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Editorial Results (free)

1. 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.

2. 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

3. Property Tax Clinic Scheduled for Saturday -

The fifth of six scheduled tax clinics, sponsored by Memphis City Council member Lee Harris and the law firm of Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson LLP, will be held Oct. 13.

4. Trustee Pitches Tax Collection to City -

Bob Patterson, the county official known for his felt hats and folksy charm, repeatedly gave it a try.

After he died in 2008, Paul Mattila picked up the attempts where Patterson left off. So did Regina Morrison Newman, who replaced Mattila when he died in 2009.

5. Clinics Planned to Help Delinquent Taxpayers -

The first of four planned tax clinics to help delinquent Memphis taxpayers pay their city property tax bills will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 31, at the Hickory Hill Community Center, 3910 Ridgeway Road.

6. Trustee Renews Effort to Collect City Taxes -

It’s starting to become a rite of passage for whoever gets the job of Shelby County trustee. David Lenoir is now the fourth trustee since 2004 to make an offer to the city of Memphis for the county office to perform tax collection duties now handled for the city by the Texas law firm Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson LLP.

7. Wharton Administration Probes Linebarger Arrangement -

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s administration is taking a hard look at the city’s controversial arrangement with a Texas law firm that prods tardy city taxpayers to pay up.

The city’s relationship with Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson LLP, which began with a no-bid contract from former Mayor Willie Herenton in 2004, has already generated two lawsuits this year. The suits claim taxpayers are getting fleeced by the firm’s alleged habit of billing exorbitant fees for its work.

8. County Trustee Could Move in on City Tax Collections -

A controversial Texas law firm that for years has collected delinquent property taxes for the city of Memphis may soon be out of the picture.

Shelby County Trustee Regina Morrison Newman is the third consecutive trustee to negotiate with the city over tax collection duties now handled by the Texas firm Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson LLP.

9. Suit Filed Over Firm’s Attempts to Collect Taxes -

A new class-action lawsuit has been filed over the practices of a Texas law firm that’s been under fire for years over the way it collects delinquent taxes from Memphis taxpayers.

Two local attorneys filed the suit against Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson LLP, which won a no-bid contract in 2004 from former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton. Attorneys Frank Watsonand Don Donatifiled the suit Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee.

10. Linebarger Sued For Charging Delinquent Taxpayers Over 10% Attorney Fees -

A new class action lawsuit has been filed over the practices of a Texas law firm that’s been under fire for years over the way it collects delinquent taxes from Memphis taxpayers.

Two local attorneys filed the suit against Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson LLP, which won a no-bid contract in 2004 from former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton. Attorneys Frank Watson and Don Donati filed the suit Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee.

11. City to Drop Texas Firm as Tax Collector -

The city of Memphis will not renew its controversial contract with a Texas law firm to collect delinquent property taxes – a major shift for the administration.

Mayor Willie Herenton pointed to concerns among City Council members about the arrangement with Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson LLP.

12. City Dropping Linebarger as Back Tax Collector -  

The city of Memphis will not renew its controversial contract with a Texas law firm responsible for collecting delinquent taxes from Memphis taxpayers.

Memphis mayor Willie Herenton told the Memphis City Council during his 18th annual budget presentation Tuesday the city would not renew its contract with Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson LLP when the contract expires later this year.

While Shelby County government collects its current and delinquent taxes in-house, the city of Memphis treasurer’s office collects current taxes and Linebarger picks up the city’s delinquent taxes.

“By my analysis, the city of Memphis derived more in its coffers with the arrangement with Linebarger than pre-Linebarger,” Herenton said.

The decision was made to not renew the contract with the Texas firm to acquiesce to the concerns raised by some council members about the firm, the mayor said.

The Linebarger firm first got the job in 2004 when the firm won a no-bid contract approved by Herenton. After that, Linebarger hired local lawyers, including a former employee in the city of Memphis attorney’s office who previously did the same job for the city.

Linebarger makes its money from the Memphis contract by collecting fees on top of the delinquent taxes it collects. Among the PR black marks for the firm: it has been widely reported that one of the firm’s partners pleaded guilty six years ago to being part of a bribery scheme to win a San Antonio city contract for Linebarger to collect certain fees on behalf of the city.

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13. Johnson’s Work Dovetails With Reappraisal Process -

Pamela Johnson, a partner at Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson LLP, practices in tax collection.

14. Local NBA Chapter Welcomes New Officers, Board -

The Ben F. Jones chapter of the National Bar Association on Saturday will present its new officers and board members at its annual Barristers’ Ball, a combined ceremony and fundraiser, at the Memphis Botanic Garden.

15. City Renews Contract With Back-Tax Collection Firm -

The city of Memphis has renewed its contract with a Texas law firm that collects delinquent taxes for the city. And members of the Memphis City Council, who apparently were not informed that the contract would be renewed last month or even that negotiations were under way, are not happy.

16. Council to Wrap Up Budget Talks -

Memphis City Council members didn’t know the full extent of what they’d encounter in the city administration’s budget proposal for the coming fiscal year. Budget committee hearings held over the last few weeks have given them the details they need.