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David Scott’s life appears in perfect order: A self-made businessman who married into an iconic Atlanta family, he rose through the ranks of Georgia state politics before winning a congressional seat in 2002 that he’s handily defended since.
A close look at his personal, campaign and business finances, however, reveals a tangled web of loans, debt, more than $182,000 in unpaid taxes and an intermingling of his political and private funds — including more than $643,000 in campaign payments to his family, their company and its employees. All of that has campaign finance experts puzzled and Scott’s team sifting through old records to reconstruct transactions it could not immediately explain to The Politico.
Scott, a moderate, pro-business Democrat, has declined interview requests. And without a detailed explanation from Scott, the story behind his finances remains unclear.
The campaign hired a Georgia attorney, Mike Williams, to help review the campaign’s finances and answer The Politico’s questions.
He said neither Scott and his family nor their advertising company, Dayn-Mark Advertising, have profited from donations to Scott’s campaign. “David Scott’s campaign has done everything within federal requirements, and we believe the record will bear that out,” Williams said.
Williams said Scott and his family’s company are working with the local, state and federal governments to resolve the tax issues. And Scott is compiling information for a detailed response to questions from The Politico about his personal, campaign and business finances, said Williams, who accused The Politico of pursuing a “politically motivated” story.
Here are the facts — drawn from Scott’s tax and property records, campaign and personal finance reports and other public information — that raise questions about the connections between his campaign, business and family finances.
Since his first congressional bid in 2002, Scott’s campaign has cut checks totaling more than $643,000 to his family, its company and the company’s employees, according to Federal Election Commission data.
Though Scott hasn’t faced a serious challenge since 2002, those payments became larger and more frequent the following year — around the time Scott, his wife and their company began slipping behind on their taxes. Combined, they owe more than $182,000 in local, state and federal taxes, according to documents on file in Atlanta’s Fulton County Courthouse.
Even though the offices for Scott’s advertising company are located outside his congressional district, Scott’s campaign over the years has paid the company more than $54,500 in rent, which FEC rules allow. David Scott for Congress also pays Dayn-Mark for staff time, telephone bills and overhead. Plus, all six officials and employees listed on Dayn-Mark’s website — including Scott’s wife and two daughters — have received disbursements from the campaign, as has his son-in-law, who isn’t employed by the company.
In the 1970s, Scott and his wife, Alfredia, sister of Atlanta Braves legend Hank Aaron, started Dayn-Mark Advertising, which is named for their two daughters, Dayna and Marcye. As Scott rose in the Georgia state legislature, the company blossomed as a developer of minority-targeted advertising campaigns, eventually representing a handful of big businesses, many with ties to Atlanta, some with ties to Aaron.
In 2003, Dayn-Mark missed the first of a series of federal income tax payments that tallied nearly $154,000, according to an Internal Revenue Service lien filed against the company late last year. Dayn-Mark also has racked up more than $4,600 in unpaid local and state taxes since 1998, according to liens on file at the courthouse.
Williams said Dayn-Mark is working with the IRS to resolve the lien.
Other liens show that since 2003, David and Alfredia Scott have failed to pay $23,200 in taxes on their home, a 5,000-square-foot stone house in the historic Inman Park neighborhood — which is also outside his congressional district.
Williams said before The Politico’s inquiries, the Scotts were unaware of the liens on their home, which Williams asserted may reflect an error by their mortgage company.
Even as the Scotts and their business were falling behind on taxes, they increased their stock holdings from about $500 to about $67,000, according to Scott’s personal financial disclosure statements for 2003 on file with the House. In 2003, they paid $702,000 for a three-bedroom Washington row house near the Capitol.
At the same time, Scott’s congressional campaign, for which Hank Aaron is listed as treasurer, stepped up payments to Dayn-Mark and its employees.
David Scott for Congress recorded payments to Dayn-Mark and its employees for a wide array of purposes, from canvassing to billboards to office supplies. Many of the payments appear to be reimbursements. Nearly $242,000 in disbursements were listed twice — once to Dayn-Mark or an employee or family member and again to an outside vendor such as a billboard company or office supply store. But only one payment was counted against his total cash on hand — a permitted, but unusual, reporting technique.
Scott has also loaned his campaign $527,000, almost all of which has been repaid, according to FEC records.
Williams said such loans are not unusual for candidates making their first few runs for Congress. And he said “most of the money that was disbursed to Dayn-Mark was reimbursement for expenditures made on behalf of the campaign.”
Larry Norton, an election lawyer at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice who was FEC general counsel until this year, said he’s never seen a campaign report expenses like Scott’s. Brett Kappel, a Democratic lawyer specializing in election and ethics for Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, called the arrangement between Scott’s campaign and his company “unnecessarily confusing.”
Williams responded that “not all campaigns look alike” and “everything they have done is in compliance.”
If a company is merely acting as an intermediary between a campaign and its vendors, federal election laws require such services be offered in the normal course of business. That means the campaign pays fair market value for the service and that the company offers the service to other clients.
Atlanta lawyer Kevin Ross, who managed Scott’s 2002 campaign and has overseen those of many prominent Atlanta Democrats, said he was not aware of Dayn-Mark doing any political advertising.
The campaign from 2002 to 2004 paid $18,000 to an FEC compliance consultant, Whitney Burns of Springfield, Va. Though Ross said he wasn’t regularly involved in the reporting, he recalled early in the campaign that aides had “discussions regarding how you needed to make sure that the corporate was kept distinct … (and) about the need to work within the rules.”
Burns did not return telephone calls seeking comment.
Federal law prohibits candidates from spending campaign contributions for personal uses, defined as expenses “that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s campaign or duties as a federal officeholder.” Campaigns are allowed to pay rent and other fees to the candidate or the candidate’s business as long as the goods or services provided in return are at fair market value. Campaigns are also allowed to pay salaries to the candidate’s family “if a family member is providing bona fide services to the campaign.”
Donors and voters “would be shocked and appalled” if they knew how Scott was using his campaign account, said Donzella James, a former Georgia state senator who ran against Scott in the 2002 and 2006 Democratic primaries.
“The people deserve better,” said James, who said her campaign team was troubled by Scott’s finance reports but urged her to focus any attacks on Scott’s performance in Congress.
James points out that, with each successive election, Scott’s campaign has cut checks for more money to his company, its employees and his family: $52,370 in the 2002 election cycle; $218,000 in 2004; and nearly $344,000 in 2006.
Scott clobbered James in both races, but she is contemplating another run in 2008.
Hat tip to Pandagon
I saw this and had to share it. This is a two-week old story, but it encapsulates everything that annoys us as black people. Another black child was suspended, this time in Austin, Texas and the reason will have you tearing at your hair and mumbling incoherently for the next few days. First ShaQuonda and now this.
If this, or something more egregious has happened to your child, Harvard Univerisity’s Civil Rights Project suggests that you take the following steps:
APPROACHING SCHOOL BOARDS
One of the most effective ways to address discriminatory practices in school discipline is to address your school board. Organized presentations can have an immediate impact, and can have great influence if covered by the local media. The following are tips that may be helpful when addressing school boards.
Do background research on the School Board’s policy, procedures, and membership.
- Call the School Board and find out the time and location of their meetings and if you need to get on the agenda ahead of time.
- Determine if there are any special procedures for addressing the School Board.
- Find out if you have allies on the school board.
- Request the minutes of prior meetings to see whether the school board has recently discussed discipline issues or passed discipline policies.
Bring evidence and supporters.
- Gather evidence about discipline issues in the schools.
- Talk to other parents and other possible supporters (including school discipline experts from colleges and universities); encourage them to attend the meeting.
- Collect stories from children and parents about how discriminatory discipline policies have impacted them.
- Stress both data and real examples of children who are harmed by the policy to ensure that the focus remains on actual children and the effects of a discriminatory discipline policy.
Contact the media.
- Before you seek media coverage think carefully about what you want the media to do and choose a spokesperson for you organization.
- Send a press release to the media about your upcoming school board presentation. Include facts about the discriminatory discipline policy (see Appendix VI for information on writing press releases).
- Make sure your message is focused on a few major points and “stay on” your message in all your media relations.
- Be sure to provide contact information for your organization, as well as others in the area that support your message.
Emphasize the following education issues:
- Fair and effective discipline and high expectations for all children are critically important in schools.
- Fair and effective discipline teaches children proper behavior.
- Fair discipline is where the disciplinary consequences match the misbehavior. All children benefit from discipline that teaches appropriate social conduct effectively.
- Overly punitive discipline is neither fair nor effective.
- Fair and effective discipline improves the safety of the entire community, inside and outside of the school.
- A fair and effective policy should not result in children of some racial or ethnic groups being suspended and expelled significantly more often than others for minor offenses.
Communicate to the Board that you are prepared to follow through with legal action, but that legal remedies can be avoided by immediately addressing the concerns. Request that the School Board consider the following actions:
- Implement a proven effective discipline policy where punishments are fair and crafted as opportunities to teach children appropriate behavior.
- Decrease class size of “regular” classrooms, so teachers can better address the problems of all students.
- Increase teacher training in conflict resolution, provide teachers more support in the classrooms, provide better supports for children who appear difficult to manage, and implement programs that will increase effective early intervention.
- Train teachers so that they are multiculturally aware and able to implement positive classroom management policies.
Our beloved Sistah rikyrah has branched out and hooked up with the brothas and sistahs of Mirror on America blog. She has written an excellent post on Michelle Obama. Y’all show a sistah some luv.
It seems that Sistah rikyrah isn’t the only one who’s been noticing Barack’s biggest and most effective booster. The Associated Press has noticed in two prominent stories here and here in which the other Harvard Law grad effortlessly fields questions and sells her candidate in New Hampshire.
When asked by a voter why she should vote for Michelle’s hubby, sistah Michelle stepped up and said, “He’s a man who has put his values before his profit,” she said. “He’s not running for president because he wants to be president. That’s sort of the irony in it. He’s running for president because he believes we can do better as a country.” According to the AP, they gave a sistah a standing O.
As aluded to by Sistah rikyrah, the 21st century Huxtables present a very compelling presence to cerebral and flinty New Hampshire. Style over substance works every time; now let’s see if it will work on us. As of this writing, he’s behind.
A letter is making its way across the black blogosphere denouncing the Congressional Black Caucus/ Fox News Democratic Presidential Debate. I don’t think I have to recap the many sins of Fox Noise against the black community. I signed the letter without hesitation and commend the three leading candidates: Senators Edwards, Obama, and Clinton for their refusal to appear.
Your decision last month not to attend the debate sponsored by Fox News and theinstitute demonstrated truly principled leadership.
Now, a group of CBC members, led by(D-MS) and (D-MI), is asking you to reverse that decision. But the truth about Fox and its partnership with the CBC institute has not changed. A Fox-CBCI partnership will use the brand of the CBC—perhaps the most prominent and powerful Black political institution in America—to lend legitimacy to a propaganda network that regularly denigrates black people, black culture and black institutions. This partnership is bad for Black America, and it is a huge mistake.
Since before the debate partnership was announced publicly, Black bloggers, community newspapers, columnists, and radio hosts have expressed outrage that such a partnership would even be considered. Over 16,000 members of ColorOfChange.org reached out to individual CBC members and the CBC institute in hopes that they would be responsive and accountable to the community they purport to represent. But the leadership of the CBC institute has continued to willfully ignore the voices of Black Americans, and amazingly, also dismissed voices of dissent from within the CBC itself (nearly a quarter of CBC members have expressed opposition to the debate, either publicly or privately). Now, more than ever, it’s obvious that the CBC’s leadership is painfully out of step with Black America.
It has been suggested that by skipping this debate, you are missing a valuable opportunity to speak on issues of concern to Black Americans. However, the CBC institute debate broadcast byas well as ’s debates on PBS provide similar opportunities to address these issues without sending the message that you are willing to validate a network that is consistently hostile to Black Americans and Black political interests.
You did the right thing by rejecting Fox. We applaud your leadership and will continue to support your decision.
Given Rudy Giuliani’s philandering and subsequent marriage to a whore and John McCain’s serial apostasy, it has left GOP voters in a real quandary. The only alternative is Multiple Choice Mitt Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts. Gov. Romney is a real piece of work with a history of being a political weather vane. With multiple positions on Abortion and gay rights, he’ll say whatever is necessary to win. With a successful business career behind him and a fortune worth an estimated quarter billion, he felt there was only one thing left to do-become President.
His Governorship of Massachusetts was a four-year try-out for the Republican nomination for President. He missed no opportunity to pander to the reactionary base of the GOP with his opposition to Abortion, Stem-cell research, and Same-sex marriage.
Handsome, telegenic, and smooth, it has been said that Romney looks like a President straight from central casting. He has been caught in multiple lies, the most famous of which are the tall tales about being a hunter/sportsman. The problem is that his lying is so effortless and smooth that he evokes nostalgia about the “great communicator,” Ronald Reagan.
Romney has begun to peak in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire and has already outdistanced his rivals in the fundraising department having raised over $ 20 million in the first quarter. The polls have also detected a widespread disaffection in the GOP primary electorate about the contenders and there could be an opening. Name the last time we didn’t know who the GOP nominee would be by now-exactly.
This year is different and it shall be competitive for a change, however, when it is all said and done, Romney will win the nomination and it will be up to him to lead a moribund and scandal scarred party into battle with the Democratic Party looking ascendant.
Next summer, after the Democratic nomination is all wrapped up, we’ll go through a tawdry and insulting little melodrama as Queen Hillary decides with whom she’ll share the throne. As I’ve said previously, I doubt she’ll choose Barack Obama because the Queen doesn’t like to be overshadowed and certainly doesn’t like to be challenged. As of this writing, Barack has already pressed the Queen’s back to the wall on the fundraising front and that s*** means war. My feeling today is that Hillary will rescue some white Senator or Congresswoman from obscurity like Mary Landrieu or Blanche Lincoln to form the first estrogen powered ticket.
Let’s face facts, Hillary has a lock on women voters-particularly women of color. Being in the majority has its benefits and Democratic women far outnumber Democratic men. If Hillary wins this thing, it will because of her advantage among women 45 and over. Moreover, it will also be because black women over 45 voted for her. Hillary has no compunction using the votes of our sistahs to create another all-white ticket and calling it diverse.
I don’t care what she says, she don’t feel OUR pain, Y’all. Mississippi College School of law professor Angela Mae Kupenda wrote provocatively in her Boston College Third World Law Journal article, “For White Women: Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine, But We All Hide Our Faces and Cry,” she wrote, “There is no wonder that there is conflict between some white women and some black women. Black and white women have many unresolved issues surrounding the issue of race, generally, and race and sexuality, specifically. Buried inside of some white women may be hatred toward black women because of their white men.”
“During slavery while some white men regarded blacks as animals, they forced black women to have sexual relations with them…Generally, black women and white women appear to be unable to discuss openly—how white women must have felt knowing their white men were desiring black women on the one hand and calling them animals and n___s on the other. Instead of resenting their white male mates, white women took their anger out on their black female slaves. They were unable, it seems, to face that their holy mates for life were willing to sell their own flesh and blood as if their offspring were livestock. So instead of facing this cruelty and naming it for what it was, many white women silently participated in the rape and attacks on black womanhood and actively joined in the systematic destruction of black womanhood and the selling of children with the faces and blood of their husbands and sons, and consequently their own blood.”
When one really examines our politics in this country, plantation metaphors are always appropriate whether it is an examination of gender, race, or class. Maryland Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by choosing a white Republican over qualified black democrats, and it seems to me that Queen Hillary is bound and determined to do the same by passing over Obama. She’ll do it because as Professor Kupenda has written, “White women too are at an intersection. They find themselves in the position of both the oppressor and the oppressed. At one juncture, they benefit by participating in the system manufactured by a racist society. At the other, they suffer as a result of gender oppression from a patriarchal and supremacist society.”
Hillary’s too caught up in the plantation nexus between oppressor and oppressed and will choose gender over race as most white women do. That’s when Romney will pounce and rescue from the ashbin of history, Dubya’s favorite foreign minstrel.
I am a packrat, and have lived my life with the motto: There are just some things that you don’t throw away. You name it, and I’ve kept it. I rarely delete e-mail. I have most of my college textbooks and save every piece of campaign literature and paraphernalia, I get. The same could be said of the white power structure and its collection of useful House Negroes. Some House Negroes are just too handy to be discarded. Especially Dubya’s little plantation mistress.
Mistress Condi will be sold to another Massa to save the Plantation for the party. She’ll go willingly and provide her “services” like the good Negress she was trained to be.
NEW YORK — Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton has won the endorsement of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a rising star in national Democratic politics and one of the nation’s top Hispanic elected officials.
Villaraigosa was set to announce his endorsement Wednesday, joining Clinton at a campaign rally at the University of California-Los Angeles, two Democrats familiar with the planned endorsement told The Associated Press.
They spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of the official announcement.
Clinton campaign officials have actively sought Villaraigosa’s backing, even enlisting former President Clinton recently to woo Villaraigosa over dinner at a tony New York steak house.
A popular figure in the nation’s second-largest city, analysts expect Villaraigosa to have a promising future in national politics or in statewide office in California. He is widely popular among Hispanic voters, who make up an increasingly large percentage of Democratic voters in California and many other states. In 2004, 21 percent of California voters were Hispanic, according to exit polls there.
Villaraigosa’s endorsement of Clinton is not unexpected; he lavished praise on the New York senator at a campaign event in Los Angeles in March, calling her campaign “fighting for a brighter and cleaner future for all our children.” And last month, his top political consultant, Ace Smith, joined the Clinton campaign as its California director.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 05/27/07
He sold cocaine embossed with a prominent symbol of hip-hop culture: Hummer.
Tremayne Graham was a player. Then his partner in the drug business says he introduced Graham to his future wife in an Atlanta strip club. If anything, Graham’s life became even more infused with money and status.
The couple bought a mini-mansion in the suburbs.
She amassed $120,000 of jewelry.
And when her mother became Atlanta’s first female mayor, they celebrated at the side of Shirley Franklin.
But Graham and Kai Franklin’s opulent lifestyle — detailed in interviews and court testimony, as well as in other public records — came to an emphatic end in 2004. A federal grand jury indicted Graham for his role in a drug ring that smuggled at least 2,200 pounds of cocaine from Los Angeles to Atlanta and South Carolina. Based on figures routinely used by various government agencies, the drugs had a street value between $15 million and $35 million.
Graham, 33, pleaded guilty in 2006. Last month, after prosecutors alleged he ordered the killing of a co-defendant and his girlfriend, a judge sentenced Graham to life in prison.
Now, federal agents say they are investigating whether Franklin, 34, who divorced Graham in 2005, helped her former husband launder tens of thousands of dollars of drug money.
Neither Franklin, the oldest of the mayor’s three children, nor her lawyer will comment on the investigation. Graham’s lawyers have not responded to requests for an interview.
In court, Graham’s lawyers contended Franklin did not know he was a drug dealer because he never told her. The lawyers said he explained away his wads of cash — as much as $60,000 or $70,000 at a time — as gambling winnings.
Prosecutors responded with a question: How, they asked, could she not know?
Longtime drug history
Graham started dealing drugs early.
He worked as a courier for a South Carolina drug dealer while attending Clemson University in the early 1990s, according to testimony presented last month during Graham’s sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court in Greenville. After college, Graham moved to Atlanta. When he met Kai Franklin a few years later, he had become an established cocaine dealer and had moved into a leadership role in a drug ring called the Sin City Mafia, according to the recent testimony.
His car dealership, 404 Motorsports on Cheshire Bridge Road, was a money-losing front intended to give an appearance of legitimate prosperity, said Scott King, Graham’s partner in selling both cars and drugs.
“In the first couple of months, we done great business at the store, and everything was going good,” said King, who received a 24-year prison sentence in the drug case. “And then things started taking a turn for the worse. But we wanted to keep the business afloat because of the nature of everybody in the Atlanta area thinking that we were great businessmen.”
The Web site for 404 Motorsports showed an array of heavily accessorized luxury cars: Hummers, BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes, Bentleys, Ferraris. One page featured nothing but the massive stereo speakers the company offered for installation. Another page showed celebrity clients: rappers such as Ludacris and P. Diddy, sports stars such as Hines Ward and Jamal Anderson, even Bishop Eddie Long, pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in south DeKalb County.
In a 2003 article, the weekly newspaper Creative Loafing called 404 Motorsports a “luxury car mecca.” The article described the showroom’s “club-inspired interior,” decorated with black leather furniture and autographed jerseys from professional athletes such as the Braves’ Andruw Jones.
The auto store, King said, made him and Graham look like something other than drug dealers.
In his testimony last month, King said he dated Kali Franklin, Kai’s younger sister, “off and on” for two years.
One evening, King said, he, Graham and the Franklin sisters all were at the same strip club. That’s when King introduced Graham to his future wife.
Kai Franklin, who had graduated from the University of Virginia in 1999, worked for her father’s company, Franklin and Wilson Airport Concessions Inc., which operates three retail outlets at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Testimony indicated she quit around the time she and Graham were married in December 2001.
The ceremony took place between Shirley Franklin’s election and inauguration. King was the best man. The rhythm and blues performer Peabo Bryson — whose personal manager is David Franklin, Kai’s father — sang at the wedding.
Days later, Graham escorted his new wife to her mother’s inauguration events. Graham also brought King, his fellow drug dealer, to the event (and, King said, to Christmas dinner at the mayor’s house).
Already, court records show, Graham’s drug ring had accumulated about $10 million in profits. This money, prosecutors say, fueled a streak of acquisitions for the newlyweds: a $650,000 house in Cobb County, jewelry, Range Rover and Lincoln sport utility vehicles.
Graham traveled regularly to California to oversee drug shipments to Atlanta, according to court testimony, and even considered moving there. He was in Los Angeles in April 2004 when his wife called him with bad news, King testified: Federal agents with a search warrant were searching their home.
A federal grand jury in South Carolina had indicted Graham in a case that ultimately would net a dozen guilty pleas. Graham returned to Atlanta and turned himself in. A judge released him on a $400,000 bond, secured by an Atlanta bail bond company, Free At Last.
While he waited to go on trial, Graham remained under house arrest in the 5,000-square-foot home he shared with his wife in an east Cobb subdivision called Woodruff Plantation. An electronic device attached to his ankle tracked his movements.
The neighbors knew nothing about Graham’s drug business — or much else about the couple, said Katherine Todd, an officer in the subdivision’s homeowners association.
“They didn’t socialize with anyone in the neighborhood,” Todd said.
It is a small subdivision, with 38 large, but closely situated, houses. When Graham and Franklin had a pool installed, Todd said, neighbors complained that the couple wouldn’t stop workers who tramped on their lawns.
Graham and Franklin “never seemed to want to follow the rules,” Todd said. “They weren’t the ideal, fun neighbors to have.”
Even while Graham was under house arrest, he continued to oversee the distribution of drugs from California, according to testimony by another defendant, Eric Rivera. And, King testified, Graham became worried because Ulysses Hackett III, a drug courier who also worked for 404 Motorsports, had been arrested while making a delivery and could give authorities damning information.
Prosecutors allege Graham acquired a gun from a fellow drug dealer and engaged yet another associate in 2004 to kill Hackett and his girlfriend, Misty Denise Carter. Atlanta police never made arrests in the case. Federal authorities recently took over the investigation.
Weeks after Hackett died on Labor Day weekend, just before his trial was scheduled to begin in South Carolina, Graham snipped his electronic ankle bracelet and fled.
He took most of his wife’s jewelry, she said later, and left behind a $5,000-a-month mortgage and his $400,000 bail bond.
Graham quickly settled into life as a fugitive in Los Angeles. One of the first things he did there, court records say, was buy a Ferrari.
Kai Franklin barely hesitated before filing for divorce.
In January 2005, she told the Cobb County Superior Court that her husband had abandoned her. She said she had not been in contact with Graham since Nov. 1, didn’t know his whereabouts and couldn’t get in touch with him.
A judge granted the divorce four months later. He awarded Franklin the house in Woodruff Plantation, but did not order Graham to pay alimony.
“It was very difficult for her, having to go through a divorce proceeding,” said James Dearing, Franklin’s lawyer. “It was not an easy thing for her to do.”
But the recent testimony and other public records suggest it may have been a divorce on paper only.
Franklin and Graham remained in regular contact, according to evidence presented during his sentencing hearing. Graham’s co-defendants testified that while he was a fugitive, he sent drug money to Franklin: one bag of cash holding $25,000, another with $20,000. She also got portions of $150,000 that Graham invested in her father’s business, King testified. David Franklin said last week that the investment never occurred.
In California, King said, Graham bought a pre-paid cellular telephone to call only his wife, thinking it would be difficult to trace. King referred to the device as “the Kai phone.”
“They would talk about different things,” King said, “but sometimes about paying bills.”
He said Franklin regularly sent bills to Graham at the house where he was hiding in suburban Los Angeles. King said Graham told him “he still had responsibilities to take care of for Kai.”
Graham used postal money orders to pay Franklin’s bills, an Internal Revenue Service agent said. They apparently took pains to make the transactions difficult to track.
Franklin, agent Wayne Wright testified, bought the money orders in a “structured fashion” to avoid scrutiny. She had each money order issued for less than $3,000, the amount that triggers reporting requirements designed to detect illicit transactions. And she allegedly bought multiple money orders at multiple post offices on the same day, or in different lines in the same post office.
Wright said authorities have obtained about 60 such money orders.
Other alleged discussions between Franklin and Graham during his time as a fugitive were of a more personal nature.
When Graham wanted to see his child from a previous relationship, Rivera testified, Franklin picked up the boy from his mother and dropped him off for a flight out of DeKalb Peachtree Airport on a chartered jet. Rivera said he ferried drug money back to Graham in California on the same flight.
The visit troubled King.
“I just told Tremayne that he has to tighten up,” King testified, “because he can’t let something like that let the authorities track him through his son.”
Rivera said he accompanied the boy back to Atlanta several days later. He left the child with Franklin, he said, in her Cobb County home.
Authorities captured Graham in June 2005. In his California house, they found more than 500 pounds of cocaine, $1.9 million in cash and five weapons, one of which court records described as an assault rifle.
This time, Graham was held without bond. In March 2006, he agreed to plead guilty to charges that could send him to prison for several decades. But prosecutors promised to seek a lighter sentence of 35 years — if he cooperated with their continuing investigation.
During a lie detector exam, court documents say, Graham said Franklin didn’t know she had handled drug money.
The examiner told Graham the machine showed he was lying. Graham, the examiner later reported, just laughed.
Later, Graham told the judge in his case: “I’m sorry that my story wasn’t embellished or sensationalized enough to the agents’ liking. But my plea agreement didn’t require that.”
Regardless, prosecutors, for that and other factors, revoked their deal, and the judge handed down the maximum sentence: life, with no chance for parole.
Graham’s lawyers said they would appeal. For now, he is serving his time at the maximum-security U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta.
Franklin filed for protection from her creditors in federal bankruptcy court in March 2005. She said she was unemployed, broke and more than $300,000 in debt.
Little remains of Graham and Franklin’s old life: The luxury auto dealership, closed. The money, seized by federal agents. The big suburban house, empty.
Weeds sprout between the brick pavers in the driveway. The grass needs cutting. The shrubs sprawl wildly.
And on the front door, a document posted by the IRS lays claim to the house as government property.
Emily Bazelon and Dahlia Lithwick brilliantly deconstruct the testimony of Monica Goodling, a former attorney and assistant to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty in the Justice Department contretemps that has engulfed the Agency in the swirl of scandal over the political firing of 8 U.S. Attorneys. They “go there” and call Goodling out and bust her chops for playing, what blackfolks term as the helpless, “white girl role.”
Women of color in particular, and black women especially, find this feminine B.S. infuriating. White men, especially Republicans, fall for it every time. Democratic Congresswomen Maxine Waters and Linda Sanchez cut to the quick with their questioning of Goodling last week as the above clip of Linda demonstrates.
Bazelon and Lithwick elaborate in their Salon piece, “Monica Goodling and the “girl” card: Nobody seems to want to go there, so we will.”
“Let’s pretend for a moment that the world divides into two types of women: the soft, shy, girly kind who live to serve and the brash, aggressive feminists who live to emasculate. Not our paradigm, but one that’s more alive than dead.”
“When she was White House liaison in Alberto Gonzales’ Justice Department, Monica Goodling, 33, had the power to hire and fire seasoned government lawyers who had taken the bar when she was still carrying around a plastic Hello Kitty purse. Goodling, in fact, described herself as a “type-A woman” who blocked the promotion of another type-A woman basically because the office couldn’t tolerate infighting between two strong women. (“I’m not just partisan! I’m sexist, too!”) That move sounds pretty grown-up and steely. Yet in her testimony this weekbefore the House judiciary committee, Goodling turned herself back into a little girl, and it’s worth pointing out that the tactic worked brilliantly.”
“Look past Goodling’s long, silky blond hair, which may or may not have been a distraction. She’s entitled to have pretty hair. Look past her trembling hand as she swore her oath and the tremulous voice as she described her “family” at Justice. What really shot Goodling into the stratosphere of baby-doll girls were her own whispered words: “At heart,” she testified, “I am a fairly quiet girl, who tries to do the right thing and tries to treat people kindly along the way.” [Late-breaking discovery, courtesy of a sharp reader: Goodling used the word girl in the written rather than spoken version of her testimony.] The idea, of course, was to scrub away her past image as ruthless, power-mad, and zealously Christian. But—as professor Sandy Levinson noted almost immediately over at Balkinization—it was in calling herself a “girl” that the 33-year-old did herself a great favor. It was a signal to the committee that she was no Kyle Sampson. Or Anita Hill.”
“To be sure, plenty of twenty- and thirty- and eightysomethings refer to themselves and their friends as girls. Particularly when there are mojitos around. But they don’t often do so before the U.S. Congress. The same Goodling who once wanted to be powerful, so powerful that she refused to relinquish her power to hire and fire assistant U.S. attorneys even when she changed jobs at the Justice Department, painted herself as helpful and empathetic and out of the loop. She testified that the biggest and most important part of her job was hooking up employees with tickets for sporting events. The little matter of firing assistant U.S. attorneys was a minor extracurricular. She testified that she went to a Christian school because of her devotion to “service.” One half expected her to leap up out of the witness chair and start offering canapés to the assembled members of Congress.”
“And at the heart of Goodling’s ingénue performance? The astonishing claim that while she broke the law, she “didn’t mean to.” This is the stuff of preschoolers, not cum laude graduates of law school.”
HAT TIP: By Matthew Mosk and John Solomon
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, May 26, 2007; A01
For the past four years, the Clintons have jetted around on Vinod Gupta’s corporate plane, to Switzerland, Hawaii, Jamaica, Mexico — $900,000 worth of travel. The former president secured a $3.3 million consulting deal with Gupta’s technology firm. His presidential library got a six-figure gift, too.
Gupta, whose big donations to the Democratic Party earned him a Lincoln Bedroom overnight when Bill Clinton was president, has emerged as a key benefactor of Clinton’s post-presidency — and Hillary Rodham Clinton‘s presidential candidacy.
Gupta’s generosity toward the Clintons has proved so controversial within his firm — a major provider of database-processing services — that it prompted a shareholder lawsuit complaining that hiring the former president was a “waste of corporate assets.”
The dispute over Gupta’s bankrolling of the Clintons offers new detail about how successfully Bill Clinton has leveraged the inner circle of donors he cultivated during his tenure in the White House to his personal financial benefit since he left office. In addition, it suggests the degree to which Hillary Clinton’s political career is also benefiting from those connections.
In the lawsuit, filed this year in Delaware, some investors in the company, InfoUSA, challenged Gupta’s decision to direct his firm to pay the former president the consulting fees for the “extremely vague purpose” of providing his “strategic growth and business judgment.”
The Clintons are not parties to the lawsuit, nor are they accused of any wrongdoing. In fact, the lawsuit refers only to a “former high-ranking government official” and his wife. But company officials, shareholders and aides to the Clintons confirmed that they are the couple in question.
The jet travel for the Clintons was charged to the company as “business development” expenses, the lawsuit said. The company jet took them to vacation spots, whisked the former president to an international conference in Geneva and to a commemorative speech in Oklahoma City, and shuttled Hillary Clinton to a campaign fundraiser in New Mexico.
The Clintons complied at the time with federal law by reimbursing Gupta for a portion of the costs for the flights Hillary Clinton took to political and other events. The Clintons do not have to reimburse InfoUSA for any of Bill Clinton’s travel, and they had to pay only the equivalent of first-class airfare for her travel, a fraction of the actual cost.
Jay Carson, a spokesman for the former president, declined to discuss the consulting arrangement. Carson described Gupta as a “longtime friend and supporter.”
Stormy Dean, InfoUSA’s chief financial officer, confirmed the flights and that payments went to Bill Clinton but said that the company believes the shareholder complaints are without merit. “Our position is that these expenses are legitimate business expenses,” he said. Gupta, who was traveling and could not be reached for comment, defended his company’s use of its corporate jet in a 2005 letter to the board of directors. “Every flight and its business reason are documented,” he wrote.
Gupta is a well-known figure in the high-tech world in India who met Bill Clinton in the mid-1990s and quickly became a generous patron. He and his company donated at least $1 million to help underwrite a lavish millennium New Year’s Eve celebration at the White House and on the Mall, and he paid the former president $200,000 to deliver a speech to InfoUSA executives in Papillion, Neb.
Gupta also gave a six-figure gift to the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, $250,000 to the former president’s global charity, and more than $220,000 to the Democratic Party during Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign. In December, Gupta gave the maximum $5,000 to the senator’s political action committee, which was helping to lay the groundwork for her 2008 presidential bid.
Gupta has enjoyed his own benefits from his relationship with the Clintons. Bill Clinton offered him two diplomatic posts — as U.S. counsel general to Bermuda and as U.S. ambassador to Fiji — that he did not take. The president appointed him to the prestigious John F. Kennedy Center Board of Trustees during his last week in office.
Both Bill and Hillary Clinton agreed to lend their names to technology schools that Gupta financed in rural India.
Gupta, who grew up in dire poverty in India, has said publicly that he relished his relationship with Bill Clinton. Crew members of InfoUSA’s 80-foot yacht “American Princess” said Gupta spoke often of the former president and placed a photo of Clinton in the boat’s living quarters. In a 2000 interview with The Washington Post, Gupta described the thrill of crawling into bed in the Lincoln Bedroom. He said he called his mother to tell her, “I’ve come a long way.”
Founded in 1972, Gupta’s firm InfoUSA is now valued at $600 million and says it provides database marketing and processing services to more than 4 million customers.
The payments to Bill Clinton and the jet travel, along with other Gupta spending, attracted the attention of dissident investors in InfoUSA in 2005. Three investor groups sued the firm in a Delaware court, alleging that the expenses were unrelated to the business.
They are Rep. Sanford Bishop-D GA, Rep. G.K. Butterfield-D. N.C., Rep. Jim Clyburn -D. S.C., Rep. Kendrick Meek-D-FL, Rep. David Scott-D Ga, Rep. Bennie Thompson D-MS.
Can someone explain this to me? Is there a delusional chorus of Negroes somewhere clamoring for a continuation of a war-without-end in Iraq? Please tell me that there is some organized grassroots effort in the black community in rural Mississippi hollering, weeping and wailing for the Iraq War to continue so that they may continue to be neglected and forgotten by the white power structure.
Please tell me that as we mourn and funeralize the daughter of a King, these six have not chosen to willfully desecrate the King family legacy by voting for this Iraqi attrocity and war crime against humanity. Please tell me that they suffered some kind of mental breakdown that could explain this.
SOMEBODY, ANYBODY, PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND THIS!
Was Dr. King not clear when he wrote, “Before it is too late, we must narrow the gaping chasm between our proclamations of peace and our lowly deeds which precipitate and perpetuate war. We are called upon to look up from the quagmire of miltary programs and defense commitments and read the warnings on history’s signposts.
One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek but a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must persue peaceful ends through peaceful means. How much longer must we play at deadly war games before we heed the plaintive pleas of the unnumbered dead and maimed of past wars?”
It is getting to the point where all of the accumulated knowlege and suffering of generations of our people is rendered useless by the persistent and baffling shuffling of a few powerful elected handkerchief heads who refuse to see reason and commonsense. All of these men have been around long enough to have experienced a taste of Uncle Sam’s tyranny.
I am truly undone by this brazen act of contempt. The only question that remains for me is whether or not “the Safe Negro,” Barack Obama, will man-up and vote No.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A procession of family and friends paid tribute Thursday to Yolanda King during a memorial service for the the oldest child of Martin Luther King Jr., and Coretta Scott King,
The noon service, scheduled to conclude at 2:30 p.m., stretched beyond fours hours as testimonies came from those who knew King as a relative, actress, classmate, and daughter of the civil rights movement.
Among the high profile mourners seated in the front pews at Ebenezer Baptist Church were, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, (D-Atlanta); the Rev. Al Sharpton, civil rights activist and talk show host; activist Dick Gregory; Attallah Shabazz, the daughter of slain civil rights leader Malcolm X and a long-time King friend; SCLC President Charles Steele; the Rev. C.T. Vivian; Juanita Abernathy, widow of the Rev. Ralph Abernathy; gospel singer Dottie Peoples; the Rev. Byron Cage and long-time King family friend Xernona Clayton.
Huge video monitors on either side of the pulpit broadcast the service as it unfolded. In the center of the pulpit, ringed with lush ferns, was a 4 foot photograph of King. In it she beamed her bright signature smile. The picture was nestled in a nest of lavender tulle and flanked on either side with sprays of peach flowers.
On the dais sat former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young; Elisabeth Omilami, daughter of King aide Hosea Williams; and Ebenezer Pastor Raphael Warnock.
At 12:29, the surviving King children filed into the sanctuary. Bernice King was first, followed by Martin King III and finally Dexter. They were accompanied by their aunt Christine King Farris; their cousin Isaac Newton Farris Jr., president and CEO of the King Center; and Bishop Eddie Long, pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.
As the service continued, Yolanda King’s cousins – the Rev. Toussaint King Hill, pastor of West Hunter Street Baptist Church and Vernon King, pastor of St. James Baptist Church in Greensboro, N.C. – read Scriptures, as the mourners shouted “Yes.”
Coca-Cola executive Ingrid Saunders Jones read a remembrance from Maya Angelou that bore Angelou’s poetic flourish. The elderly poet, who was originally slated to participate in the service, was unable to attend.
“Yolanda proved daily how it was possible to smile while wreathed in sadness,” Angelou’s statement read. She was a daughter who was “an inheritor of a national nightmare.”
Actress Cicely Tyson offered a dramatic reading of a poem urging King’s friends and loved ones not to grieve. “Do not stand by my grave and weep. For I am not there. I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamonds glinting on snow.”
Juandalynn R. Abernathy, the daughter of Ralph David and Juanita Abernathy, called King her oldest friend – meeting each other in the crib.
“I thought we would grow old together,” Abernathy said.
She spoke as though reading from a letter directly addressed to “Yoki,” Martin Luther King’s nickname for his eldest daughter. In it Abernathy recounted their days growing up together, from writing family plays in which their siblings were the stars, to collecting turtles.
The hours following Martin Luther King’s assassination were filled with tearful phone calls between the two teens. “Our friendship sustains me even today Yoki, How can I saw farewell? When we picked up the phone, it was like we picked up the conversation of those two little girls that played together.
“Our fathers took us to see “To Sir With Love.” Remember Daddy and uncle Martin went to sleep and snored through the whole movie? Those were the good old times.”
After her letter to her friend, Abernathy, a classical singer, who lives in Germany, sang a verse of “I Do Not Know How Long it Would Be.”
Elisabeth Omilami, who is also an actress, followed with a theatrical tribute also documenting their decades long friendship.
As mourners filed in, they received a 45-page program for the service. It was filled with photographs of King during happy times, documenting her journey from newborn in the arms of her parents, to her final years as an actress and director of her own production company, Higher Ground Productions.
The photographs show the access the eldest King child had to so many different worlds. In one photo she smiles with Oprah Winfrey, in another she grins with singer Stephanie Mills, in yet another she’s in conversation with President Bill Clinton. In one photo she sits next to the grandson of the man who inspired her father’s commitment to non-violent change, Mahatma Ghandi.
The program also contains acknowledgements from President George W. Bush, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and mayors Shirley Franklin (Atlanta) and Antonio Villaraigosa (Los Angeles).
In a tribute to her career as an actress, the program was divided into acts representing the stages of King’s life. On the final page is a sepia-toned family portrait of all the King children as adults surrounding their mother.
Acts Two and Three of the service featured tributes from Yolanda King’s friends from Grady High School, Smith College and her years as an actress in New York. The service, originally scheduled to conclude at 2:30 p.m., was only about half through at 2 p.m.
Those in attendance included Mayor Franklin, Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington and Joseph Lowery, former head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Lowery, walking to the sanctuary, predicted it would be a painful day for the King family, with the death of Yolanda so quickly after the death of her mother, Coretta Scott King, last year.
“These kids have been through the storm, they have weathered the storm, and they will survive,” said Lowery.
On the long line stretching outside the church, Lowery said, “This is the first family of black America, coming a year after her mother’s death people’s hearts are touched.”
Civil-rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton came to the service accompanied by two unidentified daughters of the late R&B legend, James Brown. “She was the first daughter of the civil rights movement,” Sharpton said of Yolanda King. “The Kings’ sacrifice was a family affair. That’s why we owe it to the family to be here.”
Syndicated columnist Barbara Reynolds, who’s writing a biography of Coretta Scott King, said she met with Yolanda King four days before her death to discuss her book proposal. She said King approved her proposal and helped outline some parameters for the book. “If she had not given me her instructions, it would have been impossible,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds said King said she was feeling tired. “I had no idea she had a heart issue.”
Anthony Holden, 50, Decatur, like most, said he was shocked when hearing of the death. “She’s part of our past. If it wasn’t for her family I wouldn’t be able to do what I do today,” Holden said.
Rev. Mike Jones, of Atlanta, a high school classmate of Yolanda King at Grady High School, remembered her as fun, energetic and a leader. “You could tell she had the spirit of her father,” he said. “She was relaxed and fun-loving, those were the fun days.”
He said the death of a classmate brought “a realization that we are all getting older and let’s enjoy each day.”
Cynthia Collins, 50, Snellville, brought her son, Jackson, 9, a student at Hopewell Christian Academy, to the memorial service. She said they frequently go to the King Center and attended Coretta Scott King’s funeral service. “[My son has] got it easy right now. People had to struggle so he can do what he is doing today,” Collins said.
She said she has a picture with Yolanda in 2006 at a book signing in Atlanta. The news of her death came as a shock. “I was driving down the highway and almost came to a complete stop when I heard it on the radio,” she said.
Jessica Bass, 22, of Stanford, Conn., said her parents knew Yolanda and the King family. “I was in this very place not even a year ago for her mother’s death. She’s loved and definitely will be missed,” Bass said.
Used art to further message
Yolanda King, the oldest of Martin Luther King Jr., and Coretta Scott King’s four children, died May 15 in Santa Monica, Calif. She had lived in California, most recently Culver City, for more than a decade. A private autopsy was done, but family members say that she died of heart failure.
The 51-year-old was known to have an irregular heartbeat.
As noted by her cousin Isaac Newton Farris Jr., out of all of the King children, Yolanda was the most artistic. In fact, it was her art and love for acting and performing that attracted her to California.
She appeared in several movies, throughout her career. Often small roles in civil rights themed movies. She played Rosa Parks in “King,” the television biography about her father.
In 1996, she portrayed Reena Evers, the daughter of assassinated civil rights leader Medgar Evers, in “Ghosts of Mississippi.” When roles became scarce, she started her own production company, Higher Ground Productions. With that as a base, she put on plays and toured the country as a motivational speaker.
Nicknamed “Yoki” by her father, she was also active in social causes. Most recently, after the death of her mother – who had suffered a stroke – she became the first National Ambassador for the American Stroke Association’s Power to End Stroke campaign.
On May 6, she spoke at Ebenezer Baptist Church, about the importance of African-Americans taking care of their health.
Yolanda Denise King was born Nov. 17, 1955, in Montgomery, Ala,, a few weeks before the start of the Montgomery bus boycott. Her life paralleled the civil right’s movement, When she was barely 6 weeks old, while her father was speaking at a Montgomery church, a bomb blew the porch off their home. She and her mother barely escaped injury.
Yolanda King graduated from Smith College in 1976 and received a master’s degree in fine arts from New York University in 1979.
She is survived by two brothers, Martin Luther King III and Dexter Scott King, and one sister, Bernice King.
HAT TIP: Herald Tribune NEW YORK: The city has agreed to pay $2 million (€1.48 million) to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of an unarmed teenager who was shot by police while atop a housing project.
The death of 19-year-old Timothy Stansbury in 2004 “was a tragedy, and we offer our condolences to the family,” city lawyer Ken Sasmor said Wednesday. “We believe the settlement is in the best interests of all parties and hope it will provide some small measure of comfort.”
A telephone call to the family’s attorney was not immediately returned Wednesday.
The shooting occurred while Officer Richard Neri and his partner were patrolling atop a housing project in Brooklyn. Stansbury and two friends had decided to use a roof as a shortcut to another building.
Neri’s partner pulled open a rooftop door so that Neri, his gun drawn, could peer inside for any drug suspects, police said. Stansbury startled the officers by appearing at the door and moving toward Neri, who responded with one shot he claimed he fired by accident.
Though Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the shooting appeared to be unjustified, a grand jury declined to indict Neri.
Kelly later suspended Neri for 30 days without pay and permanently stripped him of his weapon. The victim’s mother said the 30-day suspension was too light a punishment.
Thursday, May 24th at 12:00 noon
Ebenezer Baptist Church
407 Auburn Avenue NE
Atlanta, GA 30312
Send Flowers to:
The King Center
449 Auburn Avenue NE
Atlanta, GA 30312-9817
Hotel Accommodations Under
Yolanda King Memorial, $69/night:
Hyatt Regency Atlanta
65 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30303
LOS ANGELES SERVICES:
Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 7:00pm
Faithful Central Bible Church
321 N. Eucalyptus Avenue
Inglewood, CA 90301
Send Flowers to:
Faithful Central Bible Church Office
333 West Florence Avenue
Inglewood, CA 90301
Hotel Accommodations Under
Yolanda King Memorial:
Radisson Hotel Los Angeles Airport
6225 West Century Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Sheraton Gateway Hotel Los Angeles Airport $99 / night Wed-Sun
6101 West Century Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin
Franklin twice received bags of drug money — one containing $25,000, the other $20,000 — at the direction of her former husband, Tremayne Graham, one of his co-defendants testified. In addition, another defendant said, Franklin received portions of $150,000 in drug money invested in an airport concessions company run by her father, the mayor’s former husband.
The allegations surfaced at an April 17 hearing in U.S. District Court in Greenville, S.C., at which a judge sentenced Graham to life in prison. Graham, 33, admitted his role in shipping at least 1,000 kilograms of Mexican cocaine from Los Angeles to Atlanta and South Carolina.
Federal agents said in court that they have established a paper trail of cash transfers from Graham to Franklin in the seven months that he was a fugitive from drug charges.
Franklin divorced Graham in 2005. Efforts to reach her in recent days were unsuccessful. Her lawyer, James Dearing, said she would have no comment.
Authorities have filed no charges against Franklin, nor have they presented all the evidence that might incriminate her. Much of the testimony concerning her came from defendants in the drug case, who cooperated with investigators in exchange for lighter sentences.
But the sentencing transcript and other court documents reveal the extent to which Franklin is implicated in the drug case.
An Internal Revenue Service agent testified that both the IRS and the U.S. attorney in South Carolina are investigating Kai Franklin for alleged money laundering.
And Mark Moore, an assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted Graham, gave a judge a broad outline of Franklin’s possible involvement:
“Her husband is a fugitive. OK? She knows where he is. She isn’t telling law enforcement where he is. And, in fact, what she is doing is taking dope money from him while she knows he is a fugitive. … Taking money from a drug dealer that you know or suspect to be drug proceeds is money laundering.”
Federal officials said this week they could not comment on the status of the investigation.
Prosecutors alleged that Graham lied when he told federal agents that Franklin was not involved in his drug business — partly to protect her, but also to minimize his own culpability.
Moore told a judge that Franklin “may have very critical information” about Graham’s connections to the killings of another defendant and that man’s girlfriend in Atlanta three years ago. Prosecutors allege Graham ordered the killings of Ulysses Hackett III and Misty Denise Carter. No one has been charged in the double homicide.
A co-defendant testified that Graham told him shortly after the killing that he planned to move into the mayor’s house to deflect suspicion from himself by making it appear he feared for his life.
Aides to the mayor would not answer questions about whether Graham actually went to her house or, if he did, for how long or if his wife accompanied him.
The mayor would not discuss the case in detail.
“I ran for mayor — none of my children did,” she said last week. “They are subject [to] the law, as they should be. They are expected to live their lives accordingly.”
In court last month, one of Graham’s lawyers said some of the money Graham sent Kai Franklin came from gambling winnings. The lawyer, Jessica Salvini, acknowledged Graham had told federal agents that his wife had seen him with as much as $60,000 or $70,000 in cash. But Salvini said Graham had not told Franklin he was a drug dealer.
Federal authorities allege that Graham was a key member of a drug ring called the Sin City Mafia. Authorities also allege that the money Graham sent Franklin came from his drug business, and that she had to have known that.
Franklin and Graham remained in regular contact, even after he skipped bond and she filed for divorce, citing abandonment, according to testimony at his sentencing hearing. Two of Graham’s co-defendants testified that he sent drug money to Franklin while he was a fugitive.
Eric Rivera, who received a 40-month sentence, testified that Graham told him to take $25,000 in cash to his Cobb County house, where Franklin was then living alone. Graham gave him a security code to enter the residence, Rivera testified, and he left the cash on the stairs.
Another time, Rivera said, he put $20,000 of drug money in a duffel bag at Graham’s instruction and waited outside his Atlanta hotel for Kai Franklin. When she arrived, he testified, he put the money in the back seat of her Lincoln Navigator and she drove away.
Graham allegedly funneled more money to Franklin through her father’s airport concessions business.
Scott King, who was Graham’s partner in the drug business, testified that Graham invested $150,000 of their money in David Franklin’s Atlanta-based company, Franklin and Wilson Airport Concessions Inc.
King, who has been sentenced to 24 years in prison, said he expected to regularly receive checks from Franklin and Wilson, giving the impression that he had legitimate income. Instead, he testified, the company sent a check each month only to Kai Franklin.
Prosecutors did not establish in court when the alleged payments were made or how much of the $150,000 ended up with Kai Franklin.
David Franklin said Tuesday the investment “never happened. I wouldn’t let strangers put any money in.”
Franklin’s company operates three retail outlets at the city-owned Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The firm’s contracts are approved by the City Council, but the mayor has said she played no role in selecting the company. The couple divorced in 1986.
Kai Franklin made no mention of payments from her father’s company when she filed for bankruptcy in March 2005.
In court papers, she said her only income was $2,000 a month in unspecified “family contributions.”
She listed debts of more than $300,000, not counting the mortgage on a house in Cobb County. She said she had just $1,250 in the bank, $250 in cash and jewelry worth $10,000.
Witnesses at her former husband’s sentencing contradicted her claims, however.
King said Franklin routinely sent bills to Graham while he was a fugitive. Graham, King said, paid them through postal money orders. IRS Agent Wayne Wright testified that federal agents obtained about 60 such money orders that paid credit card and mortgage bills for Graham and Franklin. Wright said Franklin bought the money orders in a “structured fashion.”
“There were multiple money orders that were purchased either at multiple post offices in Atlanta on the same day or … in the same post office on the same day at different lines,” Wright testified.
He said each money order was issued for less than $3,000. That amount triggers federal reporting requirements intended to detect illicit transactions.
The “structuring,” Wright said, “could be an offense in and of itself. … It’s also an indicator of money laundering.”
Franklin used money from Graham to make payments on two Porsche sports utility vehicles while he was a fugitive, witnesses said.
Both cars ended up in the hands of a Detroit-based drug gang, the Black Mafia Family, court records show. Prosecutors said the gang had invested in a luxury auto dealership, 404 Motorsports, that Graham ran on Cheshire Bridge Road.
Moore, the prosecutor, asked Wright, the IRS agent: “Would it be hard for [Franklin] to deny that perhaps she was aware that the source of the money was drug dealing when, at that point, her husband was indicted for drug dealing and was a fugitive from law enforcement?”
Wright answered, “That is correct.”
|May 23, 2007|
|Twenty-six members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) have signed letters to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) urging them to reconsider their decisions to skip a debate cosponsored by the CBC Institute and Fox News.
Last month, under pressure from liberal activists, Obama, Clinton and Edwards, the front-runners in the Democratic presidential primary, announced that they would skip the debate scheduled for September because they consider Fox biased against Democrats.
Obama in particular has had a rocky relationship with Fox. His campaign froze out the conservative-leaning news network for a few weeks after it erroneously reported that Obama had received schooling at a radical madrassa — a Muslim school — during his youth in Indonesia.
Members of the Black Caucus say that by skipping the Fox debate, Obama and other candidates risk missing a chance to share their views on issues important to minority voters that are often given short shrift at other debates.
Black Caucus leaders sent the letter to the entire field of Democratic presidential candidates, but the primary targets were Obama, Clinton and Edwards.
The caucus has 43 members from 22 states, who together represent about 40 million Americans, an official with the group said. Seventeen members of the Black Caucus represent districts that are less than 50 percent African-American, said caucus Chairwoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Mich.), who argued that the issues at the debate will also be of interest to other minority constituencies, such as Hispanics.
“It’s not just a black thing,” Kilpatrick said.
Thompson said presidential debates often ignore issues that are important to minority voters.
“Nobody is talking about the disproportionate statistics that we have in this country as it relates to minority population,” Thompson said. “You can look at healthcare, you can look at education, you can look at employment, you can look at housing, you can look at lending. All those [statistics] show a very bad picture for many constituents we represent.
“So we think Democratic and Republican candidates alike should have an opportunity to say what they plan to [do to] level the playing field,” he added.
By framing their decision to skip the debate as a missed opportunity to communicate to an important Democratic constituency, caucus leaders are ratcheting up the political pressure on the Democratic front-runners.
Thompson said that the CBC Institute, not Fox, would set the debate format and select the questions to be asked. He said Fox merely will broadcast the event.
So far, liberal opinion leaders have praised the Democrats’ decision to snub Fox.
Left-leaning columnist E.J. Dionne wrote last month that Democrats were well within their rights.
“Tell me again: Why do Democrats have an obligation to participate in debates on Fox?” Dionne wrote. “I am an avid reader of conservative magazines such as National Review and the Weekly Standard. But if these two publications teamed up to sponsor a Democratic debate, would anyone accuse Edwards, Obama and Clinton of ‘blacklisting’ if the candidates said, ‘no thanks’?”
The pressure may be particularly acute for Obama, who is a member of the Black Caucus. Obama has irked fellow CBC members by failing to respond to a request made early last year that he host a fundraiser for the Black Caucus’s political action committee (PAC). Clinton received a similar invitation and quickly followed through by headlining a CBC PAC fundraiser in March of 2006.
If Obama were to change his mind and attend the debate, it would put pressure on Edwards and Clinton to follow suit. Otherwise, it might look as though they were snubbing African-American voters, an important bloc of the Democratic electorate. For instance, in South Carolina, which will hold the country’s second presidential primary, black voters are expected to make up nearly half of Democratic voters.
The 26 Black Caucus members who signed the letter wrote that they strongly support the debate sponsored by the CBC Institute and Fox. The signatories emphasized that the Black Caucus is separate and distinct from the CBC Institute, but their very action also illustrated the close affinity between the two groups. Four caucus members sit on the institute’s board: Thompson, Kilpatrick, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.).
Thompson and Kilpatrick noted that when the CBC Institute asked cable news networks to air presidential debates it hosted in 2003, only Fox responded. They said the debates drew impressive ratings.
Thompson said loyalty is a factor in the CBC Institute’s decision to stick with Fox. In total, the institute plans to host four presidential debates, two for Democratic candidates and two for Republican candidates. Fox and CNN will split the broadcasting evenly.
“Given the importance that African-Americans and others hear from you on your position on critical issues that affect their lives and the country, we urge your participation,” a Democratic source who described the letter’s conclusion said.
But the debate is not without controversy in the black political community.
“I think what we have are candidates who understand that Fox is a propaganda outlet and not an appropriate place for political discourse to be treated as news,” said James Rucker, the executive director of ColorOfChange.org, who applauded Obama, Clinton and Edwards for skipping the debate. ColorOfChange.org describes itself as an online community of 90,000 Americans dedicated to amplifying the voice of Black America.