Founder and board chair Ora Lee Carroll said she is not giving up control of the East Liberty Concerned Citizens Corporation to developer Emmett Miles.

“The memorandum of understanding was never signed,” she said. “The letter (referenced in last week’s Courier) is not an agreement.”


The May 3 letter, congratulating Miles for being selected by Carroll and the ELCCC board as the nonprofit’s director of housing and retail development, indicated a memorandum of understanding was to have been signed May 15. Carroll said that never happened.

She said she felt hurt.

“When no one would stand up for the Larimer community, Ora Lee Carroll (did),” she said in an e-mail. “I pick up, clean trash. They pick up the money.”

Carroll also forwarded an e-mail correspondence with Miles initially dated May 13 telling him the letter was not official and “you are not to use this letter without permission of the director.”


Miles contacted the Courier that same day about his new position saying, “Ora Lee Carroll has tuned over ELCCC to me as director of housing and retail development and I plan on taking the organization to another level because she’s out of steam.”

Carroll objected to the New Pittsburgh Courier saying she was in a “nursing facility.” The Harriet Tubman facility offers an array of services. Carroll said she is in the assisted living facility.

She also found fault with comments made by Trolley Station and Oral History Center owner John Brewer, saying she never met him.

As for the agreement itself, Miles said the MOU wasn’t signed because Carroll wanted to rewrite it.

“It still hasn’t been done and that just hinges on how she feels,” said Miles. “It’s her organization. I’m just trying to take it to a new level because in my view, the CDCs are operating as they should for the community.

“I’m just trying to enhance what she wants to do. She’s done a great job so far, but she needs help, she can’t do this by herself,” he said. “I am in no way trying to take over. This is her baby and she’s nurtured it. I’ll do whatever she says or not—if she wants me to be a janitor, I’ll do that because at the end of the day it’s about the community so let’s move forward.”

State Rep. Joe Preston, D-East Liberty, said no matter who is pushing development in Larimer, Carroll deserves the credit.

“As far as I’m concerned, no mater where she is living, Ora Lee Carroll will always be a part of the Larimer community,” he said. “And she should have a hand in anything going on here to improve the community because it’s all based on her plan.”

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