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VOL. 124 | NO. 126 | Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Daily Digest

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City Files Permit For Liberty Bowl Renovation

The city of Memphis has applied for a $1.2 million permit with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for renovations to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium at 335 S. Hollywood St.

The owner of the property is the city of Memphis and the tenant is Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. The stadium is home to the University of Memphis football team, Southern Heritage Classic and AutoZone Liberty Bowl, among other events.

The architect for the project is Bounds & Gillespie Architects PLLC. The architect who is heading this project was out of town, said a representative at the office, and wasn’t immediately available for comment.

This permit is for renovations, including those related to the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to public records. Records show this project as being a “renovation of existing and new ADA restrooms.”

A message left with the city’s Division of Housing and Community Development was not returned by press time.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

OfficeMax Inks Deal With FedEx

Office-supply retailer OfficeMax Inc. reported Monday it signed a multiyear deal that will allow it to use some of FedEx Corp.’s services in its U.S. retail locations.

Terms were not disclosed.

As part of the agreement, Naperville, Ill.-based OfficeMax will offer domestic FedEx Express as well as the Memphis-based package shipper’s ground shipping services at its more than 900 U.S. sites. It will also accept drop-off packages from FedEx customers at its ImPress counters, OfficeMax’s in-store print and document services center.

The expanded FedEx services began in certain Chicago and Memphis locations this month and will be implemented at other sites through September.

Drug Case Plea Hearing Delayed in Memphis Court

A change of plea hearing in Memphis federal court was delayed Monday after the defendant denied having any knowledge of the money laundering charge she was pleading guilty to.

Latanya Ingram is one of nine people charged in a drug, racketeering, money laundering and murder for hire conspiracy that is the largest drug case ever tried in Memphis federal court. The drug organization was allegedly headed by Craig Petties, who ran it for six years while he was in Mexico, according to the indictment.

Ingram helped the organization hide the drug proceeds, estimated at millions of dollars, according to the charges. A guilty plea to that was the tentative agreement she and her attorney had worked out with prosecutors prior to Monday’s hearing.

But when U.S. District Court Judge Hardy Mays asked her why she wanted to change her plea, Ingram said it was because some drugs were found in her car.

“How does money laundering enter into this?” Mays asked before reading the count of the indictment she was to plead guilty to. As he read the detailed description of money laundering, Ingram shook her head no.

“It looks like … she’s pleading to half the crime,” Mays said. “I have to find at the end of all this that she’s admitted to all of the elements of the offense.”

Ingram is due back in court July 24.

Gubernatorial Candidates Donate to Others

All the major candidates vying to become Tennessee’s next governor in 2010 have a history of actively making political donations, records show.

The Knoxville News Sentinel has reported that Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey of Blountville – using his state Senate campaign account and a political action committee he founded – funneled about $788,000 to GOP state-level campaigns and committees in the last election cycle. That’s more than any other gubernatorial candidate of either party.

Democrats Ward Cammack, a Nashville businessman, and Kim McMillan of Clarksville, a former state House majority leader, had the fewest donations to state political causes of the gubernatorial candidates found in a search of records for the past two years – $250 for Cammack and $1,350 for McMillan.

Knoxville mayor and GOP candidate Bill Haslam and his family members are among Tennessee’s most generous donors to Republican political causes.

Collectively, the Haslam family gave about $125,000 in the two-year 2008 election cycle at the state level, according to a review of reports filed with the state Registry of Election Finance. Bill Haslam accounted for about $14,000 of that.

He and his wife, Crissy, also donated more than $120,000 to Republican candidates and campaign committees operating at the federal level during the 2008 cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Recipients ranged from the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee to GOP candidates in states from Maine to Minnesota.

Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons and U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp of Chattanooga, also GOP candidates for governor, have donated to state-level party causes and candidates on a smaller scale than Haslam or Ramsey.

Wamp gave about $15,000 to Republican legislative committees and candidates, mostly through his congressional campaign account.

Last year, Gibbons set up a PAC, the Tennessee Safety Coalition, that distributed $8,500 to Republican causes at the state level. He also donated about $8,000 – including $5,000 to the state Republican Party – through his district attorney campaign account.

State Worker Accused Of Welfare Fraud

A state employee in Shelby County is suspected of creating dozens of fake welfare cases to steal money from government assistance programs.

The Department of Human Services said in a news release Monday that 44-year-old Kemoh Sulimani, of Cordova, was arrested this weekend.

An internal review by the department concluded he may have embezzled more than $150,000 in food stamps and welfare benefits.

Sulimani became a Human Services employee in 2004. Irregularities in his caseload were discovered last month. He is being held on $500,000 bond.

Red Cross Promotes Points Campaign

Blood and platelet donors can participate in the American Red Cross’ Red Cross Racing campaign during the July Fourth holiday weekend and receive points for prizes.

From Thursday through Monday, donors who register at www.redcrossracing.com can track their blood donations and exchange points for themed prizes. Donors will be awarded 75 bonus points during this timeframe when historically the blood supply drops to low levels.

Locally, the Red Cross has an overall two-day supply of blood, with O- and B-type blood at lower levels.

For more information or to find a blood drive location in Memphis, call 1-800-448-3543 or visit www.bloodisneeded.org.

County Commissioner Mulroy To Speak at Voting Conference

Steven Mulroy, an associate professor of law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and a member of the Shelby County Commission, has been invited to address a national conference today in Washington.

The conference addresses U.S. voting rights, an area in which Mulroy has been vocal.

He will discuss the ramifications of a case recently decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. The case involved a lawsuit by an Austin, Texas, utility district seeking an exemption from the advance pre-clearance provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The high court’s decision upheld the Texas entity’s right to be exempt, but the court did not rule on the constitutionality of the law itself.

Mulroy is well known for his involvement in voting rights issues, and he has been a professor at the U of M since 2000.

The event is being sponsored by Fairvote, a national nonprofit organization that provides education, research and advocacy on election reform issues.

The conference will be streamed live on the Web, and the cable channel C-SPAN also is scheduled to cover it.

$5 Million Added To Indigent Defense Fund

An additional $5 million has been added to the state’s indigent defense fund to pay remaining claims for the 2008-2009 fiscal year.

The supplemental funding is part of the $29.4 billion budget signed Thursday by Gov. Phil Bredesen.

The $5 million will go toward paying attorneys’ fees and expert witnesses for indigent claims that have not been paid for the fiscal year.

Attorneys will begin receiving checks this week.

Bio-Powered Bus Makes Memphis Visit

Dartmouth College’s Big Green Bus, which is powered by vegetable oil and piloted by 15 Dartmouth students, will visit Downtown Memphis this week.

The bus, which functions as a “science fair on wheels,” will be available for tours at the Civic Center Plaza from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday. While here, the students will learn about local biofuel efforts and farmers’ efforts to begin production of alternative crops.

Pete Barnes of Frazier Barnes Associates and Hillary Spain of BioDimensions Inc. will speak to the group. The students also will meet with Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton Jr. to learn about the Sustainable Shelby Initiative.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 38 349 15,066
MORTGAGES 111 449 19,779
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 33 91 3,886
BUILDING PERMITS 0 512 35,842
BANKRUPTCIES 62 309 14,343
BUSINESS LICENSES 18 138 5,129
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 69 385 21,817
MARRIAGE LICENSES 13 106 4,663

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