The "Doctor" Is In

School board candidate Richard Evans has a checkered past, a mail-order degree, and a confrontational manner. But many city leaders think he's the best man for the job.

At the time, Johnson told police he was filing his complaint because he believed that Evans was "sick" and shouldn't be around children, Chandler says. Dallas police tried to investigate the case, but ran into several walls with Ameriscribe managers, who refused to discuss Johnson because he and several other employees were suing the company for race discrimination.

Nonetheless, police believed Johnson enough to issue Evans a misdemeanor citation for "offensive contact," a low-grade assault. Evans fought the ticket in municipal court and was found not guilty after a trial before a judge.

"That's a totally and completely false allegation. That's all it was, an allegation," says Evans, who contends that Johnson filed the complaint because he was upset with him. "I was his manager. He worked for a temporary service and wanted to be hired by the company," Evans says. "I did not hire him."

When reached last week, Johnson declined to discuss the incident.
Apart from his stint at Ameriscribe, Evans refused to provide the Observer with any information about other jobs that he might have held. "I am a private citizen and still will be unless I'm elected. Past employers have nothing to do with the qualifications of a school board member. There is such a thing as privacy in this country."

Evans also balked at giving the Observer detailed information because he claimed the newspaper had "never written a positive thing about an African-American" and was just going to do a "hatchet job" on him. Evans also called the News' 1993 profile, which was titled "Mystery Man," a hatchet job.

"To some, Mr. Evans, 31, is a rising star in the local African-American community," the story stated. "But others say that his past is a mystery and that he craves the limelight and won't work with African-American leaders in existing organizations--allegations Mr. Evans denies."

Even regarding his present employment, Evans will only provide the sketchiest of detail. On his application to run for the school board, he states that he is currently employed as a "management consultant." He owns a consulting company, he says, which he calls The Evans Group, and he is its only full-time employee. He says he provides consulting services to nonprofit and religious organizations, though he refuses to provide a list of references or customers, past or present. He does, however, concede that he isn't making much money.

"I don't have an office, as it were," Evans says. "I'm between locations. I have not found a space that's economically feasible."

So Evans says he is working out of the home, but which home? On his school board application, Evans says he lives at his childhood home, which is in DISD's District 5. But the phone number that Evans lists on the application belongs to a Sean Franklin, and traces back to an apartment complex in Irving.

When the Observer first reached Evans, he answered the phone at that apartment complex.

"The number that you are talking with me on is not my number. That's a number that I use," said Evans, who was reluctant to discuss who Sean Franklin is. "If you must know, Mr. Franklin is a business associate."

Wherever Evans puts his head down to sleep at night, and whatever his credentials, Dallas County voter registration records show that he has lived and voted in District 5 consistently since 1992.

Unlike Evans, the other three candidates had no problem making their resumes public--no matter how flimsy they appear.

Jerry Parks fidgets at a long conference table inside the Observer's downtown office. The slender Mississippi native wears a tan suit coat and dark slacks, his brown eyes dancing with enthusiasm behind silver-rimmed glasses as he explains why he is the only qualified candidate for the job.

"I am the technology candidate in this race. No doubt about it," he offers. "You can't do any better than this."

Parks has come to the interview prepared. His large backpack is stuffed with recent issues of such magazines as Current Technology and Business Week. It also contains a stack of campaign fliers, which are hot off the presses of his home computer and emphasize his educational background.

"Jerry Parks, B.S. Experienced & Educated," states the two-sided brochure, which Parks has recently updated in light of the questions surrounding Evans' educational background.

The first fact Parks includes on the flier is that he holds a bachelor's degree with a major in biology from the State University of New York--or SUNY, as it is known to students at the institution's Albany campus Parks says he attended.

Parks does indeed hold a bachelor's degree, but not from SUNY. Officials with SUNY in Albany searched for Parks' records using his social security number, but could find no record that he graduated. They suggested Parks might have attended the University of the State of New York, which is located a few blocks up the street.

In truth, few people physically attend the University of the State of New York, which is now known as Regents College and billed as "America's First Virtual University."

Regents College is an accredited school, but the virtual college (85 percent of its students live outside the state of New York) is in no way affiliated with SUNY. An official at Regents confirmed that on January 14, 1994, Parks graduated with a bachelor's degree in "liberal studies" after completing two years of "virtual" or correspondence courses.

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