Somewhere between Bell's Palsy and death
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
The Rev. Dr. Leon Finney Jr. is a big fat hypocrite
Do y'all remember when I was going on and on about Leon's Ribs a while back? I got an e-mail from Gwen, the woman who owned the one in Hammond about a week or so ago, and I must confess I didn't get around to reading it until today. And then when I read it, I wish I'd done it sooner, because then the workings of this nematode of the cloth could've been up much longer for the world to see.

Gwen sent this letter to several new outlets; I'm posting it in its entirety:
If there is a spiritual knowledge of earthly matters after death, I wonder how the much loved and respected state Representative Lovana "Lou" Jones' heavenly spirit is reacting to the knowledge that as the Reverend Doctor Leon D. Finney, Jr., was delivering her eulogy -- this “man of the cloth,” who proclaimed to be her friend, had set in motion a state court ordered, forcible eviction of his 65 year-old sister along with her disabled husband from a condominium owned by their father, Leon D. Finney, Sr., of Leon's BBQ fame.

His sister and brother-in-law were literally being set out on the street as “Lou” Jones’ earthly remains laid before him. There rested a woman whose very core -- above all else -- bespoke a deep devotion, respect, and caring for her family. Yet, the Reverend Doctor Finney simultaneously participated in the process of inflicting excruciating pain on his flesh and blood sister, allowing her to be thrown into the streets, thereby causing her and her husband to join the ranks of the “homeless” community of the Chicago South Side.

I find it eerily striking that the funeral celebration and homage paid to this extraordinary woman, "Lou" Jones, took place on the same day -- at or about the same time the Reverend Dr. Finney, Jr., brought to fruition one of the most horrific days of his sister's life; and, while his sister was suffering the sting of betrayal and pain of her brother's contempt -- he was officiating at a celebration of a woman's lifelong commitment to family, to her larger community, and to any and all persons less fortunate than herself. How bizarre!

But, this did indeed happen.

At or about 10 am, on Tuesday morning, May 16, 2006 -- there was a loud banging at the door to Gwen Finney-Wood and her husband, Jim Wood's, 18th Floor apartment located at 5201 S. Cornell Ave in Hyde Park.

Having just finished their morning coffee and about to begin packing to return to their home in Hawaii -- they were startled and terrified by the voices yelling, "open the door, Sheriffs’ department!" -- and were further traumatized when they opened the door to find four, armed, uniformed police officers from the Sheriff's Office standing menacingly at their door. The police officers barged in unceremoniously and demanded the Woods get dressed and get out of their apartment immediately!

With little less than two or three minutes to gather their thoughts, change from sleepwear to street clothing -- they were physically ejected from a place they'd called home for nearly 7 years.

Neighbors, friends, residents of the condominium -- administrative, security and maintenance staff of the Cornell Village Condominiums -- all of whom over the years had come to know the Woods personally -- watched in stunned disbelief as they witnessed the household furnishings and personal belongings of this elderly couple being set out on the sidewalk in front of their very stately building.

News spread fast that this indignity had been visited upon the daughter of longtime Cornell Village resident/owner, Leon D. Finney, Sr.; and, that her brother, the Reverend Dr. Leon D. Finney, Jr., was responsible for the forcible eviction. It was common knowledge among residents of the Cornell Village that Rev. Dr. Finney, Jr., had recently gained personal and financial guardianship of his father's estate after the senior Finney was adjudicated a disabled person due to an advance stage of Alzheimer's Disease.

The details of the Finney family saga pales in the face of the humiliation, hurt, and pain a purported “Man of God” chose to inflict on his own sister as he hides behind the guise of protecting his father's financial interests. However, this situation is perhaps all the more disgraceful because given the hypocrisy and demonstrated cruelty Rev. Dr. Finney, Jr., exhibited toward his own flesh and blood -- he exposed himself as an absolute antithesis of what the beloved “Lou” Jones represents to those who came together on May 16, 2006, at his historic, Metropolitan Apostolic Church, to honor and praise her.

Shame on you my brother, Leon, Jr., for your heresy and disrespect of a life that deserved far more than you brought to the pulpit.

Gwendolyn Finney-Wood

I called Gwen a little bit ago, and amazingly, she and her husband are in fantastic spirits. The sheriff who came to evict them, upon hearing the circumstances under which the eviction was happening, said, "You guys take as much time as you need to pack your stuff. It's cool." So, they're packing their valuables and memorables and moving back to Hawaii, where Gwen's family is, and they'll start a barbecue joint out there. Sure hope they can ship, because I will NEVER, EVER, go to Leon's Barbecue in Chicago EVER, and I would ask that y'all do the same.
Posted by Broad8:21 PM
It is the job of a good person to be honest. To be self-aware. To deliberately explore the fault lines of your character and try desperately to not inflict suffering in this strange, ghost-ridden world of worked and fabricated objects. Sometimes the jobs of writer and good person coincide. But more often they don’t. There are way more writers in the world than there are good people.

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Broad said: Like I said, my feelings are complicated on the matter, so ... I’m interested, however, in Her Highness’ thoughts on… ...[go].

Caterina said: ARGH!!! Not to deny you your goddess-given right of reflections and wishing what might-have-beens, but this guy was straight up… ...[go].

Wholovesya? said: By the by, guess who was most nasty about the charitable giving?  The frigging church.  My church and my mom’s… ...[go].

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