Problems with IDOC Vendors – Mo Music Entertainment

Illinois prison inmates can buy a Sony AM/FM cassette walkman for $46 from prison commissaries, but if they want cassette music, they have to buy their music tapes direct from one of only three generally state-wide approved IL Department of Corrections vendors. Inmates and their families have to deal directly with these vendors by completing and mailing order forms with checks or commissary money deductions to each vendor and relying upon the vendor to actually send them the requested music cassettes.  Mo Music Entertainment,  of Smyrna, Ga. is one of the three IDOC music tape vendors approved by IDOC , but inmate complaints about Mo Music are increasing and IDOC should immediately remove Mo Music Entertainment as a vendor.

Mo Music Entertainment has been an approved IDOC vendor since at least 2006. The State may have done an initial background check on the company and owner, but IDOC and the State have failed miserably to monitor Mo Music to  ensure that it remains a legitimate contractor. IDOC is aware that a growing number of inmates have been having problems with Mo Music Entertainment. Inmates have complained to staff and wardens at several facilities about problems with both the quality of the cassette tapes they receive from Mo Music and long delays receiving the tapes they order or else, never receive from Mo Music. These tapes are expensive. Mo Music charges $12.95 per tape if the requested tape is less than three years old, and $17.95 if it is more than three years old. These tapes are adjusted by the tape vendors so that they are see-thru and acceptable to security for use in prison facilities.

Although the music vendors are contracted to IDOC, IDOC facilities generally do not intervene in or resolve disputes which inmates have with the vendors. If inmates receive shoddy product or their orders are not completed, IDOC usually does not reimburse them for the money they have lost. Complaints about Mo Music and problems at the Menard Correctional Center however grew to the point that Menard’s warden recently removed Mo Music Entertainment from it’s approved music vendor list. Complaints about Mo Music are growing at other IDOC facilities, such as the Stateville Correctional Center, and IDOC needs to quickly void the Mo Music Entertainment contract state-wide if it wants to avoid additional embarrassment.

A quick check of the Better Business Bureau rating of Mo Music Entertainment shows the company has earned the lowest BBB rating of “F” due to more than 20 complaints against the company:

Mo Music Entertainment listing on Better Business Bureau Website

Obviously. the State and IDOC staff have not done even a cursory recent monitor check on the company. Had it or staff done so, they would have learned that IDOC is mandating inmates to conduct business with a “convicted felon”(which is  ludicrous for any prison authority)! Below is the Georgia State Business registration for Mo Music Entertainment. Note that Raphael Lenard is listed as Agent, Chief Financial Officer, and Secretary for the company:

Mo Music Entertainment appears to also run a small local music shop in Smyra, GA, with less than rave reviews:

smyra-patch.com

While Michael Gray is listed as CEO of Mo Music Entertainment, the majority of the online web information about Mo Music connects it’s identity to Raphael Lenard, who just happens to have had two run-ins with the law. Georgia has a first-offender program that allows convicted first-time offenders the opportunity to successfully complete a probation period of time for their offense and the chance to expunge their conviction information. Raphael Lenard was not successful in Georgia’s first-offender program. As the Bench Warrant below shows, he was subsequently re-arrested in June 2010:

Lenard was then, re-sentenced. And, his second conviction is for One count of Recorded materials: Unauthorized reproductions, Manufacture, Distribution, and Sale

Some IDOC inmates complain that  the cassettes they receive from Mo Music Entertainment are of such poor quality that they appear to be illegally downloaded copies of the original music. Lenard’s second conviction certainly supports the possibility that Mo Music is providing some IL inmates with illegally downloaded music. The rest of the legal filings from the Cobb County Superior Court regarding Raphael Lenard appear below.

The State of IL and IDOC are in such a fiscal mess, so procedures fall through the cracks. Despite complaints, Mo Music Entertainment, when contacted, still claims to the caller that it can fill new orders in two weeks, even to Menard, where it is not longer authorized as a vendor. Mo Music is obviously still ready to accept money from unsuspecting inmates. One would hope that when lots of inmates start complaining about a vendor possibly ripping them off, as Mo Music Entertainment appears to be doing, that IDOC  or it’s wardens would direct staff to investigate  the alleged wrong-doing and correct the situation as quickly as possible. IDOC needs to remove Mo Music Entertainment from it’s state-wide vendor list, NOW!

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