By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
First there was money. Wallace's salary was $120,000, dwarfing Sanders' $40,000. Sanders also wanted access to the school's budget. He wanted a say in who got hired. He wanted to be "in the loop." He was becoming marginalized, according to his attorney, and he wanted new board members in place: "The board of this institution is composed of 'your people,'" the attorney complained. He vaguely demanded that "a new operating agreement needs to be drafted."
Sanders offered a solution, which he apparently had kicked around with Garza and George Hegamin, the ex-NFL player who was a coach at Prime Prep at the time. They could split the Fort Worth and Dallas campuses, with Sanders taking over Dallas and Wallace getting Fort Worth. "I thought it was a great idea, given that we couldn't do anything without Wallace telling us what to do," Garza says.
Wallace didn't agree. He thought Sanders was trying to run the Dallas campus as a private business, he said in a letter to parents, with little regard for state law. Still, he agreed to meet with Sanders again in the fieldhouse.
Outside of Prime Prep, the popular opinion is that Sanders doesn't care much about the school anyway, that's it just a money-making scheme. And it's true that Sanders did want to earn more money than what Wallace had offered. But the feud went deeper than dollar bills. Sanders also desired power on campus. Answering to Wallace, who he thought was his partner, hurt his pride. That's clear from the meeting between Wallace and Sanders at the fieldhouse. The Observer obtained an audio recording of the meeting.
"I'm going to get more money, or there ain't going to be more school, that's just flat-out how it's going to be," Sanders is heard telling Wallace.
It's not clear who else was in the room when Sanders made that remark. Asked about the meeting, Prime Prep Board President T. Christopher Lewis recalls once witnessing a "heated discussion" about "equity of decisions of the school between Deion and D.L Wallace," but he declined to comment further without hearing the recording himself.
"I don't remember that exact verbiage," Lewis says.
In the meeting, Sanders acknowledged that he didn't really need the money. "With the money I'm getting, I turn around and stipend my coaches. Because God has blessed me, I don't really need it. But I'm going to get it, because it's mine and my name is on the building. OK, that's just fair. I don't know who you can look in this eye in this room, and say, 'I'm going to give myself 120 Gs, and I'm giving Prime 40.'"
Wallace didn't flatly reject Sanders' request for more money— not in the recording, at least. He just wanted to know what Sanders would do to earn it.
"Now you tell me then: What position?" Wallace asked.
"HNIC," Sanders responded. (That's "Head Nigga in Charge.")
"How are you going to give yourself something, but I can't give myself something?" Sanders went on.
In a separate recording, apparently from the same meeting, Sanders alluded to getting help from politicians to get Prime Prep off the ground in the first place.
"You don't even really know how we got this school in Austin, you don't really know, so let me tell you, it ain't because all these inflated words and wonderful things we said, it was another way. Senators, political leaders that you hooked me up with, that you put me down with, that's how we got the school," Sanders said, before repeating what many in the public have wondered for quite some time: "How in the world do you think we got a school?"
Sanders reminded Wallace that he once trusted him, but lately he felt disrespected. "I always had your back," Sanders said. "I feel like throwing this chair at you and breaking your damn neck right now and I don't even use profanity. But I'm going to let it ride, because I'm pissed off, because I love kids. You look at it as business, nigga, I look at it as kids. ... I got to ask you to hire, nigga? I gotta ask you to get a kid in here? I gotta ask you like you my daddy for a check, nigga?"
They were still trying to reconcile in August, this time in the office of state Senator Royce West, emails between the senator and Wallace show. But things only escalated. Sanders said he was "sick of this mess," according to Wallace. That, Wallace says, is when Sanders attacked him.
Sanders stood up, walked toward Wallace and pushed Wallace in his swivel chair, according to the account Wallace wrote to parents and Senator West. Wallace rolled back. Sanders followed the chair and pushed Wallace again. A wheel broke off. Wallace fell backward to the ground, the short back of his chair not able to support the force. Sanders approached Wallace as he lay on the ground, his legs in the air. Again, Wallace says, Sanders went for the throat. The senator pulled Sanders away. Wallace jumped to his feet and Sanders left the building.
Not only should the school be shut down, CPS should take away custody from any parent who was dumb enough to send their kids to this pseudo school. Even if you buy the premise that Deion is in it for the kids, you have to concede that he got in way over his head. Putting together a school is not like putting together a football camp Deion, you dumb fucking jock.
This poor guy has received nothing but bad from everybody he has attempted to help. Nobody understands what he's trying to accomplish, and they take advantage of him and refuse to cooperate fully. He has a lofty vision that transcends the ordinary Joe Blow, and when people he's taken in to get on his team don't do a satisfactory job for him he's going to let them know it. He wants results, he wants effort, he wants dedication, he wants honesty, and he's just not getting it from the people he's paying. Who can blame him for being upset? Anybody who has put his whole life into something this important would be upset. We are only getting a biased picture from those who have not done their job as he wants them to do it. Remember, he has a side also. I've never seen him in my life, but from everything I've read about him I think he's an unusually great guy.
This is not a Charter School and should be shut down. Those of us that live here in the Southern Sector are sick of this shit
I am certain Ms. Silverstein is fine with a pen, but she doesn't have to use pink construction paper, nor does she have to grind that brassy pen fit to score the sheet. Honestly. I am not happy with Silverstein's lead.
For one, Ms. Silverstein, you left out the most important aspect of Deion Sanders' professional career: absolutely masterful athlete, so damned top-drawer he did not even have to try.
Simply because Sanders used his muscle and mind to defeat most of the National Football League even on a bad day, putting him in a "stadium of a frustrating social condition" simply to prep herself, Ms. Silverstein seems to have deliberately forgotten how Sanders became a master of a sport that, while most professional sports no longer interest me as they did when I was younger, is hard-core and one hell of a better hobby than buying cole slaw at KFC from some dude that wears a Colonel Sanders goatee as if goatees are some kind of joke.
I deeply respect Deion Sanders' willingness to bring charter schools to South Dallas, the area typically ignored by white power in Dallas, left to the "car seat on the porch" syndrome, a bit of social commentary so masterful it is amazing the white-boys cannot even dream about what that may mean:
How does, "We are not getting in your damned car!" sound, Ms. Silverstein? Is that a strong enough statement here in regard to you labeling Deion Sanders first of all "a celeb"?
Here we are, people, almost 70 years since Rosa Parks and her intently competent friends decided to drive the Southlands to show Mississippi, Alabama and all the other Eddie Haskells in "th' hood" how "goin' down South" actually feels, and yet here we are still, having to put-up with "writerly recklessness" in regards to a man who is working hard to make something happen for some of the poorest people in one big doughnut of a city.
I'm still wondering when The City of Dallas is going to take my suggestion and park some huge, orange dumpster trucks right in the impasses that allow Highland and University Parkies out of the doughnut hole to wreak havoc in Dallas for "crappie and giggles".
That is a suggestion. Sometimes you have to put a steel dog chain halter on the ponies and lead them to the paddock when they refuse to do it their own damned selves.
This school gives other Charter Schools (great ones too) a bad name.
This school should be closed or if D. Sanders is all about the kids them make it a private school and he can fully fund it with the money he was blessed with.
Let TEA do a Full investigation.
Long story can be shortened to this: 2 crooked con men with no education and no experience educating kids wanted a charter school. Their primary motive was money! Free, taxpayer money! They got a State Senator (Royce West) and the Education Commissioner (Robert Scott) to push the application through, even though the application was filled with lies and deception and fraud. After the school opened, and the money started flowing, their greed continued to grow. Each wanted more and more, and each wanted more than the other. An exorbitant salary wasn't enough for one, and a TV show with an undisclosed amount of money wasn't enough for the other. Their greed had no bounds. They turned on each other and began accusing each other. But the truth is as from the beginning, both are con men.
@docharleyday1 Deion is not paying anyone anything. Period. The taxpayers of Texas are paying these salaries... including Deion's. Deion has never contributed one dime to this school. He and DL Wallace submitted a list of corporate donors (financial backers), but this turned out to be a made-up lie. Deion doesn't care about result, effort, dedication, honesty or any of the other virtues you listed. Deion wants MONEY! Deion wants to inflate his ego! Deion want to enlarge the façade of Deion being a good guy!
@gordonhilgers Wow. You must be a Deion sniffer... you talk just like him. Makes no sense at all! You're trying to sound intelligent, but you don't possess a full understanding of the words you are using. So it all comes out as gobbly-gook.
@gordonhilgers Did you take a nap after all that? If so, I hope your dreams weren't as confusing as your post.
@Blackman2day That ringing sound? Oh, that was Mr. Blackman2day hitting the nail on the head.
@Blackman2day Pretty much business as usual in the Dallas African-American community. Too bad that it spilled over to Fort Worth.