Law-enforcement sources believe that Whiting's gestures of good will are financed by drug money and shake out into a three-for-one deal: he gets to pay back his teenage drug gangsters (the Orchard Park Trailblazers, et al.), pull in new foot soldiers, and pump up his public image.
"He's a cold person," one cop says of Whiting. "He's just calculating the risk, and he's making the risk less by being a so-called nice guy.... He becomes a Santa Claus to the kids. They're selling drugs for him.... After being out on the street for two, three, four, five months in the rain and cold and sleet and everything else, this...kind of says, 'Wow, he remembers us and he really wants us to be happy.'... And no one else out there seems to care for them... He's the father image to most of these kids."
In July 1989 Darryl Whiting opened a video store--Crown Video--in Roxbury, on Warren Street near Martin Luther King Boulevard. ("Please help our video store grow. Thank you in the name of Allah. Put in whatever you can. Peace," reads a collection jar on the video-store counter not far from such X-rated specials as Dick Black, Escort to Ecstasy and Black Baby Dolls.) In December the second piece of his Corona Enterprises portfolio--Crown Barber Shop--debuted next door. Crown Sneaker, in the same block, is awaiting its grand opening. Second Exodus Productions, which handled the Riverside trip, is, according to Whiting, "designed to provide food and clothing for the homeless...and sponsor certain recreational and charitable events for the handicapped, elderly, and disabled." In a letter dated January 1990, Whiting described Corona this way: "A minority owned and operated business that seeks to provide quality goods and services to the community at affordable prices with 10%-15% discounts and up to 25% discounts for public servants.
Law-enforcement sources maintain that with Corona, Whiting has lifted another page right out of the Mafia manual, using these legitimate businesses to launder his drug money and further polish his persona. Cops fear that Whiting's alleged crossover into the legitimate business world will serve to attract more admirers and further corrode the community. "For a lot of these kids, they don't see any future in America," says on cop. "Darryl is what they see as their future." They see Ra-Ra and the wheels in which police say he tools around town: the 1987 pearl-black Mercedes, the Porsche (which was impounded by New York police), the Jaguar, the BMW, and the Suzuki. They see the gargantuan gold-and-diamond Jesus medallion he wears around his neck and the rock on his left pinky. So potent is his image on the street these days that one source claims the ring was made from a huge diamond WHiting brought back from Africa.
In August 1989 Whiting and two associated--Mr. David Waight and Mr. Edward McLamb--all of whom listed New York mailing addresses on the deed, purchased 48 Geneva Avenue, in Dorchester, from a Dorchester man and Brookline woman for $285,000, according to Suffolk County records. Whiting and his associates put down $100,000 in cash, the deed shows, and received a $185,000 mortgage from the sellers, payable in monthly installments by September 1, 1994.
It is this kind of serious dough flow that has the law-enforcement community wondering about Whiting's source of income.