Your Black Muslim Bakery
|Founded||1968 in Santa Barbara, California, U.S.|
|Defunct||August 9, 2007|
|Headquarters||5832 San Pablo Avenue, since 1971 in Oakland, California, U.S.|
Number of locations
|San Francisco Bay Area|
Yusuf Bey, Founder|
Yusuf Bey IV, CEO
|Products||baked goods in accordance with the Qur'an,|
|Services||distribution to retail stores|
|Parent||Your Black Muslim Bakery, Inc.|
Your Black Muslim Bakery was a chain of bakeries opened by Yusuf Bey in 1968 in Santa Barbara, California, United States, and relocated to Oakland in 1971. A power broker at the center of a local community, it was held out as a model of African American economic self-sufficiency. However, it was later linked to widespread physical and sexual abuse, intimidation, welfare fraud, and murder. After Bey's death in 2003, the bakery fell into debt and declared bankruptcy in October 2006. In August 2007, in connection with investigations into the murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey and a number of other crimes, police conducted a massive raid on the company's San Pablo Avenue bakery. A concurrent health inspection resulted in its closure. Later that day a court ordered the pending reorganization converted into a liquidation bankruptcy.
- 1 Origins
- 2 Yusuf Bey era controversies
- 3 Second-generation controversies
- 4 Murder of Chauncey Bailey
- 5 Closure of bakery and conviction
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Yusuf Bey came to Oakland from Texas with his family as a student in the early 1950s. He later opened cosmetology beauty salons in the area and in southern California, before going into the bakery business. After discovering the teachings of Elijah Muhammad in the 1960s, Bey converted to the Nation of Islam in 1964, and founded the "Islamic" bakery in Santa Barbara in 1968. The group was not affiliated with the Nation of Islam, though similarities were evident. Nation of Islam minister Keith Muhammad, of East Oakland's Muhammad Mosque #26, stated that the two organizations are distinct and separate.
The baked goods Bey sold were prepared in accordance with the Qur'an, and were free of refined sugar and preservatives. Bey named the business Your Black Muslim Bakery on the personal recommendation of his spiritual guide, Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad. In 1971, Bey moved the bakery to Oakland. By 1974 it was the "largest Bay Area bakery specializing exclusively in natural food products", with over 6,000 loaves of bread and over 300 cakes per week sold at 150 stores.
By the mid-1980s Bey appeared regularly on a local Oakland Soul Beat cable television lecture program, True Solutions, during which Bey broadcast his hour-long sermons every week. On the program Bey also promoted the bakery, and frequently expounded on the need for the economic self-reliance and "knowledge of self" of African-Americans, whom he lectured the audience as being the "Original Man", a racially charged idea derived from the Nation of Islam's doctrine of Yakub.
During the 1990s the bakery and its leaders were a respected part of Oakland society, and had substantial influence in local politics. They used their power to obtain favors from the city, influence local elections, and avoid scrutiny from police.
By 2007 the company was headquartered at 5832 San Pablo Avenue, with five branch locations listed in Alameda County records, including a store on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland's Temescal district, and another at Oakland International Airport. The bakery also had a location at the Oakland Coliseum.
Yusuf Bey era controversies
In 1994, Bey's son Akbar Bey was shot four times and killed by a local drug dealer associate outside the old Omni nightclub near the corner of Shattuck Avenue and 50th Street. Court records showed the pathologist's conclusion that Akbar Bey was high on heroin or morphine at the time of his death. An Oakland police lieutenant described Akbar Bey as "a little street thug" once seen well armed and wearing a bulletproof vest in a blatant show of force to the police. Three months before his killing, Akbar Bey had been charged with felony counts of carrying a concealed weapon and evading the police, resulting in a car chase and crash at 44th Street and Market Street.
1994 Nedir and Abaz Bey trial
On March 4, 1994, Nedir Bey was involved in the torture and beating of a Nigerian home-seller in an apartment on the 500 block of 24th Street in Oakland, involving a real estate deal. The apartment complex served as a compound for the organization. The extremely violent incident also involved Abaz Bey. Abaz and Nedir Bey were both standing members of the African-American Advisory Committee on Crime, which also included then Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris. The committee had organized a massive conference on crime that same weekend, featuring Jesse Jackson as its keynote speaker.
By the end of the incident, ninety Oakland Police officers were engaged in hand-to-hand combat with thirty Black Muslims, some of whom had guns. The two Beys and two other men were charged with felony counts of assault, robbery, and false imprisonment. A year later, all four men pleaded no contest to one felony count of false imprisonment. The prosecutors had cut a plea deal, in part because they could not get any tenant witnesses to talk from the apartment complex where the Bey organization stationed its members as security, like a private compound. Nedir Bey served six months of home detention, and Abaz Bey got eight months' home detention.
1994 Bey mayoral run
Primarily through the lobbying and orchestrating done by Nedir Bey, who was the public face of the Bey organization, Yusuf Bey cultivated the patronage of Oakland's civic, political, and religious leaders. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1994, gaining 5% of the vote.
1996 City loan
In 1996 the City of Oakland loaned the company $1.1 million to start a home health care business. The loan was never repaid, and the home health care business never was established.
Yusuf Bey rape trial
Bey's detractors—notably East Bay Express journalist Chris Thompson—accused him of cultism, corruption, and antisemitism. Many accusations of physical and sexual abuse, including rape and incest, and which were sustained by DNA evidence, were made against Bey, culminating in felony charges which were pending at the time of his death.
On September 19, 2002, Bey turned himself in to Oakland Police when a warrant was issued for his arrest, charged with 27 counts in the alleged rapes of four girls under the age of 14. The cases were pending trial into the following year. The oldest allegation was that beginning twenty years earlier he serially raped through coercion a preteen girl who, as a ten-year-old, came under foster care of Bey and his wife Nora Bey. Bey died of cancer in October 2003 at age 67 while the first case was awaiting trial.
Following the death of Yusuf Bey in 2003, Waajid Aliawaad Bey became CEO of Your Black Muslim Bakery. In March 2004, at age 51, he disappeared for several months, until he turned up as a murder victim with the discovery of his badly decomposed body in a shallow grave off Skyline Blvd. in the Oakland Hills.
The bakery business was then taken over by Yusuf Bey's son, Antar Bey. At age 23 on October 25, 2005, Antar Bey was in turn shot to death in what police believe to be a failed carjacking while he was stopped to get gas on Martin Luther King Jr. Way, near 55th Street. On December 14, 2007, Alfonza Phillips III was sentenced to life imprisonment for his murder.
Yusuf Bey IV
In November 2005, two liquor stores in Oakland were vandalized, one of which was captured on a store surveillance tape. Another store was burned, and a store owner was briefly abducted by men wearing the distinctive bow-tie apparel associated with the Nation of Islam. The men had demanded that the stores stop selling alcohol to African Americans. The new bakery CEO, Yusuf Bey IV, was among those arrested in the case, and he was charged with having led the attacks.
In February 2006 in nearby Vallejo, California Yusuf Bey IV was arrested and later found guilty of a number of crimes related to his scheme to buy a $55,000 luxury Mercedes from a Vallejo used-car lot, by using false credit information and identification. He was also charged with trying to open a bank account with the false information. Vallejo police dropped charges concerning a 9mm pistol and ammunition which had been found in the car.
In April 2006 Yusuf Bey IV was arrested in San Francisco on assault charges after allegedly trying to run down three security guards outside a strip club in his BMW, after he had been thrown out of the club. Then he was charged with missing several court dates, for which he became wanted on a $375,000 warrant.
According to later court documents, Yusuf Bey IV also used a stolen identification with a fake driver's license to fraudulently obtain favorable credit to buy a house in the 2500 block of 61st Avenue. Bey signed all the documents with the name Yasir Human. The US$550,000 loan was through CIT Group/Consumer Finance Inc.
Sayyed Yusuf Bey
Sayyed Yusuf Bey "Weedy" was one of Yusuf Bey's older sons. After graduating Elijah Education Center in 1994 he joined his father's weekly television program True Solutions as a camera operator. Sayyed also worked as a baker at the family bakery Your Black Muslim Bakery. In 1997 he had a minor role in the feature film Drylongso. He was photographed by the main character Pica. That year, he also moved to Los Angeles to pursue his passion of exotic automobiles and became the owner of Quick N Shine Auto Detail and worked with Hollywood's elite like the Wayans family. Sayyed was known for his grim reaper tattoo and he was a licensed gun owner. On February 24, 2009 Sayyed took his own life and was found deceased in his home by his children's mother on Burnside Ave. Due to his younger brother Yusuf IV Bey's pending murder trial for the death of Journalist Chauncey Bailey, the Bey family didn't publish any obituary notices in Los Angeles.
On October 24, 2006 Your Black Muslim Bakery, Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, listing its CEO as Yusuf Ali Bey, otherwise known as Yusuf Bey IV. With $900,000 in debts, owed mostly to the mortgage holder, the building was about to be foreclosed upon. The remaining debt, $200,000, was owed to the Internal Revenue Service. The day after the murder of Chauncey Bailey, on August 3, 2007 U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Edward Jellen ordered the case to be converted to Chapter 7 liquidation effective August 9, 2007.
It was revealed that three local prominent elected officials wrote letters in July 2007 to Judge Jellen asking him not to dissolve the business to pay off creditors. U.S. Representative Barbara Lee, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, and California Assemblyman Sandré Swanson all wrote letters at the request of longtime bakery associate, Ali Saleem Bey. Lee later expressed regret for her support. Dellums' office offered the explanation that Ali Saleem Bey said that he hoped to gain control of the bakery, and return it to its historical roots. Swanson's letter was dated July 17, 2007 and Swanson's office first admitted to having "made a mistake", and also stated that Swanson was not aware of the bakery leaders' legal problems. But later his office stated that the letter was a routine response to a routine request such as they receive from small businesses, and that the earlier statement did not represent the official position of the assemblyman.
But Elmhurst-East Oakland City Council member Larry Reid said that he had refused the request by Bey to write a similar letter of support for the bakery in July, because the bakery had failed to repay the 1996 loan, and because of the well-publicized criminal charges that had been brought against bakery leaders by that time, including the 2005 liquor store incidents. Reid said he respects the old guard of the bakery represented by John Bey and Ali Saleem Bey, but that was not enough.
2006 Health Code violations
On December 19, 2006, the San Pablo Avenue bakery headquarters received four "major" health code violations, with dangerously unsanitary conditions, during a restaurant inspection by the Alameda County Environmental Health Department. The conditions were grave enough to risk immediate closure, if not fixed immediately, according to department policy. However, the bakery remained open, and no follow-up inspection was recorded by the department. The major violations included issues with grease, lack of smooth and cleanable surfaces, lack of adequate stove hood venting, and inadequate lighting. In addition inspectors cited four minor violations involving employee behavior and cleanliness.
May 2007 kidnapping
Oakland Police say that three men associated with the bakery, including Yusuf Bey IV, later admitted that on May 17, 2007 they kidnapped two women, a mother and daughter, and tortured the daughter. According to court records and a police affidavit, 20-year-old Joshua Bey and 21-year-old Tamon Oshun Halfin staked out the women at a bingo parlor at Foothill Square in East Oakland. Halfin and Joshua Bey admitted that Yusuf Bey IV ordered them to keep watch, and to notify him when the two women left. The men believed that both the women and a male friend had a lot of cash, which the Beys and Halfin were trying to get for the bakery.
Joshua Bey and Halfin were riding in a fake police car, with flashing lights, which was registered to Yusuf Bey IV. The car pulled the women over on I-580. Wearing dark clothing and masks, the two men took the women at gunpoint into the fake police car. A third man was behind the wheel. The men covered the women's heads, and drove off, while the third man followed them, driving the women's car. They ended up at a house in the 6800 block of Avenal Avenue, a couple miles from the bingo parlor. Police said that the bakery owned the house as a rental. The mother was left inside the car, and the daughter was taken inside the house, where she was tortured, hit in the head and knee with a hard object, and subjected to other graphic threats including being set on fire. An Oakland Police officer was in the area that night, looking for a stolen car. He spotted the fake police car instead, with the mother inside, and when he stopped to investigate, the men fled the house. The daughter broke a window of the house and called for help, and the mother was then found by police unharmed. A cell phone found in the house belonged to Joshua Bey.
Joshua Bey and Halfin were later among those arrested in the raid on the bakery. Police later held Yusuf Bey IV without bail as well, for kidnapping for ransom in the case.
July 2007 double homicide
The later bakery investigation and arrests may also relate to a double homicide that occurred near the bakery a couple months after the May kidnappings. On July 8, 2007 one victim was killed in the 1000 block of 60th Street, and then on July 12, 2007 the other victim, Mike Wills Jr., was gunned down in the 6200 block of San Pablo Avenue. On August 6, 2007 the police, without filing charges, said that the two murders were committed with an AK-47 found at the bakery during the August raid. Devaughndre Broussard said Antoine Mackey killed Wills because Wills was white, and Mackey and Bey had been inspired by the racially motivated Zebra murders.
July 2007 kidnapping
Another case linked to arrestees in the later bakery raid involved yet another kidnapping on July 19, 2007 of some women for ransom, before they escaped their captors.
Murder of Chauncey Bailey
Before his shooting death in August 2007, journalist Chauncey Bailey, editor of the Oakland Post, was working on a story about the finances of Your Black Muslim Bakery, involving its pending bankruptcy.
On August 6, 2007 a former employee of the bakery, Ali Saleem Bey, who is not a relative but who adopted the Bey name, revealed that he was Bailey's source for the story, which the Post withheld, having decided that it was not yet ready for publication. Bailey had asked Bey to give him the story since at least the prior two years.
According to Ali Bey, the bakery business had been seized from its rightful heirs in a coup through fraud and forgery, by a ruthless, younger branch of the family, beginning with Antar Bey and culminating with the current chief executive officer, Yusef Bey IV. Ali revealed that in June 2005, John Bey, the former head of the Bey security service, was driven out of town with his family after an attempt on his life in a shooting outside his home. John had tried to expose the fraud behind the coup. In 2005, Antar Bey mortgaged the bakery property, to cover back taxes and other debt, and then defaulted, which led to threat of foreclosure.
On the morning of August 2, 2007, Bailey was murdered in Downtown Oakland. Devaughndre Broussard, a 19-year-old handyman at Your Black Muslim Bakery who was on probation for a San Francisco robbery conviction, had found out where Bailey lived. Broussard had worked at the bakery as a handyman and cook between August 2006 and March 2007, before leaving to find other work. He was rehired at the bakery around early July 2007.
Broussard then, in a white Ford Aerostar van, began driving around the route he thought Bailey would be taking to work. Broussard insisted that he acted alone, but police believe he had an accomplice in the van. At 7:25 a.m. Broussard spotted Bailey leaving the McDonald's restaurant where Bailey regularly stopped to eat breakfast. Broussard then got out of the van, parked on Alice Street. Wearing a mask and dark clothing, he approached Bailey with the shotgun, shooting him dead. Police say the gunman first fired a shotgun blast at Bailey's chest, then stood over him and fired again execution style at Bailey's face while Bailey was down, and then fired a coup de grâce to make sure he was dead. Broussard then escaped in the van.
Broussard admitted to police the next night that he then ambushed and killed Bailey. Oakland Police investigators said that Broussard confessed that he killed Bailey because he was angry over the past and ongoing articles written by Bailey about the bakery and its personnel.
Closure of bakery and conviction
The Alameda County Health Department closed the bakery after rat droppings were found inside and dead rats found on the rooftop, along with other waste which was leaking into drainage lines. As a result, police officers called in Oakland's Vector Control during the raid, along with the state of California Department of Fish and Game and the Alameda Country District Attorney's Office environmental crimes unit. Pending fines could reach up to $5,000 per day.
On August 4, 2007, Broussard was booked on suspicion of murder for the killing of Bailey, having told police detectives that he considered himself "a good soldier." Yusuf Bey IV was also booked that day, on the outstanding San Francisco warrant, and held without bail in the May kidnapping-for-ransom case. His brother Joshua Bey, Tamon Halfin and one of the other arrestees from the morning prior were being held in connection with the earlier kidnappings, including the assault of the one woman in May.
On August 7, 2007, Broussard was arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court, charged with the murder of Bailey, and also charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and with having a prior felony conviction from San Francisco. In August 2011, Broussard was sentenced to 25 years in state prison.
On June 11, 2011, Yusuf Bey IV was convicted on three counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. In 2015, a state appeals court upheld the convictions of Yusuf Bey IV and Antoine Mackey.
- Chris Thompson (November 13, 2002), The Sinister Side of Yusuf Bey's Empire, East Bay Express
- Angela Hill & Josh Richman (2007-08-04). "Esteemed enterprise spirals out of control". Oakland Tribune.
- "Scarfing", The Oakland Tribune, June 6, 1974(subscription)retrieved February 19, 2008)
- Matthai Kuruvila; Kevin Fagan & Jaxon Van Derbeken (January 27, 2008). "Muslim Bakery head wielded political clout". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-01-27.
- O'Connell, Kevin (2004). The Ultimate Baseball Road-Trip: A Fan's Guide to Major League Stadiums. Guilford, Conn.: Lyons Press. p. 486. ISBN 1-59228-159-1. Retrieved 2008-02-20.
- Josh Richman (2007-08-10). "Editor slaying suspect: I didn't kill Bailey". Oakland Tribune.
- Meredith May; Jim Herron Zamora (2005-11-30). "Black Muslim Bakery has had a long and checkered history". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Henry K. Lee (2007-12-15). "Life sentence for Oakland man who killed Black Muslim Bakery head". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Harry Harris & Paul T. Rosynsky (2007-08-08). "Bakery leader, cohorts charged". Oakland Tribune.
- Angela Hill & Harry Harris (2007-08-05). "Confessed killer: I'm 'a good soldier'". Oakland Tribune.
- Paul T. Rosynsky (2007-08-16). "Court appoints private lawyer for Bey". Oakland Tribune.
- "BEY SAYYED YUSUF (California Security And Investigative - Firearm Permit)". www.firearmscalifornia.org. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- "La County Medical". LA County.
- Cecily Burt (2007-08-16). "Swanson also tried to help bakery avoid bankruptcy". Oakland Tribune.
- Douglas Fischer (2007-08-08). "Bakery violated health codes". Oakland Tribune.
- Paul T. Rosynsky (2007-08-07). "Police on lead suspect: 'We don't believe he acted on his own'; archived online as Handyman didn't act alone in Bailey murder, police say". Oakland Tribune.
- Harry Harris, Kristin Bender & Kelly Rayburn (2007-08-04). "Cops: Editor's killer confesses". Oakland Tribune.
- Henry K. Lee (2011-03-22). "Prosecutor: Evidence links bakery, Bailey killing". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Thomas Peele (2009-04-17). "Broussard's statement may help police clear two more killings". The Chauncey Bailey Project.
- "Police Link Bailey Homicide To Black Muslim Group". KTVU. 2007-08-03.
- Josh Richman (2007-08-07). "Slain editor's bakery source surfaces". Oakland Tribune.
- Harry Harris & Martin G. Reynolds (2007-08-08). "Cops: Killer 'stalked' editor prior to ambush". Oakland Tribune.
- ">sentenced "Devaughndre Broussard Sentenced: Chauncey Bailey's Killer Gets 25 Years In Prison". The Huffington Post. 14 August 2011.
- Henry K. Lee (15 January 2015). "2 lose appeal in killing of Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey". SFGate.
- Your Black Muslim Bakery, last version of home page available at archive.org
- Yusuf Bey Obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle, October 2, 2003
- Blood & Money: Endgame—commentary in the East Bay Express, October 8, 2003
- Two men arrested in liquor store vandalism case -- San Francisco Chronicle, November 29, 2005
- 7 Arrested in Death of Oakland Newspaper Editor -- New York Times, August 4, 2007