Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and his co-defendant, Dr. Salomon Melgen, are expected to face trial in early 2017 on a score of corruption and bribery charges.
Menendez had sought to have the indictments thrown out but on September 13 a Philadelphia-based appeals court refused, upholding an earlier ruling that rejected Menendez’ claim that the “speech or debate” clause of the U.S. Constitution shielded him from prosecution. “Members of Congress are not to be ‘super-citizens’ immune from criminal liability,” Circuit Judge Thomas Ambro wrote for the three-judge panel in July.
Federal prosecutors immediately asked that dates be set for a trial. They pointed out, “It has been 17 months since a grand jury sitting in the District of New Jersey indicted Senator Menendez and Dr. Melgen for numerous counts of corruption.”
Menendez has pledged to stay in office while defending himself, but has given up his post as the … Read More ➡
In a series of articles six years ago, National Legal and Policy Center detailed how politically connected ShoreBank – a community development lending institution based on Chicago’s South Side – was granted a bailout under unusual terms from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the U.S. Treasury after political pressure from area congressmen.
Now its successor, Chicago-based Urban Partnership Bank, is also in trouble with the FDIC and will try to raise an emergency $15 million, according to the Chicago Tribune. UPB continued the effort established by ShoreBank under the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act to “serve economically distressed communities and underserved people by providing access to financial services and products that are often unavailable” in “economically distressed urban areas,” where the financial institutions hoped to spur economic growth.… Read More ➡
A British investment company has thrown in the towel on an electric delivery truck manufacturer that it once wholly owned, saw fail, then spun off in the United States at the height of President Obama’s green energy stimulus subsidy mania.
U.K.-based Tanfield Group announced at the end of June that it wrote down the value of the last 5.76 percent ownership stake it held in Smith Electric Vehicles, which received $32 million in U.S. taxpayer funds as a formerly British entity that reconstituted and relocated in Kansas City in 2009. The move by Tanfield followed Smith’s legal action filed against business partner FDG Electric Vehicles, in which it alleged “fraudulent misstatements” against the Chinese company that had enticed it into an agreement.
“The [Tanfield] board of directors has carried out a review of the investment in Smith resulting in a decision to impair the investment value to nil,” the … Read More ➡
Wall Street, media and government darling Tesla Motors has seen its stock price nearly halved from seven months ago. For so long it has seemed that ongoing bad news never had an effect on the heavily subsidized upstart, but now perhaps the Teflon is eroding off CEO Elon Musk.
The precipitous, rapid descent preceded last week’s horrid earnings report. USA Today helped smear lipstick on the pig, cheerily noting shares rose “14 percent at one point” after its earnings “miss” on Wednesday, because Musk delivered investors a "rosy outlook for the rest of 2016." This was in context of what the newspaper characterized as a “whopping loss” that “badly missed estimates.”
That's the history of earnings reports with Tesla and Musk. The CEO with perpetually sanguine expectations never fails to deliver promising forecasts following dismal earnings reports, despite promises that are often not delivered.
Now he’s got crashing … Read More ➡
On December 3, Stanley Buchanan, former president of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 493, was charged in Smith County (Tex.) Court with unauthorized use of a credit card issued by the Tyler-based union in the amount of $7,776. The indictment follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Jeffrey Magelitz managed the finances of a union representing prison employees. Now he may wind up one of its inmates. On November 18, Magelitz, former treasurer of Local 415 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois for embezzlement and theft, and for concealment of these acts in a union financial report. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Magelitz, 44, a resident of Chester (Randolph County), Ill., served as treasurer of AFSCME Local 415 during January 2012-June 2013. Prosecutors charge that this was enough time for him to have embezzled $30,811.96 in funds from the union, which represents employees at the Vienna Correction Center in Vienna (Johnson County), Ill. Moreover, he allegedly prepared and cashed unauthorized union checks for himself, forging the signatures of the local president and … Read More ➡
A foreign renewable energy company, that U.S. taxpayers hold a major stake in via the Department of Energy Loan Program Office, is imperiled by massive debt and has begun the process of negotiating with its creditors as a prelude to possible bankruptcy.
The company is Abengoa, based in Spain, which reportedly holds 887 subsidiaries around the world. Reuters reported at the end of last month that investors declined to provide needed capital for the firm, which led to what is called, under Spanish law, “pre-insolvency proceedings.” That entails a four-month attempt to alleviate debt burdens. If that falls short, then formal bankruptcy proceedings would likely follow, which would be Spain’s largest in history. Effects would ripple globally.
Several international banks have investments at risk, to the tune of about $21.4 billion, according to Reuters. American taxpayers could be on the hook for $2.34 billion, which is the amount of debt … Read More ➡
For years NLPC has reported that the “market” for electric vehicles was anything but free and competitive against traditional gasoline-fueled automobiles. Instead it is “all hype and subsidies.”
The evidence could not be any clearer than what has happened in Atlanta. As Watchdog.org has reported, since a $5,000 state tax credit expired on July 1, sales of “zero-emission” electrics such as the Nissan Leaf have plummeted. Whereas monthly sales averaged 915 in 2015 until the year’s midpoint, sales in the month of August fell to 148, according to vehicle registration data compiled by R.L. Polk & Co.
“It was essentially taking money that would have been paid into taxes in Georgia and a subset of people were getting their car paid for,” said state Rep. Chuck Martin, a Republican, to Watchdog.org.
The steep drop was expected after the tax credit expired, but gasoline prices that are approaching $2 per … Read More ➡
Imagine a product that performs so well, that an evaluator says it busted through the top of its grade scale, yet that same scorer can’t recommend the product due to issues of reliability. That would be a seeming disconnect in the real world, but in this case we are talking about the immortal Tesla Model S. The illogical appraiser is Consumer Reports.
Two years ago the media enthusiastically reported how the all-electric luxury vehicle scored a 99 out of 100, as measured by conscientious buyers’ favorite magazine. Then, two months ago, CR’s researchers were even more ecstatic after their follow-up tests, and awarded the Model S a score of 103. Green-minded journalists were over the moon. “This is a glimpse into what we can expect down the line, where we have cars with the performance of supercars and the comfort, convenience and safety features of a luxury … Read More ➡
Allegations in civil lawsuit threatens to mar the reputation of Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx (Flickr Photo: MTyndall).
He has been sued in the case of defunct DesignLine USA. The Charlotte-based hybrid electric bus-maker declared bankruptcy in 2013 after years of missteps that included maintenance problems, production problems, missed deliveries, lawsuits, and an FBI investigation. Its assets were sold to an investment group and the company now operates with a much lower profile, under the name EPV Corp.
Foxx’s role and responsibilities with DesignLine had been a mystery, and during his confirmation to the Obama cabinet, there was little curiosity about it, despite the company’s many troubles. The lawsuit brought against him this month was initiated by a trustee for DesignLine’s unsecured creditors, who seek to recover whatever losses they can. Other former executives and supporters of the company – including NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick – were sued as well.
The … Read More ➡