Michigan State Senator Hansen Clarke, according to his facebook page, is gathering volunteers and gearing up to challenge Michigan Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, the mother of scandal plagued former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. It is my contention that Mrs. Kilpatrick is in serious danger of losing her seat in the August Primary.
The former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus is facing a formidable challenger. Clarke, 52, a biracial brotha of East Indian and African American descent, is a gifted, low-key politician with a progressive record of achievement in the Michigan Legislature. Clarke sponsored legislation to impose a two-year moratorium on foreclosures that disproportionately plague black and brown communities. Moreover, he introduced a bill to expand hate crimes laws to protect those targeted on the basis of sexual orientation or gender expression. Clarke challenged Kwame for Mayor in 2005 and made a brief run for Governor this year before he ended his candidacy. This is a race he can win. If he goes forward and files, and has the field all to himself, the odds are heavily in his favor.
If you live in Chicago and notice several melanin challenged folks sitting in unmarked cars outside the homes of Jesse Jackson Jr or Danny Davis, drop a brotha a line.
Yesterday, after a 90 minute meeting with Governor Rod “Soprano” Blagojevich about the Senate Appointment, Jesse Jr. had this to say:
I am convinced that the Governor has a very thoughtful process that he has put in place and is wrestling and weighing a number of issues in this enormous decision that he has to make…Today, I leave confident that the Governor has put in place processes and that his interview process for this position is thoughtful.
Today, about 6:00 in the A.M., the Feds arrested the Governor for his so-called “thoughtful process” of extortion and my head exploded as I thought “Lord, what has Jesse Jr. done.”
Reacting yesterday to reports of a federal wiretap, Governor Soprano said, “It kind of smells of Nixon and Watergate.” Indeed.
You just can’t make this s*it up.
The more one reads about Blagojevich, the more he resembles the fictional Tony Soprano who masquerades as a legitmate businessman while surreptitiously running a major crime family. Blagojevich is nothing more than a common criminal and his delusional meltdown into a mobster masquerading as a legitimate politician is as disturbing as it is comical. Blagojevich makes Kwame Kilpatrick and Bill Jefferson look like statesmen.
Not to be outdone by Jesse Jr, Congressman Danny Davis has also been publicly campaigning for this seat and Governor Soprano had this to say after slipping and calling Davis “Senator.”
Congressman Davis is a very good person. He and I have worked together in Congress, and I know the kind of man he is. I know that he is a good, decent man, and you don’t find a lot of that in politics…I’m breaking my rules about speculating on a candidate, but Congressman Davis is here, and I can tell you he’s certainly a strong candidate for the position.
Gawd help us.
Witnessing the minstrel show put on by two senior members of the Congressional Black Caucus shamelessly kissing up to an ethically challenged Governor under federal investigation is yet another black eye for the CBC and a clear sign of their complete bankruptcy as a progressive black institution.
First, Davis and Jackson join a majority of the CBC to sell out the black community at Obama’s request by supporting the bailout of Wall Street over Main Street, and now this.
The President-Elect has feigned ignorance of this matter, but reading the criminal complaint against Blagojevich and the manner in which everyone who approached Governor Soprano was shaken down, it seems implausible to this Skeptical Brotha that word of the Governor’ outrageous extortion didn’t make it’s way back through the grapevine to Barack Obama.
Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn has obviously called on Blagojevich, with whom he has had no communication since 2007, to step down. It is time for the President-Elect to do the same.
Detroit’s infamous Kilpatrick Dynasty faces a test today as Michigan voters go to the polls to select nominees for the fall general election. Amid the light turnout, apathy and summer malaise, the Dynasty’s continued existence as a national power remains unclear. A poll last week by the Detroit News indicates Mrs. Kilpatrick, the Mayor’s mother and enabler, has a large disapproval rating and only the support of a third of the electorate. If her challengers ultimately fail It wasn’t for lack of trying. Former state Representative Mary Waters and State Senator Martha Scott did the best they could in the short time that they had to shed some light on the shady dealings of Detroit’s first family of sleaze and hold them accountable.
THE FAMILY THAT PREYS TOGETHER, STAYS TOGETHER
In the aftermath of the massive firestorm that erupted when Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was found to have lied under oath in connection with illegally firing several police officers on his security detail and a deputy police chief to cover up his infidelity with his Chief of Staff Christine Beatty, other questionable acts of abuse of power and malfeasance came to light. No matter the allegation alleged: perjury, obstruction of justice, misappropriation of public funds, nepotism, questionable no-bid contracts, and even murder, the Kilpatricks remain unified in their efforts to maintain a stranglehold on power.
TAMARA GREENE-CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT MURDER?
A $150 million dollar lawsuit was filed this spring by Jonathan Bond and his Father, Ernest Flagg against the City of Detroit and Kwame Kilpatrick in the unresolved death of stripper Tamara Greene, 27, who was gunned down in a hail of bullets after allegedly providing the “entertainment” at a never-proven party at Mannoogian Mansion sometime in the fall of 2002. What was believed to be an urban legend has proven to have some legitimacy after a retired clerical employee of the police department came forward to say that she had seen the police report in the incident and a police officer came forward to allege that he believed Ms. Greene was deliberately killed by law enforcement at the behest of the Mayor and that they covered it up.
BERNARD KILPATRICK-THE GODFATHER
The Mayor’s father and Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick’s ex-husband were Wayne County’s premier Black power couple back in the day when she was a member of the Michigan House of Representatives and he served on the Wayne County Board of Commissioners. Despite the dissolution of their union, they remain close to this day and their joint project, Kwame, is the apple of their eyes. Mr. Bernard used to eclipse his ex-wife in power and prestige before her election to congress due to his long service as Chief of Staff and Deputy to the Wayne County Executive .
I believe that it was he, more than any other single individual, that led to former County Executive Ed McNamara’s pivotal endorsement of Kwame’s bid for Mayor. McNamara’s endorsement was crucial to almost everyone in statewide politics and guided many high profile elected officials, like Governor Jennifer Granholm, to victory.
Carolyn Kilpatrick has been a vocal booster of her son’s political career, no matter her sons failings as a public servant, husband and father. She serves as the more public face of the dynasty, but I believe that Mr. Bernard’s quiet counsel is the more influential because he seems to be the offstage presence directing Kwame’s disastrous Mayoralty from behind the scenes.
After his 2002 retirement from the Wayne County Executive’s office, Mr. Bernard opened a lobbying firm he named Maestro Associates LLC in honor of his late father, James Kilpatrick, who was called “Maestro”and was eulogized as “the conductor of the family.” I believe those duties have fallen to Mr. Bernard now and his advice and counsel have run his son and protege, and the city of Detroit, off the rails.
Maestro Associates, according to published reports, “provide(s) information to help businesses work with the state, county and local governments. Mr. Bernard told the media that “When you’re working in government for 20 years, you get ideas on how to help businesses grow.” It is clear that federal investigators believe that some of those ideas include a pay-to-play mentality in government contracting.
The Mayor’s campaign finance records show he paid more than $170,000 for “consulting” services to Michael Tardiff and Mr. Bernard. Again, according to published reports, the Feds bum rushed Tardiff to detail the relationship between Mr. Bernard and Synagro minority subcontractor, Rayford Johnson. It isn’t clear what Kwame is paying daddy for.
However, what is clear is that Synargro Technology, through its minority subcontractor, Rayford Jackson, funneled a series of campaign contributions to most of the Detroit City Council in what seems to be a not-to-slick effort to smooth the path of approval for their multi-billion dollar deal. Jackson, who Mr. Bernard acknowleges knowing, isn’t cooperating with federal investigators.
Mr. Bernard is also implicated in another investigation involving criminal tax evasion and fraud. Jon Rutherford, head of a Detroit homeless shelter, paid Mr. Bernard in excess of $100,000 for work federal investigators can find no evidence of. Rutherford was indicted in 2006 “for diverting money from his company to make $750,000 in illegal campaign contributions and dodging taxes on $2 million in income.”
Rutherford contributed to both Kwame’s campaign’s and that of Governor Granholm, who state law has invested with the authority to remove Kilpatrick from office for misconduct. She is currently considering the request from Detroit’s city council to remove the mayor from office.
According to the Associated Press, “The county’s state-court lawsuit against Rutherford and his treasurer and co-defendant Judith Bugaiski says they embezzled and stole. Rutherford and Bugaiski have pleaded not guilty in the criminal case and deny wrongdoing in the civil case.” Rutherford’s company had a $22.7 million dollar contract with the Detroit-Wayne County Mental Health Agency, an organization that Mr. Bernard was appointed to Chair by his son the Mayor. Mr. Bernard was subpoenaed in the case but asserted his 5th Amendment rights.
Lost in the shuffle for lucrative contracts and consulting fees are the homeless and mentally ill that the agency is supposed to serve and the taxpayers of Detroit.
Among those Kwame hired are his uncle Ray Cheeks, at a salary of $89,000. Mr. Cheeks managed the neighborhood city halls and apparently was oblivious or looked the other way while his deputy misappropriated $146,000. Mr. Cheeks subsequently left the job and was promoted to executive assistant to the mayor at a salary of $93,000. To the vacant position, Kwame appointed another relative, his cousin Akua Bragg-Porter. Not content to stop there, he hired his cousin and Mr. Cheeks’ daughter Nneka as an assistant to the Mayor making $50,500. She, too, was subsequently promoted to the position of executive assistant to the mayor and received a boost to $62,025.
Both Mr. Cheeks and his daughter reported on resumes obtained by the Detroit Free Press that they exaggerated their educations. Mr. Cheeks reported that he had graduated from Western Michigan State and his daughter reported that she had attended Michigan State. Neither claim was substantiated upon further investigation. During this entire period, regular rank and file city employees received 2% raises in 2003 and 2004.
AYANNA AND CARLITA KILPATRICK’s Next Vision Foundation Hustle
The Mayor’s Sister is President and CEO of the Next Vision Foundation, a fraudulent scholarship and piggy bank slush fund supposedly dedicated to the children in Detroit’s dismal public schools. According to a class action lawsuit filed against the foundation, more than half of the $717,000 raised in 2002 and 2003 went to pay for the salary of the President and CEO. Not to be left out, Mrs. Carlita Kilpatrick, the mayors wife, got her slice of the pie as a part-time event planner.
According to the attorney filing the lawsuit. “They took money from a scholarship fund that was purported to be given money to high school students for their education and gave it to themselves for salaries. We see that as really a breach of trust on the Detroit students. We believe that that money should be reimbursed by Kwame Kilpatrick to the Detroit school students.”
FACING THE MUSIC
The enormous sense of entitlement and the shameless corruption of the Kilpatrick family is evident in Carolyn Kilpatrick’s continued defense of her son’s indefensible behavior. The fact that she is the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus is even more embarrassing. It is my sincere prayer that voters send this family a message that public officials shouldn’t be for sale and that honesty and the public good still mean something.
A federal grand jury indicted New Orleans tax assessor Betty Jefferson, her brother, Mose Jefferson, and her daughter, Angela Coleman, on charges that include federal program fraud, identity theft and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said the family members used several non-profit and for-profit companies to obtain grants designed to help pregnant teens, at-risk youths and others in need of assistance. They allegedly deposited some of the grant money into personal checking accounts and used it for personal expenses.
With Wednesday’s indictment, four members of the politically prominent Jefferson family now face federal criminal charges.
Mose Jefferson, 66, pleaded not guilty in April to separate charges that he paid bribes to a former New Orleans school board president.
Wednesday’s indictment also charges Betty Jefferson, 70, with four counts of tax evasion. She faces up to 279 years in prison. The grand jury also charged Mose Jefferson with making false statements to federal investigators. He faces up to 250 years in prison, while Coleman faces a maximum of 257 years behind bars.
Wesley Snipes was sentenced to three years in prison on tax charges Thursday, a victory for prosecutors who sought to make an example of the action star by aggressively pursuing the maximum penalty.Snipes’ lawyers had spent much of the day in court offering dozens of letters from family members, friends even fellow actors Woody Harrelson and Denzel Washington attesting to the good character of the “Blade” star and asking for leniency.
They argued he should get only probation because his three convictions were all misdemeanors and the actor had no previous criminal record. But U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges said Snipes exhibited a “history of contempt over a period of time” for U.S. tax laws, and granted prosecutors the three year sentence they requested one year for each of Snipes’ convictions of willfully failing to file a tax return. “In my mind these are serious crimes, albeit misdemeanors,” Hodges said.
Snipes apologized while reading from a written statement for his “costly mistakes,” but never mentioned the word taxes.“I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance,” Snipes said.
Snipes said his wealth and celebrity attracted “wolves and jackals like flies are attracted to meat.” He called himself “well-intentioned, but miseducated.”
Snipes was the highest-profile criminal tax target in years, and prosecutors called for a heavy sentence to deter others from trying to obstruct the IRS. The government alleged Snipes made at least $13.8 million for the years in question and owed $2.7 million in back taxes.
Snipes was acquitted in February of five additional charges, including felony tax fraud and conspiracy. Snipes’ co-defendants, Douglas P. Rosile and Eddie Ray Kahn, were convicted on both those counts. Kahn, who refused to defend himself in court, was sentenced to 10 years, while Rosile received 54 months. Both will serve three years of supervised release. Snipes will serve one year of supervised release.
Snipes and Rosile remain free and will be notified when they are to surrender to authorities.
Gov. Eliot Spitzer, reeling from revelations that he had been a client of a prostitution ring, announced his resignation today, becoming the first governor of New York to be forced from office in nearly a century.
Mr. Spitzer, appearing somber and with his wife at his side, said his resignation is to be effective Monday, and that Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson would be sworn in to replace him.
“I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me,” he said. “To every New Yorker, and to all those who believed in what I tried to stand for, I sincerely apologize.”
“Over the course of my public life, I have insisted — I believe correctly — that people regardless of their position or power take responsibility for their conduct,” he added. “I can and will ask no less of myself. For this reason, I am resigning from the office of governor.”
Mr. Spitzer is the first governor of New York to resign from office since 1973, when Nelson A. Rockefeller stepped down to devote himself to a policy group, and the first to be forced from office since William Sulzer was impeached and removed from his post in 1913 in a scandal over campaign contribution fraud.
In his brief statement at his headquarters in Manhattan, Mr. Spitzer thanked his family for offering support and compassion, and said he had spent the last several days atoning for his personal failings.
Mr. Spitzer ended his speech by saying he would leave politics, and then departed quickly without taking questions.
“As I leave public life, I will first do what I need to do to help and heal myself and my family,” he said. “Then I will try once again, outside of politics, to serve the common good and to move toward the ideals and solutions which I believe can build a future of hope and opportunity for us and for our children.”
Since issuing an initial apology on Monday, Mr. Spitzer had been holed up at his apartment at Fifth Avenue and 79th Street in Manhattan, where his aides said he had been engaged in an intense legal and family debate about whether to resign or, as his wife was urging, to stay on.
Mr. Spitzer emerged finally at about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday with his wife by his side and got into a black S.U.V., which headed for his headquarters on Third Avenue as news helicopters followed above.
On Tuesday, as Mr. Spitzer, a first-term Democrat, contemplated his next move, the New York political world remained in a suspended state, with cries — even from fellow Democrats — growing louder for him to step down.
In one of the last and desperate rounds of the end game, a top Spitzer administration official reached out to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s staff on Tuesday to see if the governor could avoid an impeachment vote. But the prospects were grim.
Republicans had pledged to try to have Mr. Spitzer impeached and only 34 of the more than 100 Democrats in the Assembly would be needed for the matter to be referred to the Senate for an impeachment trial. It was clear during the discussions that 34 or more Democrats were almost certain to vote against the governor.
That outcome would have been a dire for the governor, because his top political rival, Senate majority leader Joseph L. Bruno, leads the Senate, where a trial would have been held.
“An impeachment proceeding would force Democrats to either abandon him or defend him,” said one leading Democrat. “They would abandon him.”
Sheldon Silver, the Assembly speaker, said Tuesday that Mr. Spitzer should do “what’s best for his family,” but stopped short of calling on the governor to step down. “It is now up to the governor to make a determination that’s best for his family. I pray for his children.” When asked what Mr. Silver thought was best for the Spitzer family, he did not respond.
Mr. Silver offered a few details of his conversation with Mr. Spitzer on Tuesday afternoon before the governor briefly spoke to the public. “I said to him then and I say it now, he’s got to take care of his family first and be concerned about them. I told him that we will carry on in the legislative process that moves the budget forward. We intend to pass our budget tomorrow. I hope the Senate will do the same.”
Mr. Paterson said on Tuesday that he had not heard from Mr. Spitzer since about noon on Monday, and did not know whether he would soon be sworn in as the state’s 55th governor.
“The governor called me yesterday,” said Mr. Paterson, who was driven to the Capitol on Tuesday and pondered going inside before deciding to avoid the swarm of journalists. “He said he didn’t resign for a number of reasons, and he didn’t go into the reasons, and that’s the last I’ve heard from him.”
Asked whether preparations for a transition were under way, the lieutenant governor said: “No one has talked to me about his resignation, and no one has talked to me about a transition.”
At a televised news conference on Wednesday morning, Mr. Bruno, the Senate majority leader who would become the lieutenant governor if Mr. Paterson replaces Mr. Spitzer, told reporters that he had not spoken with Mr. Spitzer or any of his top aides about the impending resignation.
“No one has contacted me officially,” he said. “We are following the reports as you are. But in the meantime, I am staying with our plan to pass a budget, talk to the speaker, and we’re going to go public in a real way on Monday.”
Mr. Bruno, a Republican who clashed frequently with Mr. Spitzer, said he was praying for the governor and his family and urged all New Yorkers to do so as well.
On Tuesday, Mr. Spitzer cut himself off from all but the most senior members of his staff. His lawyer, Michele Hirschman, was reaching out to federal prosecutors to try to strike a deal in hopes of avoiding charges.
Close aides to the governor suggested on Tuesday that the mood in the Spitzer home was tense, with the governor’s wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, recommending that he not step down, but they cautioned that the situation could change at any time.
The revelation of Mr. Spitzer’s involvement with the high-end prostitution ring gripped the nation, and more than 70 reporters and photographers clustered outside the governor’s Upper East Side high-rise on Tuesday, separated from the building by a metal barricade erected by the police.
Three helicopters whirred overhead as tourists atop passing double-decker buses snapped pictures of the scene.
Mr. Spitzer’s patronage of the prostitution agency, Emperor’s Club V.I.P., came to light after prosecutors charged four people with operating the service. They said the governor was intercepted on a federal wiretap arranging payments and an encounter with a prostitute in a Washington hotel room last month. The affidavit referred to a Client 9 and did not identify Mr. Spitzer by name, but law enforcement officials said that Client 9 was the governor.
Investigators reviewing the scope of Mr. Spitzer’s involvement with prostitutes said on Tuesday that just in the past year he had had more than a half-dozen meetings with them and had paid tens of thousands of dollars to the ring, one law enforcement official said.
A person with knowledge of the service’s operations said that Mr. Spitzer had begun meeting with the prostitutes of the Emperor’s Club about eight months ago and had had encounters in Dallas as well as Washington.
A law enforcement official said Mr. Spitzer also had an encounter with a prostitute in Florida. On some trips of several days’ duration, Mr. Spitzer scheduled more than one visit with a prostitute, this person said.
Destroyed by hubris and drowning in a tsunami of hypocrisy, the political career and power so craved by Eliot Spitzer slips away into the ether never to be seen again. Into the den of lions steps David Paterson, New York State’s Lieutenant Governor and the first African American and first blind man to hold that position.
On the eve of his inauguration as New York State’s 55th Governor, David Paterson should consider the blueprint of his tri-state neighbor, M. Jodi Rell, Governor of Connecticut.Mrs. Rell was the longtime and longsuffering sidekick to the corrupt Republican megalomaniac, John Rowland, a three term governor. He went to prison having taken kickbacks from contractors doing business with the state.
Mrs. Rell moved quickly and decisively to distance herself from the former governor by endorsing an ethics package of reforms that banned campaign contributions from lobbyists and provided public financing for campaigns.Paterson, if he is smart, will do the same.Governor Spitzer championed limited ethics reform legislation.The crisis will allow Patterson to go much further.
Mrs. Rell established her integrity from the jump, and she gave excellent inaugural and state of the state addresses that branded her as an honest leader worthy of the people’s trust. Moreover, she extended her hand to the other party in a gesture of bipartisanship that won kudos from all. Her approval ratings are the highest on record for a Connecticut governor and she was re-elected in 2006 by a landslide majority.
Paterson, a former State Senator for two decades and Minority Leader of the New York State Senate, is no lightweight.A scion of a political family, his father, Basil Paterson, was a former New York Secretary of State and his son’s predecessor in the New York State Senate. He is well qualified to assume power.Nevertheless, it won’t stop his successor as Lt. Governor, Republican Joe Bruno and a host of others: Mike Bloomberg, Rudy Giuliani, and Andrew Cuomo from trying to knock over a blind man and take his throne.
The Republicans smell blood and are in a feeding frenzy as they consume the carcass of Eliot Spitzer like Sharks on chum.Once he is completely devoured, they’ll start in on Patterson.If Paterson doesn’t move decisively to assert his power and control, he’ll meet the same fate.
One way he could stake out some independence is by abandoning his support of Hillary Clinton. Surely he understands that if he wishes to seek re-election, he must do so with the unanimous support of African Americans.One way to reach blackfolks is by cutting the Empress of Triangulation loose in favor of the man who will be King.
As of this posting, word still hadn’t come from the Governor about a decision regarding resignation. Paterson should use my favorite Jamie Foxx line in “RAY.” Responding to his angry mistress who demanded that he leave his wife for her, Ray says, “You knew what it was before you got into it.” If Paterson still don’t get the answer he wants to hear, he should do as Ray did when a promoter tried to short him on his money: come across the table and whoop dat azz.
Man up. Issue a statement calling for him to resign and take what’s yours. He was man enough to leave the state in your hands to do his ho in peace, why can’t he leave for good, now?
NEW YORK – New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer told senior members of his administration that he was involved in a prostitution ring.
The governor met with his senior aides earlier Monday afternoon after cancelling scheduled events for Monday. The governor may be linked to the prostitution ring through cell phone records, sources told WNBC.com.
Spitzer is expected to make an announcement Monday afternoon.
Spitzer, 48, is married and has three daughters.
Last week, federal prosecutors in Manhattan filed conspiracy charges against four people accusing them of running a prostitution ring that charged wealthy clients in Europe and the U.S. thousands of dollars for prostitutes.
The Web site of the Emperors Club VIP displays photographs of the prostitutes’ bodies, with their faces hidden, along with hourly rates depending on whether the prostitutes were rated with one diamond, the lowest ranking, or seven diamonds, the highest. The most highly ranked prostitutes cost $5,500 an hour, prosecutors said.
Spitzer has built his political legacy on rooting out corruption, including several headline-making battles with Wall Street while serving as attorney general. He stormed into the governor’s office in 2006 with a historic share of the vote, vowing to continue his no-nonsense approach to fixing one of the nation’s worst governments.
Time magazine had named him “Crusader of the Year” when he was attorney general and the tabloids proclaimed him “Eliot Ness.”
But his stint as governor has been marred by several problems, including an unpopular plan to grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants and a plot by his aides to smear Spitzer’s main Republican nemesis.
Spitzer had been expected to testify to the state Public Integrity Commission he had created to answer for his role in the scandal, in which his aides are accused of misusing state police to compile travel records to embarrass Senate Republican leader Joseph Bruno.
ADDENDUM: The Governor made a statement a few moments ago in which he did not utter the magic words. “I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public to whom I promised better.”
“I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself. I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family.”
Before the night is over, New York State might have an African American Governor. Fox News is reporting that the Governor will submit his resignation to the New York State Assembly tonight.
Copying front runner Mike Huckabee and sinking in national polls like a stone, a desperate Rudy Giuliani came out with his own holiday ad to deceive and reassure gullible Republicans.
Rudy: There a many things I wish for this Holiday Season.I wish for peace with strength, secure borders, a government that spends less than it takes in, lower taxes for our business and families, and I really hope that all the presidential candidates can just get along.
Santa:Ho, Ho, Ho, I was with ya right up until that last one.
Rudy:Can’t have everything.I’m Rudy Giuliani and I approved this message. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.
This is the parody ad I would have him release.
Rudy:There are many things I wish for this Holiday Season.I wish for another 9/11 to scare the American people into voting for me, a government that spies on its own people, huge tax loopholes for the rich, and I really hope that before Bernie Kerik goes to jail, his mob friends will help me rub out the smug prick with perfect hair, Mitt Romney.
Greenville, S.C. —- In November 2004, Kai Franklin Graham’s life was unraveling.
Her husband of three years was a fugitive from justice, charged with operating a transcontinental drug-trafficking ring. One of his co-defendants —- a potential witness against him —- had been shot to death. Federal agents had searched the Grahams’ $650,000 house in suburban Atlanta. And the mortgage was due.
One day, about two weeks after her husband had fled to California, the oldest of Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin’s three children traveled to seven post offices. At each, she bought two $1,000 money orders, a total of $14,000 that she used for house payments. She paid cash.
The money, federal prosecutors said here Monday, came from drug dealing. And the transactions, Franklin Graham admitted to a judge, were designed to evade government reporting requirements that help authorities spot money laundering.
With her mother watching, Franklin Graham, 35, pleaded guilty Monday in a federal courtroom to a single charge of illegally structuring a financial transaction.
“Are you pleading guilty because you are guilty?” U.S. District Judge Henry M. Herlong Jr. asked her.
“Yes, sir,” she said.
Franklin Graham is likely to avoid jail time; her plea agreement calls for her to serve three months of home confinement, followed by three years of probation.
However, “she has to be fully and completely truthful” with federal investigators, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Moore said.
Otherwise, she could be sentenced to as much as five years in prison and be fined up to $250,000. Herlong is expected to sentence her in 60 to 90 days.
Authorities will ask Franklin Graham about a double homicide in Atlanta that is linked to her former husband, Tremayne Graham, 34.
Graham, whom she divorced in 2005, pleaded guilty to drug charges in 2006. He is serving a life sentence in a high-security federal prison in Kentucky.
Prosecutors have alleged that he ordered the killings of Ulysses Hackett III and his girlfriend, Misty Denise Carter. They were shot to death in Carter’s Virginia-Highland townhouse on Sept. 5, 2004. Hackett was thought to have incriminating evidence against Graham. Atlanta police never solved the case.
Franklin Graham will be asked to disclose what she knows about the killings and other matters, and might have to pass a lie-detector examination.
“We’re going to ask her a number of questions about a number of things,” Moore said outside Greenville’s federal courthouse. “I don’t know what, if any, information she has.”
Her testimony could be important to prosecutors, who might seek a death sentence for Graham or others implicated in the killings.
In court Monday, Franklin Graham was not accused of drug-related offenses.
However, Moore said: “We have looked into all the people who were involved. Not just limited to drug dealers, but people who assisted drug dealers, such as Ms. Franklin Graham.”
More than a dozen people have been convicted for their role in a ring that moved more than 2,200 pounds of Mexican cocaine through Atlanta to South Carolina.
Graham was indicted and arrested in 2004, several months after Hackett was arrested as he delivered cocaine to a “safe house” in Greenville.
On Nov. 12, 2004, 15 days after her then-husband skipped his $400,000 bond, Franklin Graham went to an Atlanta post office and used cash to buy two $1,000 money orders, Moore said in court.
Federal law requires postal officials to tell the Internal Revenue Service about any transaction exceeding $2,000.
Over the next several hours, Franklin Graham visited six more post offices, where she completed identical transactions, ultimately converting $14,000 in cash into money orders. She needed the money orders, Moore said, because her bank would have been required to report a cash payment of more than $10,000.
“This was a clear —- very clear —- transaction,” Moore said later.
The judge asked Franklin Graham whether she had known she was breaking the financial reporting laws.
“Yes,” she said, “in general, your honor.”
“You either did or you didn’t,” Herlong responded.
One of Franklin Graham’s lawyers, Richard Deane, a former U.S. attorney in Atlanta, told Herlong she knew reporting laws existed but not the details.
The guilty plea provided a dramatic coda to a series of indignities for Franklin Graham: personal bankruptcy, forfeiture of her home to the federal government, and the implication that she aided her husband’s drug ring.
Flanked by two lawyers, Franklin Graham stood facing the judge throughout Monday’s 22-minute hearing. Wearing a red turtleneck and black pants, her long, straight hair pulled into a ponytail, she answered Herlong’s questions in a quiet but clear voice.
Her mother watched alone from a second-row bench in the courtroom, her trademark fresh flower in her lapel. Asked outside the courtroom to comment on her daughter’s guilty plea, the mayor politely declined.
Kai Franklin Graham, 35, the oldest of the mayor’s three children, pleaded guilty to structuring financial transactions in a way that avoided scrutiny from federal authorities.
While her former husband, Tremayne Graham, 34, was a fugitive from justice, she converted cash from him into 14 postal money orders totaling $14,000. She admitted going to seven Atlanta area post offices in a single day to avoid federal financial rules that would require reports of transactions exceeding $2,000.
Franklin Graham is likely to be sentenced to three months of home confinement and three years of probation. However, if she fails to comply with terms of her plea agreement with federal prosecutors, U.S. District Judge Henry M. Herlong Jr. could increase the sentence to as much as five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Herlong will formally sentence Franklin Graham in 60 to 90 days.
The mayor sat in a federal courtroom in Greenville this morning and watched as her daughter entered the plea. She declined to comment afterward.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Moore said Franklin Graham is expected to cooperate in several aspects of an investigation into her former husband’s drug business, which moved at least 2,200 pounds of Mexican cocaine from Los Angeles through Atlanta to South Carolina.
He said authorities will question her about a double homicide in Atlanta linked to the case. One of the victims, Ulysses Hackett III, was a co-defendant of Tremayne Graham’s and was thought to be considering an offer to testify against him in exchange for a lenient sentence.
A federal grand jury in South Carolina indicted Tremayne Graham in April 2004 in the drug case, which has resulted in more than a dozen guilty pleas. While he was out of jail on a $400,000 bond, Hackett and his girlfriend, Misty Denise Carter, were shot to death in her Virginia-Highland townhouse.
Atlanta police never solved the case, but federal prosecutors have alleged Graham ordered the killings.
According to earlier testimony, Graham then told an associate that he had moved into the mayor’s house, hoping to signal he feared he, too, would be killed. Soon, he fled to California. From there, authorities allege, he sent couriers with bags of cash to his wife.
Although Franklin Graham pleaded guilty to financial transactions conducted on Nov. 12, 2004, Moore said in court that the government could have proved that she engaged in additional transactions to hide the source of her cash.
Franklin Graham filed for divorce in January 2005.
Authorities captured Graham in June 2005 in California. Prosecutors later alleged he lied about his former wife’s role in his drug business ” one factor that prompted the judge to impose the maximum sentence against him: life with no chance of parole.
Must be nice to have Mama’s pull when you’re jammed up in a drug sting. If it was you or me, they woulda charged us as accessories and sent us up for a cool quarter-mandatory. That’s 25 years, for all y’all who ain’t know.
Like an apocalyptic vision, I have been tormented by the frighteningly real prospect that the man I have referred to as the Dark Sith, the Whore, and the Anti-Christ, is once again on the make. And, like Revelations teaches, once that evil is unleashed, ain’t nothing or nobody safe.
Tennessee is a small, benighted, southern backwater that has always been ruled by a corporate oligarchy of rapacious capitalists. Three sons of Tennessee have assumed the nation’s highest office and all have been significant historical figures in their individual capacities. They are Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson, each a more dangerous fascist war hawk than the last.
This year, another son of Tennessee is running for President, and no, I am not referring to former Senator Fred Thompson or former Vice President Al Gore. I am talking about Harold Ford Jr, the new Prince of Tennessee, now that Al Gore has so unmistakably abdicated his title and the throne that went with it.
Ford is planning to make one last stab at capturing the imperial throne of the presidency and the first step on this long march to power is the Governorship of the VolunteerState. Two of Tennessee‘s Presidents have used the office of governor as a stepping-stone toward national office. All three manipulated the levers of power and were the willing facilitators of the aristocratic South’s class war to defend white supremacy and preserve slavery.
In this respect, Harold Ford Jr is no different. A corporate whore with no peer, Harold Ford Jr plays the political game with the gusto and virtuosity of a chess master. One only had to watch the brotha work as his 2006 Senate Campaign Chairman, Congressman Lincoln Davis, stabbed him in the back and announced his 2010 candidacy for Governor on October 8, 2007.Davis was quoted as saying to the Associated Press“I don’t think (Ford) is going to run because I would imagine that if I’m in the race, he’ll step aside.”
The same article said, “an advisor to Ford and the head of the Tennessee Democratic Party confirmed that Ford is “seriously considering” a run to succeed Governor Phil Bredesen in 2010.”Two days later Davis abruptly reversed course and announced that his “immediate focus will be on working every day for the people of the 4TH district.”The Associated Press summed up by saying “Davis said he remains interested in running for governor, but will wait to make a decision later.”
Throughout this whole spectacle, Harold Ford Jr didn’t say a mumblin’ word and dispatched his rival with a thoroughness and skill rarely displayed by someone of his age.His corporate contributors have invested much into his corporate friendly political career and they are intent on recouping their investment by making him governor and subsequently making him President.
In the furtherance of this presidential objective, Ford has taken great pains since his 2006 loss to locate himself at the nexus of financial and political power by taking positions at both Merrill Lynch and as Chair of the Democratic Leadership Council. In August, he and Governor Martin O’Malley wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post beseeching their party’s presidential candidates not to forsake the “center” which is code for not forsaking the corporate agenda of continued globalization, privatization of public assets, and imperialism. O’Malley-Ford sounds like a future Democratic ticket if you ask me.
Back home in Tennessee, there will be some competition from the GOP for the gubernatorial throne in the form of former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who retired from the Senate to run for President.Too bad for him that his candidacy withered on the vine of wingnut indifference. Two Thousand and Ten is an opportunity to revive his career and reach for the brass ring again, just as it is for Harold.I promise you that this will be the race to watch.
As you know, while not actively participating in the classist and racist destruction of health care access for the African American community, Ford comes from a black political dynasty headed by his father, Harold Sr, who aggressively sought to loot the program before its ignominious demise. This makes Prince Harold guilty by association.
Writing about this for the first time last year in the post Jake Ford, Tale of a Puppet, I said, “You see, Mr. Harold is a lobbyist of high standing, having turned to the profession after two decades in Congress and a perilous brush with a fraud indictment. In a short space of time, Harold, Sr. has made untold millions while conspiring with his clients to loot TennCare, Tennessee’s formerly world class, top-shelf medicaid program.”
“According to an article in the Commercial Appeal by Marc Perrusquia, TennCare subcontractor MIM Corp paid Harold, Sr. $1.6 million between 1998 and 2001. In addition, he received more than $1 million in lobbying fees from other firms and MIM corp to look after their interests in Nashville.”
“Mr. Harold or surrogates, Harold, Jr. or Newton conspired to contribute more than $15,000 to state politicians with a say on gutting TennCare, a program that serves 40% of the African American population and 50% of our children. In addition, two of the crooked black politicians who were caught up in the Tennessee Waltz bribery scandal received contributions from Ford.”
“…TN State Senator John Ford, Harold, Sr’s. brother, also received a contribution of $1,000 from his brother. In addition, Senator Ford pocketed over $237,000 from a TennCare dental health care provider, in a separate side deal apart from Harold, Sr. and Jake’s hustle.”
Without a political godfather like Mr. Harold to guide him Barack Obama’s ill timed presidential bid is imploding because of a series of arrogant missteps and the deleterious effects of his vacuous rhetoric.It is clear that he will never be President and that Prince Harold knows this too, uses his DLC chairmanship as an excuse not to endorse him, and is positioning himself for his own run in the future.
In the final analysis, Harold Sr and Harold Jr operate on a different level than their kith and kin and are the skillful practitioners of a corporate friendly influence peddling that will always steer clear of illegality and be one step ahead of clever and one notch below that of blackface minstrelsy. It’s enough to make Mr. Harold a black kingmaker and possibly the father of the first black President of the United States.
Stopping Tennessee’s crown prince of deception should be the first priority of black progressives everywhere.However, with his engagement to Snow White on tap, he might have already done our jobs for us.Only time will tell.Expect to see an elaborate roll out of professional PR touting this twosome and don’t be surprised if you see them on Montel or some such program cooing and cuddling and whispering sickening platitudes about family, home and hearth.Any day now I expect the future Mrs. Ford will be wearing a conservative string of pearls and be attired immaculately in an age appropriate and politically correct Donna Karan ensamble.Whatever happens, Harold Ford Jr is on a collision course with the aspirations of the black community and we all stand to loose if he wins.
Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.), indicted on federal bribery charges, said yesterday in court papers that he did nothing illegal and accused prosecutors of bringing the case against him in Virginia because there would be fewer black jurors.
The motions filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria provided the first look at Jefferson’s defense strategy as he fights a 16-count indictment and asks a judge to dismiss 14 of the charges or move the case to the District.
A federal grand jury indicted Jefferson, the former co-chairman of the congressional caucus on Nigeria and African trade, in June. The congressman faces charges that he used his official position to solicit hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes for himself and his family, falsely reported trips to Africa as official business, sought to bribe the former Nigerian vice president, and promoted U.S. financing for a sugar factory in Nigeria whose owner paid fees to a Jefferson family company in Louisiana.
In more than 100 pages of motions, Jefferson’s attorney said the congressman did not bribe the Nigerian vice president, did nothing illegal by getting involved in private business ventures, and declared that the government concocted a flimsy conspiracy charge because the statute of limitations was set to expire on several charges.
The lawyer, Robert P. Trout, noted that the government charged that Jefferson wrote letters, made introductions, and went to meetings and foreign trips to assist businesses to land contracts in Africa.
“In essence, the indictment alleges that Mr. Jefferson was employed to help these businesses and received compensation in return. . . .,” the motion said. “In this regard, it is important to note that it is not illegal — or even a violation of House Rules — for a member to have outside employment.”
Those private business transactions were unrelated to Jefferson’s duties as a member of Congress, the motion said. “Since the bribery case the government has outlined in the indictment does not fall within the four corners of the bribery laws, the bribery related counts indictment should be dismissed.”
The papers also say that the FBI used a cooperating witness to steer the case to Virginia. Blacks account for a smaller proportion of the potential jurors there than in the District, where they make up the majority of the population.
“That venue was selected in the Eastern District of Virginia in order to obtain a jury pool with fewer African Americans,” the motion said, adding: “The court has an obligation to ensure that the forum selection in this case was not tainted by racially discriminatory motive.”
The motion prompted prosecutors to issue a statement yesterday saying that race had nothing to do with their charging decisions.
“The indictment unsealed in June alleges facts supporting jurisdiction and venue in the Eastern District of Virginia. This venue is appropriate as we have indicated in public court filings and as represented by the guilty pleas of two alleged co-conspirators in the Eastern District of Virginia,” said Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd.
The federal indictment is the first in which a U.S. official is charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars bribery of foreign officials.
Jefferson, 60, a Harvard Law School graduate, was reelected last year while under investigation. He was the first black congressman elected in Louisiana since Reconstruction.
The indictment charges that Jefferson used his official position to help iGate, a Kentucky-based high-tech business, sell its technology to provide Internet and cable television in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa. Jefferson, according to the indictment, took kickbacks from the company’s owner for his family and had stock in the company.
During a meeting with an informant wearing a recording device, Jefferson said he would need $500,000 to give to Nigeria’s then-vice president, Atiku Abubakar, to make sure the high-tech venture went through. A short time later, the informant handed Jefferson $100,000 in FBI money that had been photocopied. FBI agents found $90,000 found in a freezer at his Capitol Hill home a few days later.
Jefferson’s attorney argued in the motions that because the money never reached the vice president, no bribe of a foreign official took place.
He also wrote that the bribery statute requires that a politician take something of value in exchange for an official act such as voting or authorizing appropriations:
“There is no allegation in this indictment that Mr. Jefferson solicited anything of value in return for being influenced in any decision in a matter that was or could be pending before him in his capacity as a Member of the United States House of Representatives.”
It’s right there in black and white, on page 9 of the papers Michael Vick and his attorneys filed in federal court yesterday. Vick agrees and stipulates that he himself helped kill dogs. Damn. The exact words are “collective efforts.” Vick admits he participated in this ruthless act with his co-defendants. It’s no longer an allegation or simply the word of some ex-friends ratting him out to save their own hides. It’s Michael Vick, star NFL quarterback, admitting he endorsed the killing of dogs by methods including hanging and drowning. Wow. That’s the showstopper for a lot of us, not whether he’s guilty of a conspiracy charge, not even that his dogfighting enterprise involved illegal gambling activities.
Of course, it’s all one big sordid mess, from the dog killings to the gambling and lying about everything, which led NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to announce yesterday afternoon that Vick would be suspended indefinitely. Of course, he needs to be sent away for a while. The statements of facts are even worse than many of us expected. Turns out it’s just as the co-conspirators said, just as Vick’s estranged daddy said when he told The Washington Post and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week that his boy has been involved in dogfighting for years.
Personally, I’d like to see Vick locked in a cage with six to eight of those pit bulls and nothing but his hands to use in his own defense.
Goodness, yes, an eye for an eye is sometimes the only just punishment.
Short of that, Vick needs to simply go away for a while. Don’t expect a long discussion here on whether he should or shouldn’t have the chance to play again. He should. If he pays his debt to society in the way this country’s legal system demands, and if somebody in the free market that is the NFL wants to employ him once he is reinstated, then he should play and face whatever the consequences might be.
And yes, Goodell is going to provide Vick with the chance to be reinstated at some point. When? Who knows. Maybe before the 2009 season, perhaps 2010. Even with what the NFL calls “lifetime bans” for players who have run afoul of the league’s substance abuse policy for a third time, there is opportunity for reinstatement.
The moronic Vick apologists will want to spin this ahead and say, “It’s behind him now” when it’s anything but behind him. It’ll take years to put this behind him. People will be harder on Vick for this than they would be for battering his wife, the logic of which, frankly, escapes me. Still, if Vick thinks his 4.4 speed will allow him to quickly outrun this he’s so wrong.
No, it’s all in front of us to digest, like Vick admitting that he provided most of the “Bad Newz Kennels” operational and gambling funds. You think that doesn’t scare the NFL? A star quarterback involved in the enterprise that attracts all manner of people looking for “inside” information and a way to manipulate the nation’s most important sport for huge financial gain? The gambling admission scares the NFL more than the dog killings because the G-word brings it all a little too close to home.
This whole Michael Vick episode just gets sleazier every day. Even while revealing to reporters that he tried to get his son to stop being involved with dogfighting, Vick’s daddy, Michael Boddie, reveals himself as a total sleaze. It was chilling to read the sentence from one of the interviews with him: “I wish people would stop sugarcoating it. This is Mike’s thing.” It’s not that I doubt the father’s word in this instance, just that his motives are so obvious and he’s so brazen in setting up what he hopes will be a money grab.
His boy, remember, is paying his rent. His boy, the QB, has been giving him cash payments every month to keep pop flush. And what does daddy do after asking for $1 million then $700,000, but rat him out? Hey, now that the meal ticket has blown more than $100 million of a $130 million contract, not to mention tens of millions in endorsement contracts, appearance fees and perks, the old man has to market himself, right?
Can’t you just see daddy coming out with a tell-all book of his own in the coming months to try and cash in the only way he can?
Sometimes when you look at the father you’ll get a hint into why the son has no clue as to accountability or even humanity.
Now, all that’s left are the pictures and sound of Vick in court in Richmond on Monday, Vick in the orange jumpsuit or whatever color it is as he walks into prison, and Vick being interviewed by Larry King or Barbara Walters or maybe on the “Tom Joyner Morning Show” as he tries to begin his personal rehabilitation. Every step along the way, for the five weeks since Vick was indicted, we think it can’t get any worse, any more bizarre, any more unsavory. But it does, and with reaction that this is sure to elicit, with the protests and examinations of race and culture and how we try to make sense of something that is so senseless, it shouldn’t surprise anybody if this story simply keeps on keeping on.
Ending a nearly three-year FBI investigation, a federal grand jury in Newark indicted James on 33 counts that include conspiracy and mail and wire fraud.
The 86-page indictment said James, 71, arranged for the city to sell municipal real estate at a steep discount to a Newark businesswoman, Tamika Riley, then secretly shared in the profits when Riley sold the parcels to developers.
Prosecutors also accused James of using city-issued credit cards to pay for lavish trips he took with eight women, including Riley, to places including Martha’s Vineyard, Rio de Janeiro, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. The credit card charges – hundreds between 2001 and 2006 totaling more than $58,000 – covered hotel rooms and luxury suites, meals and fine dining, airfare, car rentals, tickets to sporting events and other expenses, prosecutors said.
In handcuffs and leg irons, James arrived just after 3 p.m. at a hearing before a packed, overflowing courtroom. His wife, Mary, was not present. The 15-minute appearance before a federal magistrate took place in a courthouse two blocks from the City Hall office he occupied for 20 years.
Flanked by their attorneys, James and Riley stood before the judge and were asked a short series of questions. When asked whether he understood the charges against him, the former mayor said “Yes, I do.” He was released on $250,000 bail, while Riley was released on $100,000 bail. Their passports were confiscated and the judge barred them from traveling outside of New Jersey without permission.