And in the last seven months, an AP analysis of the work records indicates Brown’s labor credits increased by four times from what they had been during the previous two years. Yet through it all, Brown hasn’t stopped being an R&B superstar, performing worldwide, releasing an album and even getting injured in a nightclub brawl.
Brown’s service records have come under scrutiny by a prosecutor and a judge, who are trying to ascertain their accuracy. At a Monday hearing, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg called the accounting of Brown’s community service by Richmond, Va., Police Chief Bryan T. Norwood “somewhat cryptic.”
No specific concerns were detailed by the court, yet the AP analysis of Brown’s service shows that in the past seven months, the artist has been credited for working 701 hours – a feat that previously took him 28 months to achieve, clocking sporadic, shorter shifts mostly at Richmond police and fire stations.
In recent months, the logs show Brown has essentially been working three jobs – performing cleanup duty in Richmond police precincts by day, janitorial chores at the daycare 45 miles east by night, and hit songs for global audiences in between.
Ida Minter, the administrator of the Tappahannock Children’s Center, said Brown attended the nonprofit facility “off and on” for more than 12 years and his mother was employed there for 24 years, including as director.
Brown’s community service at the center began in January 2010, but work entries dramatically increased in March of this year. Most of his shifts were logged between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. and were typically listed as “general cleaning,” with some entries describing him painting or stripping and waxing floors. It is unclear who supervised him.
Brown’s attorney Mark Geragos said Monday that he welcomed inquiries from Los Angeles probation officials and said he urged Brown to work double shifts so the lawyer wouldn’t have to keep coming back to court.
Minter described Brown’s work at the daycare center favorably.
“I think Chris always goes beyond because he always wants to give back to where he grew up,” she told the AP. “And this was a part of his home because his mom worked here full-time.”
“If you’ve ever been involved in stripping and waxing, it’s hard,” she said. “It’s a lot of work.”
Minter said Brown was always accompanied by someone while working at the center, but she said she couldn’t discuss who it was.
The singer, who pleaded guilty to felony assault in June 2009, only worked at night and on weekends when no children were present, Minter said. That is supported by the logs, which also showed that Brown only worked one other weekend shift that wasn’t at the daycare center.
Brown has been undeniably busy in recent months, releasing his new album Fortune, traveling to France for a video shoot, winning a Grammy Award, performing at other award shows and resuming his friendship and music collaboration with Rihanna.
He has also drawn negative attention for being present at a bottle-throwing brawl at a New York City nightclub that left him with a cut chin. And in February, a woman in Miami accused him of taking her cellphone to prevent her from snapping pictures of him.
It was after that incident that Brown, 23, accelerated his work schedule, completing the 701 hours in seven months, according to the records filed Monday.
Meanwhile, the singer has remained an active promoter of his work on Twitter, where he sends out almost daily links to his music and clothing line, and also interacts with fans.
His international travel, which must be approved by Schnegg, has somehow been squeezed around his marathon community service sessions.
In July, for instance, Brown is listed as working 42 hours in four days before leaving for France. Upon his return, he worked 12 consecutive days, logging 164 hours, 100 of which were at the daycare described in Norwood’s log as “Tappa Day Care.”
March was similarly busy, with Brown being credited for work on 20 of the month’s 30 days; he was approved to travel to Cancun, Mexico, for five of the remaining days.
Before this week, Brown had received praise from Schnegg and had never been in danger of violating his probation. But that could change if the inquiry the judge ordered turns up irregularities with the singer’s service.
Schnegg allowed Brown to perform his work in his home state of Virginia under the supervision of Norwood, but on Monday noted there are discrepancies in the chief’s accounting.
For one, Brown’s work log shows he has put in 1,402 hours, but a couple of errors in the data may push the total up to 1,404. And although Brown was sentenced to perform 1,440 hours of labor, the chief wrote in a letter dated Sept. 14 that Brown had completed all his service hours.
Norwood’s spokesman declined to respond to questions from the AP on the discrepancies. “Chief Norwood has reported directly to the judge, providing periodic updates regarding the progress of Chris Brown’s community service,” spokesman Gene Lepley said.
Prosecutors “are not happy with the quality of the report,” Schnegg said Monday. “They don’t know if it’s reliable, yes or no.”
District Attorney’s spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said the office would make all its comments on the case in court.
The judge and prosecution aren’t the only ones concerned about the administration of Brown’s sentence. In August, Virginia probation authorities recommended that Richmond police stop supervising Brown after the singer tested positive for marijuana and what they believed was unapproved travel to France. However, they made no critical comments about his community service.
Geragos, Brown’s attorney, declined comment for this story, but he said at Monday’s court hearing that he believes his client has completed all his community service.
Brown’s labors have left a lasting mark at the Tappahannock Children’s Center: a colorful wall mural featuring a huge clown face and splashes of purple, orange, green and yellow. The words “Big Room” – the informal name of the large space amid a warren of smaller classrooms – is painted in fat letters along a wall where jackets are hung on hooks.
Brown approached Minter, who has known Brown since his birth, to ask if he could use his art skills on the walls of the big room, she said.
The singer is not the only celebrity to perform community service with an entity to which they have close ties. Mel Gibson and Sean Penn had similar arrangements.
Both actors had received permission in advance for the assignments in misdemeanor cases. Before Monday’s filings, there had been no mention of Brown working at his boyhood daycare center in probation reports.