Federal prosecutor Sally Yates stepped carefully last week when she brought a 54-page indictment against Tyrone Brooks, a state representative from Atlanta who got his start as a street soldier for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., says the New York Times. She called it “a disappointing day” and noted that Brooks “has done much good in his life.” Brooks, 67, pleaded not guilty to 30 counts of mail, wire and tax fraud.
In a scheme that the federal government says stretches back to the mid-1990s, he is accused of using a fake charity and a secret bank account to siphon about a million dollars in donations from corporations like Coca-Cola, organizations like the Teamsters and individual donors. With it, the government asserts, he paid for his cable television service, home repairs, dry cleaning, shoes and a host of other personal expenses, including cash gifts to his family. The money was supposed to help support two organizations dedicated to furthering the cause of African-Americans.