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Organization Says Supporter of Mayor O’Dekirk Is Not Who He Says He Is

Cornel Dardin

Many are calling for the resignation of Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk after an incident with a protester. O’Dekirk was caught on video grabbing a protester by the neck while leaving a Black Lives Matter protest on May 31st. Others, including several community leaders and a community activist, say the mayor was only acting in self-defense. But it has come to WJOL‘s attention that one of Mayor O’Dekirk’s vocal supporters at his side at a news conference this week is not who he says he is.

The only problem is Cornel Darden is NOT president and CEO of the South Suburban Black Chamber of Commerce. He was terminated about a year ago according to a statement from the Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce.

Darden is accused of accessing funds from their existing bank account and opened unauthorized bank accounts. In addition he collected sponsorships and membership dues without the consent of the board of directors after his termination.

Statement from the Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce:

Cornel Darden was terminated from the South Suburban Region Black Chamber of Commerce. Cornel Darden continued to falsely operate a Chamber using the South Suburban name and EIN number. He has fraudulently accessed funds from our existing bank account and opened unauthorized bank accounts. In addition he has collected sponsorships and membership dues without the consent of the Board of Directors after his termination. In addition to these fraudulent acts, Cornel Darden went on to illegally appoint his own board of directors to fraudulently operate a non profit that he was terminated from.

The South Suburban Region Black Chamber of Commerce immediately filed a police report with the city of Joliet, however we feel that because of Dardens strong ties to Mayor O’Dekirk, our claims were never investigated. No official board member of the South Suburban Region Black Chamber of Commerce or Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce was interviewed after the initial complaint was filed.

Cornel Darden is not affiliated with the Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce or the National Black Chamber of Commerce. We are not in support of Cornel Darden and we do not support any of his actions. The Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce does not support the actions of Mayor O’Dekirk that transpired during a peaceful protest we feel that the violent actions of O’Dekirk are unbefitting of a Mayor.


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