HOUSTON—Around three dozen alleged victims of community activist Quanell X packed the S.H.A.P.E Community Center in Houston’s Third Ward wanting their voices heard, their money back, and the man they trusted to be held accountable.
“Quanell X screwed me, I lost my home, I lost everything,” shouted Kimberly Plaza.
“We come to this place to put a bond of healing on some wounds,” said Nation of Islam Minister Robert Muhammad.
Muhammad was one of about a dozen African-American community leaders who organized the meeting Tuesday. They pledged to “correct the wrong” in light of recent allegations exposed by the I-Team, that Quanell X took money from some people seeking his help, then gave little to nothing in return.
“Give us an opportunity to find the answers, give us an opportunity to do the right thing, give us an opportunity to seek and obtain justice,” said Deloyd Parker of the S.H.A.P.E Center.
The organizers said they formed a community council to address the concerns, and outlined two goals of the process—to resolve the original claims of injustice people brought to Quanell X, and to resolve the “double dose” of injustice that allegedly occurred at the hands of Quanell X.
“Fix the problem (and) to do all that is possible to ensure that it does not happen again,” said Muhammad.
The organizers had pledged at a news conference to be open and transparent throughout the process of reviewing complaints, but after brief introductory remarks they asked the media to leave before any complainants told their story.
Parker: “We agreed collectively that we would not have the press in this part.”
Parker: “Excuse me, will you please leave?”
Some questioned the move to ban the media.
“We shouldn’t have nothing to hide, we’re hiding, we’re hiding,” said Plaza.
Also hiding from plain view was Quanell X himself. Plaza said the activist was in attendance, facing his accusers face-to-face across a conference room table, behind closed doors.