Today’s news:

Mom: Fort Greene Festival promoter has shady past

The Brooklyn Paper

The promoter of this Saturday’s Fort Greene Festival cheated a retired schoolteacher out of thousands of dollars in proceeds from last year’s festival that was supposed to be set aside in honor of her dead son, the woman claims.

Mattie Turner says that Peter Tulloch, the festival’s creator, promised to collect cash at last year’s event for a scholarship honoring her son Ajile Turner — cousin of do-gooder rapper Common — but after a year, she hasn’t seen a dime.

In fact, she’s out $1,000 herself because Tulloch reneged on his promise, she said. At last year’s concert, Turner took the stage to hand local college student Devon Fuentes-Jett a giant $1,000 check to pay for his books and expenses — a stipend that was supposed to be funded by the festival’s profits. Instead it came from Turner’s bank account.

But that didn’t stop Tulloch from touting his contributions to the Ajile Turner Foundation in this year’s promotional material — though some references to the foundation were removed from Tulloch’s website after Turner sent a “cease-and-desist” letter in April.

“I’m not trying to harm him, but Ajile meant the world to me and I won’t have this foundation destroyed,” said Turner, who lives in Cincinnati.

Turner created the Ajile L. Turner Foundation after her only child, a Fort Greene resident, died in a motorcycle crash in 2009 at age 38. She said that Ajile, a music promoter, was involved with local schools and she wanted to continue his tradition of giving back.

She joined forces with Tulloch after they reacquainted at Ajile’s funeral, thinking that Fort Greene Fest would be her first big fundraising event for the foundation.

They had no written agreement, but she didn’t think she needed one — Tulloch was her son’s good friend.

Gregory Thomson, Tulloch’s attorney, did not deny the mom’s charges, but said that the festival has made sure not to use the foundation’s name anywhere.

“It’s possible that there was some reference to it in sales material from last year,” Thomson said. “But the festival has no intention of using the name.”

Indeed, in a 2011 promotional guide, the Ajile Turner Foundation is mentioned once. All videos and photos of Turner and members of the foundation been removed from Tulloch’s website since May.

Thomson also said that there was never a written agreement between Turner and his client with regard to the scholarship fund.

“We’re moving forward and trying to get that clarified,” Thomson said. “We’re still in the process of talking with Ms. Turner and her representative.”

Tulloch’s free festival, now in its third year, kicks off on Saturday in Fort Greene Park, with Mos Def taking a star turn.

Common, Turner’s nephew, headlined last year’s festival, a free “urban Woodstock” that attracted thousands of people. Actors Malik Yoba and Rosie Perez hosted the event.

“I had asked Common to participate in that for me, to help make it as large as it was,” Turner said.

The festival had corporate sponsors including Con Edison, Coca Cola, and Bank of America, and charged local restaurants and organizations to set up tents.

Tulloch also set up donation boxes for the foundation at various locations, including a booth showcasing a Vespa on raffle and another selling Ajile Turner Foundation T-shirts.

Months after the concert, Turner hadn’t heard anything from Tulloch, so she contacted him to ask about the cash.

He told her the festival didn’t make any money. But when she asked about the donation boxes, he said that they were used to pay the festival’s bills.

Shea Peters, a Fort Greene resident and friend of the foundation, said she put dollars into the donation boxes last year and saw many others do the same.

She doesn’t understand what Tulloch did with that money.

“At the end of the day, he took money from the scholarship fund and he stole from our dead friend,” Peters said. “I can’t say his intentions were bad from the get-go, but the money is gone.”

Fort Greene Festival at Fort Greene Park (DeKalb and Myrtle avenues in Fort Greene), June 25, noon to 10 pm. Free. For info, visit www.fortgreenefest.com.

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Reader Feedback

Lisa Loud from Brooklyn says:
Everyone in FG knows Peter as a shady character for years.
June 25, 2011, 10:13 am
Glenn from Fort Greene says:
There's a special place in hell for people like him! He should go to jail! Where are all the black celebrities in Fort Greene who swear they have integrity and character. Oh...That's right...THEY'RE HOSTING THE FESTIVAL!
June 25, 2011, 10:18 am
rose from fort greene says:


This is no way to handle an issue like this. It cost so much to host an event as big as this. Too many times events like this are shadowed by people personal disagreements. This festival was never about a foundation etc it was to bring light to the talent that is within our neighborhood and this festival just started how much money you think people actually give verses the over head of bills. Think people. This is not Central Park it is Fort Greene.
June 25, 2011, 2:20 pm
Phil from Fort Greene says:
Rose,

That's incorrect. Look at last years flyers. This guy could go to jail...
June 25, 2011, 2:38 pm
Phil from Fort Greene says:
Oh Rose,

Stealing money is a crime...And jail may commeth. Hey, are you profiting from this...You must be one of those D-List celebrities trying to get a photo op on stage at that fradulent festival.

Good Luck...
June 25, 2011, 3:21 pm
Gregory Thomson from New York says:
Mattie Turner makes numerous false allegations in this article. The only allegations in the article that I have not denied: that the Fort Greene Festival may have made inadvertent passing reference to the Ajile Turner Foundation in sales material this year. The rest of the allegations are without merit, and are a gross misrepresentation of the Festival’s relationship with the fledgling Ajile Turner Foundation.

The festival itself is a remarkable success, and I would encourage any persons genuinely interested to come out today and see for themselves.
June 25, 2011, 4:02 pm
Shady Grady from Fort Greene says:
Ahhh...Spoken from the attorney himself. Seems like you have more to say here than to the reporter. Should've spoke up when asked.

Shady Grady
June 25, 2011, 4:09 pm
Phil from Fort Greene says:
Rose,

Everytime you comment...I win.
June 25, 2011, 5:40 pm
How immature from Fort Greene says:
How sad...
June 25, 2011, 5:51 pm
dan from ft greene says:
um,

1. Wow!
2. WoW!
3. WOW!
June 25, 2011, 7:58 pm
Rob from Prospect Heights says:
This is insane...Who are the hosts? Did they know about this?
June 25, 2011, 11:32 pm
kix from Ft. Greene says:
I'm all for the festival, but this is VERY simple people. If you verbally or otherwise agree to partner with a non-profit foundation, and collect money from the public on their behalf (and use their name in marketing materials, no less!), said money should go to the foundation. No matter the "overhead" or WHATEVER! This is just SHADY thievery...plain and simple.
June 26, 2011, 3:21 am
Kurt from Ft Greene says:
Kix,

Well stated. I have a big problem with this. When you look at this in context, this man stole from the dead, he defrauded his vendors, sponsors, the community who attended. And since the foundation gives scholarships and money to the schools in ft. greene, they stole from the kids as well. We really don't need people like that in our neighborhood.
June 26, 2011, 10:28 am
Coco from Ft greene says:
Give the guy a Break! He's doing a lot and me having worked on festivals like this for the past 10 years, I know theres a lot of overhead. I'm sure he didn't pocket the money... What needs to happen is a written resolution to the situation. The Fest needs to keep happening and as long as disparagers are commenting, it will make it hard for them to make the money to pay Ms Turner. That said, I thought it was an amazing day!
June 28, 2011, 10:59 am
Commonsense from Fort Greene says:
That's not how business and non profit works. besides, I received the sponsorship package for the festival last year and this year. The corporate sponsorship package topped off at $100,000 for the biggest package and worked it's way down to 10k, still touting the fact the the proceeds were going to the non profit. With that said, the big name sponsors could have paid $100K. I smell a rat. The fest should continue, but not by this guy or any of his business partners. One less crook in the hood the better.
June 28, 2011, 1:01 pm
Ceester says:
This festival is not going to happen again in Ft. Greene unless there is a written guarantee that certain handpicked vendors are awarded contracts (food services, cleanup, etc)

This is the whole problem with events in that park of late. Particularly those that attract large fun-loving mixed (but popular with black) crowds.

Its all about making money in the overcrowded ghettoburbs, now and forever.
June 29, 2011, 2:31 pm
FortGreener from Fort Greene says:
Hmm...yes, everyone in Ft Greene knows this dude is shady! Too bad for Ft Greene because people like Peter give Black and minority business owners in our nabe a bad name. We try to build and someone like this takes away from others. Karma sucks and so does he. Where's the IRS when you need them? That's how everyone gets caught up eventually.
June 29, 2011, 8:47 pm
Ceester says:

Everyone gives Ft. Greene a bad name when they talk of Blacks in the nabe.
Every one gives Fort Greene a bad name when they are talking about Ft. Greene BEFORE gentrification.

This guy will not make me look unfavorable upon minority business owners.

Many comments make me think badly upon Fort Greene.
June 30, 2011, 11:15 am
The Truth from Global says:
Peter is a bad person that charges people money and stupied sums of money to perform there is nothing ethical about the Forte Green Festival and in particular Peter... he should certainly be investigated for his business practice!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Aug. 31, 2011, 1:58 pm

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