Identity: The Case of Two David Johnson(s)

By: Theodore T. Hodge



The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
July 18, 2005

Over the last several weeks Liberians all over the world have read about the rise and fall” of one of our countrymen named David K. Johnson. According to public documents, we have been told that Mr. Johnson has been a member of ULAA’s Board of Directors and member of the Liberian community of Staten Island, NY. Mr. Johnson was also Co-chairman of the Board of Directors, Liberia Council on Foreign Relations. From all indications, Mr. Johnson has been an “honorable man”.

About two weeks ago, Mr. Johnson seemed to be heading for the stars, proverbially. He became a nominee for membership of the Governance Reform Committee (GRC) of the Liberian government. Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant had personally submitted his name to the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) for confirmation hearing. According to reports, another commission member, Hon. Ijoma Flemister had personally recommended him to fill a vacancy.

̶But not so fast”, seemingly cried the Liberian community of Staten Island and other concerned groups. Apparently, Mr. Johnson had led a double life: When he wasn’t doing all the wonderful and up-right things entailed in his curriculum vitae, he was allegedly defrauding his fellow Liberians of Staten Island, NY. Basically, he was leading the life of a con artist. (Please note I stress the use of the word “allegedly” because I understand a lawsuit is underway, of which I do not wish to be a party).

Well, the high and low clashed, as darkness and light embraced. The result: the heretofore “Honorable” Mr. Johnson came crumbling down to reality. As this piece goes to press, Mr. Johnson has been a guest of the New York penal system; he has been “arrested, arraigned and sent to New York’s notorious Riker’s Island Penitentiary on charges of fraud and grand larceny. Mr. Johnson’s bill hearing is set for Thursday, July 14, 2005 at the Richmond County Criminal Court”, according the July 12, 2005 issue of The Perspective.

Reports reaching us indicate that the Liberian government has withdrawn its nomination. Whether Mr. Johnson can beat the charges levied against him may depend on the strength of a good legal team; needless to say he is in some deep stuff.

The other Mr. David Johnson.

David Nyaweh Johnson was born in Sweake (Sarbo), River Gee County. He was raised in Cavalla Firestone, Maryland County, where his father, Reverend John Johnson worked as a teacher. David graduated from St. Francis High School in 1973, the same year the school became a fully accredited high school (until then, it had been a junior high school which incrementally added the higher classes). David holds the distinction of being the first student council president and a member of the first graduating class.

David worked for the Freeport of Monrovia and matriculated to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1979. He graduated from there with a bachelor’s degree in business finance and later earned an MBA from the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

David has lived and worked in New York, NY and San Francisco, CA and presently lives in Columbia, Maryland. David is an avid community worker who has been active in many organizations including Marylanders for Progress (USA) Inc and Our Lady of Fatima and St. Francis High Schools Alumni Association. This David is one of the founders and a board member of the American-West African Development and Empowerment Group, Inc. (AWADEG, INC).

Recently, the alumni association of Our Lady of Fatima and St. Francis High Schools met in Cleveland, Ohio for their annual reunion, at a time the “David Johnson story” was making headlines. The discussion of whether is was our David” is said to have come up in some conversations. But David has been and remains an outstanding citizen, tinted by no such scandals as those rocking the world of the other “Mr. Johnson”, David K, that is.

The purpose of this story is to clarify that David N. Johnson must not be confused with David K. Johnson. They are two distinct and separate persons.