How One of the Nation’s Largest Black Asset Managers Uses His Vast Wealth To Remake Baltimore

How One of the Nation’s Largest Black Asset Managers Uses His Vast Wealth To Remake Baltimore

The below article is a great example of black excellence – Mr. Eddie Brown, former engineer turned investment management company owner:

How One of the Nation’s Largest Black Asset Managers Use His Vast Wealth To Remake Baltimore

In closing, here’s a video of a one-on-one interview you can watch at your leisure, to learn about Mr. Brown and his company:

Exciting Veterans Benefits and Claims Clinic 2019

Exciting Veterans Benefits and Claims Clinic 2019

Greetings Everyone,

I’m excited to announce that a date, time and place for our anticipated Benefits and Claims event that we have been working on, has been confirmed for Friday, November 1st, 9:00am to 3:00pm, at PG Community College in Upper Marlboro. Please see the attached flyer and get the word out to your respective groups, colleagues, teams, as well as any veterans you know that may benefit from this event.
We will be primarily assisting veterans with their claims and benefits as well as have special presentations throughout the day. In addition, be advised also that within the first hour, Commander Mike Riddick, a true leader and Veteran Service Officer with the National Association of Black Veterans (NABVETS), will be conducting a special presentation for Vietnam Veterans. They will receive a commemorative Veteran’s Proclamation Pin (Obama Pin). Although it’s not stated on the flyer, please inform and disseminate this special ceremony info to everyone you know about the event.
Again, we are excited about this event and look forward to your support and participation as necessary as the details are still being finalized. If you have any questions, please feel free to give me or Commander Riddick (202) 528-6249 a call as noted on the flyer.
Thank all of you for your efforts in getting the word out on this important event in support of our Veterans.
Best Regards,

Randy aka Handy Randy US Marine Veteran  Veteran Advocate Mentor/Founder of Handy Randy’s Heroes (240) 364-4840


Black Blue and Gun Violence

Black Blue and Gun Violence

Roads were blocked and students sheltered in place in Downtown Silver Spring last Monday as we heard the news that an MCPD Officer died from a fatal gunshot wound, with one or more possible killers on the loose. In a news conference that day, MCPD’s Acting Police Chief reported the shooting was being treated as a homicide. We now know the medical examiner’s office ruled Officer Thomas Bomba’s death as self-inflicted.

We at Christ Congregational Church offer our deepest sympathy to Officer Bomba’s family, along with all those who serve and protect our community.

For some, events like the shooting of a police officer bring back traumatic memories of the D.C. Sniper or the gunman at the Discovery Building in 2010. With the news that Officer Bomba’s death was self-inflicted, many survivors are now drawn into the personal and painful losses inflicted by suicide and gun violence in their own families and communities.

The news of officer Bomba’s death comes CCC prepares to commemorate Robert White on October 20. Robert White, an unarmed Black resident, was killed by an MCPD Officer in June 2018. Many of us were left wondering what exactly Mr. White, a familiar neighbor and family man, did to justify being sprayed and killed other than walking in a ripped coat with hands in his pockets, perhaps in a mental health crisis aggravated by the confrontation with the officer. The patrol officer was found not legally culpable by a state’s attorney. A later inquiry by MCPD’s Internal Affairs found the shooting “lawful and justified.” The conclusions drawn by MCPD failed to provide a moral or cogent justification for the use of lethal force against a community resident. This disappointing finding led us, along with the Silver Spring Justice Coalition, to host a press conference, protest rally and memorialization of Robert White whose only crime, it appears, was walking while Black.

Our Racial Justice Circle continues to help our congregation hold up the humanity of Robert. He was loved by family, neighbors, and friends. We also want to engage the wider community to transform police practice in Montgomery County. As a congregation committed to racial justice, we are positioned to help shape the next step in the community’s life together as we confront unfair racial profiling and gun violence by police against our neighbors.

Holding the deaths of Robert White and Officer Bomba together, we could be tempted to take sides: Black Lives Matter vs. Blue Lives Matter. We either support people of color or law enforcement officers. However, we do not have to diminish the humanity of one person for the other to have meaning. We are never callous to the community-wrenching pain of death and the bloody marks of gun violence, no matter who is at the end of the barrel of a loaded gun.

We can mourn Thomas Bomba, a 38-year old, 13-year member of the Montgomery County Police. We can be heartbroken for his family and reach out to the police, fire and rescue, and emergency response workers who put their lives on the line every day to help keep us safe. We owe them all our gratitude and support.

We can also be disgusted with the killing of Robert White. His death represents all incidents of unjust policing in our nation where an unarmed Black person is killed by police officers at a rate of one every ten days. This death rate is only part of a wide pattern of questionable behaviors. Most recently, we lament last weekend’s killing of Atatiana Jefferson, a 28-year-old Black woman fatally shot in her home by a Fort Worth police officer.

With a search for a new MCPD Police Chief wrapping up, we can acknowledge resentment and frustration from those who want reform. Instances of departmental exoneration along with a widely assumed blue wall of silence around many acts of police misconduct all add to a pattern of police isolation from community feedback.

We can also offer contribute our time and energy to restore trust between police and community, consistent with our commitments to racial justice and compassionate outreach. As our elected officials weigh important steps in police reform, they need to hear and act on concerns from those who may too often feel voiceless.

As we confront the mental health implications of Officer Bomba’s death, we can acknowledge the enormous daily tension and trauma we ask police and first responders to bear, and we work to ensure they have excellent resources to help them cope with the emotional burdens we ask them to carry. We can also insist that MCPD gains further competency in mental health response. As participants in the One Mind campaign, MCPD must sustain partnerships with community mental health organizations, implement policies for appropriate responses to those affected by mental illness, and increase training in mental health first aid training.

Most of all, we continue to stand against gun violence in all forms. We understand violence as part of the structures that define the way we relate to each other. We all suffer when gun violence increases. We are, understandably, fearful and often paralyzed by the magnitude of the problem. We resist the toll that violence levies against us and we flip the descending spiral of violence into an uprising of hope.

Please join us Sunday as we commemorate Robert White, pray for those most deeply affected by the death of Officer Bomba, and recommit ourselves to a just world for all. After worship, CCC’s Racial Justice Circle will host a lunch and learn event with Councilmember Will Jawando and Carlean Ponder from the Silver Spring Justice Coalition. We will hear more about initiatives towards community policing, get an update on the Police Chief search, and have some time for questions.

The Racial Justice Circle has also provided a deep dive into some of these issues. Their paper, “Policing Reform in Montgomery County: Facing a Challenge, Responding to a Call,” is available on our webpage. Visit and follow the link on the homepage.

Yours on the journey,
Pastor Matt Braddock
Senior Minister

Video: A Century of Fellowship – The Arch Social Club

Video: A Century of Fellowship – The Arch Social Club

The link to the below video, is a highlight in black excellence in regards to a historic social club, founded by black men from Baltimore:

A Century of Fellowship – The Arch Social Club

The Arch Social Club (ASC) received a Maryland State Heritage Award in 2019 for being a generational supporter of African American community and culture in Baltimore.

You can visit any of the below sites to learn more about the ASC:
The Arch Social Club Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) Heritage Awards ASC Landmark Designation Report (City of Baltimore) Magazine: “Black History Legacy – 114-Year-Old Baltimore Men’s Club Hopes To Be A Light in The Darkness”

Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Avenue now a state-designated black arts and entertainment district

Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Avenue now a state-designated black arts and entertainment district

If you have an economic, familial, and/or cultural interest in Baltimore, below is some major news about west Baltimore that may be of particular interest to you:

Maryland Designates “Pennsylvania Avenue Black Arts & Entertainment District” in West Baltimore
Here’s the official announcement from the State of Maryland:

To better understand the potentially transformative impact of such a district to West Baltimore, I’ll leave you some examples from the DMV and Baltimore City to consider:
DMVGateway Arts District: Spring Arts District:
U Street, NW DC Corridor:

BALTIMOREStation North Arts & Entertainment District:
Bromo Tower Arts & Entertainment District:

4 REI Scams To Avoid

4 REI Scams To Avoid

by Tod Snodgrass

History is replete with (in)famous real estate scams. In the 1920s in Florida for example, charlatans sold millions of dollars worth of swamp land that was literally under water and basically worthless. Today, the scams are normally more sophisticated, but can still be very damaging to your wallet. Real estate transactions, and particularly those involving Real Estate Investors (REIers), are inherently complex. What follows are four problematic areas to beware of and cautious about.

A. Letter of Credit (LOC)

Recently, a new crop of scammers have been peddling LOCs for use as collateral for the purchase of real estate. The problem is that legitimate LOCs are normally not sold, offered as investments, or used as collateral. Real LOCs are typically issued by banks to ensure payment for goods shipped in connection with international trade, and have no connection to real estate investments. LOC frauds can occur when a con artist offers a “Letter Of Credit” or “bank guarantee” as collateral for a property purchase.  NOTE: Equally useless, to REIers, are SBLCs (Stand By Letters of Credit). FYI: Many of these frauds stem from supposed overseas financial institutions or governmental agencies. Smart REIers should be careful with LOCs/SBLOCs, especially if they are being used as collateral for real estate deals.  

B. Realtor Assigning a Sale to Themselves

This can occur when a shady realtor takes advantage of a real estate investment buyer. For example, after the purchase contract is signed by all parties, but before the deal closes, the buyer experiences some form of financial distress. The buying broker coerces the buyer into assigning the deal to her for a substantially discounted price, because the buying broker has convinced the buyer that he would have difficulty keeping the financing from the bank (due to his recent financial reverses). If in doubt, you should consult legal counsel about how to handle the above problem. The good news is that the vast majority of realtors are straight shooters and would never engage in such questionable behavior.

C. Forfeited earnest money deposit funds

The danger for inexperienced REIers is that there are a few shady characters in this business who take advantage of naïve REI buyers as regards the refundability of earnest money deposit monies. And in that regard, it is a form of scamming. To buy real estate, most purchase contracts contain verbiage which requires you to provide an earnest money deposit into escrow, typically equivalent to 1%-3% of the purchase price. Assuming escrow closes OK, the earnest money is usually applied towards the purchase price of the property. However, if the buyer pulls out of the deal for a reason that isn’t allowed under the contract, they forfeit the deposit. Every year, by some estimates, buyers lose millions of dollars in forfeited deposit money because they did not understand the fine print. The way for REIers to avoid forfeiting deposit money is to include verbiage in your initial offer that protects you from such a potential negative outcome. Consult a real estate attorney for advice if you have any doubt at all about an offer you are about to make.

D. Fraudulent Wire Transfers

Real estate con men and/or hackers have been known to target realtors, closing attorneys and escrow providers. The scam often begins with what appears to be a legitimate email communication from a party involved in a current real estate transaction, touching on the subject of wire transfer instructions, i.e. which account to send the funds to. What you and others do not know is that a con artist has hacked into the email account; he has watched the email traffic and eventually sends an instruction to wire the funds to his (illicit) account rather than the actual valid account. Once the funds are successfully wired to the illicit account, the criminal tests the transaction, by sending a token percentage (of the total amount of money), via a wire transfer to another bank in which the fraudster has a second illicit account. If the small amount transfers successfully, the remaining balance of funds are then transferred to the other bank. Usually 100% of the illicitly transferred money disappears within a day or two. To counter such scams, a process needs to be set up to prevent such problems from occurring in the first place:

1. If wire transfer instructions are to be emailed, be sure the wiring info is NOT in the body of the email itself, but instead should be included inside of a PDF, as an attachment to the email.

2. Use a password provided via USPS, over the telephone or in person.  

3. Before wiring the funds, first call the legitimate potential recipient and confirm the wiring instruction(s) information via telephone.

What We Do: Quickly provide short-term, first position, private capital funding, in smaller amounts, on a cash-on-cash investment basis, to real estate investors.

Contact info: Tod Snodgrass,, 310-408-7015

NOTE:  If you are receiving this article by mistake and/or you do not wish to receive any more articles, etc., then please do the following… in the subject line…please type in: UNSUBSCRIBE + your email address…hit the send button, and you will be immediately removed from all future emailings from us.

Time to Shift Investment Gears?

Time to Shift Investment Gears?

by Tod Snodgrass

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

–George Santayana

Whether you are a relatively experienced real estate investor (REIer), or provide services/products to the investor-related real estate trade, let’s face it: we are all in the same boat. When the larger REI universe prospers or falters, our individual boats rise or fall on the same financial tide. And right now, the REI tides over the next couple of years do not look that favorable. Many financial indicators are showing that the real estate market is slowly turning south. The next downturn will hopefully not be as draconian as what we all went through in 2007-2010, but it is always wise to prepare for  the worst, wish for the best, and hopefully we all come out of this in fairly decent shape.

Some of the hallmarks of the RE downturn of a decade ago was the access to easy money; that tended to inflate housing prices. Many REIers leveraged themselves to the point of being overextended. Then when the market turned down, they found themselves in a very vulnerable financial position. Rehabbers often wound up stuck with properties they couldn’t sell (for lack of buyers). Landlords suffered because when tenants lose their jobs, they often cannot afford to pay rent. Flippers were afraid to make offers because they didn’t know if the prices were going to keep dropping over time—and they often did.  

This doesn’t mean you should stop doing what you like to do best: REIing. Far from it. What this is about is reducing risk as much as possible, while still engaging the market as an active investor. What follows are some strategic concepts and tactical ideas for weathering the gathering storm. Accept the best, reject the rest.

1. OPM. Decrease how much of your own money you can/will commit to deals, and increase the use of OPM (Other People’s Money). As the old saying goes, Cash is King. Start thinking about holding your own cash back as a rainy day reserve, i.e. for emergencies. OPM can include: private debt or private equity; Joint Venture deals; “Subject to” funding; seller financing; seek out investor-friendly sources  who will provide 100% of your flip funding needs.

2. Deleverage. During normal times, it is wise to leverage as much as you can to maximize ROI yields. However, if and when the market does turn, you might want to give serious consideration to reducing or even eliminating (most or all of your) investment-related debt. Deleveraging can include: selling off assets for cash; bringing in an equity partner to pay off any debt. Another idea: Consolidate from multiple properties with debt on each one, to fewer properties with no debt on any of them. In this way,  you will wind up with no debt that the bank can hold over your head. If needed, when you have no bank debt, you can even temporarily reduce your rental rates, in order to keep good tenants, then raise them down the road when the economy improves.

3. Pursue lower LTVs. Shift from 65%-75% vs. 30%-35% LTVs. Put greater bid emphasis on properties where the owner is DMF: Distressed, Motivated and Flexible. These are usually off-market (not on the MLS) properties where the owner is facing obvious and serious problems such as: in pre-foreclosure, clouded title (tax liens, law suit/lis pendens, probate, etc.), divorce, job loss, disability, etc. Find lower LTV/DMF properties using: bird dogs/property scouts; “driving for dollars” looking for run down properties; “dialing for dollars” (answer ads that use wording such as “fixer upper: or “needs TLC”), etc.; seek out investor-friendly realtors who send you their “back pocket”, low-LTV property listings.

4. Offer an equity incentive. If you need to sweeten the pot to get say, a DMF homeowner to sell you their property, offer them some of your future (backside) profit (once you have successfully sold their property), in exchange for a “front side” discount now. FYI: This of course assumes the homeowner still has enough equity remaining in their property to make it worth your while to invest in their property in the first place.

5. Switch from fix/flip to straight wholesale contract flips. They take less time, you make your profit faster, they reduce your risk, and you can do more deals in a shorter period of time.

6. Reverse flipping. Instead of putting a property under contract, and then trying to find a buyer for same, the process is reversed: First you find the end buyer, then fill their request with a property that you go out and find, and put under contract. Think of it as pre-selling.


During a looming real estate downturn, the key is risk management. In this case, you may want to consider trading some potential upside profit in order to reduce downside risk. Each deal is unique. While it is obviously impossible to remove all risk, it is possible to reduce it substantially via calculated and well thought out strategic and tactical techniques. Good Hunting!  

What We Do: Quickly provide short-term, first position, private capital funding, in smaller amounts, on a cash-on-cash investment basis, to real estate investors.

Contact info: Tod Snodgrass,, 310-408-7015

In Shutdown? In DC? Want Lunch and Convo? Read This!

In Shutdown? In DC? Want Lunch and Convo? Read This!

One of my good associates sent me the enclosed invitation to a potluck for those who are impacted by the government shutdown. 

In times like these, we need community – unity – conversation, laughter, and it is always good to add food to the mix.  This is an opportunity to sit down with other “fellas-in-a-ship.”  (In church we call it FELLOWSHIP.)  LOL!

I am looking at my schedule to determine if I will be free to join and bring a dish.  Forward this post to all that you believe may have been affected.

LGBT Clergy?

LGBT Clergy?

When I first heard about LGBT Clergy, I was floored and thought. “May it not be so.” Then, I met a fair amount of local clerics who either identify as LGBT or are in extreme support. Some were in the pews. Some where in small gatherings.

As a recovering “Super Pentecostal”, I was raised with more than fire and brimstone – exorcisms (“casting out devils”), speaking in tongues and the like. While I do enjoy a good tent revival or “Devotion Service” from time to time, my beliefs have changed a bit.

I was able to experience the Holy in quiet and contemplative services of say the Quakers to the pews of “high church.” I was astonished at the vast amounts of information I learned about our church leaders and their both public and private affirmation of the LGBT community.

I have come to believe that there are organizations that really love God as much as I do and do not hold to all of the beliefs, customs, and rituals that I grew up with. After talking with another pastor friend of mine a while ago, I understand that the following organizations are friendly to the LGBT community.

If I have any of the information incorrect, let me know. I will remove. If you have additional information to add, let me know. I will add.

WHY SHARE THIS, JONATHAN? Well, life is short. There are tons of men, women, and children that I have met over the years who are on the spectrum and want to connect with God, the Holy, Christ. Churches want to grow and identify with those that are not churched or want to reconnect. This is a community that has been overlooked, abused, and neglected.

May this be the year that this community be conned to God – Christ – again. PAX CHRISTI.

New Year Quote on Vocation

New Year Quote on Vocation

A pastor friend of mine challenged me about finding an fulfilling my Vocation. Often, most people think about this a ministry within a church. Can it be that it is something that you may be able to do outside of church?

Here is what Frederick Buechner said, “Vocation is the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.”

So, may this year be the year that your gladness needs the world’s need!