Angela Kennecke is really getting into the payday lenders’ backfired scheme to infiltrate Josiah’s Coffeehouse and shake down South Dakota political activist Steve Hildebrand. After friends of Hildebrand and democracy flooded his café yesterday with support (I hear Josiah’s did three times its normal business), Kennecke finds that fake missionary Floyd Pickett, who was giving crowds of poor people money to show up unannounced at Josiah’s for over two weeks to swamp the counter and disrupt business, has abruptly skipped town:
…[Pickett] vowed that he’d be here demonstrating until he had justice.
“How long will you be in Sioux Falls? I’ll be here until I feel the job is done,” Pickett said on Tuesday.
But today, we found many of the protesters within blocks of Josiah’s, but no Floyd Pickett [Angela Kennecke, “Protest Leader Vanishes from Sioux Falls,” KELOLand.com, 2015.07.29].
Kennecke presents evidence that at least a couple of the people who presented themselves as protesters at Josiah’s weren’t regular folks off the Sioux Falls streets but more out-state interlopers:
We stopped at Heritage Park, where a group of people who’d been to Josiah’s yesterday were sitting at a picnic table. While they didn’t want to go on camera, they said they weren’t going over to the restaurant today, unless they heard from “Deacon Pete”–or Floyd Pickett–and they hadn’t heard anything from him.
In fact, the last time Pickett was spotted in Sioux Falls was by a viewer last night, who sent us a picture from Hibachi Grill. He was also with a man, Lamont Burks and his wife Ophelia, who were part of the Josiah’s protest. The two came from Indiana to join Pickett in his efforts here [Kennecke, 2015.07.29].
LaMont and Ophelia Burks came from Indiana? That doesn’t quite fit what Lamont Burks told Angela Kennecke Tuesday as he and his wife protested outside Josiah’s Tuesday:
Kennecke: LaMont Burks, right?
Kennecke: Where you from, LaMont?
Burks: I’m from Milwaukee WI.
Kennecke: What are you doing here in Sioux Falls?
Burks: I moved here for work and housing. I used to live here in Sioux Falls about two years ago, and we ran into a rental problem, so we left [Angela Kennecke, “Business Owner Claims Harassment from Outside Group,” KELOLand.com, 2015.07.28].
LaMont Burks has apparently bounced from job to job in Milwaukee, Minnesota, and Indiana, with a stint in Sioux Falls from 2012 to 2013. LaMont and Ophelia apparently separated in 1999 when he got hooked on crack, causing Ophelia to spend time in a homeless shelter, but the couple worked things out and got back together in Milwaukee to raise eight kids:
…The arguments that Lamont Burks provoked in 1999 with his wife, Ophelia, when he became addicted to cocaine, were by far the worst of their marriage.
The Burks, however, have somehow worked it out. He is back at home and learning to be a forklift operator, with the help of a state program. After the birth of Ophelia’s eighth child four months ago, Mr. Burks said he decided enough was enough. He had a vasectomy.
His wife said the operation proved ”he really loves me.” She said she knew that Lamont had to endure the ridicule of his friends, who accused him of throwing away his manhood.
”It was the right move to get married,” her husband said. ”It forced me to grow up” [Blaine Harden, “2-Parent Families Rise After Change in Welfare Laws,” New York Times, 2001.08.12].
As for Pickett, well, it’s hard to say where he is. One unconfirmed report has Pickett at the Sioux Falls airport yesterday. Maybe he had to fly back to Georgia to make some ribs at Cozy Floyd’s, which lists Floyd P. Pickett, Sr., as “honorary owner” and, more importantly, was organized by Elois Pickett and partner Marvin N. Mitchell in 2012:
If Pickett really is trying to feed the homeless, maybe he’ll just bring back a couple buckets of his own restaurant’s barbecue ribs… if he bothers to come back to Sioux Falls at all.