When District C City Councilor James West resigned last September to accept an appointment to the Wake County Board of Commissioners, the Wannabes of C who wanted West’s seat came out of the woodwork. Some were well-known names who have long been active on various City boards, commissions, task forces, and Citizens Advisory Councils. Others were fresh faces (at least to me).
One of those fresh faces, Lent C. Carr II, was unremarkable and I quickly forgot him. Then January 4, I saw him before the City Council. First he told the Council that he is an announced candidate for the District C race this fall, then that he had been opposed to the elimination of a recently vacated Assistant City Manager position, finally that he had recently met with the City Manager and was now down with the position being cut (so why then were you killing time at a Council meeting???).
Carr was subsequently nominated by District C Councilor Eugene Weeks (who got West’s seat) for appointment to the City’s Substance Abuse Advisory Commission. He was to appear at the January 18 City Council meeting, ostensibly to advocate that the City stop barring felons from competing for City jobs and contracts (one of his campaign planks), but he didn’t show. After Carr’s name came up three times in less than two weeks, curiosity got the best of this cat and I set out to learn who that cat is. He has posted resumes and biographies on various web sites, so here is a compilation of his educational and professional experiences:
High School Diploma, J.H. Rose High School, Greenville, NC
Business Administration Degree, Cumberland County College
Advance Career Development Degree, Cumberland County College
Criminal Justice, ITT Technical Institute (currently enrolled)
Fayetteville State University (1996, I can’t determine the degree), with honors
MBA with honors, Duke University Fuqua School of Business
Master Divinity Degree in Biblical Studies, Amherst Theological Seminary, Summa Cum Laude
Doctorate Divinity Degree in Sacred Theology/Christian Education, Amherst Theological Seminary
2009-Present: Pastor, Emmaus Puritan Apostolic Baptist Church, Raleigh
2009-Present: President/CEO & Senior MLM Coach, Success Central Enterprises LLC, Raleigh
2008-2009: Executive Director/Fundraising & Outreach, Iraqi Homeless Veterans Foundation, Raleigh
2007-2008: Maintenance/Sanitation Supervisor, Hardin Construction Company, Raleigh
2006-2007: Chapel’s Operational Clerk, Federal Correctional Institute, Butner, N.C.
1996-2006: Law Clerk, Federal Correctional Institute, Fairton, N.J.
1992-1996: Senior Pastor, World Harvest Church, Greenville, N.C.
1989: Production Clerk/Computer Head Assembler, Fullerton Computer Industries, Winterville, N.C.
On its face, that’s an impressive curriculum vitae. A life of study and service. A doctorate after not one but two masters degrees. Ministry to the disadvantaged, particularly the incarcerated, with a recent move into the business sector. At 38 years old, just the type of young (enough) mover and shaker that District C needs to send up to the City Council.
Carr writes that he started an on-line sales site in early 2008. By October of that year, he was doing $20,000 per month. Sales for 2009 grew to $666,249.31. That’s impressive. That on-line sales site link is currently broken. Carr created the site in November, 2009. It went offline in November 2010 because he didn’t shell out the few bucks to renew it. He did renew the web address on January 7, and the site is not back up yet. Hmmm…..
Carr directed 58 employees at the Iraqi Homeless Veterans Foundation? Iraqi Homeless Veterans Foundation is a tiny thrift store on Rock Quarry Road that couldn’t even hold 58 people. Hmmm….
Perhaps the business experience is a tad overstated. But there is the ministry, currently as Pastor of Emmaus Puritan Apostolic Baptist Church here in Raleigh, and formerly Senior Pastor of World Harvest Church in Greenville. Emmaus Church is this tiny house on Poole Road. World Harvest Church in Greenville was also a tiny house. I can’t show you a picture of that one, because it burned down in 1998. And Carr said grace over the Chapel at the federal prison in Butner.
What Carr neglects saying is that he got a free ride to that correctional institute (and that his dates are a bit off).
In 1998, Carr bought a fire insurance policy for the mobile home in Greenville which served as both his residence and as the World Harvest Oasis Temple of Praise Church. Five days after that policy became effective, the mobile home burned. Investigators discovered that the fire was started by gasoline in the kitchen.
Carr and his wife Davina then made insurance claims for several items, including some already repossessed, some never purchased, more obtained under false pretenses, and still others that were grossly overvalued. Carr ”met” with witnesses in order to “get their stories straight.” Those who stuck with his version of events were to get a share of the insurance proceeds. Davina later admitted that she had lied to an investigating grand jury under pressure from her husband.
Carr eventually pled guilty to one count each of arson, bank fraud, and mail fraud. He was sentenced to 125 months of jail for the first two counts, and a concurrent 60 month sentence for the third. Also to fork over more than 45 grand in restitution (which he didn’t have). His fraud had cost Greentree Financial Servicing $18,113.39 and Nationwide Insurance another $20,547.36.
Holy Accelerant, Matchman, that’s more than ten years in the cage. The Court came down hard on Carr because of the ”substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury that could’ve occurred to the residents who lived with him in the burning home.“ Everyone knows that one year in the doggie house is equal to seven unincarcerated human years. Carr was keenly aware of this, as he was already earned time in state prison for paper hanging, something both he and Davina had been convicted of before.
So at his sentencing hearing for the arson case, Carr sought a reduced sentence, preferably home detention, because his life expectancy was only four to five years as a result of AIDS. The Government told the Judge that if Carr was sick, the prison system could handle it. The Court actually bought that claim (I certainly wouldn’t have), and Carr shipped out for his 125 months in a fed pen.
Carr continued to fight for a shorter sentence, suing to have the arson charge thrown out. Carr said he pled guilty “while being under the influence of a copious number of psychotropic medications used to treat the… mental condition of dementia, dystymia with agoraphobia, severe recurrent anxiety disorder, and chronic depression, not to mention… serious medical conditions“ (like all those others weren’t serious?). In 2001, the US Court of Appeals vacated the arson conviction – because Carr’s house/church/day care center was not used in interstate commerce, the Feds had no jurisdiction. It would be a pyrrhic victory, as the lower court and subsequently appeals courts refused to reduce his sentence.
So that’s how Carr became a “law clerk” in the federal penal system. Seventy “pokey years” is a lot of time to pass, so Carr filled it by filing lawsuits. He sued the City of Greenville, Mayor of Greenville, the Pitt County Sheriff Department, the former Sheriff, the Probation Office, and lots of individual LEOs. Seems that when a probation officer went to track him down, Carr tried to run him over (while his mother was in the car with him). That brought the predictable response – lots more cops. Carr says they roughed him up – tackled him, put him in cuffs, which cut his wrist, spoke harshly to him, and dragged him away.
You know the routine – Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? What you gonna do when dey come fo’ you? Like on every single episode of Cops that’s ever aired. Except that this perp wanted millions in compensation. Carr said that the rough handling caused him to have an epileptic fit.
The Courts laughed.
Later, Carr sued the Federal Bureau of Prisons and a dozen employees for violating his rights as secured by the fifth, eighth, and fourteenth amendments of the US Constitution. The document Carr submitted is truly a piece of outsider folk art, prison art. Seventyish pages of hand-printed prose, which could only be produced by someone with a lot of time and determination – here’s the title page. That folksy block print belies the horrors vividly recounted, horrible enough that I only posted that first page. Remember that HBO show OZ from a few years ago? Let’s just say Carr’s script has not been edited down even for cable.
Carr had made his way to the federal prison in Allenwood, PA. He said he had a hard time with other inmates, who sent him anonymous threats, including, “We know what your charge is, and we know that you burned down your home while your children was in it. So be aware, we’re going to _ _ _ _ the _ _ _ _ out of you, and make you our _ _ _ _ _, and then we’re going to slice your little throat into tiny pieces for setting that house on fire while those kids were in there.”
Sometime later, Carr was in his cell alone, napping, when one of his cellmates returned with a prison-made shank. Carr describes a brutal rape during which he was severely injured. He was eventually put into solitary confinement until he was transferred to the prison in Schuylkill, PA, nominally for his own protection.
At Schuykill, Carr quickly became the contrary courtesan of the notorious “D.C. Gangbangers.” He was greatly distressed, but claimed he was warned at his arrival by prison officials that he was not to complain about his treatment, sexual or otherwise, in this prison. Eventually he did protest, and wound up in solitary confinement again. He sued after being in solitary for more than a year, again seeking millions in compensation. He claimed that prison officials knew that his various mental and physical illnesses made him vulnerable, and that they had a duty to protect him.
Carr claimed that a 1999 forensic evaluation by a prison psychologist found he “suffered socially, with a low intellect, with an IQ of 73 and a third grade reading level. Psychologically, Carr suffers from dysthymia, a panic disorder with agoraphobia, severe and recurrent major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, conduct disorder, and cognitive disorder. Physically, Carr has been diagnosed with seizure disorder, epilepsy, asthma, HIV, and AIDS. Furthermore, medical staff at Central Prison in North Carolina and Rochester, Minnesota F.M.C., in whom (sic) performed Carr’s psychological and medical evaluation, stated that the HIV and AIDS were not in remission stage, but that Carr was symptomatic, indicating possibly a 4-5 year life span left for him.”
Again, Courts laughed. Carr went on to beat the odds on his lifespan and serve all of his time, and was released in January 2009.
All of Carr’s assertions that he was abused at the hands of law enforcement are plausible. I mean, really, if you were to intentionally set out to get worked over by cops, it would be hard to find a better way of effecting that than by trying to run one of them down with your car. Sexual assault rampant in prison? It’s the number one deterrent for many otherwise would-be scofflaws, particularly of the white-collar variety. But plausible is not the same as true. Carr never offered any court any evidence for any of his allegations.
It does not appear that Carr has put aside his penchant for deception and exaggeration. He does not have an online business that earns him tens of thousands of dollars each month. He is not a best-selling author. He does not have two masters degrees, no Duke MBA, no PhD, though he insists on being called “Dr. Carr.” Try googling Amherst Theological Seminary. Carr did not leave World Harvest Church in Greenville when his “contractual tenure ended in 1996.” The many ramblings Carr has posted online prove that while he is no Langston Hughes, he reads and writes at a level far above third grade. An I.Q. of 73 indicates probable mental impairment, but after listening to and reading much Carr, I know that he is far from retarded. The diseases, mental and physical, which if any of them were/are real?
Is anything this man claims actually true? Perhaps the truth is that Carr continues to suffer from the mental disorders he says plaqued him in the past. Perhaps he doesn’t discriminate well between reality and fiction, right and wrong; I am not about to belittle mental illness. None of this would be any of my business or yours if Carr were not running for City Council.
The mere thought of Carr representing District C is repulsive. Look at those who have held that seat in recent times. Eugene Weeks is a retired Air Force Senior Master Sergeant who went on to teach ROTC at Broughton High. His predecessor, Dr. James West, got his title of Dr. the old-fashioned way – he earned it (Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in adult and community college education from N.C. State, Bachelor’s in agricultural engineering from N.C. A&T). Before West, Brad Thompson, another State grad. Before Thompson, Ralph Campbell, whose too-young body lay in honor in the State Capitol Rotunda just a few days ago. Four gentlemen that have served their community and their country with the highest character and integrity. They studied hard and they worked honestly and thus distinguished themselves. Carr, with his fake degrees and his multi-level marketing scams, has done neither, and does not deserve to stand in the shadows of those great men.
The City Council is scheduled to vote on Carr’s nomination to the Substance Abuse Advisory Commission at its next meeting on February 1.
Earth to Councilor Weeks: We get the “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” strategy, but nominating a poser like Carr is certifiably nuts.
Earth to Rest of City Council: Anyone who votes to appoint Carr to any City board is certifiably nuts. Don’t give your political opponents yet one more even minor thing to beat you over the head with when campaign season begins later this year.
Sharing all of this with you, gentle reader, gives me no pleasure, indeed this is the most difficult blog entry I have ever posted. This is filthy work, work Weeks had the responsibility to do before he nominated Carr. But this is an important election year (yeah, yeah, they’re all important, but I am out on a limb that this will be of higher import), so I want to dispense with distractions like Carr now, before the real fun begins.
Right now I need to go take a long, hot shower.