Category: Breaking News Written by Carrie Healey, theGrio
Dr. Martin Luther King’s estate has recently filed a lawsuit against Maude Ballou, the late leader’s secretary during the Civil Rights Movement, over documents she currently possesses.
Throughout the movement, Maude Ballou was at MLK’s side, scheduling meetings and appearances.
According to the Charlotte Observer, shortly after the arrest of Rosa Parks in Montgomery, Alabama Ballou was personally asked by Dr. King to work with his group, a position that evolved into becoming his secretary.
During her time working for the civil rights leader, Ballou was given documents from both King and Rosa Parks. The documents included copies of King’s speeches and letters from him and Parks to Ballou.
When Ballou’s husband, Leonard Ballou, accepted a job in North Carolina, the Ballou family moved, along with the documents.
The King estate became aware of the documents in 2010 when an article was written on them. While Dr. King’s estate claimed in a brief in federal court in Jackson that the “documents are the property of Dr. King,” Maude Ballou testified that the documents were a gift and rightfully hers.
The district judge ultimately sided with Ballou.
Historian and writer, David Garrow weighed in on the situation:
What makes this worse is what an un-material person Dr. King was. This was someone who throughout his life never took any financial benefit from the movement.
Garrow wrote the 1987 Pulitzer-Prize-winning biography on MLK entitled Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Last Updated on Friday, 18 January 2013 09:18
Category: Breaking News Written by Minehaha Forman
Detroit Mayoral hopeful Mike Duggan said he was “shocked” Thursday after his name was mentioned in a recording presented as evidence in the high-profile corruption trial involving former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
In the recording, Kilpatrick’s father Bernard Kilpatrick is heard accusing former Wayne County Executive Edward McNamara his deputy Mike Duggan of participating in deals that were “borderline illegal”.
Kilpatrick named Duggan and McNamara specifically in the audio, which was recorded in 2000.
“We carved out this, and I know this is … is borderline illegal and … the county was a different animal, everybody will tell you that.”
Kilpatrick served as chief of staff to McNamara before becoming consultant once his son was elected mayor in 2002.
The undercover recording was taped during a meeting between Bernard Kilpatrick, Synagro executive James Rosendall and Kwame Kilpatrick’s former girlfriend Akunna Olumba. The three were discussing how they were to get paid for helping Synagro get a $1 billion, 25-year waste disposal contract with the city.
In the recording Kilpatrick told Rosendall that Duggan and McNamara were carving out corners of contracts for themselves.
Duggan responded immediately saying he was shocked to hear his name mentioned in the trial.
"I left the McNamara administration 13 years ago and nobody's ever accused me of doing anything wrong," McNamara told Loal 4 News. "I have no idea what Bernard Kilpatrick might have said to a client he was trying to get money from."
Duggan said no one has ever accused him of any wrongdoing and that Kilpatrick was “trying to get a client to give him money."
Duggan says he won’t let this affect his run for mayor.
“I am campaigning all day every day. This will have to impact,” he said.
The U.S. Attorney’s dismissed any concern over the recordings according to The Detroit News .
“Over the course of this four-month trial, the names of dozens of public officials and business leaders have been mentioned,” Gina Balaya, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office said in an emailed statement. “References to their names in no way mean that they have done anything wrong.”
Last Updated on Friday, 18 January 2013 09:12
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - As a condition of his parole on 2008 state charges, Kwame Kilpatrick cannot solicit money from outside sources. But his wife — now that’s another story.
Michigan Department of Corrections officials say they are aware of a solicitation letter written by Kilpatrick’s wife, Carlita, and it is not in violation of Kilpatrick’s parole. The letter reportedly is a solicitation for money to help pay for their children’s private school tuition, which is said to be around $32,000.
WWJ’s Paul Snider reports Kilpatrick made the disclosure himself when he was interviewed by corrections officials last week.
Parole officials say the solicitation itself doesn’t break any rules, but Kilpatrick would have to report any gifts, monetary or not, that his family may receive. The condition is part of the former Detroit mayor’s long road of restitution to the city as part of a conviction for lying under oath in a police whistleblower case. He subsequently served 14 months in prison for violating his probation in that case.
Kilpatrick, currently on trial for public corruption in federal court, is under house arrest in Detroit after he admitted getting more than $6,000 in cash from several wire transfers last month, and is banned from traveling to Texas where his wife and sons live.
Last Updated on Friday, 18 January 2013 08:41
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - Detroit firefighters trying to control a blaze at a vacant house on the city’s west side were met with one problem after another, after another.
WWJ’s Mike Campbell reports the fire broke out early Friday morning at a house on Prevost Street and St. Martins Avenue, near 7 Mile and Greenfield roads.
Edmund Parker, chief of the Detroit Fire Department’s first battalion, said crews from three different units had trouble getting any water to the house when they first arrived on the scene.
First, with temperatures hovering around 16 degrees, nearby hydrants were frozen and couldn’t be tapped. Then, their lines weren’t long enough to reach to a hydrant that worked. And when crews finally reached a hydrant they could open, they only found more trouble.
“We had problems with a couple of bad hydrants, low water pressure,” he said. “It happens, honestly, it happens.”
Firefighters had to go blocks away before they found a working fire hydrant with enough water pressure. Parker said crews eventually had to knock the house’s walls down to contain the fire.
While an official cause hasn’t been determined, Parker said he’s sure of the fire was set intentionally.
“Obviously, it’s arson. Somebody had to set it on fire, it didn’t set itself on fire,” he said.
Neighbors say the house is one of three others in the area that has been vacant for an extended time period. A resident who lives across the street said the house has been set on fire several times in the past.
An investigation is ongoing.
Last Updated on Friday, 18 January 2013 08:37
Category: Breaking News Written by Sherri Welch, CrainsDetroit
In a bid to become sole owner in Detroit's Greektown Casino-Hotel, Dan Gilbert's Athens Acquisition LLC, has offered to acquire the remaining shares from Greektown Superholdings Inc. after taking majority control of shares in the casino last month.
A Dec. 20 acquisition of a large block of Greektown shares by Rock Gaming LLC's Athens is contingent only upon approval of its gaming license by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
In a letter sent to Greektown Superholdings today, Athens offered to pay $81 per share for the shares it has not already acquired, Greektown said in a statement.
The Greektown board of directors "intends to fully review and investigate the proposal and to explore all strategic alternatives available," the company said.
According to the letter sent to Greektown, Athens purchased a small number of shares in Greektown this summer before acquiring the larger block Dec. 20. Combined, the two blocks of shares give Rock Gaming LLC's Athens an ownership of more than 50 percent.
In the letter, Athens said it believes the proposal provides "significant value for the company's shareholders in light of recent similar transactions and comparable publicly trading companies and also represents a significant premium over recently reported trades in the company's shares."
"We recognize that minority shareholder protection is an appropriate board concern," Athens said. "Accordingly, shareholders who decline our proposal would be entitled to participate in any sale of the company on terms that are no less favorable than those received by Athens Acquisition."
Declining shareholders would also be entitled to the fair market value of their shares in the event that Athens Acquisition obtains ownership of the entire company through a merger, Athens said. In exchange, it "respectfully" requested that Greektown's board terminate the rights agreement that it entered into at the end of December.
On Dec. 31, Greektown Superholdings Inc.'s board of directors adopted a shareholder rights plan, or poison pill, to ward off takeovers.
Although Athens' most recent purchase of shares predated the rights plan that Greektown put in place, and Athens is therefore deemed under the rights plan to be the current beneficial owner of shares representing majority voting power, "we feel that cooperation between Athens Acquisition and the board is the best path toward a solution that benefits all stakeholders," Athens said in the letter.
The deal is subject to approval from the state gaming board, which is scheduled to meet Tuesday. It's not immediately clear whether it will review the deal as early as that meeting.
In an email sent to employees this afternoon, Gilbert, who is chairman of Rock Gaming, referred to "Project Athens," saying: "Just think of all of the possible threads. It's endless.
"Picture a thriving downtown urban casino with an incredible unique entertainment district around it that we grow all the way from Greektown to Campus Martius and then melds into all of the exciting growth and investment that is already taking place up and down Woodward Avenue."
Plans are still in the early phase. But Rock Gaming LLC Chairman Gilbert said he plans to make significant investment in the Greektown Casino-Hotel and the enhancement and growth of the entertainment district.
"We see this unique area extending to Campus Martius and along Woodward Avenue, building on the positive momentum already occurring in the heart of downtown Detroit," he said.
Urban casino development in large Midwest cities has been a primary focus of Rock's investment strategy over the past few years, CEO Matt Cullen said in a release.
Given its substantial focus on downtown Detroit, Greektown Casino-Hotel "could not be more in the epicenter of our business and civic interests," he said.
Rock Gaming teamed with Caesars Entertainment Corp. to develop the Horseshoe Casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati, and jointly own the thoroughbread race track Turfway Park in Florence, Ky., near Cincinnati.
The two companies are developing a casino in downtown Baltimore, scheduled to open in 2014, and are developing a racino, with video slot machines, at Thistledown Racetrack outside of Cleveland.
Caesars will not be involved with Greektown Casino-Hotel; it is precluded from owning or operating any of the Detroit casinos, given its operation of the Caesars Windsor Hotel & Casino, said Jennifer Kulcycki, communications director for Rock Gaming.
Each of the casinos that Rock and Caesars co-own are located in the city's urban core and include retail and restaurants on the street level as part of their "urban casino" strategy to enhance and interconnect with the downtown, Kulcycki said.
The Horseshoe Casino Cleveland has seen 3.3 visitors since it opened in May, she said. Rock and Caesars are using vouchers to nearby restaurants and other attractions to encourage those visitors to explore the entire downtown rather than just the casino, and they envision the same for Greektown which is already an "urban casino" given its location right off of Woodward Avenue and proximity to nearby restaurants and retail.
"At the end of the day, a high tide raises all boats. Why not make it worthwhile for everyone downtown?" Kulcycki said.
Greektown Casino-Hotel's revenue was $26.6 million in November, down 6.5 percent compared with November 2011. Greektown had 24 percent of the market share in November.
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 January 2013 09:34
Category: Breaking News Written by Minehaha Forman
In his state of the State address Gov. Rick Snyder made a bold proposal for 2013: spike gas taxes and vehicle registration fees to raise $10 billion over the next ten years for road repairs—that’s about $120 dollars a year for the average Michigan motorist.
It’s a big ask, especially with a tax-reluctant republican legislature calling the shots, but Snyder urged that politics be removed from the discussion.
While the governor did not trolley out specifics on the plan—he’ll leave that up to the legislature—he touted the hefty proposal calling it an “investment” and a “money saver” avoiding the word “tax” when possible.
“Let’s be blunt these are about user fees,” he said. “You buy a car, you’re using the roadsState Of The Roads? Snyder’s $10 Billion Ask A “No Brainer”
, you buy gas, you’re using the roads. [We have to ask] Were would we be with this or without it?”
Snyder said his administration has an analysis to find out what the consequences of not spending $1 billion a year for the next decades on the state’s crumbling road infrastructure. He said the findings showed if untended, road repairs in the future could cost the state somewhere “in the range of $25 billion”.
“So this is just like looking at the question of do you get an oil changes on a regular basis or do you wait for an engine re-build?” Snyder said.
“So by investing that money over the next years it will save us 15 billion dollars. That’s gigantic. That’s the first step.”
Snyder highlighted benefits of the proposal other than long-term savings. He said the new taxes would lower the cost of car repairs by about $80 a year, create an estimated 12,00 jobs, and make the roads safer, saving what he calculates to be “nearly 100 lives a year each year”.
The vehicle tax increase was perhaps the heart of the 50-minute speech that touched a broad range of topics including the experimental state-run school district— (the EAA), mental health, public private partnerships, and briefly brushed on the lame duck session’s “divisive times” without mention Right To Work by name.
He closed the speech by returning to his pitch for the steep vehicle tax hike saying the move would have the next generation from spending nearly twice as much on future road repairs across the state.
He asked everyone come together like a big family and “do the right thing.”
“We’re a family of ten million people and we’re sitting around the kitchen table and we saying what’s right for out future. We ‘ve got a chance to make peanuts over the next ten years that would save us [$15 billion], we can save lives, [and] not stick our kids with big bill. This is a no-brainer. This is common sense.”
While a fight is anticipated, Snyder said the use of “relentless positive action” is how the state will move forward.
“ We can decide how long we want to argue or how political we want this to get, or we can use common sense to get it done. This is our opportunity.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 January 2013 09:24
Category: Breaking News Written by Ed Payne, CNN
(CNN) -- Appetites already whet by Lance Armstrong's reported admission to Oprah Winfrey of performance-enhancing drug use, we now eagerly wait to see what else the disgraced cycling legend puts on the table with the talk show queen.
The first part of their 2 1/2-hour interview airs on Winfrey's OWN cable network and the Internet Thursday at 9 p.m. ET. Whatever transpires, Armstrong's carefully constructed public persona has been altered forever.
Livestrong: Come clean
The cancer charity Armstrong founded urged the fallen star to come clean, ahead of the interview airing.
"We expect Lance to be completely truthful and forthcoming in his interview and with all of us in the cancer community," Livestrong said in a statement released Wednesday. "We expect we will have more to say at that time."
In October, Armstrong resigned as chairman of the charity he founded "to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career," according to a statement posted to the group's website at the time. A few weeks later, he left the board entirely amid concerns that his involvement was harming the charity.
On Monday, he visited the charity and "expressed his regret for the stress the team suffered in recent years as a result of the controversy surrounding his cycling career," the organization said in a statement.
"Inspired by the people with cancer whom we serve, we feel confident and optimistic about the Foundation's future and welcome an end to speculation," the group said.
As part of his public reclamation project, Armstrong might pay back part of the money he received from the U.S. Postal Service, which sponsored the cyclist and his team while he was winning six of his Tours de France, a source familiar with the situation said.
The source said Armstrong was in negotiations to repay some of the money.
ESPN reported in 2011 that the agency, which is not taxpayer funded, paid more that $31 million to sponsor the team during the final four years of its agreement.
A spokeswoman for the postal service said: "We are not in a position now to discuss any of the legal issues associated with these developments and the prior relationship between the U.S. Postal Service and Mr. Armstrong, but we will do so at an appropriate time."
Armstrong won the Tour de France a record seven straight years, beginning in 1999. The postal service sponsored the team from 1996 to 2004.
Slipping from his pedestal
The court of public opinion came down decidedly against Armstrong this week after he acknowledged using performance-enhancing drugs after years of denials.
"This guy is a loser and a liar!!" Melinda Morgan said on CNN's Facebook page. "He is not sorry for what he did, he is sorry that he got caught!!"
Margaret Midkiff said there's no hope of Armstrong reviving his career. "He's lied to folks way too long."
Cycling fan Beverlee Ring said she has "mixed feelings" about the Winfrey interview.
"He should apologize and do whatever it takes to begin the healing," she said in a submission to CNN's iReport. "Now is when the real work begins for Lance."
But Gretta Michellé said it's too late for redemption.
"He had the opportunity to be honest from the beginning and he should have," she posted on the Facebook page. "Winning was more important."
Sanctions still stick
Armstrong's reported admissions, if true, would be a stunning reversal after years of vigorous denials, including lawsuits filed against accusers.
But it still will not be enough to reverse the lifetime ban and other sanctions that have kept him from participating in some triathlons, the three-event sport he took up after retiring from cycling.
"Only when Mr. Armstrong makes a full confession under oath, and tells the anti-doping authorities all he knows about doping activities, can any legal and proper process for him to seek any reopening or reconsideration of his lifetime ban commence," said David Howman, director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Critics find vindication
Those who spoke out against Armstrong at the height of his power and popularity, not only felt his wrath, but the wrath of an adoring public.
Now, stripped of endorsement deals and his titles, those who did speak out are feeling vindicated.
Former colleagues, assistants and journalists who ran afoul of the Armstrong machine, complained of being blackballed, ostracized and the object of lawsuits designed to shut them up.
"Eleven years of bullying and threats," Kathy LeMond, the wife of cyclist Greg LeMond -- one of Armstrong's earliest targets -- wrote on Twitter. "LA is now the Greatest Fraud in the History of Sports."
Once a close friend of Armstrong, cyclist Frankie Andreu had a falling out with him after his wife, Betsy, began to cooperate with a reporter working on a book about doping allegations against Armstrong.
She recently told Cycling News that "grown men were torn to shreds by Armstrong," and said she was "extremely grateful" to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for its investigation that resulted in a lifetime ban for Armstrong and loss of his seven Tour de France titles.
'What Joe Public thinks of me I don't care," Andreu told the New York Daily News. "I care what my family and close friends think of me. When it affects my husband's ability to work then it's grossly unfair. Who knows how many jobs he lost because I refused to lie to protect Lance."
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 January 2013 08:57
Category: Breaking News Written by Sam Stein and John Rudolf, thehuffingtonpost
WASHINGTON -- In a bold and potentially historic attempt to stem the increase in mass gun violence, President Barack Obama unveiled on Wednesday the most sweeping effort at gun control policy reform in a generation.
"This is our first task as a society: keeping our children safe. This is how we will be judged," Obama said. “We can’t put this off any longer."
The proposal, which comes at the end of a month-long review process spearheaded by Vice President Joe Biden, is broken down into four key subsections: law enforcement, the availability of dangerous firearms and ammunition, school safety and mental health.
In an effort to touch on all four of those elements, the president recommended requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales; reinstating the assault weapons ban; restoring a 10-round limit on ammunition magazines; eliminating armor-piercing bullets; providing mental health services in schools; allocating funds to hire more police officers; and instituting a federal gun trafficking statute, among other policies. The cost of the package, senior officials estimated, would be roughly $500 million, some of which could come from already budgeted funds.
Because these recommendations require congressional approval, the administration is supplementing its proposal with 23 executive actions that will be taken immediately. Those actions include requiring federal agencies to hand over relevant data for a background check system; providing law enforcement officials, first responders and school officials with better training for active shooting situations; directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence; and many more.
"I intend to use whatever weight this office holds to make them a reality," said the president, speaking about his full set of recommendations. "If there's even one life that can be saved, then we've got an obligation to try."
The approach is so sweeping that what would have otherwise been a headline-grabbing announcement received second billing. The president on Wednesday will nominate Byron Todd Jones, the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, to take over the post permanently.
In total, the proposal goes beyond what most gun control advocates were hoping for at the start of Biden's review process, during which he held 22 different meetings with 229 different organizations and 31 elected officials.
"This is a monumental moment. It's a long time coming and we're thrilled the president's putting the full weight of his office behind this," said Josh Horowitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. "We're ready to push this thing through."
But putting together ideas is the easy part. Selling them on the Hill will take a bit of legislative craft.
Seasoned political observers have questioned whether it makes more sense to break the package into separate bills or push for one comprehensive proposal. A senior administration official said that the president's proposal shouldn't be considered finalized legislative language, but rather a series of recommendations for Congress to consider. The president would be working with lawmakers to move the process forward, the official added, and would be trying to build up public opinion as well.
"I will put everything I've got into this and so will Joe [Biden]. But I tell you, the only way we can change is if the American people demand it," said Obama. "We are going to need voices in those areas and congressional districts where the tradition of gun ownership is strong."
"It can't just be the usual suspects," he continued. "This will not happen unless the American people demand it."
The gun-rights lobby has already signaled that it will try to block the administration's effort. A spokesman for the National Rifle Association did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the president's proposal. But the organization has already harshly criticized the Obama administration for overreach.
"It is unfortunate that this administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation's most pressing problems," the NRA said after meeting with Biden last week. "We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen."
The group continued its offensive this week, launching an advertising campaign attacking Obama as an "elitist hypocrite" for opposing the NRA's widely-criticized proposal, made after the Newtown, Conn. shooting, to place armed guards in all of the nation's schools.
But that attack appeared a bit premature. As part of its policy recommendations, the White House called on Congress to act on an old administration proposal to spend $4 billion to keep 15,000 cops on the streets. In addition, the president is proposing a new initiative that would incentivize police departments to hire more school resource officers and encourage schools to hire more mental health professionals. The president's plan also calls on Congress to allocate resources to help schools, other educational institutions and houses of worship develop emergency management plans.
The White House proposals, even officials there admit, are not a cure-all for mass shootings. Among the suggested recommendations on the gun-policy front, only the ban on high-capacity magazines could have had a tangible impact on the shooting in Newtown, and it's unclear what, exactly, the effect would have been.
Moreover, the administration is pointedly not going after those weapons and ammunition clips that are currently and lawfully owned. The proposal would instead affect the future production and sale of military-style weapons or high-capacity magazines.
"We are not going to go after existing stock of weapons or magazines," said a senior administration official. "We are going to limit it to the manufacturing of assault weapons and clips going forward."
The White House nevertheless insists that its package of proposals has teeth. It would provide law enforcement with the mechanisms needed to go after the illegal transfer of weapons and help prevent those weapons from falling into the wrong hands. It would also stem the use of military-style weapons -- the White House says its proposal would improve on the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, which was riddled with loopholes -- and give schools and communities resources to address violence when it occurs.
The question, in some respects, is not what's missing from the set of ideas, but what took the administration so long to get to this point.
"It is not as though we had this whole policy paper sitting on the shelf somewhere," said a senior administration official. "[We worked] 24/7 for the past month. And we met with a lot of groups and we learned a lot of ideas that came as a result of this process. We tried to be as comprehensive as possible. We are hoping that as the process goes on and as the debate goes on, we might come up with some other ideas."
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 January 2013 08:44
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is coming to Detroit on Friday to make “a major fundingannouncement” that is expected to involve plans for a light rail system between the city’s downtown and the cultural, medical and educational center a few miles north.
LaHood’s office said in a statement that Mayor Dave Bing, U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow and others will be at Wayne State University to reveal details of a plan “that will significantly expand transit options in downtown Detroit.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 January 2013 08:17
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
LANSING (WWJ) - Hundreds of protesters made their presence known outside the Capitol in Lansing ahead of Governor Synder’s address.
Pat Hartzel traveled to Lansing to voice her opposition to fracking, a process of extracting natural gas from miles underground through high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing.
“Temporarily people come from out-of-state with their oil rigs, and all of their machinery, they stay for a year or two … and they leave when the oil is gone … it is a lie that it’s all going to stay here and that we are going to have millions of job,” said Hartzel.
Hunter Genia, a Native American from Saginaw Michigan joined the rally:
“The reason why we are here is to bring awareness .. and support to our Canadian relatives, indigenous nations, that are asking for their land rights, treaty rights, water rights to be respected by the Canadian government,” said Genia who is part of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe.
Genia says a Tribe Chief in Canada is on a 30-day plus hunger strike as part of their protest.
“Just all the lame duck bills he has signed, the right-to-work bill and all the rest of them that are not doing anything for the middle-class people in the state of Michigan. Just all for big corporations and he needs to know that we are ashamed of him,” said a protestor from Ironwood holding a sign which read,’Shame on Snyder.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 January 2013 08:10
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