I don't much like lawsuits, and frankly, as a businessman I try the best that I can to stay outside of courtrooms. My mission, movement and work with Operation HOPE is more about silver rights empowerment, fought and won in the suites, than traditional (and necessary) civil rights justice, which is and have been fought and won in the streets.
Furthermore, my role as a Presidential appointee and advisor for the last three US President's has made me hesitant to involve myself personally in any aggressive legal or partisan politican actions. In short, my client is, and always has been poor and struggling people.
That said, I fully support the recent legal action taken by my friends Robert Gnaizda, Esq, Faith Bautista and others involved, with regard to my birth state of California and Governor Jerry Brown. You can watch a video detailing the lawsuit and position taken here.
I wrote a letter supporting the spirit of the suit, and more so, the hoped for non-legal outcome that Bob Gnaizda has made it clear he prefers. The State of California simply needs to return the money to intended recipeints, and for its intended purposes. Helping homeowners and the counseling organizations that support them, hurt in the devastating mortgage crisis of recent years. Most people do not know that there is scarce funding for financial and mortgage counseling, and no federal funding for financial literacy.
I was also honored to see that one of the impacted homeowners contacted actually spoke directly to the impact and work of Operation HOPE and our counselors, as a nonprofit private banker to the working poor and struggling middle class. This work -- as well as the work of countless other noteworthy and noble organizations -- deserves to be supported.
The State of California had a deficit when it diverted more than $350 million it received as part of a federal settlement, a settlement negotiated in part by brilliant California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris. Now the State of California has a budget surplus -- and it shoud simply return the money.
A lawsuit should not be required to make leaders there (a state I love very much) see the light.
John Hope Bryant is the founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and is the only 2010-2012 bestselling business author in America who is also African-American. His newest book, due out May, 2014, is HOW THE POOR CAN SAVE CAPITALISM, and will be published byBerrett Koehler Publishing).