Issue XCVI

21 OCT 2016

Local

06/27/2014

Mississippi Tea Party vice chair, implicated in Cochran photo scandal, commits suicide

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Attorney Mark Mayfield, the vice chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party and one of the men charged with conspiring to take photos of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran's ailing wife, has been found dead.  

The Associated Press is reporting that   Mayfield's body was found Friday morning at his home in a gated community outside Jackson.

Mayfield had been shot, and a suicide note was found.

Mayfield was one of three menarrested in May on felony charges he conspired to take photos of Cochran's wife, Rose, who is bedridden in a nursing home in Madison, Miss., suffering from dementia.

The photos were used in an online political video ad against Cochran who was running for his sixth term as senator from Mississippi. The video was posted only for a short time.

Cochran ran against state Sen. Chris McDaniel in the June 3 Republican primary then again after in a runoff this past Tuesday. Cochran won the runoff.

Cochran's campaign charged McDaniel failed to report a potential crime to authorities after learning someone briefly posted an online video with an unauthorized photo of Cochran's bedridden wife, Rose, in a nursing home.

Mayfield was charged in the photo scandal along with Clayton Thomas Kelly, 28, a conservative blogger from Pearl, Miss.; Richard Sager, a Laurel elementary school P.E. teacher and high school soccer coach; and Hattiesburg resident John Mary.

While Mayfield and Kelly were supporters of McDaniel, McDaniel has maintained that he had nothing to do with the photos taken of Rose Cochran. 

Mayfiled's case was set to go before a grand jury in July.

Governor Phil Bryant issued this statement: "Deborah and I are saddened to hear of the loss of Mark Mayfield. He was a long-time friend, and he will be missed. Our prayers go out to his family in this tragic moment."


Tea party leader in Miss. controversy dies

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Mark Mayfield was arrested over photo incident in Cochran-McDaniel primary battle

Mark Mayfield, a tea party leader, who was one of three men charged with conspiring to photograph Sen. Thad Cochran's wife in her nursing home, was found dead on Friday from a gunshot wound in a possible suicide, police said.

"We found him at his home with a gunshot wound in his head. We found him deceased there. We are working this currently as a suicide because all of the indications, it appears to be suicide, but we still got some things to look into," Ridgeland, Mississippi, Police Chief Jimmy Houston told CNN.

"He left a suicide note and we are verifying its validity," Houston said.

Last month's incident of alleged political "dirty tricks" escalated tensions in what was already an ugly Republican primary fight between Cochran and conservative state Sen. Chris McDaniel.

Cochran's wife in nursing home for years

Mayfield was charged a week after a conservative blogger and supporter of McDaniel's primary challenge was arrested for obtaining an image of Cochran's wife, who suffers from dementia and has lived in a nursing home for 14 years.

McDaniel's campaign denied any connection to the incident.

Mayfield's attorney, Merrida Coxwell, said in a statement e-mailed to CNN that he was a client "but more importantly, he was a friend for almost 34 years. My heart is completely broken. This is beyond tragic and the people of this community and state have lost a good man and citizen."

In a phone call with CNN, Coxwell added, "It's not important to me how it happened. It happened today. Mark's wife called and texted me that Mark was deceased."

Coxwell also said Mayfield is survived by his wife and two children.

Tough primary

McDaniel narrowly edged out Cochran in the June 3 primary, but with neither man cracking 50%, the contest moved to Tuesday's runoff, which Cochran won by fewer than 7,000 votes.

Cochran's victory was aided by votes from African-American Democrats, who were actively courted during the runoff campaign by pro-Cochran forces.

According to Mississippi law, voters are not required to register with a political party, and anyone who doesn't vote in a primary election can cast a ballot in either party's runoff.

McDaniel repeated his vow to use every legal maneuver available to fight the runoff results.



06/21/2014

Crude oil spills into Poudre near Windsor

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A storage tank damaged by recent flooding has dumped 7,500 gallons of crude oil into the Poudre River near Windsor, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission reported late Friday afternoon.

There appears to be no drinking water affected by the spill, although the oil has stained vegetation as far as a quarter of a mile away from the damaged tank, COGCC spokesman Todd Hartman said.

The spill is east of Weld County Road 23, just north of the Poudre River near the Poudre River Trail.

The tank’s operator, Noble Energy, discovered the spill Tuesday afternoon and later reported it to the COGCC, the state’s regulatory agency for the oil and gas industry. Recent high river flows undercut the bank where the storage tank was sitting, causing the tank to drop and breaking a valve. About 178 barrels of oil dumped into the river.

The well near the tank has been shut in, and a second tank in the area appears to be unaffected, Hartman said in a news release.

COGCC and water quality experts from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment were at the scene of the tank spill, where clean-up efforts were underway Friday. Clean-up crews are working to absorb the spilled oil and a vac-truck is removing oil-filled standing water from a low-lying area around the tank.


US: 178 barrels of oil spilled into Colorado’s only designated Natonal Wild and Scenic River

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A 7,500-gallon storage tank of crude oil has completely drained into the scenic Cache La Poudre, Colorado’s only designated National Wild and Scenic River, southeast of Fort Collins, RT reported. Illustration Photo: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert Authorities claim that no drinking water have been affected. The disaster occurred at Noble Energy facility near Windsor in northern Colorado. A statement issued by the Colorado Department of Natural Resources maintained that no drinking water intakes have been affected by the spill, said Todd Hartman, a representative of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. A combined response team from these organizations and Noble Energy have been deployed to the area. The clean-up crew deployed skimming absorbent material everywhere oil could be seen and used a vacuum truck to remove oil-contaminated water from the low area around the tank.
 



06/14/2014

Comcast Seeking to Replace G.E.’s Initials Atop 30 Rock

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New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission has scheduled a hearing on Comcast’s plan to install the company’s logo at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

Comcast is known for its low-key corporate culture. At its 58-story headquarters, the tallest building in Philadelphia, a boxy glass crown gleams conspicuously but anonymously.

Yet now, as the mass media behemoth lobbies aggressively backstage for federal regulatory approval of its $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable, Comcast is seeking to raise its public profile in New York in vivid fashion.

The out-of-towner wants to plant its name atop one of the city’s signature skyscrapers.

Comcast, which last year bought General Electric’s remaining 49 percent stake in NBCUniversal, applied for a “certificate of appropriateness” from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to replace G.E.’s 24-foot-high initials on 30 Rockefeller Plaza. G.E., now based in Fairfield, Conn., has long had a presence in New York.

Whether another name change will be embraced by the public is arguable. It’s been a quarter-century since the two glowing red letters were installed, yet many New Yorkers still refer to it as the RCA Building, after the company that founded the NBC network. The RCA name had capped the 70-story Manhattan landmark, which at 850 feet amounts to the city’s tallest billboard (the MetLife Building is considered second), for more than 50 years. When the original letters were first illuminated in 1937, they were hailed as the loftiest neon sign on the planet.

“The idea of changing it now to the Comcast Building,” said Carol H. Krinsky, a New York University art history professor and the author of “Rockefeller Center,” “strikes me the same way that the change to the G.E. Building name did: ‘I’m the new guy on the block and you are nothing anymore.’ ”

As proposed, more modest 12-foot-high light-emitting diode signs that spell Comcast in white uppercase letters would be installed on the broader north and south limestone exteriors, crowned by 10-foot-high NBC peacock logos. A 17-foot-high peacock would appear by itself on the western facade more or less facing Philadelphia. Measured in overall square feet, the new signs would be slightly more compact than the existing G.E. signs.

A new entrance and marquee would also be installed on Avenue of the Americas to promote “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” (Among the other shows produced there is “Saturday Night Live,” one of whose alumni, Senator Al...


Comcast Wants to Put Its Logo Atop 30 Rock in Attempt to Become Black Hole of American Hatred

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At 30 Rockefeller plaza stands one of New York City’s most recognizable skyscrapers. Hoisted atop the 70-story home of NBC offices and studios sits a giant GE logo.

But you’d be more likely to hear the building called ’30 Rock’ or even the ‘RCA Building’ – the former due to its address, of course, and the latter due to its first and longtime tenant, the Radio Corporation of America. Whether you call it ’30 Rock’ or the ‘RCA Building’ is likely a matter of age.

Either way, the famous tower may soon have a new name for people to ignore or speak with derision – The Comcast Building.

The New York Times reports that Comcast, America’ most-beloved practitioner of the dark arts, has applied for a “certificate of appropriateness” from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to take down the 24 foot-tall GE logo and replace is with a giant Comcast logo.

Although the proposed Comcast logo would only stand 12 feet tall, its LED glow would likely be one of the most visible additions to the NYC skyline. Comcast has also proposed a 10 foot-tall NBC peacock logo to rest atop the Comcast sign. As you probably know, Comcast recently bought out GE’s 49 percent stake in NBCUniversal. Comcast owns you, and they want to make sure the whole world knows it.

The move has already been approved by the local community board, so the Landmarks Preservation Commission is the last hurdle between NYC and a giant Comcast logo on one of its most iconic structures.

Of course, it’s not like Comcast is trying to stick a 30-foot sign on top of the Empire State Building. 30 Rock has always had a giant corporate logo resting on its head – so in reality it would just amount to swapping the logo of one giant business for another.

But we’re in a climate of Comcast hate right now. Insatiable, all-encompassing, demonic hatred, in fact. The type that eats at one’s soul and likely makes them a less-healthy person simply for harboring such ill will toward another. This shit is biblical. As regulators decide if they’re going to let Comcast acquire Time Warner Cable, surveys continue to award the two companies as the most hated in America.

Comcast is #1, by the way.



06/06/2014

Former banker accepts plea deal that drops many charges

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STATESBORO, Ga (WJCL) – A former pastor and bank investor who embezzled millions from clients accepted a plea deal Thursday.

Aubrey Lee Price, 47 of Lyons, agreed to plead guilty to 3 charges in a federal courtroom in Statesboro.

He had faced 20 charges, but the deal drops many of them.

In the deal, Price will plead guilty  charges of wire and security fraud from New York and bank fraud from Georgia.

In court Price admitted to scheming millions of dollars from people.

He told the judge he must face responsibility for his actions.

Prosecutors say the former Montgomery Trust Bank board member embezzled $21 million and when it was discovered, faked his death in 2012.

Price was caught in December 2013 during a traffic stop in Georgia.

Price faced hundreds of years behind bars, but the deal sentences him to a maximum of 30 years.


Ex-bank director who faked death pleads guilty to fraud

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STATESBORO, Ga. -

A former bank director who faked his own death pleaded guilty Thursday to bank, securities and wire fraud.

The plea by 47-year-old Aubrey Price resolves charges brought in the Southern District of Georgia and the Eastern District of New York relating to a multimillion dollar fraud scheme that Price executed to defraud dozens of investors and a federally insured bank.

Price now faces up to 30 years in prison, millions of dollars in fines and millions of dollars in restitution to the victims of his fraud.

According to court filings and evidence presented at the guilty plea hearing, in 2010, an investment group controlled by Price invested about $10 million in the failing Montgomery Bank & Trust, an FDIC-insured financial institution in Ailey.

Price was then made a director of MB&T and put in charge of investing the bank's capital. Price told MB&T officials that he would invest the bank's capital in U.S. Treasury securities, but instead, over the next 18 months, Price embezzled over $21 million in capital from MB&T, and lost much of it by investing in risky equity securities and options.

To cover up his fraud, Price provided MB&T officials with bogus account statements and other false documents, which falsely indicated the bank's capital was safely held in an account at a financial services firm, when in truth, most of the money was gone.

A further investigation of Price revealed that between June 2009 and June 2012, Price also defrauded numerous individuals who had invested in two investment funds Price managed, PFG LLC and the Montgomery Growth Fund. Price raised about $51 million from about 115 investors from across the country and unsuccessfully invested funds in various equity securities, options and real estate, including farms in South America.

To cover up his losses, Price posted fake account statements on a secure PFG website that fraudulently reflected fictitious assets and fabricated investment returns.

In mid-June 2012, Price sent acquaintances "suicide letters" in which he admitted he had defrauded MB&T Bank and his PFG investors, and suggested that he planned to kill himself by throwing himself off a high-speed ferry boat after it left the coast of Florida. As a result of the suicide claim, the U.S. Coast Guard searched to no avail for Price's body.

Shortly after sending the letters, Price disappeared. After a several-month search, on Dec. 31, Price was arrested after he...



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