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Editorial Results (free)

1. Bulgarian Man Sentenced For Defrauding FedEx -

A Bulgarian national has been sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for a mail fraud scheme involving FedEx Corp., according to U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee D. Michael Dunavant.

2. Return of Beale Street Cover Charge Adds Fuel to Debate -

There are still some details left to work out about the return of the Beale Street cover charge.

The Downtown Memphis Commission and Memphis police have to set criteria for when to use the cover charge. There is also the question of whether it is a $10 cover with coupons from merchants or the $5 cover with no rebates that was in place before the council abolished the cover altogether.

3. Bulgarian National Sentenced for Defrauding FedEx -

A Bulgarian national has been sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for a mail fraud scheme involving FedEx Corp., according to U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee D. Michael Dunavant.

4. Testimony on Parameters of Police Surveillance Ends -

After four days and more than a dozen witnesses, the federal trial regrading the ACLU’s lawsuit against the city of Memphis over political surveillance of protesters by police ended Thursday

The testimony of three witnesses wrapped up the proceedings that began Monday, Aug. 20.

5. Testimony on Parameters of Police Surveillance Ends -

After four days and more than a dozen witnesses, the federal trial regrading the ACLU’s lawsuit against the city of Memphis over political surveillance of protesters by police ended Thursday

The testimony of three witnesses wrapped up the proceedings that began Monday, Aug. 20.

6. Last Word: End of Term, After The Testimony and John McCain -

Shelby County commissioners meet Monday for what is the last regularly scheduled meeting of their four-year term of office. Eight of the 13 commissioners are leaving the body of 13 at the end of this month as is Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell.

7. Testimony on Parameters of Police Surveillance Ends -

After four days and more than a dozen witnesses, the federal trial regrading the ACLU’s lawsuit against the city of Memphis over political surveillance of protesters by police ended Thursday, Aug. 23.

8. Last Word: Court Watch, Haslam on Education and George Will on the Senate Race -

The last of the testimony concluded in Memphis Federal Court Thursday with legal briefs due from all sides in the case of Memphis Police Department surveillance of protesters by Sept. 24. Then U.S. District Judge Jon P. McCalla will make his ruling on whether the Tennessee ACLU has standing to bring the lawsuit. And if he rules the organization does have standing, he will then rule on what sanctions the police department will face for the surveillance over the last two years.

9. Testimony Ends in Federal Case Questioning Memphis Police Surveillance Tactics -

After four days, the federal trial where the ACLU sued the city of Memphis over political surveillance of activists, ended Thursday, leaving the decision in the hands of U.S. District Judge Jon McCalla.

10. Rallings Recounts Bridge Protest, Says Surveillance Was for Public Safety -

Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings put on his bulletproof vest en route to a 2016 protest that shut down the Hernando DeSoto Bridge because he didn’t want anyone to die that day.

 “I thought that situation would have made Selma, Alabama look like a day at the park,” Rallings said as he testified Wednesday morning about the 5-hour bridge protest on July 10, 2016.  “I was very concerned about a catastrophic situation. I just did not want it (to) happen on my watch. I did not want us to rewrite Memphis history. We already have enough negative history. “

11. MPD Officer Unmasked as 'Bob Smith' in Federal Hearing -

Memphis police Sgt. Tim Reynolds is “Bob Smith” – the fake Facebook persona the veteran officer used to befriend local protesters and monitor their activities.

12. Last Word: Bob Smith Talks, Crosstown Anniversary and Grant's Parking Lot -

Bob Smith’s testimony was a good part of the first day of the nonjury trial that began Monday before Memphis Federal Court Judge Jon McCalla on police surveillance of protesters. Smith was the alias used by Police Sgt. Tim Reynolds – Reynolds acknowledged during his testimony Monday Downtown. The identity was also used by several other officers.

13. Last Word: Police Surveillance on Trial, Elvis Alternatives and Firestone's Dilemma -

In Memphis Federal Court Monday morning, Memphis Police surveillance of protesters over the last two years is on the docket of U.S. District Judge Jon P. McCalla. McCalla ruled earlier this month in advance of the nonjury trial that police conducted “political surveillance” of protesters in violation of a 1978 federal court consent decree.

14. Last Word: Hotel on the Mall, The Twist in Council Day and Rallings on Surveillance -

At this point, the second convention center hotel is a bit like the Pyramid was at one point. Before the first dirt was turned on the Pyramid in the late 1980s, there was the discussion about where it should go and there were a lot of ideas on that covering a lot of territory – so much so that then-Shelby County Mayor Bill Morris had a model of a pretty generic looking Pyramid on his desk that had some lego wheels attached to it.

15. Mayor Strickland Hopes County Supports MATA -

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland meets with Shelby County Mayor-elect Lee Harris this week as Harris’ transition team is assembled and begins working toward him taking office Sept. 1.

16. Last Word: Tunica Makes Book, The McCalla Ruling and Bush's Exit as Defender -

Monday may be the biggest day in Tunica since the dawn of riverfront casinos in the early 1990s. Sports betting opens Monday morning in Tunica with Mississippi officialdom on hand at Horseshoe Tunica along with NFL and Tigers football star DeAngelo Williams who will be among those making the ceremonial first bets at The Book at Horseshoe Tunica.

17. McCalla Says City Violated Consent Decree on Political Surveillance of Protesters -

U.S. District Judge Jon P. McCalla ruled Friday, Aug. 10, that Memphis Police gathered political intelligence on protesters over the last two years in violation of a 1978 federal court consent decree. And if the plaintiffs in the 2017 lawsuit against the city can establish their standing in court next week, McCalla said he is prepared to declare the city in contempt of the consent decree and impose sanctions.

18. Police Documents Show Protest Spreadsheet and Fear of 'Radicals' -

Memphis Police brass kept a spread sheet over the past two years on whether a protest received a city permit – was “lawful” or “unlawful” – while continuing to collect information on some of the protesters from public social media.

19. Summer in the City -

Saturday night on Beale Street is more than a catch phrase for businesses there.

It is chapters in old, out-of-print books like Lt. George W. Lee’s “Where The Blues Began” that you can only see in the Memphis-Shelby County Room of the Central Library. You can’t check the book out because of its rarity and age. But you can also find references to the lore of Saturday nights on Beale Street on plaques in the entertainment district that current patrons walk past without even noticing.

20. McCalla Keeps Police Surveillance Lawsuit -

A Memphis federal judge has dropped four citizens as plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging the city violated a 1978 federal consent decree barring police from conducting surveillance of protesters, saying the citizens don’t have standing.

21. Last Word: The List Lawsuit, Charlie Morris on 1939 and New Rules for Democrats -

This looks like the end of Grit ‘n’ Grind as we wait for the other shoe to drop following Zach Randolph’s exit from the Grizzlies to Sacramento. There were a lot of rumors Wednesday, the day after Randolph’s $24 million free agency deal, including some about Marc Gasol and the Celtics. And then Tony Allen dropped a Grizz reference from his Twitter account causing even more speculation.

22. McCalla Keeps Police Surveillance Lawsuit, Drops Protester Plaintiffs -

A Memphis Federal Judge has dropped four citizens from a lawsuit alleging the city violated a 1978 federal consent decree barring police from conducting surveillance of protesters saying they don’t have standing.

23. Last Word: Surveillance Suit Settled, New Homes Sales Numbers and No Wind -

One of the two federal court lawsuits alleging illegal police surveillance of protesters by Memphis Police has been dropped. It is the lawsuit filed by “Fight for $15” activists and that campaign’s Mid-South Organizing Committee. It comes with something for both sides. The city still denies illegal surveillance of protesters. And the activists get a settlement letter that states police will not conduct surveillance on three of the activists by name, without probable cause. The lawsuit was dismissed this week by federal judge Sheryl Lipman without prejudice meaning it could be refiled.

24. Beale Street Cover Charge Cut, Larger Debate Remains -

The Saturday night summer cover charge on Beale Street is going from $10 to $5 next month. But the discussion about the Beale Street Bucks program is hardly over. And the crowd control measure is certain to raise longer-term questions about who controls the city-owned district.

25. May 12-18, 2017: This week in Memphis history -

2016: On the front page of The Daily News, a receiver is appointed by U.S. District Judge Jon P. McCalla for the Tulane and Warren apartments. The two apartment complexes owned by Global Ministries Foundation of Memphis are to be sold by the receiver, with proceeds going to bond holders represented by the Bank of New York, which has filed suit against GMF.
The bank’s lawsuit follows federal officials’ decision to cut off rent subsidies to the two complexes after they fail a second inspection of conditions ranging from bed bug infestations to broken plumbing

26. Bates Gold-and-Silver Fraud Case Includes Big Numbers -

At the end of a five-week trial in Memphis federal court this month, a jury convicted a former Tennessee state representative turned religious prophet and gold-and-silver broker on 46 counts of fraud.

27. Judge Approves Sale Of Warren, Tulane Apartments -

Millennia Housing Development Limited’s $3 million bid to buy the Warren and Tulane apartments from a federal court receiver has been approved by District Judge Jon P. McCalla.

But McCalla is still working through a claim by Class A Security LLC, which was under contract with Foresite Realty Management LLC, the court appointed receiver, to provide security at the two complexes. Class A is seeking $158,784 in expenses and fees.

28. Judge Approves Sale Of Warren, Tulane Apartments -

U.S. District Judge Jon P. McCalla has approved Millennia Housing Development Limited’s $3 million bid to buy the Warren and Tulane apartments from a federal court receiver.

But McCalla is still working through a claim by Class A Security LLC, which was under contract with Foresite Realty Management LLC, the court appointed receiver, to provide security at the two complexes. Class A is seeking $158,784 in expenses and fees.

29. Memphis Police Surveillance Suits Remain Separate -

Two Memphis federal court lawsuits accusing the Memphis Police Department of conducting illegal surveillance of protesters will remain separate.

On Monday, March 27, U.S. District Judge Sheryl H. Lipman denied a motion by attorneys for the city to transfer the case of Antonio Cathey and the Mid-South Organizing Committee to federal judge Jon P. McCalla.

30. Police Surveillance Lawsuits to Remain Separate -

Two Memphis federal court lawsuits accusing the Memphis Police Department of conducting illegal surveillance of protesters will remain separate.

U.S. District Judge Sheryl H. Lipman ruled Monday, March 27, denying a motion by attorneys for the city to transfer the case of Antonio Cathey and the Mid-South Organizing Committee to federal judge Jon P. McCalla.

31. Last Word: Gas Tax Resurrection, More Monitoring and Germantown's $200 M Plan -

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam's gas tax bill emerged from the workshop effectively on Monday with a sharper cut in the state grocery tax making the complex set of gas tax hike and other tax rollbacks more than revenue neutral.

32. Warren, Tulane Complexes Find Buyer -

The court-appointed receiver in the Memphis federal court case involving Global Ministries Foundation has an offer to buy the Tulane and Warren apartment complexes owned by GMF.

Cleveland, Ohio-based Millenia Housing Development Ltd. has offered the receiver $3 million for both properties, according to court documents and a legal notice in the Tuesday, March 14, edition of The Daily News.

33. Councilmen Draw Lines On Safety, Deannexation -

Attorneys for the city of Memphis have filed a motion to combine two federal court lawsuits over a City Hall surveillance list and have them brought before the same federal judge.

And U.S. District Judge Jon P. McCalla has granted the motion of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee to intervene in the lawsuit on the plaintiff’s side.

34. Lawsuit Seeks End To City Hall List and Police Surveillance -

Four of the 81 citizens on the City Hall escort list filed suit against the city of Memphis Wednesday, Feb. 22, in federal court alleging the city has violated a 1978 consent decree “preventing domestic surveillance of lawful and peaceful protests and exercise of First Amendment rights.”

35. SEC Investigation of Global Ministries Adds More Complexity -

The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Global Ministries Foundation, according to the court-appointed receiver for the Tulane and Warren Apartment, two complexes owned by GMF.

Word of the SEC probe follows search warrants served at Global Ministries Cordova offices Aug. 3 in a separate investigation by the Inspector General’s office of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

36. SEC Investigation of Global Ministries Foundation Surfaces -

The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Global Ministries Foundation, according to the court-appointed receiver for the Tulane and Warren Apartment, two complexes owned by GMF.

Word of the SEC probe follows search warrants served at Global Ministries Cordova offices Aug. 3 in a separate investigation by the Inspector General’s office of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Search warrants in that investigation were also served that same day at the Dexter, Missouri offices of the Gill Group, which appraised GMF property in Memphis and Florida.

37. Last Word: Election Wrap Up, Crosstown's Momentum and GMF's Court Report -

For an election that only 14 percent of us turned out for, the Thursday elections in Shelby County delivered in terms of political drama.

David Kustoff, whose bid for Congress in the old 7th Congressional District 14 years ago ended in frustration amidst too many primary candidates from Shelby County, claimed the Republican primary in the 8th amidst an even larger field with even more Shelby County rivals.

38. HUD Serves GMF With Search Warrants -

Agents with the Inspector General’s office of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development served search warrants Wednesday, Aug. 3, at the Memphis offices of Global Ministries Foundation and showed up at GMF-owned apartment complexes in Indianapolis, Ind., and the offices of the Gill Group, a real estate company in Dexter, Mo.

39. Beale Street Rolling Out Saturday Summer Cover Charge -

A $10 Saturday cover charge for the Beale Street Entertainment District returns this weekend as one of several measures to improve safety on the street.

The cash-only charge is in effect Saturdays after 10 p.m. through August and can be paid at one of five entrances into the district.

40. Global Ministries Continues to Take More Heat -

The receiver for the Warren and Tulane Apartments is in place with the notice filed in Memphis federal court last week that Foresite Realty Management LLC had accepted the job and that its bonding is in place.

41. Court Appoints Receiver for Warren, Tulane Apartments -

The Tulane and Warren apartments are under the control of a court-appointed receiver.

U.S. District Judge Jon P. McCalla appointed Foresite Realty Management LLC of Rosemont, Ill., as the receiver of the two properties Tuesday, May 17, by a consent order.

42. Last Word: Behind Brown, Selling 128 Adams and Preparing for School's Out -

It was a dark and stormy night. Well, dark but not really stormy – a little rain which is more than enough to activate all kinds of television mayhem and warnings that make your iPhone rattle and hum.

43. Receiver Appointed for Warren and Tulane Apartments -

The Tulane and Warren Apartments are under the control of a court-appointed receiver.

U.S. District Judge Jon P. McCalla appointed Foresite Realty Management LLC of Rosemont, Illinois as the receiver of the two properties Tuesday, May 17, by a consent order.

44. Last Word: GMF Aftermath, Cop Counts and Budgets and Richardson Towers' Fall -

More on the move by Bank of New York to have a receiver appointed for the Warren and Tulane Apartments currently owned by Global Ministries Foundation.

GMF CEO Rev. Richard Hamlet responded Wednesday to the filing in Memphis federal court saying he agrees that a receiver for the property is a good idea. But he doesn’t agree – and in fact, strongly disagrees with the claims and reasoning behind the bank’s call for the receiver.

45. Bank Seeks Receiver for Warren, Tulane Apartments -

The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Co. wants a federal judge to appoint a receiver for the Warren and Tulane Apartments owned by Global Ministries Foundation, citing “an appearance of fraud” by GMF in a memorandum filed with the call for a receiver.

46. Motion for Blackett Recusal Poses Unique Questions -

Michael Halliburton was sentenced to 21 years in prison Monday, Nov. 2, for the attempted murder of his wife in 2012.

47. Beale Street Sweep Court Order Rips Police Practices -

The Beale Street Sweep is over.

It’s not the end of a song. It is the end of an 8-year-old police policy that has ordered those on the street after 3 a.m. to leave the district, go into a nightclub or be arrested.

48. Dickerson to Carry Tradition of Service as Young Lawyers Division President -

Jake Dickerson, associate with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC, is the incoming 2014 president for the Young Lawyers Division of the Memphis Bar Association.

The division arranges and hosts continuing legal education seminars, networking events, pro bono opportunities and fundraisers such as the annual golf tournament benefiting the Porter Goodwill Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis. MBA members 36 years or younger, or within their first three years of practice, are automatically members of the division.

49. Riverside Drug Arrests Linked to Nashville Case -

For two years, Memphis police mounted an investigation in the Riverside section of South Memphis against a long-running drug organization allegedly headed by Kenneth and Keith Bohanon.

50. Arlington Developmental Center Court Case Ends After 21 Years -

The Federal Court lawsuit over conditions at the Arlington Developmental Center is over after 21 years.

U.S. District Court Judge Jon McCalla formally closed the case Wednesday, Dec. 4, by entering an order and final judgment in the court for the Western District of Tennessee.

51. Breen Takes Over as Chief Federal Judge -

U.S. District Judge Daniel Breen is the new chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee.

52. Breen Takes Over as Chief Federal Judge -

U.S. District Judge Daniel Breen is the new chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee.

53. Malone Begins Campaign for County Mayor -

Four years after she left elected office, Deidre Malone says she has learned a lot.

And as a result, her second campaign to become Shelby County mayor will be different than the first one four years ago.

54. Lipman Nominated for Federal Bench -

Sheri Lipman, University of Memphis general counsel and chief of staff to interim university president Brad Martin, has been appointed by President Barack Obama as the newest federal court judge for the Western District of Tennessee.

55. Fowlkes Talks Adjustments to Federal Court -

After seven months as a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, John Fowlkes said he is adjusting to the difference between being a federal judge and a state criminal court judge.

56. Christoff Aims to Empower Young Lawyers in Bar Role -

Annie Christoff of Bass, Berry & Sims PLC is the new president of the Young Lawyers Division of the Memphis Bar Association for 2013.

The Young Lawyers Division is comprised of lawyers under the age of 36 or within their first three years of practice. The division sponsors monthly continuing legal education (CLE) seminars, networking functions and fundraising for organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Memphis.

57. Baker Donelson Adds Five Attorneys in Memphis -

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC has added five attorneys to its Memphis office.

They are Luke Cantrell, Kristin Clay Dunavant, William O’Connor, Sarah Pazar and Mary Wu.

58. Isom Sentenced in Chancery Court Embezzlement Case -

The outside man in a Chancery Court embezzlement scheme has been sentenced to three years and 10 months in federal prison for his part.

Correy Isom was sentenced Friday, June 8, by U.S. District Court Judge Jon P. McCalla on one count each of conspiracy, theft of federal funds and money laundering. Isom pleaded guilty to the three counts in late 2011.

59. American Drum & Pallet Owner Gets Prison Term -

The president of American Drum & Pallet, 801 Walnut St., was sentenced this week to three years and a month in prison for storing hazardous waste, specifically a pesticide, without a permit at the South Memphis drum-recycling business.

60. Sheriff Candidates Spar, Argue Over ‘Thunderdome’ Jail -

There were two big shows on the local political circuit Monday evening.

One was a forum featuring county mayoral contenders Joe Ford and Mark Luttrell. The two have squared off before, sparring repeatedly over consolidation.

61. Oldham-Wade Sheriff's Debate Crackles -

The two candidates for Shelby County Sheriff met Monday evening at the Central Library for a debate that crackled to life with charges and counter charges about who is more qualified.

The League of Women Voters forum was the first one on one campaign trail encounter between Democratic nominee Randy Wade and GOP nominee Bill Oldham. It drew a standing room only crowd of over 100.

62. Tenn. Judges to Hear Mock Trial Competition -

Ten Memphis-area judges, including Chief Justice Janice M. Holder of the Tennessee Supreme Court, will volunteer at the 2010 American Mock Trial Association National Championship Tournament this weekend in Memphis.

63. Feds Seize Clinic, Doctor’s Money -

U.S. District Judge Jon P. McCalla signed an order Thursday for the forfeiture of the Wickman Family Medical Care Center in Bartlett and other assets of its owners, Dr. John R. Wickman and Nancy G. Wickman.

64. Ex-Police Officer Sentenced to Life Plus 255 Years -

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced a former Memphis police officer convicted of stealing drugs, money and merchandise from drug dealers to a prison term of life plus 255 years.

65. Mixed Bag For Bad-Cop Convictions -

There were different outcomes in Memphis federal court this week for two former Memphis police officers accused in a four-year scheme to rob drug dealers.

U.S. District Court Judge Jon P. McCalla sentenced Antoine Owens to five years and three months in prison Wednesday.

66. Two Former Cops Sentenced in Bad Cops Case -

Two former Memphis police officers got very different sentences Wednesday in Memphis Federal court for being part of a four year scheme by a group of at least five cops to rob drug dealers.

Antoine Owens was sentenced to five years and three months in prison Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge Jon P. McCalla.

67. Memphian Carranza Found Guilty of Human Rights Abuses -

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Tuesday that Nicolas Carranza, a former commander of El Salvador’s security forces – now a naturalized U.S. citizen and Memphis resident – is responsible for human rights abuses that took place under his command in his native country in the 1980s.

68. 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.”

69. 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.

...

70. 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.

...

71. Newby’s, BMI Close to Settlement -

Newby’s and Broadcast Music Inc. appear to have settled a copyright infringement lawsuit BMI filed last year against the popular college bar along the Highland Strip, according to newly filed court records.

72. Reafsnyder Retires From Basketball For Legal Career in Memphis -

Joseph B. Reafsnyder, a recent cum laude graduate of the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphrey’s School of Law, has joined Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP as an associate. Reafsnyder will practice in commercial litigation and commercial real estate development. He formerly clerked for U.S. District Judge Jon P. McCalla.

73. Events -

The Memphis Bar Association will hold its first Bench Bar Cup-Golf Tournament & CLE today from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Ridgeway Country Club, 9800 Poplar Ave. Jon McCalla, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, will present a one-hour, dual-credit seminar. Cost for golf, continuing legal education and lunch is $130. Cost for CLE and lunch is $45 and cost for lunch only is $25. For more information, visit www.memphisbar.org or call 527-3573.

74. Glankler Brown Attorneys Named to AIC -

Three attorneys with Glankler Brown PLLC have been named members of the Leo Bearman Sr. American Inn of Court.

Amy Dudek, Andre Mathis and Michael Tauer all recently were named members to the local branch of the national American Inns of Court organization. In all, the Memphis chapter inducted 25 attorneys. Glankler Brown’s three were the most by any area firm.

75. Brighton Man Pleads Guilty To Fraud in Cotton Scheme -

Dennis O’Connor paid the bills for the construction of a new cotton plant in Millington after the Global Cotton Recovery plant in Covington was heavily damaged by fire in 2003.

But O’Connor also was a secret partner in another company that located cotton gin equipment for Global Cotton.

76. Blockman Joins Keller Williams -

Harold Blockman has been named the new vice president & principal broker of the Memphis Central Market Center for Keller Williams Realty.

Blockman serves as director of the board of the Memphis Area Association of Realtors and was selected for the 2007 Community Service Award by MAAR. Blockman is also president of the Tennessee GRI Association and a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Club.

77. Kiesewetter Wise’s Thompson Named Among Top 100 Labor Attorneys -

Tanja L. Thompson has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Labor Attorneys by the Labor Relations Institute for the second consecutive year.

Thompson is a member of Kiesewetter Wise Kaplan Prather PLC and is the only labor attorney in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi to receive this professional honor, which puts her in the top 1 percent of labor attorneys throughout the U.S.

78. Newby’s, BMI Ordered to Mediation -

Todd Adams, the owner of Newby’s, a popular college bar along the Highland Strip, was a little nervous as he prepared to participate in a Thursday conference call that would decide his business’ fate.

79. Former Med Cashier ReceivesFive-Year Prison Sentence -      A former lead cashier at The Regional Medical Center at Memphis was sentenced to five years in prison earlier this week on embezzlement and tax evasion charges.
     Cassandra J. Stanfield pl

80. 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.

81. 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.

82. Catron Case Sparked Waltz Investigation, DiScenza Says -

Darrell Catron is a railroad conductor these days. He works outside a lot and told a federal judge this week that he doesn't miss working in an office "like I used to do."

It was a change he was forced to make nearly five years ago when he pleaded guilty to a federal corruption charge. The case involved bogus consulting contracts with the Juvenile Court Clerk's office worth approximately $50,000. It was also what Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim DiScenza described at Catron's sentencing hearing as the "genesis" of the Tennessee Waltz corruption sting.

83. Catron Sentenced to 18 Months' Probation, Eight Months of Electronic Monitoring -

Darrell Catron, a former employee of the Juvenile Court Clerk's office, was sentenced to 18 months' probation Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Jon P. McCalla.

Catron pleaded guilty in 2003 to a "criminal information" accusing him of defrauding the clerk's office. A criminal information is a legal procedure in which a defendant is charged and pleads guilty simultaneously.

84. 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.

85. Catron Sentenced to 18 Months Probation, Eight Months of Electronic Monitoring - Darrell Catron, a former employee of the Juvenile Court Clerk’s office, was sentenced to 18 months probation today by U.S. District Judge Jon P. McCalla.

Catron pleaded guilty in 2003 to a “criminal information” accusing him of defrauding the clerk’s office. A criminal information is a legal procedure in which a defendant is charged and pleads guilty simultaneously.

86. Events -

The Regional Logistics Council will meet today from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Memphis Marriott, 2625 Thousand Oaks Blvd. Doug Duncan, CEO of FedEx Freight, will be speaking. The event is free. E-mail Beverly Davis at bdavis@memphischamber.com to confirm reservations.

87. Tax Preparer SentencedTo Nearly Six Years in Prison -      A Memphis tax preparer was sentenced Tuesday to five years and eight months in prison for filing false federal tax returns.
     U.S. District Judge Jon P. McCalla also sentenced Audria Bryan

88. Events -

The Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence will hold a "Researching Grant Funding" workshop today from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the alliance offices, 606 S. Mendenhall Road, Suite 108. The event is $65 for alliance members, $55 for participants in the Program for Nonprofit Excellence and $99 for nonmembers. For additional information, contact April DeBerry at 684-6605 or adeberry@npexcellence.org.

89. Events -

MPACT Memphis will host MPACT 101, an introductory meeting for potential and new MPACT members, today from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Celtic Crossing, 903 S. Cooper St. E-mail Audra Bares at abares@gtxinc.com to R.S.V.P.

90. Events -

The Church Health Center will hold an infant-massage workshop today at 10:30 a.m. at Hope & Healing, 1115 Union Ave. The workshop is $10 for the public and free to Hope & Healing members. For more information, call Heidi Leyshon at 259-4673 or visit www.churchhealthcenter.org.

91. Tipton County Schools In Desegregation Clear -

A predominantly white county school system and a predominantly black city school system. Talk of consolidation and more than 40 years of federal court intervention with the intent of ending racial segregation.

92. Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit Against Sheriff Denied -

A federal judge has denied in part a motion by attorneys for Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell to dismiss a federal lawsuit filed against him by Shelby County Sheriff's deputies.

The judge also granted part of that same motion, which included dismissing claims against Luttrell in his official capacity.

93. 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.

94. Germantown Man Linked to Terrorist Organization Also Embroiled in Divorce -

The wife of a Germantown man known to his neighbors as a car salesman and quiet family man - and who was arrested in February for making a false statement on an immigration document - has filed for divorce from her husband of five years.

95. Brighton Students Punished For MySpace Page Spoofing Teacher -

There's a reason that Internet sensation MySpace.com is so popular that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. spent almost $600 million in 2005 to buy it. The site reportedly signs up about 230,000 new users a day.

96. The Saga Continues: More 'Main Street Sweeper' Info Comes to Light -

A federal grand jury this week formally indicted two Memphis City Council members who previously had been implicated in criminal complaints alleging they sold their votes in exchange for supporting a real estate project, among other dealings.

97. Court is in Order -

The City Charter Commission was only a twinkle in the eyes of the Shelby County Election Commission, the Memphis City Council and the city of Memphis when it first began to come under scrutiny. It was the election process in particular that didn't sit well with one national civil rights group.

98. Archived Article: Benchmark - EEOC wins verdict against Northwest

EEOC wins verdict against Northwest

A federal jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee returned a verdict in favor of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and plainti...

99. Archived Article: Tech Focus - Court rules 3re Court rules 3Re violated law, GE Capital appeals By SUE PEASE The Daily News U.S. District Court Judge Jon P. McCalla ruled in favor of the U.S. Department of Labor earlier this month in its case against 3Re.com and its key lender, G...

100. Archived Article: Calendar - Calendar of events: June 5 11 Calendar of events: June 25-July 1 June 25 Starlit Nights, the Sharpe Planetariums summer program, continues through Sept. 16. Designed to help attendees find their way around the night sky and answer stargazing questio...