Just because Your Black Muslim Bakery is mired in bankruptcy and its leaders are locked up in jail doesn't mean the militant group is going away. In fact, if the late Yusuf Bey's family members decide to revive the organization, they can simply tap into millions of dollars worth of Oakland real estate.
Bakery-owned properties valued at $3.6 million were quietly stashed by the elder Bey's sons, Antar Bey and Yusuf Bey IV, after they took command of the business in the wake of their father's death. The Bey brothers, according to property records on file with the Alameda County Recorder's Office, transferred at least six bakery properties to themselves or to female family members in 2004 and 2006.
These transactions and others involving the Beys not only raise the possibility of fraud, but also offer insight into an organization that, while dominated by men, routinely records its assets in the names of wives and mothers.
The swaps began in May 2004, just after Antar Bey took over as Bakery CEO. In three months time, Antar transferred at least four bakery properties one to himself, one to his mother Daulet and one each to two other female family members. In official documents, the Beys reported that no money exchanged hands, although the two duplexes and two houses were assessed by the county at $1.7 million total.
After Antar Bey was killed in 2005, during what police believe was a botched carjacking near Children's Hospital Oakland, Antar's younger brother, Yusuf Bey IV, continued the property giveaways. In February 2006, Bey IV, acting as CEO of the family business, gave Daulet, who also is his mother, two buildings across the street from the bakery. They were listed as "gifts" in official county documents.
These buildings at 5873 and 5877 San Pablo Avenue assessed at $1.9 million total are two-story structures with apartments above ground-floor retail. One was used to house Elijah's Educational Center, the private school run for many years by the elder Bey. It had been owned by the bakery since 1978.
So just what were the Bey progeny up to? Could the last two giveaways have been fraudulent attempts to shield the properties from the bakery's creditors? Bey IV, after all, gave the buildings to his mother just eight months before he filed for bankruptcy on the bakery's behalf. As a result, they are not subject to liquidation in order to pay off the creditors.
When Bey IV filed for bankruptcy, Your Black Muslim Bakery Inc. only had two buildings left in its name the bakery itself at 5832 San Pablo and a duplex around the corner on 59th Street. This duplex is where police say they found nineteen-year-old bakery handyman DeVaughndre Broussard with the gun that killed Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey.
Eric Nyberg, attorney for the bankruptcy court trustee Tevis Thompson, said last week that he was aware of the property transfers and that he and Thompson were investigating. "They could be fraudulent transfers," Nyberg said. "It's something we're looking at, and we've had some discussions with Ms. [Daulet] Bey about them."
Nyberg added that he and Thompson may petition the court to void the 2006 transfers and maybe even those made in 2004 if the sale of the bakery's remaining buildings fails to cover all of its debts.
That may be the case. Last week, Thompson received an offer of $899,000 for both the bakery and the duplex, Nyberg said. If that sale goes through, it would fall short of satisfying the bakery's listed debts of more than $1.2 million.
Daulet Bey, who lives in Antioch and who used one of the former bakery properties as bail collateral last year to spring her son from jail, could not be reached for comment. Her son's civil and criminal attorneys, Fayedine Coulter and Ted Johnson, refused to comment.
If the property transfers are deemed illegal, it wouldn't be the first time Bey IV has faced real-estate fraud allegations. In addition to charges of kidnap and torture, Alameda County prosecutors accuse Bey IV of identity theft and of using a fake driver's license to secure loans and purchase a house on 61st Street in Oakland.
Bey IV also is involved in some sort of property scheme with his "wife" Alaia Bey, who identifies herself as unmarried in public documents, but also states that the two were "married under Muslim law and not California law." Just weeks after Bey IV filed the bakery's bankruptcy papers, Alaia Bey bought three more properties two in Richmond and one in Oakland for $1.3 million. She financed the buying spree almost entirely with large, high-interest loans. Two weeks after her husband was arrested in the bakery raid, she personally filed for bankruptcy because she couldn't pay off the loans. The banks intend to foreclose on the houses.
Her attorney, Max Cline, said that even though Alaia's name is on the deeds, the home purchases were entirely Bey IV's idea. "She told me that under Muslim law, the husband handles all business affairs and she wasn't involved," Cline said. "She told me that she basically is a housewife and has no knowledge of such things."
So what was the 21-year-old Bey IV planning to do with three new houses? At this point, it's anybody's guess. He apparently thought he could afford the combined monthly mortgage of more than $10,000.
Then again, perhaps he was hoping to borrow from his property-rich mother.
Avoiding the S-Word
The state overseers of Oakland schools created unnecessary confusion last month after Full Disclosure revealed that the district was sitting on a surplus of nearly $44 million in five major accounts ("Oakland Schools' Cash Stash," 9/19 . After the column hit the streets, interim Chief Financial Officer Leon Glaster sent a three-page memo titled "Clarification of District Financial Position" to interim State Administrator Vince Matthews, who then distributed it widely throughout the school system.
But a key aspect of the memo was misleading, if not a disingenuous attempt at damage control, which seemed intended to cast doubt on this paper's reporting. "[T]here is no surplus," Glaster declared on the first page. But in the very next paragraph he acknowledged that "the article was correct to report that OUSD carried-over more than $43 million" from the 2006-07 school year.
Ah, a "carryover." And just how is that not a surplus?
In a face-to-face interview last week, Glaster and district spokesman Troy Flint admitted that there is, indeed, a surplus they just don't like to call it that. In education accounting circles, Glaster explained, the S-word may imply that the district would have to return the excess funds to the state or federal governments, or that the money could be used for any purpose.
But Express readers are not bureaucratic beancounters. The column, I reminded them, specifically stated that most of the surplus had to be spent on its intended purpose and it neither claimed nor implied the funds would have to be returned. In fact, I had urged the district to spend the money educating Oakland's schoolchildren.
Glaster and Flint ultimately acknowledged the column's accuracy. "We're not asking for any corrections, clarifications, or retractions by the Express," Flint said.