Meet F.R. Mays, the Fort Worth Bishop Who Swears He Knows "Nothing" About Deion Sanders' Charter School

DeionDLMays.jpg
via Deion Sanders' prolific Twitter account
Bishop F.R. Mays (middle) of Charity Church doesn't know either of these men, he says.
Early last week, before the start of his ongoing divorce hearing with dramatics suited for a soap opera, former Cowboy Deion Sanders tweeted the above photo. It looks like a boring portrait of three wide-smiling, well-dressed men. In fact, the photo is quite revealing of the tangle of lies behind Prime Prep Academy, the charter school he co-founded and the subject of this week's cover story.

"DL WALLACE BISHOP MAYS and Primd [presumably, he means 'Prime', his nickname]," the tweet reads. The three men -- Deion Sanders, his business partner and Prime Prep Chairman D.L. Wallace, and Bishop F.R. Mays, the leader of Charity Church, which will house the Prime Prep Academy Fort Worth campus -- look rather chummy, no?

Sanders tweeted the photo two days before the Observer detailed the school's labyrinth of suspect business deals, personal connections and blinding star power. A major piece of the story centers on Bishop F.R. Mays, who in a bizarre interview gave detailed information about the school before denying altogether that he knew Sanders and Wallace.

The school's original application included a lease-purchase arrangement in which Prime Prep would lease Charity Church classrooms for as much as $10,500 a month. The rent would be paid to Pinnacle Commercial Properties, which according to the contract owned the space in question. The lease named Wallace as Prime Prep's Chairman and Mays, who is the bishop of Charity Church, as president of Pinnacle.

If it sounds fishy, it is. Tex records show that Pinnacle Property doesn't own the Charity Church space (it's owned by the church itself.) And corporate filings name both Mays and Wallace as officers of Pinnacle Property. If you're keeping score at home, that means Mays and Wallace were trying to collect rent on a building they didn't own, putting each in position to profit on the nonprofit organizations they claim to serve.

When the conflict of interest was flagged by the TEA, Prime Prep didn't clarify the arrangement; it instead removed the lease entirely and replaced it a "donation" from Charity Church. But when I met him outside his church last month, Mays said that Prime Prep leases its Fort Worth campus from his church. He would not disclose the fee. "Noo ma'am," he repeated when asked about the cost.

"They are leasing the church from us. There's no donation. Nobody's donating this church," Mays insisted. If that's the case, the TEA has some paperwork on file that's inaccurate at best, completely fraudulent at worst.

Earlier in our conversation, Mays had been happy to gush about how busy "we" were with hiring Prime Prep staff and faculty and how "we" had just finished interviewing dozens of potential teachers. Once the conversation turned to the lease arrangement, the "we" comments ceased immediately.

"I can tell you everything about Charity. I can tell you nothing about Prime Prep Academy. I can tell you nothing about Deion Sanders. I can tell you nothing about anybody else, 'cause I don't know them personally," Mays told the Observer.

Yet if you look carefully at the lower left corner of the photo, you can see the silver metal posts of the Prime Prep Academy yard signs kept in the church's lobby. The day I visited Mays, he asked someone at the church -- a pastor, I believe -- for a card with contact information for the church in case I had follow-up questions. The pastor clarified whether I needed a card for Charity Church or for Prime Prep. I told him I would like both and he gladly obliged, having both at-the-ready.

I called Charity Church to follow up with Mays, who refused to give me a direct number. He never returned my calls. Then again, while other charter school leaders returned my calls immediately, Prime Prep has been stalwart in its silence. Wallace and Sanders have refused to be interviewed.

Read more in this week's cover story.

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The Credible Hulk
The Credible Hulk

Love that pic, they just got their order a little mixed up:

Speak no Evil, Hear no Evil, See no Evil.

Classic.

Blackman
Blackman

Hulk, I was thinking Larry, Curly, and Moe.

The Credible Hulk
The Credible Hulk

*snerk*

I get your drift, but those guys were harmless and lovable.

...and come to think of it, probably better suited to running a school than the three stooges in that pic.

Blackman
Blackman

Lol. I think you're right.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

As a teacher, does working at Prime Time Academy really look good on your resume? Any teachers that can answer that for me?

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

I have a question for the black church going public here: How does one become a bishop w/o being a catholic? I've always been curious why every black preacher ive seen out there is a right reverend or a bishop...

Blackman
Blackman

Chris, I can't speak for all churches, but the order as I understand it is as follows:  A Minister is a position that's sanctioned by a church and obtained by a 4 year degree in theology.  From this position, one can be upgraded by church leadership to a Reverend based on time and service.  A Pastor can be appointed from either of these positions.  A Bishop is earned by appointment from church leadership and is earned by not only time and service, but also further studies as well as assignments of overseeing other ministries within one's local body and/or oversight (supervision, direction, counseling) of numerous other churches.  In a nutshell, Bishops serve as Pastors to other Pastors.  All church denomonitions are different, so this doesn't apply to all.  In any sense, this man is not a Bishop.  He appears to be self-appointed, and chose this title because it sounds good.  I don't know of any organized church denonmination that he is connected to.  I could be wrong about my last statement.  We will see if any denomination steps up to admonish or correct this man.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

 Is that title above or below a Superintendent and is his Wife  the First Lady

Blackman
Blackman

Townie, the term "First Lady" is so yesterday.  Now, they are called "Co-Pastor".  She doesn't have to attend seminary; just marry a Pastor and *poof*, you're automatically a Pastor and church leader.  By the way, that only works in the Black church.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Ask yourself instead why any preacher of a christian denomination would attach the title 'Reverend" to his/her name.  Going back to the Latin roots of the word, it means 'one worthy of or entitled to reverence'.  As far as I know, in the Christian theology, there should have only ever been one 'Revered' person.  Anyone else using the title would be guilty of one of the 7 deadlies; Pride.

Blackman
Blackman

Liars!  Liars!  Liars!  All 3 of them.  I'm not a forensic expert, but check out the clothing that Deion Sanders and D.L. Wallace are wearing in the Good Morning America story aired May 2, 2012, just one day before the the Observer's cover story.  Ironically, they are the same as in this photo and the GMA piece was filmed at Bishop Mays' Charity Church.  Oh, by the way, Mays is listed as director of Primetimeplayer.com, another one of Deion Sanders and D.L. Wallace's scam businesses which ripped off low inome, high school athletes with promises to help them with colleg recruiters.  These are con men of the highest order!

Go to 2:02 of the video:

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/vide...

Curiousdemo
Curiousdemo

This is just mindbogglingly. Who is mining the store? Deion is nothing but a scam artist with savory characters around him. The TEA is just useless. He's an absentee bad father as well as a adulterer and wife abuser. This City of Prosper has protected this clown. The reason is easy.He donated money to the building of Prosper High School in door football facility and field. This was just a quid pro quo payback.

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

If Deion is involved it's a scam. Notice how a certain sports talk radio station has suddenly embraced him since he started buying time on their airwaves? Much like Michael Irvin and Barry Switzer before him Deion has learned to spread around the green in this market.

Michael MacNaughton
Michael MacNaughton

Follow the money.  Fed and State dollars go into the Charter school operation "for the children"...rent is paid to real estate holders...now that is one sweet deal!  As long as the school charter is good (almost impossible to kill a charter once started in Texas) then the investors collect whatever rent they desire (see recent Imagine Schools scandal in Missouri) footed by us taxpayers. "For the Children", indeed....

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Everybody who is anybody has signed off on the school .The folks who are well versed in The CHARTER System seem Oblivious to the Obvious.Why are you stirring  up trouble ?

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

Just goes to show, even with a name like "Charity Church", nothing in this world is free.

another good article or blog to read about this great church, and it's funny that Mays doesn't know Deion when in December of 2010 he had him out for a charity event.... hmmmmmm....http://galleryqui.wordpress.co...

Montemalone
Montemalone

 I don't think you're clear on who is the beneficiary of the charity from Charity Church.(hint: the subjects of this story)

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

Perfectly innocent explanation for all of this.  It's right there in your story.  Bishop Mays doesn't know Prime, he knows Primd.  See?  He didn't realize those were the same person.  Nothing crooked going on here.  These aren't the droids you're looking for.  He can go about his business.  Move along.

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