So we got a chance to talk to Warren Ballentine about the charges, reduced sentence and starting over with his radio show. Here’s what Warren had to say…
This story was originally posted Mar 28, 2016
KEVIN ROSS: How long have you been on the radio?
WARREN BALLENTINE: I started in radio at iHeart in Chicago I was on every station in the cluster WGCI, V103, 1390am and KISS 103.5 in 2004. Armando Rivera got Lee Michaels to look at me and Lee syndicated me through Radio One. Although, it was Elroy Smith who gave me my shot and people like Sam Sylk and Chris Michaels who taught me radio along with a host of others on the GCI staff.
KR: How did you get into radio syndication?
WB: I took over a show the Eric Dyson had that was a flop that’s where Lee Michaels put me and the numbers shot through the roof. I have over 10 years in radio
KR: You have recently gotten a reduced charge and sentence (3 years probation) for the Mortgage Fraud charge but you were originally looking at up to 30 years in prison. How did you get involved in this?
WB: It was NOTHING ever reduced this was propaganda put out by the Feds and people blogging about me who knew nothing about the case.
KR: What happened in court that allowed you to get reduced charges?
WB: These are the facts of the case I made $300 a closing I did 18 between 2003 and 2005. I never handled any paperwork. I never escrowed any monies. I didn’t even meet the buyer till the closing which I was at all of 30 min to do document review. In Illinois, there are title companies they do all the paperwork and escrow all the monies so the lawyers have no idea what has been told to the banks by the buyers. Another fact that never was released was that every one of the FEDS witnesses testified I never talked to them about there plan. That I never met them before closing and that they all made over $75,000 doing this and three of them were NEVER CHARGED. The Judge heard this and was like no way I’m sending this man to jail. In fact, the jury said I was guilty ONLY because I was a lawyer not because it was proof I did anything wrong.
KR: You are planning to appeal your probation, why?
WB: Wouldn’t you appeal if you were innocent and found falsely accused? This reminds me of the Duke Lacrosse case people had them guilty before knowing the facts. That’s what happened to me!! I was in this case because of ONE REASON ONLY I was the big name I could get the prosecutors names in the media they ruined my life for a closing from 2003 in 2013 simply to try and make a name for that division. But God would not let them jail me because I HAD NO IDEA WHAT THOSE PEOPLE WERE DOING as I said from day one IM INNOCENT and this was a railroad job.
KR: Do you think it was a mistake to bill yourself as “The People’s Attorney” on the air with so little experience (10 years)?
WB: I never billed myself as anything I helped hundreds of thousands of people for free the people deemed me that. See that’s what black radio doesn’t get those who program black radio think we only want music smh. The fact is we want TALK we program our own music today we listen to the radio for three things news (someone who makes us LAUGH and INFORMATION) music is no longer the reason and you can see that in the cars coming out in the next year and a half over 60% of them will not have a terrestrial radio in them.
KR: How do you plan to rebuild your brand?
WB: Once more people realize the TRUTH not what the FEDS put out a lot of people are like DAMN we had no idea. The sad part is if I was a white man I would never have lost my show but, for the record, I don’t blame Radio One. There was one person who pulled my show trying to cover his own ass.
KR: Will your show still center on the same topics?
WB: Yes politics, economics, empowerment and anything in the news. We have more educated and aware people than ever before in the USA and they want WAY MORE than music!!! Go look at the numbers when I was on the FM station in Atlanta I was number 2 in that market!!! My listeners are loyal to a fault even today I get people listening via streaming in record numbers in Atlanta and Chicago alone. I average 100k every day.
KR: What is the greatest lesson(s) that you have learned in all of this?
WB: I learned that all the people I once called brothers were NEVER my BROTHER they didn’t even offer me a piece of bread. I learned all the folks in this industry who say they are friends are not. I learned that Russ Parr, Joe Madison, J. Anthony Brown and Armstrong Williams are truly friends for they all helped me when others would not even return my text. I learned that my listeners ARE THE BEST so many stood by me from the JUMP. And I learned that as a black man in radio and TV if you are accused of anything people will throw you away they will judge you they will lie on you no matter how right and fair you have been to them. It’s not the people who lied on you or tormented you that you remember. It’s the ones who stood and did nothing that you will never forget THAT’S WHAT I LEARNED!