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Defamation Suit Filed Against City-Funded “Activist”

Vernado Malone, Justice for Michiana
Vernado Malone, Justice for Michiana

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A St. Joseph County woman filed a defamation lawsuit against local activist/convicted felon, Vernado Malone. The woman, who REAL News Michiana has decided not to name, claims more than a year of harassment at the hands of Malone and his non-profit, Justice for Michiana.

The lawsuit outlines a laundry list of defamatory remarks made by Malone, falsely claiming she is a prostitute, criminal, racist and adulterer.

The woman in this case also sent Malone a Cease and Desist Order for the defamatory remarks earlier this week.

Malone, who spent several years in federal prison for multiple fraud convictions, was given thousands of dollars in taxpayer money from the City of South Bend’s Alive Grant program for his non-profit, Justice for Michiana. The grants were created to help curtail violent crime in the City of South Bend. Malone claimed Justice for Michiana was designed to help families of homicide victims with funeral arrangements. However, RNM discovered Malone was taking and sharing nude photographs of the recently deceased at a local funeral home. That case is now being investigated by the Indiana Attorney General’s Office.

The Alive Grant program gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to local organizations. However, RNM’s investigations into the Alive Grant and its awardees have lead to the discovery of several other potential criminal acts.

RNM discovered the city changed the name on one grant to give money to a friend of the Director of Community Initiatives, Maurice Scott. A notice of tort was issued in that case. You can read all about that here.

Another awardee, Wright Chosen Ministries and its founder Lori Wright, is accused of taking food stamps from homeless families and selling them to a woman in Louisiana. You can read more about that story here.

RNM discovered the city gave thousands of dollars to a convicted murderer who had been out of prison for less than a year. You can read about that here.

The city also gave grant money to a federally convicted armed robber.

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