This story has been updated with additional developments.
Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of some fucked up shit.
Grab a drink. Have a seat. This may take a while.
The Wanna-Be Lawyer
I first met David Cunningham while working to call attention to Ed Buck’s crimes in West Hollywood. Two Black gay men had died of crystal meth overdoses. Many more stepped forward with horror stories of the white man with a fetish or white under, Black bodies and needles.
I remember we were going justice caroling at Ed Buck’s in West Hollywood, and David tagged along. One thing led to another, and he was just always there embedded in the middle of everything.
It never dawned on me that none of what he told us about himself was true. David was very good at using his teen-like looks coupled with sob stories to make you believe everything he told you was true.
Also Devund Tinson as David Cunningham:
He told us he was 22-years-old and that he was a student at USC Gould School of Law. He told us that the late Los Angeles councilmember David Cunningham was his father. He told us that L.A. County Superior Court Judge David Cunningham III was his father. He told us he was a foster child with no family. He told us a lot.
What he didn’t tell us was that his real name was Devund Tinson. He was 19-years-old. He had never been a student at USC or its School of Law, and he is in no way related to either Cunningham.
And as we began to dig deeper into who Devund Tinson was, he got scarier and scarier. He started threatening us. He threatened to post on social media that I encouraged underage drinking because I knew he was 19-years-old when we allowed him to go to restaurants with us. We found numerous court documents online–including one denying his name change request because he was still on probation. Others in the community started coming forward to tell us that Devund stalked them or physically assaulted them.
And even though he knew we knew the truth about his lies, that never stopped him from showing up and inserting himself. He had everyone fooled.
I will never forget one of his explicit tirades via text message to the board of the Black Los Angeles Young Democrats in 2020. In true Devund fashion, that we had learned to be the norm, he lashed out at everyone accusing them of having sex for endorsements, denying his name was Devund Tinson, insulting community elders and more.
It only took me to find out the truth one time for me to keep my distance from Devund. He reminded me of the type of crazy that would hide behind the bushes and jump out and catch you off guard, stab you to death and then act like he didn’t do it.
But that was me, and unfortunately, I work for politicians who like to be nice to everyone even when you tell them the person is “not right” and to keep your distance at all times. But in their defense, Devund did and does stalk Black elected officials. We would turn around, and he would just be there. Everywhere. He was dangerous, and I knew it.
So I wasn’t surprised when someone contacted me about a post Devund had made on Facebook with the image of a gun seemingly threatening a group of South Los Angeles Democrats. I told you, dangerous. I reached out to one of his targets and did a Whoopi Goldberg, “You in danger girl” warning. The L.A. Times ended up picking up the story–probably because of Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer’s connection to it all. Folks had long sounded the alarm about Devund Tinson to deaf ears–similar to the calls about the real Najee Ali.
Devund’s MO has been to raise money for whatever political office he decides to run for in any given year and then come up with an excuse for why he can’t actually file to run for the office when the time comes. We’re still unsure as to how he can raise money for a political campaign not using his legal name. We’re also pretty sure any money he does actually raise he’s using to live off as he’s admitted that to enough people. He’s currently “raising money” for a run for L.A. City Council’s 9th District seat. We’ll see if he actually runs. I doubt it.
The Conning Candidate
I just don’t know where to start on this one.
Jace Dawson first came on my radar in Carson at the funeral for Jonathan Hart. Jonathan was killed by a security guard at Walgreens in Hollywood. He stood out because of his hair and that day he had it all over his head. I even commented to him how nice his hair was.
Then I slowly started noticing him popping up everywhere–kinda like Devund. He’d be at city council meetings, political events, Unity Fellowship Church. I didn’t think much of it. At some point, I think he realized I worked for then L.A. Council President Herb Wesson, so he felt inclined to tell me that he was going to run for the seat. Whoopty doo–him and a dozen other people.
He filed and started campaigning but was disqualified at some point for some reason. I want to say he didn’t get the necessary signatures to qualify. At any rate, he was out.
Fast forward to March 2020, and I am moderating a candidate’s forum for Unity Fellowship Church and the Black LGBTQ+ community in Mid City, and Jace is now running for Compton City Council. It wasn’t even a year later. I made a mental note of it. Jace, like Devund, who I later found out were acquaintances, likes attention. He couldn’t get that from me.
I did a quick check on Jace and discovered he was on the board of the West Adams Neighborhood Council. Interesting, I thought.
One evening, while I was attending a forum for Compton School Board candidates in Compton, guess who should show up? Yep, Jace. He started trying to work the room about the upcoming council race. I walked right up to him and asked him what he was doing since he just ran or tried to run for city council in Los Angeles and was still on the Neighborhood Council board. His answer, “Because I can, because I can.”
I told folks in Compton to beware of him and what he was doing. I overheard Jace telling people he had lived in Compton practically all his life. That was funny because I knew he was a transplant from somewhere, but he wasn’t born and raised in Compton.
Fast forward to March 2021, and Jace is now Dr. Jace Dawson who has more master’s degrees and PhDs than I can count. He’s now worked for the Obama Administration, FOX News, Bravo, countless elected officials, including the late Congressmember Mickey Leland, who died in a plane crash in Ethiopia in 1989. I thought we had laws against child labor because Dr. Dawson would have been two years old in 1989. The tall tales Dr. Dawson was telling were so shocking that I decided to call attention to them because he was trying to deceive the voters. And to Compton resident’s credit, many were hip to his lies. They just didn’t have the platform, and since I did, I used it for good.
I’ve since heard from his family and previous bosses, who all confirm that he is lying about who he is, where he comes from, who he’s worked for, and his educational background.
And even after being caught in numerous lies, the man is still clinging to those lies and campaigning for Compton resident’s votes right now. He is trying to take advantage of low information voters, voters who may not speak and read English well, and the elders. Thankfully I was able to get several of his endorsements rescinded, and I continue to call attention to his scam. Because of the pandemic, voters are voting by mail. It’s imperative that Jace Dawson does not get elected to the Compton City Council. I feel that his goal is not to serve the People but to have the People’s tax dollars serve him.
Update: The Conning Candidate came in last place. Phew! Compton really dodged a bullet on that one. He has also been arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit voter fraud.
The Fraudulent Activist
If I am going to be honest, I have to say that I never cared for Kim McGill. I just never was able to wrap my head around this white woman representing and speaking for youth of color in South Los Angeles. It seems my Black woman’s intuition was correct.
Kim McGill has made a name for herself as the lead organizer and basically face of the Youth Justice Coalition in Los Angeles. YJC as it’s called, works to build an abolitionist, youth-led movement to end police terror, mass incarceration and criminalization of youth of color–and they had a white woman as their leader. We can talk about that later.
Kim’s claim to local fame was that at 12-years-old she was arrested and incarcerated for grand larceny. That by 13, she had been charged with a felony for the second time and sent to juvenile hall. This was followed by various criminal cases both as a youth and adult. She called herself a former felon who had a lot of problems with the law and who grew up in Watts. She claimed to have no formal education and be in her early 30s.
A 2017 article from the Juvenile Justice Exchange said, “McGill’s memories still gnaw at her today. She described sleep deprivation due to extreme air conditioning, fluorescent lighting and lack of sufficiently warm clothing. She recalled the absence of any external stimulation: the lack of windows, the inability to see the sky and the deficiency of engaging activities.”
Turns out, none of that is true.
“I do not have a daughter that has two felons and many misdemeanors before she entered high school. I do have a daughter named Kim McGillicuddy. I think she is the founder of Youth Justice Coalition. Kim McGillicuddy (my daughter) was raised in the Pasadena schools district and lived in Sierra Madre. She was educated in the best private schools in Pasadena until she entered Pasadena His School. At Pasadena High School she was an “honor student” and was the featured speaker at her graduation. Kim McGillicuddy was recruited to go to Harvard and was qualified for a scholarship to Stanford under a program established by my employer. She chose to attend UCLA and graduated from there.”
You see, Kim McGill is really Kim McGillicuddy, and for all these years this white woman has been defrauding the criminal justice reform community.
To start, Kim is no youth. She’s not in her 30s, she’s actually in her 50s.
Her father is correct, Kim was an honor student in Pasadena, having been the salutatorian in 1979 at Pasadena High School.
And even though she told everyone she worked with that she had no formal education, from the looks of it, Kim had a pretty sweet upbringing that included attending UCLA majoring in political science and sociology.
It also appears that she didn’t grow up in the Midwest, as she has claimed to some.
Kim McGill made a name for herself in Los Angeles with the criminal justice reform community and politicians by leading YJC. Over the years, YJC has had some significant wins and been a tremendous voice for the youth of South Los Angeles.
Well, when this was discovered Kimmy got the boot from YJC–as she should have. With a 3-0 vote, she was suspended and terminated back in October 2020. YJC’s current leadership has been trying to keep it hush hush, but others associated with the organization want the community to know about Kim’s deceit. I tend to agree. For years, this woman passed herself off in the community as a youngish, formerly incarcerated person who knew what it was like to live in South Los Angeles because she was one of the few white people who grew up in Watts.
Complete and utter bullshit. But still–it could have been worse. She could have claimed to be a woman of color like Rachel Dolezal.
And I want to make it clear that just because Kimmy wasn’t real, doesn’t take anything away from the work that YJC and its members have done. It’s just unfortunate that this woman took advantage of y’all for so long. One might–and I said might–could overlook her lying about her education and upbringing–but when you lie about being incarcerated and go as so far as to describe your time behind the wall–you got to go. It’s disrespectful and the Movement doesn’t need that.
Now, I’ve shared the story of three prolific grifters who all were able to get over on the community. In most cases, it took us way too long to figure out who they really were, and in many cases, the damage was already done.
L.A. we’ve got to do better–and people need to stop doing this shit.