the omission.)

Nice to see du Lac getting back to basketball. Back when he was at the Sacramento Bee, du Lac famously broke the news that Chris Webber  was rubbing naughty bits with Tyra Banks. The story got the Kings' serial underaccomplisher to, as Phegley would say, freak out on the media in general and du Lac in particular.

(Full disclosure: When du Lac was the Post's rock critic, he let me review a Jonas Brothers show for the paper, and we've since become friendly enough that he lets me call him "Josh.")

***

Nationals get blanked in Philadelphia.

Now at 50-94, the Nats' Road to 100 Losses starts looking like a driveway.

With the shutout/blowout, the Nats also re-took the Major League lead in Worst Run Differential, having been outscored by opponents by 131 runs on the season.

***

Story tips? Wanna Play the Feud? Tube amps for sale? Send to: cheapseats@washingtoncitypaper.com

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  • nivin

    I guess you did not need my e-mail from earlier this week on this. This is really disappointing. I grewup near there and still live in the neighborhood. I remember attending the Carver Theater as a kid and remember when the building housed t he Anacostia Museum. I had my first summer jobs there way back in the day and have always loved the building. I think they owe us an explaination about why they failed. From here it just looks like a lack of effort. I know the building needed a lot of work, but Howard Road Academy didn't seem to have a problem getting it ready for classes.
    Someone should be following the money. Non profits have legal obligations to provide services, and I for one don't know of any services which have been provided. We're millions of dollars now with the sale of the building. fro the building they got almost a 1200% profit. nice if you can get it. Where did the money go? Should we ask the Attorney or the Inspector General or the Congressional Budget Office to investigate what happened. I hope you don't let this go. Find out what really happened here!!!

  • pedro

    Where has The Post been on this story? "Too depressing" for them?

  • creativemeat

    Dave,

    Have you attempted to contact anyone related to the Good Samaritan Foundation? Former skins? DC govt? Donors?

    Unlike some other commenters, I'm reserving judgement until the full picture comes to light.

    This story would make for a good feature article with more investigating.

  • http://lifein.mvsna.org niello8

    and their day job is...credit card processing? pls keep digging, too much taxpayer & charity money has apparently gone down this vortex.

  • MAX

    Guidestar.com has their IRS forms from 2005 - 2007. Their IRS 990s report that they earned over $1MM in 2005, but only spent $370K on community programming. Much of their money was spent on travel, salaries, and depreciation. Something smells fishy here. DeMaurice Smith, now the NFLPA Union head, is listed as a Director of the Good Samaritan Foundation too.

    In 2005, they gave The Talon Group almost $200K for "Settlement Services." And spent only $288K on Student Training Opportunity Program. Although, the org did operate at a loss for the year. But, $63K on travel alone?

    2007 showed $58K in "Accounting Fees." And $57K in Travel.

    Thank you for bringing this to light.

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