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Editorial Results (free)

1. Vols: Looks Like 6-6 Season -

Pull out your 2014 schedules, UT fans.

Fall camp is done, and it’s time to get in game-week mode with the season opener against Utah State fast approaching.

So go to the little box next to each of UT’s opponents on the 2014 schedule and pick the winner.

2. Bell Joins First State Bank as Commercial Loan Officer -

Jonathan Bell has joined First State Bank as vice president/commercial loan officer. Bell, who has more than 13 years of experience in the banking industry, will provide banking services for businesses in Collierville and the surrounding area.

3. Events -

The fifth annual Mike Conley Bowl-n-Bash, benefiting the Methodist Healthcare Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center, will be held Saturday, Sept. 28, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Billy Hardwick’s All Star Lanes, 1576 S. White Station Road. Individual tickets are $125; teams of four are $500. Visit methodisthealth.org/bowlnbash to register.

4. Events -

Farmington Presbyterian Church will host a human-trafficking workshop with human rights advocate Rev. Noelle Damico Thursday, Sept. 26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Balmoral Presbyterian Church, 6413 Quince Road. Damico will cover the forms of human trafficking, how it happens and how to take action against it. Cost is free. Email bonnieleeblair@aol.com for more information.

5. Events -

Tennessee Shakespeare Co. will present “Hamlet” Wednesday, April 3, through Sunday, April 14, at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens Winegardner Auditorium, 4339 Park Ave. Visit tnshakespeare.org for times and tickets.

6. Events -

Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club and the University of Memphis will host a Professional Connection Lunch Friday, March 29, from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the University Center Shelby Room, 499 University St. The series connects students with business and community leaders for discussions and leadership exercises. Cost is free. R.S.V.P. to Jon Campbell at jcmpbll3@memphis.edu or 678-1781.

7. Events -

Sales and Marketing Society of the Mid-South will host a roundtable with Joel Henry, president of Intermodal Cartage, Thursday, March 28, at 7:30 a.m. at Cheffie’s Café, 483 High Point Terrace. Cost at the door is $20. Visit sms-midsouth.org.

8. Events -

Kiwanis Club of Memphis will meet Wednesday, March 27, from noon to 1 p.m. at The University Club of Memphis, 1346 Central Ave. Bill Gracey, CEO of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, will speak. Cost is $18 for nonmembers.

9. Events -

Memphis Rotary Club will meet Tuesday, March 26, at noon at the University Club of Memphis, 1346 Central Ave. Commercial Appeal publisher George Cogswell will speak. Cost is $18. R.S.V.P. to Taylor Hughes at taylor@memphisrotary.org.

10. Events -

Make-A-Wish Mid-South will host Wine for Wishes Thursday, Feb. 28, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at The Cadre, 149 Monroe Ave. The fundraiser will include food and wine pairings, a silent auction and live music by The Will Tucker Band. Visit midsouth.wish.org.

11. Events -

Poplar Pike Playhouse will present “The Wiz” Thursday, Feb. 21, through March 9 at the theater, 7653 Old Poplar Pike. Visit ppp.org for times and tickets.

12. Payne Joins Fulton CPAs as Senior Accountant -

Tarasha Payne has joined Fulton CPAs PLLC as a senior accountant in the areas of taxation, compilation and reviews, and client services. Payne has more than 15 years’ experience in the field and is working toward CPA certification. The announcement comes on the heels of big changes at the accounting firm, including new ownership and a name change from Polsgrove & Fulton. (See The Daily News’ Monday, Dec. 17, edition for more information.)

13. Humane Soc. Names Walker Development, Marketing Mgr. -

Leah Walker has joined the Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County as development and marketing manager. Walker represented her home state as Miss Georgia in 2008 before joining the Greater Memphis Chamber as a development consultant.

14. Fuhrman Joins Investec Realty Services -

Eric Fuhrman has joined Investec Realty Services. Fuhrman is a Certified Commercial Investment Member and a six-year veteran in commercial sales and leasing.

Hometown: Born in Des Plaines, Ill., a suburb of Chicago
Work Experience: One of my favorite work experiences was training police divers in underwater search and recovery with the National Academy of Police Diving. Later I worked as an estimator/project manager for a commercial construction firm and most recently transferred to Investec Realty Services after five-plus years with Crye-Leike Commercial.
Family: My wife, Joanna, is a local and we have five children – Gabe, 11; Audrey, 10; Sam, 8; Ellie, 4; and Molly, three weeks.
Favorite quote: “A man can succeed at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiasm,” Charles M. Schwab.
Activities you enjoy outside of work? I love running with the family. We try to hit most of the 5Ks around town. As of one week ago, I am the director of the SYS Golden Saints Track & Field Team. Go Saints!
Why did you pursue a career in real estate? I believe that God never wastes life experiences on us. This field seemed like a blend of many of my life experiences.
What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishments? Earning my designation as a Certified Commercial Investment Member was a proud moment although I feel that it is an equally great accomplishment anytime I am able to meet a need for one of my clients through a commercial real estate transaction.
What do you most enjoy about your work? I really like the team concept promoted at Investec. I couldn’t be happier to work alongside Jon Albright and tackle some of the amazing projects we have coming down the pipeline.

15. Influence 1 Foundation Names Hartsfield COO -

Felicia Hartsfield has been named chief operating officer of Influence 1 Foundation.

Hartsfield will oversee the continued stability and growth of the foundation’s fiscal, strategic, organizational and operational functions. Her duties also will include building and maintaining relationships with community leaders, as well as creating collaborations, which will enhance the foundation’s strategic model.

16. Thompson Case Points To Shady Culture -

Former Shelby County Board of Commissioners member Bruce Thompson told a federal judge this week his behavior was “anomaly.”

17. Thompson Gets Six Month Jail Sentence -

Former Shelby County Commissioner Bruce Thompson was sentenced this evening to six months in prison and fined $10,000 for telling executive of a Jackson, Tn. construction company that he could influence votes on the Memphis school board.

Thompson was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jon P. McCalla on one count of mail fraud.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, he could have been sentenced to 21-27 months in prison.

But the plea deal from Thompson's February guilty plea would have allowed Thompson to withdraw his guilty plea if he was sentenced to more than a year and a day in jail. McCalla could have rejected it and the case would have moved toward trial. But McCalla accepted the recommendation of the prosecution and defense to depart from the guidelines.

"I'm here to accept responsibilities for my actions," Thompson told McCalla before the sentence was imposed. "I never expected to be here. ... My reputation has certainly taken a beating. I've spent 25 years building a reputation that's certainly been trashed."

Thompson termed his criminal behavior an "anomaly." His attorney, Leslie Ballin, argued for probation.

McCalla agreed Thompson's behavior in the case was "aberrant." But he also said a prison sentence was called for as a deterrent.

"This is a difficult concept. It only works if people know what happens," McCalla said, referring to the certainty of jail time.

Leaders of H&M Construction Company, who hired Thompson in 2004 to win a contract to build three Memphis city schools had some vocal misgivings about what Thompson was doing.

The reservations are detailed in an excerpt from an FBI report in what became a federal corruption case.

The FBI report excerpt, also known as a “302,” was filed as part of Ballin’s argument that Thompson should avoid prison time and instead be sentenced to probation.

Back and forth

Thompson admitted taking $7,000 in 2004 from two construction firms, H&M Construction and Salton-Fox Construction of Memphis. The payment was made to Thompson after he told the companies’ executives he could control votes on the Memphis City Schools board because of his position as a county commissioner. The companies, working in partnership, were seeking the construction contract.

Thompson quibbled about his precise role, according to the FBI report on its interview with James E. Campbell of H&M.

“I’m not lobbying, I’m consulting,” Campbell quoted Thompson as saying.

Campbell drew up a consulting contract, but Thompson never signed it.

Campbell had five meetings with Thompson when he spotted Thompson on H&M’s parking lot in Jackson talking with another company official, Dewitt Day. Thompson asked Campbell what he thought about making campaign contributions to four school board members.

“It looks like this for that,” Campbell remembered replying.

He said Thompson’s response was, “It’s legal to do.”

Campbell planned to write the campaign contribution checks and “it was agreed Thompson would deliver the checks to the recipients.”

“While writing the first check, Campbell decided it didn’t look good for H&M to give campaign contributions to these individuals,” the FBI report reads. “Campbell then thought about using H&M subcontractors to give the contributions but ultimately decided Day could give the $7,000 to his relatives in Memphis and have them deliver the contributions in their name.”

Day “grabbed” $7,000 and drove to Memphis, according to the FBI. His brother-in-law also didn’t like the looks of the money exchange and consulted attorney and former Memphis City Council member John Bobango.

“Bobango advised Day not to give these campaign contributions because H&M already had the (school board) votes to win approval,” the FBI 302 reads. Campbell told Thompson and others, including construction executive Kirby Salton, that the deal was off.

“Thompson and Salton went on to say that the four individuals would be disappointed and Campbell got the impression the ‘votes could go the other way,’” according to the report. It was Thompson’s conduct during the conference call that broke the law, Ballin conceded.

Campbell then wrote Salton a check for $7,000 and “never questioned Salton on whether he delivered the campaign contribution to the four individuals.”

Money differences

Ballin argued in his position paper that Thompson’s sentence should be determined based on the $7,000 instead of the more than $250,000 Thompson was paid by the two construction firms. He also contended Thompson wasn’t using his office as a county commissioner to influence the school board.

“H&M suffered no loss and Thompson only received the fair market value of services rendered by way of his arms-length consulting contract,” Ballin wrote.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim DiScenza disagreed on the harm done even if Thompson didn’t influence the outcome.

“Whether or not campaign contributions were required to be given in order for H&M Construction Company to win contract approval is irrelevant, as it is uncontested that the defendant conveyed to H&M .... managers that said contributions would in fact be needed to influence the awarding of the contract,” DiScenza wrote in the government’s position paper submitted last week.

McCalla sided with DiScenza in his ruling and the higher dollar amount was a factor in the prison sentence.

Salton and school board members Wanda Halbert, Sara Lewis, Willie Brooks and Hubon Sandridge all testified before the federal grand jury that indicted Thompson. Salton said publicly that he paid several thousand dollars to a campaign worker for Halbert, who has since been elected to the Memphis City Council. Halbert denied any knowledge of getting the cash but listed on an amended campaign finance report $2,000 that was lost.

DiScenza said in February that the four school board members mentioned by Thompson but never identified in court were not aware of the deal, and none has ever been charged with taking the money.

Thompson had no comment as he left the Federal Building this evening. The federal Bureau of Prisons will determine where and when he reports to prison.

...

18. Banks Say They're Using Bailout Money for Loans -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Some of the nation's largest banks sharing in the $700 billion government bailout of the financial industry tried to assure lawmakers Thursday they are using the money to make more loans and help financially strapped homeowners avoid foreclosure.

19. PERMISSION GRANTED -

Richard Tarr once told an Associated Press reporter that competition among orthopedics companies in Warsaw, Ind. - the nationwide hub of the industry - is so intense executives like him have to watch what they say even when going out to dinner, lest someone overhear an otherwise closely guarded company secret.

20. Archived Article: Calendar - March 3 March 3 Educational Seminars Inc. will sponsor a notary public training seminar from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the East Memphis Hilton, 5069 Sanderlin Ave. The registration fee is $128. For more information, call (800) 303-5123. March 4 AAA ...

21. Archived Article: Real Focus Lj - book review Birds of a feather Merger of like-minded Robertson and Inman construction firms bring increase in management, contacts By LAURIE JOHNSON The Daily News Shared company philosophies, as well as the knowledge that more could be accomplished...