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Editorial Results (free)

1. After the Campaign -

The 2014 election year began in January with dissent from the floor.

At the end of the Shelby County Democratic Party’s annual Kennedy Day fundraiser in January, former Memphis City Council member and state Rep. Carol Chumney, who was not among the speakers, challenged the party establishment from her table to do more to support women running for office.

2. Election Commission Certifies August Vote -

The Shelby County Election Commission certified the August election results Monday, Aug. 25, at the beginning of a week that includes an early oath of office for those elected to county offices on the ballot.

3. Democrats Struggle With Generation Gap -

Memphis Democrats don’t agree on a whole lot these days, especially since the Aug. 7 county general elections in which Democratic nominees lost to Republicans in all but one race – Shelby County assessor, won by the lone countywide Democratic incumbent, Cheyenne Johnson.

4. Democratic Divide Widens in Election Results -

Democrats have retained their seven-vote majority on the new single-district Shelby County Commission that takes office Sept. 1.

That and the re-election victory of Democratic incumbent Cheyenne Johnson in the race for Shelby County Assessor of Property were the only bright spots for a divided local Democratic Party that lost every other countywide partisan elected position to Republicans in the Aug. 7 county general election, just as they lost every countywide position to Republicans four years earlier.

5. Cohen Prevails, Incumbents Dominate -

Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen held off Thursday, Aug. 7, the most serious electoral challenge he’s faced since winning the Congressional seat in 2006, in the form of attorney Ricky E. Wilkins.

6. Cohen, Luttrell, Weirich, Harris Take Early Vote -

Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen has taken the early vote over challenger Ricky Wilkins in the hard fought Democratic Congressional primary on Thursday’s Shelby County election ballot.

7. Polls Open Under Eye of Federal Monitors -

Memphis Democrats declared victory two days before the Thursday, Aug. 7, election day in Shelby County.

It wasn’t anything they saw in the early voting turnout numbers. The turnout there was less than it was four years ago in the set of county general election and state and federal primary races.

8. Alexander Looks to Fend Off Tennessee GOP Challengers -

LAWRENCEBURG, Tenn. (AP) – After losing his first bid for Tennessee governor 40 years ago, Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander shed his blue suit and buttoned-up appearance for a plaid shirt, hiking boots and a 1,000-mile walk around the state.

9. Cohen Goes to Court Over Williams Ballot -

The Democratic primary for the 9th Congressional District continued to be about endorsements with days left until election day polls open in the contest between incumbent Steve Cohen and challenger Ricky E. Wilkins.

10. Cohen Complains of Fake Obama Endorsement -

The latest battle over an endorsement in the Democratic primary for the 9th Congressional District isn’t a confrontation between Democratic incumbent Steve Cohen and his challenger, Ricky Wilkins.

11. Multiple Choice -

It could have been an election about the local criminal justice system. The set of once-every-eight-years judicial races was the perfect frame for competitive races for district attorney general and juvenile court judge as the main events.

12. End in Sight -

One more weekend of early voting and then it’s the four-day sprint to election day for candidates, their campaigns and the voters who didn’t vote during the early voting period.

Because of the length of the ballot – the longest of any election cycle in Shelby County political history – state election officials are encouraging voters who have made their decisions to vote early.

13. Cohen, Wilkins Feud Over Endorsements -

Candidates and political strategists who advise those candidates have a complex relationship with endorsements.

They have a value in building momentum for a campaign and in the case of organizations, they usually come with a check or in-kind contribution. But in and of themselves -- especially in a long list – their value in terms of influence has its limits.

14. Cohen-Wilkins Campaign Gets Personal -

In hard-fought political races, candidates try to disrupt the game plan of their rival, change the rules of the contest to their own liking and control the campaign’s narrative.

On the third day of the early voting period in advance of the Aug. 7 election day, that is what both contenders in the 9th District Democratic Congressional primary had come to.

15. Cohen Goes On Offense In Wilkins Challenge -

For weeks, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen and Ricky Wilkins, his challenger in the Aug. 7 Democratic Congressional primary have been talking about each other without necessarily directly talking about each other or doing so at length

16. Early Vote Expands as Campaigns Enter New Phase -

There is a unique and persistent part of the political process that gnaws at candidates, separating them from the voters they court and sometimes stalk. You might call it the day of the ballot.

In the weeks leading up to the start of early voting, they get hit up constantly by those putting out endorsement ballots to be distributed during early voting and on election day, most often by paid poll workers. Candidates must pay to be on a ballot, which those organizing the ballots say is necessary to cover printing and distribution costs.

17. ‘Big Ballot’ Moves to Early Voting Friday -

Voters begin making their decisions Friday, July 18, on the longest ballot of any election cycle in Shelby County politics.

Early voting in advance of the Aug. 7 election day begins Friday at the Shelby County Election Commission’s Downtown offices, 157 Poplar Ave., from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

18. Cohen Touts Labor Union Endorsements -

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, rolled out endorsements Monday, June 30, from much of the leadership of local labor unions in his re-election campaign.

19. Chism Picnic Reflects Summer Campaign Tone -

From the stage at County Commissioner Sidney Chism’s annual political picnic Saturday, June 21, you could almost see the Aug. 7 election day.

20. Wilkins Targets Cohen as ‘Career Politician’ -

Ricky Wilkins told a packed campaign headquarters in Poplar Plaza on a busy campaign weekend that U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen is waging a dirty campaign while complaining that Wilkins is doing the same.

21. Cohen Touts Ability to Represent District -

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen told political supporters over the weekend that he expects the 9th Congressional district Democratic primary race with attorney Ricky E. Wilkins to involve a lot of mud slinging.

22. Out With the Old -

A small group of people gathered last week in the front room of a new Southwest Memphis housing development for senior citizens.

The scene marked the ending of one era in public housing and the start of another as the doors opened to the newest facility in the nearly 20-year makeover of public housing.

23. Wilkins Maps Different Challenge of Cohen -

Ricky Wilkins is promising to match U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen’s energy level and be more of a presence in the district than Cohen if he upsets the incumbent in the August Democratic primary for the 9th Congressional District.

24. Group of Ministers Endorses Wilkins -

Congressional candidate Ricky E. Wilkins touted the endorsement Monday, May 19, of a group of 30 ministers in his challenge of U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen in the Aug. 7 Democratic primary for the 9th Congressional District.

25. August’s ‘Big Ballot’ Awaits County’s Voters -

With the unofficial results in the Shelby County primary elections in, get ready for the “big ballot.”

The candidates who won the Democratic and Republican primaries in Tuesday’s elections advance to the August ballot where they will join a much larger group of candidates and races that once every eight years produce the largest ballot of any election cycle in Shelby County politics.

26. Obama Backs Cohen, Brooks Charges ‘Voter Suppression’ -

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen is touting the endorsement of President Barack Obama in his current re-election bid.

27. Harris Files Ford Challenge at Deadline -

Memphis City Council member Lee Harris is challenging Democratic state Sen. Ophelia Ford in the August primary for District 29, the Senate seat held by a member of the Ford family since 1975.

28. Commission to Vote on Crosstown Funding -

Shelby County Commissioners will vote Monday, March 10, on $5 million in public infrastructure funding for the Crosstown redevelopment project.

The commission meets at 1:30 p.m. at the Vasco Smith County Administration Building, 160 N. Main St. Follow the meeting @tdnpols, www.twitter.com/tdnpols.

29. Ethics Complaint Against Chism Dismissed -

It was commissioner against commissioner in the highest profile use so far of Shelby County government’s current ethics policy.

And the dispute that affected the commission’s deliberations on a county property tax rate ended last week with a three-citizen panel dismissing County Commissioner Terry Roland’s complaint against fellow Commissioner Sidney Chism.

30. Ethics Panel Dismisses Roland Complaint Against Chism -

The highest profile use of Shelby County government’s ethics policy since it was implemented in 2008 has ended with the three-citizen panel hearing a complaint by County Commissioner Terry Roland against fellow Commissioner Sidney Chism dismissing Roland’s claim.

31. Ethics Panel Dismisses Roland Complaint Against Chism -

The highest profile use of Shelby County government’s ethics policy since it was implemented in 2008 has ended with the three-citizen panel hearing a complaint by County Commissioner Terry Roland against fellow Commissioner Sidney Chism dismissing Roland’s claim.

32. Wilkins Pulls Petition to Challenge Cohen -

Attorney Ricky E. Wilkins has pulled a qualifying petition to run in the August Democratic primary for the 9th Congressional District.

Wilkins would be challenging U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen in the primary, something Wilkins began considering last year.

33. Wilkins Pulls Petition to Challenge Cohen -

Attorney Ricky E. Wilkins has pulled a qualifying petition to run in the August Democratic primary for the 9th Congressional District.

Wilkins would be challenging U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen in the primary, something Wilkins began considering last year.

34. Hats in the Ring -

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will be seeking a second term as governor, and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander will be running for re-election – both starting with the Aug. 7 statewide primaries that open for filing Friday, Jan. 3.

35. Democrats ‘Roast’ Herenton, Look Ahead to 2014 -

Divisions within the local Democratic party took a backseat over the weekend as the Shelby County Democratic Party held the first of two large fundraisers for the 2014 election year.

But the look back for the party came with some advice for the future.

36. Commission Approves Bartlett Senior Facility -

If an expansion of an assisted-living facility at Baylor and Brunswick roads stays on schedule with votes next month by the Memphis City Council, the planned development should win final approval less than a month before the area it is in is annexed by the city of Bartlett.

37. Bartlett Zoning Case Tops Commission Agenda -

Shelby County Commissioners take up a proposed assisted living facility at their meeting Monday, Nov. 5, that doesn’t yet require approval from the city of Bartlett but which is in an area Bartlett is seeking to annex.

38. City Eyes End to Public Housing Projects -

Chain link fences went up around the four Memphis Housing Authority high-rises earlier this month.

The renovation work that is about to begin on the public housing units in the next year comes as the city prepares to begin demolition of Cleaborn Homes on April 12.

39. Bar Prez Plans Year of Service -

During this month’s annual meeting of the Memphis Bar Association, the gavel was passed to a new president who pushed for his colleagues to take summer interns at their firms.

It’s part of a community-minded spirit that private attorney Ricky Wilkins made a theme of his just-ended tenure as the MBA president. And Shuttleworth Williams PLLC partner John Cannon, the MBA’s new president, is picking up right where Wilkins left off.

40. Evans Denies CVS, Church Injunction -

Chancellor Walter Evans denied a motion Thursday that would have stopped work on Union Avenue United Methodist Church as the site of a new CVS drug store.

41. Evans Denies CVS, Church Injunction -

Chancellor Walter Evans denied a motion Thursday that would have stopped work on Union Avenue United Methodist Church as the site of a new CVS drug store.

42. Memphis Bar Names Annual Award Winners -

Attorney John Cannon took the gavel Thursday as the incoming president of the Memphis Bar Association at Thursday’s MBA annual meeting at The Racquet Club.

43. Bar Association Meeting Moves East -

The Memphis Bar Association will announce the election of new officers at its annual meeting Thursday at The Racquet Club of Memphis in addition to handing out awards to hard-working attorneys whose professionalism, volunteer spirit and service to the profession have earned them distinction.

44. Bar Foundation Sets Grant Record -

For the Memphis Bar Association and the charitable foundation affiliated with it, 2010 has been a year characterized by service and giving.

That giving has included gifts already extended, such as the Memphis Bar Foundation less than a month ago awarding grants that totaled almost $44,000 to seven local causes – the largest grant amount in the foundation’s history.

45. CVS Deal is Only The First Step Of Ongoing Debate -

One symbol of the retail pharmacy wars in Midtown can be found along Union Avenue in the oversized replica prescription bottle at the old Super D, the now-closed drugstore that was trying to distinguish itself from the competition.

46. Preservationists Strike Up Battle Hymn -

The Memphis City Council’s 10-2 vote Tuesday to approve plans for a CVS drug store on the corner of Union Avenue and Cooper Street seems to mean the demolition of Union Avenue United Methodist Church.

47. MBA Creates New Sections For IP, Gov’t Lawyers -

Memphis Bar Association President Ricky Wilkins announced this week that the MBA has launched two new sections – an Intellectual Property/Entertainment Law Section and the Government Lawyers Section.

48. New Vacancies Add to Judicial Races on Ballot -

The Aug. 5 election will feature five special judicial elections.

One of the two latest races to go on the ballot is for the Criminal Court Division 3 judge’s position being vacated by John Colton, whose resignation is effective April 30. He originally set the date for June 30, but changed it so the vacancy could be up for public vote.

49. The Daq Beer Permit Delayed After Closed Beer Board Conference -

A beer permit for a southeast Shelby County restaurant was delayed Thursday for a second time in as many months.

The Daq at 4202 Hacks Cross Road has gone from a typical Shelby County Beer Board case with holes in its application to a political minefield.

50. Beer Board Head Reacts to Alleged Influence Ploy -

 The head of the local Beer Board has complained that a deputy administrator to the County Commission tried to influence the board’s decision on a Hacks Cross Road business.

The complaint from Merrick Horne touched off an internal county government investigation last month in which commissioner James Harvey, Deputy Administrator for the Commission Clay Perry and attorney Ricky E. Wilkins gave sworn statements.

51. UPDATE: Beer Beef Prompts Probe -  

The head of the Shelby County Beer Board has complained that a deputy administrator to the Shelby County Commission tried to influence the board’s decision on a Hacks Cross Road bar.

The complaint from Merrick Horne touched off an internal county government investigation last month in which commissioner James Harvey, Deputy Administrator for the Commission Clay Perry and attorney Ricky E. Wilkins gave sworn statements.

Perry is running in the May 4 Democratic primary for Probate Court clerk. Harvey, a Democratic county commissioner, is seeking re-election in the same set of primaries.

At the center of the controversy is a beer permit sought by the owners of a recently opened nightspot called The Daq.

Danny Shaw, a real estate agent and acquaintance of Perry and Harvey, left a phone message for Harvey seeking help when a Beer Board vote was delayed last month. Shaw called on behalf of the alleged owner, Keevon Morgan, of Nashville.

In a report released Monday, Deputy County Atty. Danny Presley concluded the episode “was clearly an attempt by Mr. Shaw to circumvent the proper procedures of the Shelby County Beer Board by contacting an elected official and a high-ranking staff member of said body to achieve a certain result, which was the speedy issuance of a beer permit for Mr. Morgan.”

Presley concluded Shaw “enjoyed a comfortable familiarity with both Clay Perry and Commissioner Harvey.”

“It is critical to note that, notwithstanding the clear appearance of utilizing political influence to circumvent the process, there is no evidentiary proof at this time that either Mr. Perry or Commissioner Harvey accepted or solicited any form of gratuity in exchange for their services,” Presley wrote.

Neither Harvey nor Horne could be reached by press time.

The Beer Board, at its March 18 meeting, delayed action on the beer permit when it couldn’t determine who the owner of the nightspot was.

There were two leases, and as the board’s staff investigated, they got conflicting answers on which lease was valid, as they called and contacted the various names on both sets of paperwork.

The Daq held its grand opening days later, on March 22, without a beer permit.

Horne said he drove by, saw the opening and went in where he talked to someone else who said they were the owner.

On the day of the grand opening, Shaw left a message at the commission offices for Harvey, according to a County Commission e-mail. Perry was copied on the e-mail, which is a routine procedure in handling calls to commissioners.

The next evening, March 23, Horne got a call at home from Perry asking if the board could call a special meeting.

Horne said Perry asked what could be done to speed the application process for The Daq.

Perry agreed that he quizzed Horne about possibly calling a special meeting to consider The Daq’s permit application.

“Clay then inferred that the owners were ‘connected.’ (I took that to mean politically, although I cannot remember the specific statement to quote.),” Horne wrote.

Perry denied saying anything like that or trying to imply any kind of political power.

“I haven’t been paid anything,” Perry is quoted as saying at one point in the interview.

Perry said Harvey never discussed the matter with him, and that Harvey had not talked with Kenny Shaw before Perry called Horne.

Perry said Shaw made it “perfectly clear” that Morgan wanted a specially called meeting.

Harvey said he talked with Shaw.

“I said, ‘Call Clay and tell him what your problem is and he will let me know what I need to do thereafter,’” Harvey told Presley.

Perry called the investigation “silly” and “politically motivated,” as well as politically timed. The report surfaced the same week that early voting began in advance of the primaries.

Perry said he was responding to a call from a constituent, a primary task of the commission staff.

“You can write it any way you want, and in the end, I’m still staff,” Perry told The Daily News. “I’ve been doing constituent service for 15 years. That’s all that was – constituent service.”

Presley said the investigation was prompted by a phone call from Horne and authorized by Shelby County Commission chairwoman Joyce Avery. Perry said he is to meet Monday with Avery.

The Beer Board’s next meeting is Thursday . Presley told The Daily News at that time, the board will consider new questions about who owns The Daq.

“Unfortunately, there is a rather stark inconsistency or discrepancy between what was represented back on March 18 and what we received in document form,” Presley said.

Horne told Presley that after last month’s vote to delay, Wilkins asked how long it would take The Daq to get a permit. Wilkins is an assistant county attorney hired to advise the Beer Board.

Wilkins denied any attempt to sway Horne or the board.

“No one has lobbied anybody that I know of on the planet Earth about this application,” he told Presley. “I don’t know these people. I have had no affiliation with any of these people.”

Note: An earlier version of this story contained an incorrect location for The Daq. We regret the error.

...

52. Beale Street Settlement Preferable, Wharton Says -

For the third time in a year a Memphis mayor has said settling the legal dispute over Beale Street’s cash flow is a priority.

But there are still signs the dispute won’t be settled easily.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. told the Memphis Rotary Club last week that he wants the Shelby County Chancery Court lawsuit settled this year.

53. Herenton’s Campaign Tactics Familiar Ground -

After months of silence, Willie Herenton is back.

But he’s back in a local political environment that’s very different.

The former Memphis mayor opened his campaign for the 9th Congressional District Democratic primary Saturday in East Memphis before a crowd of 300 people. The speech was heavy with the verbal hooks that characterized the last years of Herenton’s 18 years as mayor.

54. Herenton Opens Congressional Bid -

Former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton opened his Congressional campaign Saturday afternoon to a crowd of around 300 in East Memphis.

A core group of about half the crowd crowded around the stage at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis and waved red Herenton signs. Others further back in the crowd were curious about Herenton’s latest political venture after winning five terms as mayors. Still others were candidates or their campaign workers in county races, handing out campaign literature and stumping for support of their own.

55. UPDATE: Herenton Opens Congressional Campaign -

Former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton opened his Congressional campaign Saturday afternoon to a crowd of around 300 in East Memphis.

A core group of about half the crowd crowded around the stage at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis and waved red Herenton signs. Others further back in the crowd were curious about Herenton’s latest political venture after winning five terms as mayors. Still others were candidates or their campaign workers in county races, handing out campaign literature and stumping for support of their own.

56. Memphis Bar Association Names New Board Members -

The Memphis Bar Association has appointed new officers and new members to the board of directors for 2010.

Ricky E. Wilkins of the Law Offices of Ricky E. Wilkins will serve as president. John Cannon of Shuttleworth Williams PLLC will serve as vice president and Gary K. Smith of Apperson Crump Maxwell PLC will serve as treasurer. Linda Warren Seely of Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. will serve as secretary.

57. Memphis Bar Assn. Elects New Officers, Board Members -

At the Memphis Bar Association’s Annual Meeting Thursday at The Peabody hotel, the MBA announced its 2010 officers and new members of its board of directors.

Immediate past president Art Quinn passed the gavel to incoming president Ricky E. Wilkins of the Law Offices of Ricky E. Wilkins. John Cannon of Shuttleworth Williams PLLC and Gary K. Smith of Apperson Crump & Maxwell PLC automatically move to the positions of vice president/president-elect and treasurer, respectively. Linda Warren Seely, director of pro bono projects at Memphis Area Legal Services Inc., was chosen as secretary.

58. Garrison Appointed to Leadership Post for American Bar Section -

Grady M. Garrison has been appointed to serve as vice chair of the Intellectual Property Litigation Subcommittee for the American Bar Association Litigation Section.

Garrison, of counsel at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC, concentrates his practice in the areas of intellectual property and franchise law.

59. A Mayor’s Race to Remember: Candidates pump up the drama as election nears -

The field is set at 25 candidates and Memphians start voting Sept. 25 in a mayor’s race that has been neither a surprise nor the expected.

But there’s no guarantee the election will settle what the post-Willie Herenton era will look like. Too many other events still have to be decided.

60. Beale Street Report Overshadowed by Wilkins Flap - The handing over of the case files is still being worked out. So is a motion for a change of counsel. And the final invoice from attorney Ricky E. Wilkins for his work on the Chancery Court case involving the Beale Street Entertainment District is yet to come.

The decision by Memphis Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery to replace Wilkins comes at a crucial time in the long-running case.

Special Chancellor Don Harris is about to unseal a report on the entertainment district that has already been partially leaked. The report from Philadelphia accounting firm Parente Randolph was being prepared for release late last week as Wilkins and Lowery began a testy e-mail exchange that ended with Lowery firing Wilkins earlier this week.

For the past year or so of former Mayor Willie Herenton’s tenure, the city, represented by Wilkins, was zealously pursuing an accounting of money from Beale Street since 2002.

Money pit

The money is supposed to flow from the nightclubs on Beale Street to management company Performa Entertainment to the Beale Street Development Corp. and finally to the city. The money hasn’t flowed to the city at all, even though the city owns the district. On that, all sides agree.

The BSDC is the nonprofit board that holds the lease from the city, and Performa has a contract to run, manage and develop Beale Street with the BSDC.

Performa CEO John Elkington contends the district wasn’t profitable for a long time after its dedication in late 1983. Elkington said he and Performa put their own money into it. Under his contract, Elkington said he can and should recoup the money when the district turns a profit.

Wilkins contended in court that Performa mingled the Beale Street money with Performa ventures in other cities. It’s an allegation Elkington has adamantly denied.

“That’s nowhere in the report,” Elkington said in his only positive reference to the Parente Randolph findings.

Advocacy wars

The report by Paul Pocalyko, a principal of the accounting and consulting firm, concluded Performa owed the city of Memphis more than $6 million in profits from the district.

Press reports of Pocalyko’s multimillion-dollar bottom line had the political effect of stalling plans by Lowery to settle the lawsuit and fire City Attorney Elbert Jefferson.

“My overall goal is to save the taxpayers money,” Lowery said this week, denying that he is trying to “squash” the accounting of profits from the district. “If this case can be settled, I want it settled. If it must go to court, then it will go to court. But the overall goal is to improve the efficiency of this city.”

Elkington has been Beale Street’s developer since the district between Second and Fourth streets reopened 25 years ago.

“They spent $500,000 on an audit that is not an audit,” he said.

Elkington recently hired attorney John C. Speer, a member of Bass, Berry & Sims PLC, to represent Performa.

Speer wouldn’t comment on the content of the Pocalyko report.

But he said, in general, the report mistakenly counted revenue, to the tune of millions of dollars, as due the city.

“That document is not an audit. It’s an opinion,” Speer said. “We are disappointed that it wasn’t an audit because we think an audit would have a credibility that would have supported the conclusion we have that there’s not any money owed to the city.”

Earlier this week, Speer was awaiting his own full copy of the report and both sides were still arguing about what would be redacted from it.

“The conclusions and opinions in there are not supported by fact,” Speer said. “They are opinions that are designed to support the position taken by the city’s attorney.”

That included approximately $2 million merchants made from selling wristbands over the seven-year period starting in 2002. The wristband sales allow patrons to get in several clubs for one cover charge.

“That money never goes to us. That’s $2.1 million,” Elkington told The Daily News. “So a third of what they are alleging went to the merchants.”

Another $900,000 was disallowed because it was a credit some tenants were given on their rent after they made property improvements. But Performa claims it has a 1991 letter with then-city chief administrative officer Greg Duckett approving the credit arrangement.

“What they’re trying to do is rewrite the lease,” Elkington said. “We’ve always said, ‘If we owe some money, we’ll pay it.’ … Right now, this is stuff that is conjecture.”

‘Black hole’

Lowery has said one of his first actions on taking office was to direct city Chief Administrative Officer Jack Sammons to find a way to settle the Beale Street lawsuit.

A settlement had been one of three priorities – along with a Mid-South Fairgrounds redevelopment contract and an agreement for Bass Pro Shops to develop The Pyramid – Herenton had set for his final weeks in office but never achieved.

Lowery had the same goal for his tenure, which lasts until the special election on Oct. 15 if he doesn’t win the right to fill out Herenton’s term.

Lowery’s immediate concern was millions of dollars the city was paying outside attorneys to pursue litigation. That concern was why Lowery tried to fire Jefferson within minutes of taking the oath of office on July 31. He held Jefferson responsible for what he termed a “black hole” of legal expenses approved on Jefferson’s watch as city attorney.

Lowery mentioned prominently the $35,000 a month to Wilkins and his law firm for work on the Beale Street case.

...

61. Wilkins Off Beale Street Case -

Memphis Mayor Myron Lowery has dismissed attorney Ricky E. Wilkins as the city’s attorney in a long-standing civil suit over the Beale Street Entertainment District.

62. Wilkins Out As City's Beale Street Attorney -

Memphis Mayor Myron Lowery has dismissed attorney Ricky E. Wilkins as the city’s attorney in a long standing civil suit over the Beale Street Entertainment District.

63. Lowery Says Jefferson Ouster Up To City Council -

Memphis Mayor Pro Tempore Myron Lowery said Saturday that it will be up to the City Council to resurrect the issue of firing City Attorney Elbert Jefferson.

64. Halbert Denies Call For Lowery Ethics Investigation -

City attorney Elbert Jefferson has refused to turn over any paperwork to Mayor Pro Tempore Myron Lowery on what he claims is an “ethics investigation” he is conducting of Lowery.

65. UPDATE: Jefferson Denies Access To Info On Probe To Lowery -

City Attorney Elbert Jefferson has refused to turn over any paperwork to Mayor Pro Tempore Myron Lowery on what he claims is an “ethics investigation” he is conducting of Lowery.

Jefferson made the claim Wednesday during testimony in the city’s Chancery Court lawsuit against Lowery. Jefferson filed the suit in behalf of the city after Lowery attempted to fire Jefferson as his first official act on his first day as mayor. Jefferson said the investigation was requested by City Council member Wanda Halbert who, like Lowery, is a candidate in the Oct. 15 special election for Memphis mayor.

66. City Attorney Standoff Changes Little With Court Ruling -

Chancellor Walter Evans has ruled Memphis Mayor Myron Lowery did nothing wrong in his move to fire City Attorney Elbert Jefferson.

But at the end of a hearing that took up most of Wednesday afternoon, Evans also ruled that Lowery needs a majority vote from the City Council to replace Jefferson with former U.S. Attorney Veronica Coleman-Davis in the city post.

67. UPDATE: Evans Rules Lowery Needs Majority Council Vote To Oust Jefferson -

Chancellor Walter Evans has ruled Memphis Mayor Myron Lowery did nothing wrong in his move to fire City Attorney Elbert Jefferson.

But at the end of a hearing that took up most of Wednesday afternoon, Evans also ruled that Lowery needs a majority vote from the City Council to replace Jefferson with former U.S. Attorney Veronica Coleman-Davis in the city post.

68. New Mayor Lowery Braces for First Council Battle -

Memphis Mayor Pro Tempore Myron Lowery goes to the City Council today with a new nominee for city attorney, former U.S. Attorney Veronica Coleman Davis, and lots of questions from some of his former council colleagues about his dismissal Friday of the old city attorney.

69. UPDATE: Lowery Appoints Coleman-Davis Deputy City Attorney -  

Memphis Mayor Myron Lowery has appointed his choice to be city attorney to be deputy city attorney until the City Council can act on her nomination.

The naming of Veronica Coleman-Davis to the number two spot is the latest twist in a controvery that began minutes after Lowery took the oath of office Friday and fired City Attorney Elbert Jefferson.

Jefferson then filed suit in Chancery Court against Lowery contesting Lowery's decision to fire him. Chancellor Walter Evans issued a preliminary injunction preventing Jefferson's dismissal at least until a hearing before Evans Wednesday afternoon.

On the Drake & Zeke Show on radio station 98.1 The Max, Lowery said until the council acts, Coleman-Davis, a former U.S. Attorney, will be deputy director. Her appointment to that position is immediate and does not require council approval.

Meanwhile, Jefferson's attorney, Ricky E. Wilkins, told The Daily News her confirmation Tuesday as City Attorney would have to come after a council vote to back Jefferson's firing.

"We will ask the court to continue to keep that injunction in place throughout the tenure of Myron Lowery as mayor pro tempore," Wilkins said. "If Myron is able to get the necessary votes to terminate Mr. Jefferson and to get the votes to replace him with a substitute city attorney ... then that's what the process calls for and I think Mr. Jefferson understands that. But Myron Lowery cannot ignore and violate the city charter to satisfy his own political means."

Jefferson was at City Hall over the weekend, escorted by City Council attorney Allan Wade, according to Lowery.

After taking the oath of office Friday afternoon from U.S. District Court Judge Hardy Mays, Lowery told reporters he had offered Jefferson a severance and a chance to resign the appointed post. Jefferson refused which apparently surprised Lowery since Jefferson had tendered his resignation to outgoing Mayor Willie Herenton earlier in the month and Herenton refused to accept it.

Lowery met with Jefferson in a City Hall stairwell after the swearing in ceremony. Lowery emerged without Jefferson and told reporters he had fired the attorney. Several sources said later that Jefferson was escorted from the building and his parking pass and other identification taken as he was walked to his car and out of City Hall.

Wilkins termed the forcible exit a "low blow" and a "fairly drastic action."

“The legal department has almost been a black hole for dollars,” Lowery said Friday, minutes after the stairwell meeting. “I think that we spend too much money on attorney fees. I think that our city attorney has allowed this to happen without adequate controls on this. And I’m looking for stronger controls in the city attorney’s office.”

“If the mayor pro tempore doesn’t have the power, who does?” Lowery said. “Of course I do.”

Power play

In addition to Coleman-Davis, Lowery will also take the nomination of former council member Jack Sammons as his Chief Administrative Officer to the council Tuesday.

Herenton CAO Keith McGee had retired effective July 4. But when Herenton moved back his resignation date to July 30, McGee extended his stay on a voluntary basis. McGee is working with Lowery on a transitional basis. Lowery said he had hoped Jefferson would work under the same arrangement.

“He wanted to keep the title and the salary that comes with it. So I had to make a decision,” Lowery said. “I wish he had accepted it. … He’s forced me to take this action.”

Lowery said he wants Coleman Davis to examine past city legal bills and expenses.

“I have heard that several individuals have been hired … in the legal department to fill vacancies who were scheduled to start work Monday. I just found this out,” Lowery told reporters. “I want to make sure that we don’t have cronies of our former legal division director who have been hired.”

Those appointments will be examined.

“I don’t want any friends of the division director receiving dollars or any backroom deals outside the scope of the City Council. You know what I’m talking about,” he told reporters. “That is not going to occur under my administration.”

‘Hard work and enthusiasm’

As Lowery moved into the seventh floor mayor’s office Friday at City Hall, council member Harold Collins moved into the council chairman’s office on the fifth floor as part of the transition in power following Herenton’s resignation. Collins indicated his displeasure with the firing of Jefferson and said he wants Lowery and Jefferson to be at Tuesday's council committee sessions to tell their sides of the story.

“It’s a new day at City Hall,” Lowery told a crowd in the Hall of Mayors the day after Herenton’s farewell address in the same hall. Lowery’s guests at the ceremony were Herenton, former Mayor Dick Hackett and J.O. Patterson Jr., the city’s first African-American mayor who served in the top post for 20 days after the resignation of Mayor Wyeth Chandler in 1982. Patterson was City Council chairman at the time. Like Lowery, Patterson also ran in the special election that followed and lost to Hackett, who lost to Herenton nine years later by 142 votes.

“With new life, new individuals, comes hope and promise,” Lowery said. “As mayor, I will promote a moral philosophy of customer service – customer-driven government. … I’m here also to say that I’m going to promote ethical leadership in government.”

One priority will be a new crime fighting strategy, although Lowery was quick to say he likes the direction the police department and those efforts have taken under current Police Director Larry Godwin. The other immediate priority is a more aggressive city cleanup campaign.

Lowery didn’t refer to Herenton directly in any of his comments, but the contrasts were apparent.

“We will be energetic in city government – more productive There’s a phrase, ‘We need to be workhorses, not showhorses.’” Lowery said. “You will not get a lot of catchy phrases from me. But you will get a lot of hard work and enthusiasm.”

The remark came the day after Herenton’s farewell address and press conference in which Herenton repeatedly invoked what looks to be the campaign slogan “Keep It Real” in his bid for the Democratic congressional nomination in 2010.

“As everyone knows, we’ve lost many people during the past several years. I’m going to say come home to Memphis,” Lowery said.

The remark is in contrast to one of Herenton’s most cited quotes from his 18-year tenure. When asked about citizens moving out of Memphis for the suburbs, Herenton responded by saying he had no problem with that and adding “goodbye.”

...

70. Why the Struggle to Control Beale Street Continues -

Eight blocks lie between the Shelby County Courthouse and Beale Street.

The courthouse’s seated representations of wisdom, justice, liberty and authority look southward toward the entertainment district. Sometimes, if the wind is blowing in the right direction, you can hear the band in Handy Park from the courthouse steps.

71. Elkington Considers Selling Performa For $1 -

Beale Street developer John Elkington has considered selling his Performa Entertainment Co. to a group of Beale Street merchants for $1.

72. Beale Street Case Transferred To Different Judge -

One of three separate Chancery Court cases involving control of the Beale Street Entertainment District has been transferred to the special judge handling the largest and oldest case.

Chancellor Arnold Goldin Thursday ordered the transfer of the case in which Performa Entertainment sued the city of Memphis over the city’s attempt to declare Performa in default of its lease on Handy Park. The city sent notice in December it was canceling the 10-year lease as Performa tried to renew it for another 10 years.

73. Receiver Tapped To Oversee Beale Street Saga -

The new receiver for the Beale Street Entertainment District will oversee an entity with shifting alliances, more than two sides to every story and thousands of pages of records involving hundreds of thousands of dollars.

74. Beale St. Merchants Take City to Court -

The Beale Street Merchants Association has joined the thickening legal fray over the finances of the entertainment district.

The association filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Chancery Court against the city of Memphis, according to The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com. It came as the city’s attorney accused the district’s manager, Performa Entertainment, of “hiding behind” a protective order in another lawsuit.

75. Beale St. Merchants Take City to Court -

The Beale Street Merchants Association has joined the thickening legal fray over the finances of the entertainment district.

The association filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Chancery Court against the city of Memphis, according to The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com. It came as the city’s attorney accused the district’s manager, Performa Entertainment, of “hiding behind” a protective order in another lawsuit.

76. Beale Street Lawsuits Multiply While Sources Stay Quiet -

The tangle of lawsuits surrounding the Beale Street Entertainment District has grown in the past month. The litigation frenzy has also extended to the Lee’s Landing development on the south side of the Beale Street block between Second and Third streets.

77. Beale, Lee’s Landing Battles Continue -

Once upon a time there was talk of a change in the management of the Beale Street entertainment district. And for a rare moment in November, it seemed that all of the many sides that have some role in the running of Beale Street were about to agree to it.

78. Unethical Conduct Discussion Next on Charter Commission Agenda -

The problem for the Memphis Charter Commission isn't necessarily coming up with a code of ethics. That's already been done by the City Council.

And what the council hasn't defined will be defined by public reaction and political will.

79. Despite Recent Drama, Charter Commission Faces Full Plate -

An emotional discussion on term limits received a lot of attention at this month's meeting of the Memphis Charter Commission.

But the group reviewing the city charter for possible changes to be submitted to voters doesn't lack for other items. And time is getting short for decisions and answers to questions that in many cases rely on legal opinions and interpretations.

80. Public Service, Law Practice Balance Well for Wilkins -

Ricky E. Wilkins' career has included a mix of law and public policy. Owner of The Law Office of Ricky E. Wilkins, he currently represents the Memphis Charter Commission, the elected body that is considering changes to the 40-year-old Memphis City Charter. The charter converted city government from a commission form to the current mayor-council form of government.

81. Ethics Code Still Needs Help, Wilkins Says -

At year's end, the Memphis City Council had left the proposition of disciplining city office holders accused but not convicted of wrongdoing in the hands of city voters.

The council approved a November 2008 referendum that proposes a charter amendment to permit the recall of council members.But the attorney for the Memphis Charter Commission, Ricky Wilkins, is researching the idea of some kind of legal sanction that is more than a censure but doesn't go as far as a removal from office.

82. Charter Commission to Put Term Limits Before Voters -

The Memphis Charter Commission will recommend term limits be included in charter changes to be submitted to city voters.

The commission made the decision Wednesday without deciding specifics other than the term limits would not apply to the city court clerk's office or the three city court judge positions. The specifics are to be fleshed out as the commission looks at term limit provisions in other cities.

83. Lawsuit FiledAgainst Pepsi, Coke -      Thirteen Shelby County residents have filed suit in U.S. District Court, Western District of Tennessee, against Pepsi Co. Inc. and the Coca Cola Co. Inc. alleging a nationwide scheme of consumer misrepresentation practic

84. MBA Board MembersAnnounced, Ready to Roll -      The Memphis Bar Association announced its 2007 officers during an event at The Peabody Hotel Thursday.
     David M. Cook of The Hardison Law Firm PC officially became the 2007 MBA president,

85. Archived Article: Focus (bond) - Law firm buys Metro Exchange building Firm expands on second bail bond row By SUE PEASE The Daily News For a law firm doing business in Memphis, Downtown has always been attractive because of the areas proximity to the Shelby County Courthouse at 20...

86. Archived Article: Law Focus (awards) - By STACEY PETSCHAUER A lawyers lawyer Frank J. Glankler Jr. receives the Memphis Bar Associations highest award, Ricky E. Wilkins wins Sam A. Myar Jr. Memorial Award By STACEY PETSCHAUER The Daily News Some people might wonder what qualifications ar...

87. Archived Article: Memos - Barry D Barry D. Robbins has been named executive vice president/sales and marketing for TBC Corp. He currently is senior vice president of strategic marketing. Ronald E. McCollough was named executive vice president and chief financial officer for ...

88. Archived Article: Law Briefs - Several local attorneys have been elected to positions with the Tennessee Bar Association Several local attorneys have been elected to positions with the Tennessee Bar Association. Randall D. Noel, a partner in the firm of Armstrong Allen Prewitt Ge...

89. Archived Article: Page 3 - Bar association nominees announced Bar association nominees announced Charles F. Newman, president of the Memphis Bar Association, has released the report of the Nominations and Elections Committee chaired by Blanchard E. Tual. The 1997 president wi...