When business owner Kim Burke received a call that her North Carolina regional Black Chamber of Commerce president needed to be bailed out of jail, she thought, “No problem. This must be a mistake.”
Burke arrived at the Orange County jail and paid the $1,850 owed. After many unfilled promises of reimbursement, Burke is now demanding repayment from a man in whom she once put her trust.
That man, Brandon Trainer, headed one of the largest minority chambers of commerce in the Southeast. On April 3, the night Burke bailed him out, he was pulled over for speeding in Orange County, but law enforcement also discovered that he is a wanted man in Missouri, according to a local North Carolina news station.
The police revealed that in Clay County, Missouri, Trainer was accused of acting as a fraudulent mortgage broker in 2006, allegedly defrauding Claymiko Mays, a family member of a Hurricane Katrina victim, of $1500 as she attempted to move her displaced family to Missouri.
Chamber members were shocked to learn that this man, who many described as very charismatic and smart, would sabotage anyone, including members of their group. He was a Harvard guy, they say he told them.
Little did they know Trainer did not graduate from Harvard. In fact, he was never enrolled as an undergraduate, though he did spend one semester at the Harvard Extension School in 2008.
Today, all parties including Burke, Mays and even other chamber members—who are questioning what happened to their $300 membership fee—are demanding answers from this alleged con artist who's still on the run.