The predominantly Black motorcycle club, Cash Money Ryders, is at risk of losing its clubhouse in Saint Paul. The owner of the building lost the mortgage, and the building is being put up for auction June 1st.
Founded by Robert “Semi” Johnson, the Cash Money Ryders clubhouse has been operating in their Frogtown building neighboring the Lily Pad Community Garden over the last five years. The mortgage for the building is in the name of Veasna K. Seak, and is held by Interbay Funding, a financial holdings company based in Florida. But the Ryders recently received notice that the mortgage had gone into default, and they have until June 1 to come up with more than $250,000 in order to stay in the building.
The building consists of their clubhouse, a community barbershop, and two apartment units for club members. The building is home to the men’s motorcycle crew, Cash Money Ryders, and the women’s club, Cash Money Ladies, and a social club.
President of Cash Money Ladies Diane Dunn says though they manage to pay $3900 a month in rent, the clubhouse faced barriers when it attempted to purchase a building. As a result, she says they are often forced to rent from owners who don’t care to keep up the space. Dunn says she would be devastated if they lost the building because of the amount of work they’ve put into it and in establishing a relationship with the community.
“We've been in garages and in vacant lots to keep our organization going, and so far we've done a great job. We wish to continue doing it but we do need a lot of help.” Continues Dunn. “I think my heart would be broken because this has become home to us. This is our first real clubhouse.” Dunn continues. “It is in disrepair. It needs a lot of work. And we've been doing everything we can to keep it up and running. We love this clubhouse. It's not much but we love it because it's home to us and we’re a family.
Dunn, who is 73, has been biking for over 40 years. She says though they are a motorcycle club, the impact they have in serving the community is their true legacy.
“We do a lot for the community.” Dunn continues. “It's not just free for us to do for the public. It costs us time, energy and finance.”
The Cash Money Ladies’ Master Sergeant, who goes by the name of “Sunshine,” has been a part of the club for eight years. She says taking the clubhouse’s building away from the community would be detrimental to more than its members.
“Removing us from this community is like removing Walmart or removing a Family Dollar, or some other grocery store.They really depend on our food drive. Without this food drive you could hurt a lot of people that surround here.”
The clubhouse partners with SafeCity Project to distribute groceries to the community Tuesdays and Thursdays. SafeCity Project partner Kenan Menge says the loss of the clubhouse building would stop community support in its developmental stages.
“You're stopping something that's growing. It's not just serving the community. There's actually growth, and so you're taking an opportunity from people in the community that are just plugging in.”
The clubhouse also hosts community BBQ’s and community events to distribute resources. Community members are asking for help from the Neighbor Development Center. The Cash Money Ryders are urgently requesting support in saving their space.