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Editorial Results (free)

1. County Commission Begins New Term -

Shelby County Commissioners elect a new chairman Monday, Sept. 8, for the next year at the first voting meeting of their four-year term of office.

And their agenda includes votes on appointments by Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell to his second-term team of division directors and administrators.

2. Memphis Bar Judicial Poll Released -

The Memphis Bar Association poll of attorneys on the judicial races on the Aug. 7 ballot shows 16 percent to as high as 38 percent of the attorneys participating have no opinion in many of the judicial races.

3. 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.

4. Banks' Earnings Pop Masks Deeper Concerns -

NEW YORK (AP) – Major U.S. banks have turned in big profit gains this season, but the news isn't all good.

Much of the earnings increase is coming from cutting costs, rather than growing their core lending businesses. A boom in mortgage refinancing looks like it's about to peter out. And regulators are considering stricter new rules that would force the banks to shore up their cash.

5. Bank of America Closes One Mortgage Lawsuit, Another Lingers -

NEW YORK (AP) — As soon as Bank of America puts one mortgage-related lawsuit behind it, another always seems to rear its head.

The bank announced Wednesday that it would pay $500 million to settle a class-action lawsuit led by pension funds and other investors who say they were misled about mortgage-backed investments they bought from Countrywide, a mortgage lender Bank of America bought in 2008. The bank portrayed the settlement as good news because it resolved the bulk of securities claims related to residential mortgage-backed securities.

6. Bank of America Says Housing has ‘Begun to Turn' -

NEW YORK (AP) – For banks, mortgage-making kept profits humming before the financial crisis, then blackened reputations and stamped out earnings when the crisis hit.

Now, the business of mortgage lending is more of a mixed bag.

7. Turbo-Traders Take Bank of America for a Ride -

NEW YORK (AP) – On a normal day, 4 billion shares of stock change hands on the New York Stock Exchange. One in 10 belongs to a single company. It's not McDonald's or IBM, both of which have been on a tear.

8. BofA Expects $1.8B Gain From Chinese Bank Stake -

Bank of America will sell most of its remaining shares in China Construction Bank as it raises cash and shores up its capital base.

9. Bank of America Sells Half of its China Bank Stake -

NEW YORK (AP) – Bank of America Corp. is selling half of its stake in China Construction Bank Corp. to raise cash and shore up its capital base.

10. Bloom Joins Good Advertising -

Audra Bloom has joined Good Advertising as senior account manager.

Hometown: Delaware, Ohio

11. ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ Production Hits Target -

They say in theater that there are no small parts, just small actors. But Theatre Memphis’s season opener shows strength and professionalism in large and small roles alike.

Irving Berlin’s “Annie Get Your Gun,” running through Sept.12, hits several bull’s-eyes on the theater’s Lohrey Stage.

12. Surprises Possible as Primary Filing Deadline Nears -

Although today marks the filing deadline for the May 4 Shelby County primaries and independent candidates on the Aug. 5 county general election ballot, plenty of political drama remains.

In fact, the filing deadline is often just as important – and surprising – as election day.

13. BofA Names Executive Team, Looking for New CFO -

NEW YORK (AP) - Bank of America Corp. is shuffling its senior management team, moving its chief financial officer over to lead consumer and small business banking and naming a new chief risk officer.

14. Malone Gears Up for County Mayor Run -

Shelby County Commissioner Deidre Malone stood under a carport in Orange Mound earlier this week and kicked off her campaign for Shelby County mayor in 2010.

The timing of the campaign kickoff at her grandparents’ house with her mother, other family members and her friends in attendance had been planned months ago to follow the end of Malone’s year-long tenure as County Commission chairwoman. Malone turned over the chair Monday to fellow Commissioner Joyce Avery.

15. 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.”

16. Thompson Draws Six Month Prison Sentence - $10,000 Fine - Former Shelby County Commissioner Bruce Thompson was sentenced Wednesday 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.

Ballin argued in his position paper that Thompson’s sentence should be determined based on the $7,000 instead of the more than $200,000 Thompson was to be 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 amount was a factor in the prison sentence.

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

Several dozen family members and friends were in the courtroom to show support. Rev. Craig Strickland, pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church, testified as a character witness for Thompson. He asked McCalla for leniency.

...

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. Lee’s Legal Fees Suit Could Surface Again -

It was one year ago this week that nine new members were elected to the Memphis City Council.

It was the largest turnover of seats on the 13-member body in its 40-year history.

This week, the council had its most serious difference of opinion to date over a controversy that began onthe watch of the previous council. And it was one of the previous council members that made the difference in the outcome.

19. Kustoff Resigns District Atty. Post -

U.S. Attorney David Kustoff is leaving his job as chief federal prosecutor for West Tennesseee.

Kustoff announced his resignation Tuesday effective May 16, just over two years after he was appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

20. Thompson Pleads Guilty to Fraud -

Former Shelby County Board of Commissioners member Bruce Thompson pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal fraud charge in a corruption case involving a 2004 construction contract to build three Memphis city schools.

21. Thompson Pleads Guilty To Fraud -

Former Shelby County Commissioner Bruce Thompson pleaded guilty today to a federal fraud charge in a corruption case involving the construction contract to build three Memphis city schools.

The plea came on Thompson’s first appearance before U.S. District Judge Jon P. McCalla on the corruption charges he was indicted on in November.

22. Tennessee Primaries Provide Hints but no Solid Direction for Fall -

KNOXVILLE (AP) - A week after the Super Tuesday primaries in Tennessee, political experts have combed through the numbers but are no more certain about how Volunteer State voters will swing in the presidential election in November.

23. Salton Cos. Gets ContractFor Sheriff's Academy -      Salton Cos. LLC will be the general contractor for a $1.3 million expansion of the Shelby County Sheriff's Training Academy. Construction contractor Kirby Salton as well as Sheriff's Department officials Monday urged the

24. Wharton Agrees With Herenton on Consolidation -

The mayors of Memphis and Shelby County are now both on record as favoring a single Metro form of government albeit under different terms.

Five days after Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton launched a renewed bid for consolidation keyed on changing state law to permit a single county-wide referendum on a consolidation proposal, Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton Jr. told members of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners Monday he also favors one government for Memphis and the unincorporated areas of Shelby County.

25. Salton Cos. Receives Committee Approval for Contract -

Members of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners are preparing to vote Monday on another county government contract with a construction contractor at the center of a federal corruption probe.

Kirby Salton made a brief appearance Wednesday as the $1.3 million contract was approved by a commission committee. He came with a letter of recommendation of sorts.

26. Committee to ConsiderContract With Salton Cos. -      In a committee meeting today, the Shelby County Board of Commissioners will consider a $1.3 million contract with Salton Cos. LLC for an expansion project on the Shelby County Sheriff's Office Training Academy.
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27. Thompson Trial Set for March 31 -

Former Shelby County Commissioner Bruce Thompson's pending corruption trial appears to be on a fast track. U.S. District Jon P. McCalla this week set a March 31 trial date on the charges of extortion and mail fraud.

28. While U of M-Area TIF Passes, It's Still a Bone of Contention -

Shelby County Commissioners this week put in place the final piece of the structure for a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan for the University of Memphis area.

The ordinance creating a Redevelopment Trust Fund passed on a 9-2-1 vote on third and final reading. The same ordinance was expected to win final approval Tuesday from the Memphis City Council.

29. Commission Distances Itself From Salton Cos. -

Shelby County Commissioners have taken at least a temporary step back from a construction contractor whose name has surfaced in the most recent federal corruption investigation.

The two-week delay this week in approving a $274,422 contract with Salton Cos. LLC came less than a week after former County Commissioner Bruce Thompson was indicted on federal extortion and mail fraud charges.

30. Thompson Proclaims Innocence While Prosecution Proceeds -

Former Shelby County Commissioner Bruce Thompson's defense against public corruption charges could touch on some fundamental questions about the private business dealings of public officials.

Thompson turned himself in to the U.S. Marshals Service Wednesday, the day after a federal grand jury indicted him on one count of extortion and three counts of mail fraud.

31. Thompson's One-Time Promises Implode With Indictments -

He ran for the Shelby County Board of Commissioners five years ago on the slogan "It's time for government to mean business." And Bruce Thompson's campaign literature pledged, "I believe public officials should use their position to save money for the taxpayers, not make money for themselves."

32. Thompson Indicted for Extortion and Mail Fraud -

A federal grand jury Tuesday indicted former Shelby County Commissioner Bruce Thompson on one count of extortion and three counts of mail fraud.

The public corruption charges that name no other defendants came with just as many questions as answers – questions about possible involvement by others. U.S. Attorney David Kustoff said the grand jury probe is continuing but he wouldn’t be more specific.

33. Thompson Indicted for Extortion and Mail Fraud -

A federal grand jury today indicted former Shelby County Commissioner Bruce Thompson on one count of extortion and three counts of mail fraud.

The public corruption charges that name no other defendants came with just as many questions as answers – questions about possible involvement by others. U.S. Attorney David Kustoff said the grand jury probe is continuing but he wouldn’t be more specific.

34. Minority Contracts Trigger Ethics Buzz -

Minority-led business contracts in Memphis and Shelby County are apparently such a hot commodity, some political figures who double as private consultants are willing to go to great lengths to procure them for their clients.

35. The Plot Thickens -

Shortly after losing the Democratic primary for a seat on the Shelby County Commission this past summer, Memphis businessman Joe Cooper left town to unwind and visit family members.

It had been a grueling campaign for the seat vacated by former Republican commissioner Bruce Thompson. Cooper, a former car salesman and well-known associate of the late Memphis billboard baron William B. Tanner, nevertheless decided to combine his family trip after the campaign with a little business.

36. Mulroy to be Sworn in as County Commissioner Today -

Hanging next to the door in Steve Mulroy's office in the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis is a drawing of a tiger and a monkey on bright yellow paper.

The drawing is the work of Mulroy's 8-year-old son, Quinn. Displayed next to it is a poem written by Mulroy's daughter, Molly, 11. Their art gets noticed, because in granting an interview to discuss his tenure as a Shelby County commissioner - which officially begins today - Mulroy's one request is that the conversation include his children, who helped their proud father during his campaign.

37. Jail Privatization Issue Draws Continued Debate -

He's a corrections officer who has worked at the Shelby County Penal Farm for 16 years, a career that, until recently, has been mostly spent out of the limelight and away from the public eye.

But in the last three years, Jeff Woodard - who has become one of Shelby County government's most outspoken, persistent critics - figures he's missed only five public meetings of the full County Commission.

38. Archived Article: This Week - Councilman Jones Hosts Town Hall Meeting

Womens Foundation Hosts Lunch-and-Learn

June 6

Memphis City Council member E.C. Jones holds a town hall meeting from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the North Frayser Community Center, 2555 St. Elmo Ave. The ...

39. Archived Article: Lead - Shelby County Commission to decide soon on where to privatize prison system

County Looks at Jail Privatization Offers

Proposals include new construction, savings incentives

ANDY MEEK

The Daily News

Two private prison companies are ram...

40. Archived Article: Daily Digest - Centennial Place Property

Centennial Place Property

Financed for $2.5 Million

Centennial Place Co. has financed Centennial Place, located on 10.04 acres near Winchester Road and Centennial Drive, for $2.5 million, according to The Daily New...

41. Archived Article: Newsmakers - Le Bonheur Hires Two New Surgeons

Taylor Elected to TTLA Board of Governors

Chris Taylor was elected to the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association Board of Governors. Taylor, a shareholder in Hill Borens Memphis office, also will serve as a TTLA ...

42. Archived Article: Newsmakers - The Memphis Area Association of Realtors honored Martin Edwards Jr

MAAR Dedicates Center in Honor of Past President

The Memphis Area Association of Realtors honored Martin Edwards Jr. with the dedication of the Martin Edwards Jr. Education Cen...

43. Archived Article: Events - The Crime Victims Center presents Law Enforcement Response to Victims from 8:30 a

The Crime Victims Center presents Law Enforcement Response to Victims from 8:30 a.m. to noon today in the Criminal Justice Center auditorium, 201 Poplar Ave. Guest ...

44. Archived Article: Benchmark - FDA wants trans-fat levels on food labels

FDA wants trans-fat levels on food labels

Food manufacturers will be bound by law to show the levels of trans-fatty acids in their products, with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announcing a bid ...

45. Archived Article: Law Focus - Schools, sewers deciding factor in county expansion

Board contends schools deciding factor in county growth By MARY DANDO

The Daily News

The sleepy, historic community of Lucy, situated between Raleigh-Millington Road and U.S. Highway 51, c...

46. Archived Article: Memos - AutoZone Names Senior Vice James M. Evans Jr. has joined PSI as a staff consultant. He has bachelors and masters degrees from the University of Memphis and previously worked as a structural engineer. Emily Forman has joined CB Richard Ellis as resea...

47. Archived Article: Memos - National Commerce Bancorporation Karla Merritt has joined OConnor Kenny Partners as associate art director. She is a graduate of the University of Memphis. Sue S. Hunter has been appointed director of attorney recruitment for Baker, Donelson, Bearma...

48. Archived Article: Memos - Fred's Inc names Reier president John Reier has been named president of Freds Inc., effective May 1. He formerly was president and chief operating officer at Family Dollar Stores Inc. Reier also previously served as senior vice president of merchand...

49. Archived Article: Memos - Bob Vornbrock has been named president of Thompson & Co Bob Vornbrock has been named president of Thompson & Co. He formerly was chief operating officer. Vornbrock is a graduate of the University of Missouri. Greg Bava has been named to the ...

50. Archived Article: Law Focus - By SUZANNE THOMPSON Attorneys in action Many local lawyers believe community service is a civic responsibility that accompanies the practice of law By SUZANNE THOMPSON The Daily News Attorney Bill Bruces grandfather told him long ago that lawyers ow...

51. Archived Article: Memos - Billie Peterman has been named chief financial officer and executive vice president of Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp Billie Peterman has been named chief financial officer and executive vice president of Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. She pr...

52. Archived Article: New Towns - By SUZANNE THOMPSON Petitions would create three suburban towns By SUZANNE THOMPSON The Daily News Tennessee maps could include three new towns New Forest Hills, New Berryhill and Independence if petitions filed Monday at the Shelby County Election ...

53. Archived Article: Back - Leadership Memphis announces 1997 class Leadership Memphis announces 1997 class Top business executives, administrators, civic volunteers and ministers are among the 55 leaders in the public and private sectors who have been selected to participate ...