Restraining Order Derails Meeting With Greenwood Chamber, Members

Monday, February 13th 2017, 10:57 pm
By: News On 6

A rift between the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce Board and its members meant Monday night's scheduled meeting didn't go exactly as planned.

Dozens showed up to the old Tulsa City Council Chamber to talk about issues they say they've been having with the board for a long time, in hopes of putting them to rest.

"Just speaking for myself, as a member, a lot hasn't been exposed or shared with the public as it relates to what's really going on," said Greenwood Chamber of Commerce member, Sherry Laskey.

But the meeting didn't happen.

"Our membership person, which is Vanessa Hall-Harper, received a letter to desist, a restraining order, in a nutshell," Laskey said.

Because of that, Hall-Harper is no longer considered the membership committee chair.

She released a statement saying, in part, "The parties have tentatively agreed to seek an alternative resolution" in order to strengthen the organization.

But this isn't the first meeting where members felt they weren't being heard.

Member Kristi Williams said, "The meeting that we had two weeks ago, none of the board members showed up. Not one of them."

The membership committee has now released a list of grievances - among those, they say there hasn't been an annual meeting in the last 10 years, the board has failed to provide board minutes and current bylaws, and, they say the organization has violated its IRS code.

Williams said all they want is transparency between the members and the board.

“We want to see tourism on Greenwood, we want it to thrive," Williams said. "Now that we have this rift with the board and the members, it's really disheartening. It's sad."

The restraining order was given by Rebecca Marks-Jimerson, who is the acting executive director. We reached out to her for comment and she told us, "The Greenwood Chamber Board of Directors is hopeful the membership will consent to mediation so these issues can be resolved. We must all work together for the resurgence of economic and workforce development of the Historic Greenwood District as we honor the past to support the future."