Hawkins is the star of the story, which lays out how the 55-year-old KCK resident tricked investors into thinking his company had value, and how he stole so much investors' money that, last Christmas, he started giving it away to strangers at a bank.
But things really got bizzare when Oaklander attended a meeting between shareholders and several local ministers, who arrived at an East Side Denny's to defend the company against shareholders' scrutiny:
Two identical Mercedes-Benzes
pull into the restaurant's lot around the same time. The drivers are
dressed immaculately -- and identically. Each wears a tailored jet-black
suit, a black vest, a tie and a white straw fedora with red feathers
poking from a black hatband. From their gold rings and watches to the
white kerchiefs peeking out of their breast pockets, every sartorial
detail is synchronized.
The men are part of something called the Ministers Alliance, a group
of local clergy known by some Petro investors as "Hawkins' Henchmen."
According to one Kansas City pastor, who used to host meetings for the
Alliance at his East Side church, it "was formed to try to be a support
to our community and to the city."
"But Hawkins wanted the Ministers Alliance to support him," the
pastor says. "He wanted to make him [Petro] look good."
Read the full story at pitch.com.