CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Habibi Said Mamone wasn’t a low-profile West Virginian.
As the director of The Greenbrier Classic, she spoke on behalf of West Virginia’s only professional golf event and its charitable outreach. During the last couple of years, Mamone led charitable flood recovery efforts through an organization called Neighbors Loving Neighbors.
When Gov. Jim Justice was looking to shore up long-term flood relief efforts, one of the team he turned to was Mamone. He talked about the trust he had placed in Mamone and the organization.
“Habibi was employed by me, and not only her but multiple people employed by me ran Neighbors Loving Neighbors, I paid ’em, I gave and we gave every cent — every cent — to the flood victims,” Justice said June 4, 2018.
When it came her turn to speak that day, Mamone briefly described herself and the challenge of balancing her roles.
“I had a full-time job as the tournament director, and it shifted quickly to the recovery efforts to be able to have the opportunity to run Neighbors Loving Neighbors,” she said. “Not only were we the largest funder in the state of West Virginia but we were also leading the efforts.”
About a month after that, Mamone had another challenge to address.
Financial strain led The Greenbrier Classic to be moved from its usual Fourth of July week date to a long weekend in the fall, competing with football.
Announcing that change this past July 5, Mamone was looking on the bright side. She said “we’re looking forward to a bigger and better tournament next year.”
Recent departure, but name comes up
Now, though, Mamone is gone.
She’s running her own consulting firm with an address in Tennessee, her home state. The company’s website lists Neighbors Loving Neighbors as a charity it supports. And its listed clients are The Greenbrier and the Greenbrier Classic, along with her family’s other companies, Pinnacle Group Custom Homes and Richlands Wood Products.
Mamone’s name came up again this week because she was one of the names listed on a federal subpoena asking the state Department of Commerce to turn over any of its communications with The Greenbrier, The Greenbrier Classic or Old White Charities, all of which have been under Governor Justice’s private stewardship.
Contacted on Friday afternoon, Mamone cut an introduction short right when the topic of the subpoena came up.
“Let me just stop you right there. I cannot talk right now. I am at the office,” she said. “If you could call me later, after hours, that would be great.”
A followup call after 5 p.m. went to voicemail.
Neighbors Loving Neighbors
Mamone could probably answer a lot of questions.
The Greenbrier’s website described Neighbors Loving Neighbors as a designated 501(c)3 organization, but it’s unclear if it was officially registered that way anywhere else.
Old White Charities listed “Neighbors Loving Neighbors” as a trade name from Sept. 1, 2016, to Jan. 24, 2017, on its Secretary of State registration.
Donations came not only from average West Virginians, but also from high-profile athletes such as Charles Barkley, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson and Jerry West.
“It’s been amazing how many people have already stepped up and asked what they could do to help,” Mamone stated in an Oct. 7, 2016, press release describing the work of the organization. “Neighbors Loving Neighbors gives them that opportunity, and provides hope to those who need it so much right now.”
Neighbors Loving Neighbors described rebuilding or repairing more than 900 homes across the state.
It also described rebuilding the gymnasium in flooded Richwood. The contractor on that project was Pinnacle, run by Habibi’s husband Tony. Neighbors Loving Neighbors also spearheaded a new development in Richwood called Faith Villas.
Some news reports described Neighbors Loving Neighbors as raising $3 million or more, just in the first few months after the flood.
The federal financial filings for Old White Charities doesn’t show near that much coming in or going out. The filings show incoming grants and contributions of just $8,455 in 2016 and $484,984 in 2017.
Another organization that worked with Neighbors Loving Neighbors, Rhema Christian Center, doesn’t appear to have filed with the IRS as a nonprofit after 2015.
Jenny Gannaway, director of West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, was pleased to receive help from Neighbors Loving Neighbors.
But reached by telephone on Friday, Gannaway said there was always some mystery about the financial dealings.
“I never really got involved with how much money they had or how she spent it or even how much they took in,” Gannaway said. “Don’t get me wrong. I’ve heard a lot of gossip and talk, but I really don’t know.”
At a certain point, Gannaway said, Mamone indicated there was no money left with Neighbors Loving Neighbors and that the organization’s flood relief work would be concluding.
“Once their money was used or gone, she wasn’t really involved any more. As cases were presented she would put funding towards those cases. She let us know at a certain amount of time she was almost amount of money,” Gannaway said.
“It wasn’t here one day and gone the next. She did let us know her money was getting low. As far as how much money they had, she never really let anybody know that.”
New life, new business
Mamone’s consulting company, Said Supply Chain Management, incorporated in Delaware in 2012.
The company became licensed in West Virginia in 2015, followed by Florida on Jan. 23, 2018 — months before vowing to help Justice refocus flood relief efforts — and Tennessee on Oct. 9, 2018. Those are all three places she has called home.
Reminders of her experiences in West Virginia are all over the site for Said Supply, which guides people with software and organizational streamlining.
“Industry expertise is focused on Disaster Relief, Hotel Hospitalities, PGA Golf, NFL Training, NBA Training, Medical, technology, manufacturing and consumer products,” the site indicates.
Along with pictures of housing restoration efforts, the website notes, “We are very involved in Charity work. I served as President of Neighbors Loving Neighbors which led the efforts in Disaster Relief in West Virginia. (I will send details).”