Maurice Symonette has become a political celebrity thanks to Donald Trump's staff, which has repeatedly given the ex-member of Miami's deadly Yahweh ben Yahweh cult prime seats behind the president at nationally televised rallies to show off his "Blacks for Trump" signs. But Symonette recently told a bankruptcy court that he's dead broke, raising the question of who's been paying for his recent trips to rallies from Arizona to Tampa.
Now a federal judge has banned one of Trump's most visible black supporters from bankruptcy court for five years and accused him of repeatedly abusing the system.
In an order issued Monday, Chief United States Bankruptcy Judge Laurel M. Isicoff dismissed Symonette's latest bankruptcy case and ordered him not to file anything else with the court for the next five years. Isicoff found that Symonette had repeatedly filed bankruptcies simply to obtain temporary protection from foreclosures — but then never bothered to follow the court's orders in any of the cases.
"[Symonette] has clearly abused the privilege of filing bankruptcy by using the bankruptcy courts only as part of his efforts to thwart the exercise by secured creditors, landlords, and homeowner associations," Isicoff writes in the order. "Bankruptcy is a privilege, not a right."
Symonette, who didn't return a call to his cell phone Monday, had argued in court that he was the victim of racist abuse and that banks were purposely scheduling meetings during Trump rallies so he couldn't attend. He also asked Isicoff to recuse herself, accusing her of racism — a charge the judge flat-out denied in her ruling.
Isicoff's order is just the latest bizarre chapter in the story of Symonette, also known as "Michael the Black Man," who beat charges in the early '90s that he participated in Yahweh ben Yahweh's brutal cult killings before transforming himself into a local anti-Obama activist.
Trump then helped catapult him onto a national stage, where he used his prominent placement at rallies to show off signs and T-shirts directing people to his truly insane website, which accuses Cherokees of secretly running America's banking system and alleges an FDR-created secret program is sabotaging conservatives.
As he traveled cross-country to rallies, though, Symonette struggled financially in South Florida. He filed for bankruptcy in May and reported having no income and zero dollars in the bank; he also said four banks had staked claims to $2.9 million worth of property around Miami. In rambling court filings, Symonette accused police, banks, and court officials of conspiring against him and targeting him for his Trump activism.
Isicoff, though, says the bankruptcy filing was actually just the latest in a long series of bogus court actions by the Blacks for Trump founder. In fact, the judge found that Symonette had filed for bankruptcy eight times since 1995, including three times since 2015; he'd also been listed as an owner or tenant in property involved in two other recent bankruptcy filings.
Every one of those cases were quickly dismissed, Isicoff found, because Symonette "never performed his obligations as a debtor in any of his bankruptcies." When the judge asked him why, he told her that "once he was evicted from whatever property he was occupying at the time of each bankruptcy, there was no
"In other words, the Debtor conceded that he filed each bankruptcy for the purpose of invoking the automatic stay," which temporarily stopped eviction proceedings, Isicoff found.
In a response filed August 30, Symonette argued that his latest bankruptcy was legitimate and that he shouldn't be banned from court for five years because he'd repeatedly been racially abused. One bank official, he claimed, said, "I don't care about this bankruptcy — me and the banks are going to get you black boys out."
He also wrote to Isicoff that "your [sic] are a racist and I demand that you recuse yourself" before concluding his argument by urging the judge to "stop these people from calling us little Black boys and N**** with no right to stay in their White CANAANITE neighborhoods. CANAANITES are totally different from our brother the White Gentiles. Thank God For President Trump."
Isicoff was not swayed. "[Symonette] outlines some serious allegations regarding racist comments and actions, which, if true, are repulsive and disturbing," she writes. "But... he was given the opportunity to prove his allegations, and in each instance he failed to do so."
She also found his claims of bias lacking: "[He] argues... that, because I have determined that he has abused the bankruptcy process and that it is appropriate to dismiss his bankruptcy case with a lengthy prejudice period, I am a racist, and that I must, therefore, recuse myself," she writes. "[He] has not cited any other reason for me to recuse myself."
In her final order, Isicoff dismissed Symonette's bankruptcy claim and ruled that he "may not file bankruptcy in
any district in the United States for a period of five years from the date of this order."