FOLLOW THE EXIT SIGN 2
"Destroy & Rebuild"
Destroy & Rebuild
“Focused and now on my legal grind, I went to work with a new attitude”
After getting caught up with the police, I realized all I had left was what God has blessed me with. When the weed, money and guns were all gone I still had my family, house, and the legit business I had started. Something had to shake! It was time for me to start focusing on the positive in life because getting back in the game wasn't even an option. Even though I hadn’t been fully prepared to leave streets, I at least knew when it was time to quit.
Most people in my position would havve kept on grinding, trapping like a fool. You know how it goes, “Grind til you shine”, “Ball til you fall”, “Trap or die” but I wanted to live. The street-life wasn’t for me and for the moment I was shook. What God blessed me with was a back up plan; a way of escape to avoid the clutches of the enemy. Although I was out hustling and running the streets caught up in the game, I was wise enough to do what most in the game only thought about as a way out.
Over that small period of time between January and May 2006, the growth of my business had been hindered because of a lack of effort on my part. I spent too much time in the streets and not enough effort was put into the company that God had given me. Instead of putting the trap to the side so my legal grind could flourish, I had been trekking in the opposite direction. With additional help from others, my brand was being dragged through the mud. I had been going so hard in the streets that my legit company, Heavenly Gardens began to be seen as a front. My train was on the derail and someone had to step in and catch it before my business opportunity also took a crash.
Though the company was started as a cover up, it had turned out to be more of a light at the end of the tunnel. To go along with what I had been into, every time a mug got caught up, Heavenly Gardens would shoot out they mouth like they worked for me because they knew me and that I ran a legit business. In the eyes of the law, it may have been seen as though I was running a criminal enterprise that needed to be stopped. It got stopped alright, and slapped straight to the ground. Then again, maybe the police hadn't seen things that way at all.
Thinking back, I remember my mom telling me that when they were in her basement after leaving my house the night of the raid, the agents perception of me changed somewhat. On one of the walls in mom's basement I had my goals, maps and scriptures plastered allover in plain sight. Mom Dukes say the officers were trying to get her to get me to tell who it was that was putting me up to the criminal activities I had been involved with. Without saying much, I think the police already had an idea of who was in their heads.
A couple days before the raid, I grabbed them pounds from Philly's plug, and there was no telling if dude had a “tail” (police heat) on him from the D or if he was working with the feds himself. On top of that, I put my house up as collateral to get Phil out of jail, about two weeks prior to my door getting kicked down. After Phil got out, I can remember a few times when he had his fiends meet him at my crib. It was so obvious that I remember one time in particular. My cousin Tez and I turned the corner onto Wilts and saw the water company parked dead in front of the crib. I knew I had paid the bill, so I pull up ready to snap ready to snap, I seen Philly's Caprice that had been hidden by the house. Right at that moment with a sneaky grin, Philly Gunz jumped out the passenger side of the utility van.
All that went down in between the time that God first warned Jae and I to quit selling, up until the day the raid went down. If the cops had been watching, they were sure to have seen all that. Philly Gunz was caught up in all kinds of mess all the time. There was a possibility that maybe Philly wasn't the one telling, and maybe the Special Investigation Unit thought they could get to him through me. Well they had another thing coming; I didn’t' know nothin', hadn't seen nothin' and never heard nothin' about anything illegal going on. The police report that my lawyer got in 2009, along with the warrant clearly stated my position of cooperation.
At that point I had nothing else to say. The raid was over and the damage had already been done. Those cops were crazy if they thought I was gonna go to them to sign some papers. The Lord was working on my behalf and I didn't even know it. The swat team told me not to go to my mom's after I was released from the first raid, so when they found what was at her house I wasn't around to explain or claim it. Detective Gibbs wasn't done though; he and Detective Richardson showed up to my mom's house the next day hoping that they could use her to scare me into admitting something. Guilty is what I would have been proclaiming by signing their paperwork. At that point, claiming the money was like claiming the gun and the weed for that matter.
With Heavenly Gardens as my only option to make any money, the plan was to clean up both my personal life and my company's reputation. With great determination I went full force at my jobs with hopes of making up for lost time. My problem wasn't getting the jobs done but that I used to do them at my own leisure opposed to at the customer’s request. My lackadaisical attitude was adopted back when the business hadn't been my only source of income. After the raid, I had no other choice but to work if I planned to stay on the right track. God had graced me, empowered and strengthened me to provide a level of service that allowed me to get a large number of customers in a short period of time.
Even though I had procrastinated on doing jobs in the past, God loved me so much and granted enough mercy to allow me to keep my business, the plan that He had intended for me to work all along. Focused and now on my legal grind, I went to work with a new attitude. A few days after the raid, I was surprised by an unexpected visitor while cutting a yard across the field from the projects. Pulling up in a truck at the curb in front of my truck and trailer, I noticed a familiar face. Bruce Brown a.k.a. "Dub B", was a well known name in Battle Creek, mostly known for his skills on the football field.
Dub B came up in a family of athletes and was well known by the double bees ("BB") that were always carved in the side of his fade. In June of 2006, I was twenty and he was about three or four years older than me. Through hooping and just being around town, we had become aquatint with each other over the years. Bruce stepped out of his truck and threw up his hands out in the street to get my attention.
Dub B was a smart dude and was really on his grind to only have been in his mid twenties. He was young and had been running with some real movers and shakers in town, who were making a whole bunch of legit cash. As he walked up into the yard, I disengaged my mowers blades which allowed my walk behind mower to sit at an idle. When he first walked up, we greeted each other in the middle of the yard with a firm handshake on both ends. Bruce had been cashing in from the same game I had been trying to get rich from with my house.
Bruce’s game was real estate, and he was doing it at a young age without ever selling a single drug. So when he talked I always made time to listen. Really what I wanted to know was how he had done it; made so much money off his houses. Standing in the yard, Bruce talked about the projects he was working on at the time. As he bragged about his recent success, I was instantly intrigued to learn more about his methods so I could get some cash out of mine. Standing there listening I waited for him to finish up, and then went into what was on the docket in my life.
Trying to stay humble, I explained how my renovation had been on a roll before I ran into the legal issues. Shocked and concerned, he asked a couple question to get me to continue on further. In a brief run down, I gave Bruce the gist of what I had recently gone through. My plan was to use the money I had been making to fix up my whole house. For like two or three months prior to then most of my money I made had been dumped into the house. It seemed to have all come crashing down when the task force kicked down my front door looking for the pack.
Still in the yard, Bruce and I stood there talking for every bit of forty five minutes. Our chat quickly turned into a conversation about a potential joint venture between the two of us. By then the sun had begun to set, and we concluded with a simple situation. Bruce was low on funds while working on a massive project. My house on Wilt Street was nearly complete and was close to being ready for an appraisal on a refinance. When I bought my crib the year before that, I took out a $52000 mortgage.
With a few hundred dollars in materials and a skilled handyman, my house was sure to be appraised at anywhere from $65000 to $70000. That would've given me about $10000 worth of cash equity that I could use when my card finally came up with the police. It just so happen that Bruce was training to be a general contractor and had been a part of countless projects that brought him in some serious paper. He told me that he had recently closed a deal on a house that was a straight dump. That mug only cost him like $6500 but would take several thousand dollars to fix up. Bruce was saying that it would only take a few thousand to finish his house when really it would have taken like $30k. Bruce convinced me that together we could kill two birds with one stone. Bruce had the skills and I knew how to get the cake (money).
At the time, I was broke as a joke! With Bruce’s help, I could pull cash right out of my house. On top of the cash I could get, I was bringing $5000 in credit cards to the table also. Together, we could double team the projects and both walk away like fat cats. From what Bruce was saying, once his property was done it was going to appraise at close to $100000. That was music to my ears. Dub B had already done it, so I believed every word that came out of his mouth. Within a couple days, we decided to help each other out. Bruce agreed to put the work in at my crib and in return, I was going to dedicate my time and resources into completing his. We were going to use my credit cards and our labor. The plan was to get the money, pay off the cards and then split the profit.