|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from New York's 6th district
January 3, 1987 - November 17, 1997
|Born||January 30, 1945|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Margaret Elaine McCollins|
|Children||2 daughters and 2 sons|
|Alma mater||Wilberforce University|
Floyd Harold Flake (born January 30, 1945) is the senior pastor of the 23,000 member Greater Allen African Methodist Episcopal Cathedral in Jamaica, Queens, New York, and former president of Wilberforce University. He is a former member of the United States House of Representatives, serving from 1987 to 1997.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Flake grew up in Houston, Texas as one of fifteen children of Robert Flake, Sr. and Rosie Lee Johnson-Flake. During his childhood, he was influenced by his parents' Christian moral beliefs. After high school, he obtained his BA degree from Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio, becoming the first member of his family to graduate from college. He served as a social worker and then worked for Xerox as a marketing analyst. Flake next worked as Director of Student Affairs at Lincoln University, PA, and subsequently dean of students and director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Afro-American Center at Boston University. In 1976, he was asked to head the Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church (now The Greater Allen Cathedral of New York). Under Flake's leadership, the church grew from having about 1,400 members to over 23,000 parishioners.
Flake is married to Margaret Elaine McCollins and has four children. He is also a fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.
Flake served as President of Wilberforce University from 2002-2008, leaving under heavy, publicized scrutiny and severe critique over his impact on the school. He is a political patron of New York Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm Smith and Democratic U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks. Despite his affiliation with the Democratic party, in 2006 he was the co-chair of conservative Republican Ken Blackwell's (R) campaign for governor of Ohio and endorsed Michael Bloomberg in the New York City mayoral election, 2005.
Flake is the senior pastor of the Greater Allen A. M. E. Cathedral of New York in Jamaica, Queens County, New York City. According to the published marketing message, "The church and its subsidiary corporations operate with an annual budget of over $34 million. The church also owns expansive commercial and residential developments; a 750-student private school founded by Flake and his wife Elaine, and various commercial and social service enterprises, which has placed it among the nation's most productive religious and urban development institutions. The corporations, church administrative offices, school, and ministries comprise one of the Borough of Queens' largest private sector employers." The Church is recognized as a major real estate developer. Flake earned a D.Min. degree from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH. Additional studies were conducted at Payne Theological Seminary and Northeastern University School of Business. His numerous honorary degrees include awards from Boston University, Fisk University, Lincoln University (PA), and Cheney State (PA).
Flake serves as a member of the following boards: (1) The President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education; (2) The Fannie Mae Foundation; (3) The Princeton Review; (4) The New York City Investment Fund Civic Capital Corporation; (5) the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Advisory Committee on Banking Policy and (6) the Bank of America National Advisory Board.
In 1986, he defeated incumbent Democratic congressman Alton Waldon in the primary and was elected to the 100th United States Congress from the 6th New York Congressional District, which included Jamaica, Queens and most of its surrounding neighborhoods, stretching from Ozone Park and Woodhaven to the border with Nassau County. He remained in the House of Representatives until 1997, when he resigned in the middle of a term in order to return to work at his church full-time.
In Congress, Flake garnered a reputation for working across the partisan divide with conservative Republicans, despite representing an overwhelmingly liberal, Democratic district. He also endorsed Republicans George Pataki for New York State Governor and Rudolph Giuliani for New York City Mayor.
In 1990, Flake and his wife were indicted for alleged fraud and embezzlement of church funds. The couple pleaded not guilty. They won a measure of vindication in 1991 when, after hearing three weeks of prosecution witnesses, the judge dismissed so much of the prosecutor's case that he opted to drop all remaining charges. Interviews with jurors afterward indicated that, had the prosecutor opted to continue prosecution, the jury would not have found the couple guilty of any of these remaining charges.
On July 30, 1991, at the request of then-Mayor David Dinkins, the New York City Council enacted Local Law 78 prohibiting "the possession or transfer" within New York City of "assault weapons" and certain ammunition feeding devices. (Administrative Code §§ 10-303.1(a), 10-306, 10-131(i) (6)) Plaintiffs: (1) Richmond Boro Gun Club, Inc., (2) the National Rifle Association of America ("NRA"), (3) the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, Inc., and (4) six New York City residents identified as "John Does I through VI, brought action for "declaratory judgment and injunctive relief against the City of New York and its Police Commissioner." Defendants explained the legitimate governmental purpose behind Local Law 78 as "the promotion of public safety." They noted the high density of New York City's population and the disturbingly large number of homicides annually caused by gunfire within its borders. Three briefs were filed by Amici and 12 individuals, including Floyd H. Flake, then serving as a Representative to the United States Congress, supported the Defendants. Summary judgment was entered in favor of the City of New York on all federal claims and the Plaintiffs' state claim was dismissed for lack of independent federal jurisdiction. (Richmond Boro Gun Club v. City of New York, 896 F. Supp. 276)
Flake has an ownership interest in Aqueduct Race Track Entertainment Group (AEG) which in January 2010 was awarded a contract to operate a 4,500 slot machine racino at the Aqueduct Race Track by New York Governor David Paterson. The process has generated controversy after claims have been made that Paterson required affirmative action ownership in the company (singer Jay-Z also joined AEG), that AEG was allowed to change its bid from the lowest to the highest and because Paterson allegedly awarded the bid two days after Flake threatened to back Andrew Cuomo in the 2010 governor race. U.S. prosecutors are reportedly investigating the process and New York house speaker Sheldon Silver has threatened not to sign off on the deal. Paterson has maintained there was no quid pro quo. On March 9, 2010 Flake withdrew from the project saying that it was distracting from his other projects. Jay-Z and Paterson also withdrew from the projects.