Grand Theft, Church

Ghetto redevelopment Miami style is anything but divine

Siskind begins to recap how his involvement with the church began when he met King's son, Earnest. The Advocacy Foundation president, who refers to the apartment building as a "house," is prone to shouting.

"Everybody knows this," he huffs. "I saw Earnest King. Earnest King was laying on the street! He was evicted out of his house! I saw his paintings, his art. I've been involved in art all my fuckin' life! I don't con nobody! So the fuckin' articles that those two [New Times] scumbags wrote -- they're lyin' bastards."

He lowers his voice. "I never saw him [Earnest] in my life until then. I met him, I said, 'What's an artist like you doing on the street?' We talked. I said, 'What's the problem?' He told me. I said, 'Well look, I'll pay your lawyer's fees and see if I can get you back in if what you told me is true!' ... We went to court, went before a judge."

Leo Casino believes the Lord, and possibly government prosecutors, will judge the ones who sold this holy building
Steve Satterwhite
Leo Casino believes the Lord, and possibly government prosecutors, will judge the ones who sold this holy building
The Divine Mission was eternal in Clennon King's plan, but not the CRA's
Photos by Steve Satterwhite
The Divine Mission was eternal in Clennon King's plan, but not the CRA's

Working himself into another tantrum, he accuses Casino of forging documents in an effort to take over the church, then retracts the allegation. "This guy, this lyin' bastard Casino.... He forged documents after the man was dead, after the rabbi was dead, and tried to take over the building.... That's how Earnest was on the street and everything else. I'm not saying he [Casino] forged it. Somebody forged [it]. [Because] when you're dead you can't sign anything.... Anyway, to make a long story short, they [the lawyers] said [to Earnest] you go back in the house. So they ordered him back in the house. That was the end of Casino. I never saw him again, except he was going to sue me for $20 million and the Mellon Bank for $20 million. All kinds of crazy bullllllshit. And that was it.

"Is that still recording? [Pointing to tape recorder.] Okay. What are you going to do with that recording now? I'm talking to you. I mean, you can't write? You don't want to write this down? Or you're not literate, or what? I'm asking you a question. Did you tell me you were going to record me? I'd like you then, to start it again." The reporter declines to rewind the tape and start over. "It's been nice talking to you," Siskind huffs, then turns and opens the office door.

Outside he responds to one last question. Did he illegally take over the Divine Mission board? "Me?" he replies. "Sick!" And he disappears into the Advocacy Foundation's warehouse.

According to state records, Church of Divine Mission, Inc. was dissolved this past September 19.

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