Extension OK’d for Memorial Hospital project

The Bartlesville Redevelopment Trust Authority granted another extension Wednesday on a long-delayed project to transform the former Memorial Hospital building, located in downtown Bartlesville, into an apartment community.

The action took place during the BRTA’s meeting Wednesday afternoon at City Hall, located at 401 S. Johnstone Ave. At the meeting, BRTA trustees heard from developer Mark Larson and BRTA Executive Director Chris Wilson regarding the status of the multi-million dollar project.

In 2014, the BRTA, in cooperation with the City of Bartlesville, Washington County Affordable Housing Coalition and Larson Development, applied for a grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development for the second time. The grant, called the Hope VI Main Street Grant, was not awarded, but the project came in second place, as the project was only three points shy of winning the proposal, Wilson said.

“HUD also said that if there were other funds available, that our application would allow them to allocate those funds to our application without going through a new grant round,” Wilson said.

In late 2014, the BRTA received word that a HUD Hope VI Main Street grantee from a previous year was ineligible and the money would be recaptured and reallocated to the City of Bartlesville for the Memorial Hospital project, Wilson said.

According to Wilson, on June 12, the HUD Hope VI Main Street Grants Administrator emailed him to confirm the process to recapture the funds had been initiated by HUD from the ineligible project. However, a definite time frame was not given to receive the funds back and reallocate them, Wilson reported.The grant amount is to be $490,000.

In order for the project at Memorial Hospital to continue moving forward, the funds from HUD need to be secured, Wilson said. Larson said he has already secured a $300,000 low-interest loan from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality for removal of asbestos and lead-based paint in the building. Additionally, he has spent thousands of his own money and has secured funding from a private lender.

Wilson said he expects to have the funding from HUD sometime this fall. Once that has been received, the project can continue. With that in mind, the BRTA extended the start date for the Memorial Hospital project to begin no later than July 24, 2016, with a construction period of no more than 16 months.

The BRTA is providing a $523,857 developing assistance financing loan to Larson Development for completion of the project. No monies from the BRTA have been paid out as of yet because of the delays in the HUD grant.


Wyoming County’s Mounted Police to receive $10000

Press release:

The Wyoming County Sheriff Department’s Mounted Unit is soon to receive $10,000 in funding. The all-volunteer unit receives no allocation from the county budget.

“This money will be used to fund the specialized and unique training the Mounted Unit needs to maintain operational readiness for search and rescue, special details and other public safety needs,” said Sheriff Gregory Rudolph. “Sen. Gallivan’s continuous support demonstrates his commitment to public safety in Wyoming County.”

Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) announced he has secured additional state funding to support various public safety initiatives in Wyoming County. The aid is being provided to the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Department and Legal Services for the Elderly, Disabled and Disadvantaged of WNY in order to maintain existing programs.

“Nothing is more important than the safety of our citizens and the communities in which we live,” Gallivan said. “As Chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Crime, Crime Victims and Correction, I know firsthand how important it is to support programs that assist those victimized by crime and to make sure our police departments have the resources they need to do their job.”

During the recently completed legislative session, Gallivan secured funding through the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services that included funds for the Mounted Unit.

The Mounted Unit is led operationally by John Copeland, retired Undersheriff of the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office and chairman of the county’s Public Safety Committee.

“The Mounted Unit serves our community with pride and distinction and this funding provides critical training for the officers that participate in the program,” said Chairman of the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors Douglas Berwanger.     

Legal Services for the Elderly, Disabled and Disadvantaged of WNY will receive $20,000 to support its ongoing program to provide civil legal services to seniors, the disabled and low-income individuals throughout WNY, including residents of Wyoming County.


Fearful bond funds give out greater cash yields

Imagine the bond market as a crowded swimming pool, except its one where the water level drops whenever someone tries to leave. By the time you attempt to get out, youre stuck at the bottom, unable to exit because the ladder is 10 feet above your head.

Now you know what the bond market is worried about. Bond fund managers are increasingly talking about the markets liquidity, or how easy it is to buy and sell bonds. Concerns are rising that the day is approaching when everyone will rush for the exits at once and drain the markets liquidity, perhaps after the Federal Reserve begins raising interest rates.

I think liquidity is misunderstood, and I think it is often taken for granted, says Matt Freund, chief investment officer of USAA mutual funds. And the time to think about it is before you need it.

When liquidity is abundant, anyone who wants to sell a bond can easily find a buyer. But when liquidity dries up, buyers are scarce. At worst, none are available, or theyre willing to buy only at fire-sale prices and fewer bonds than you were hoping to sell.

For investors in mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, liquidity isnt much of a concern. They can pull their money from a bond fund at the end of every day or at any time during the trading day if theyre in an ETF.

But the story is different for fund managers. They typically have some cash in their portfolios to return to shareholders who withdraw their money. But if there is a surge in withdrawals, managers could be forced to sell bonds to raise more cash. And if the market is full of others also looking to sell, bond prices plummet.


What happens to the cash, assets seized from captured criminals?

MARK BOWES/Times-Dispatch

Chesterfield police seized these bundles of cash from a cocaine dealer in 2009

Chesterfield County police discovered hidden bags of cash totaling $128,638 while executing a search warrant May 11, 2009, on the home of Taj Gregory, who later was convicted of distributing cocaine and sentenced to 120 months in federal prison. The entire sum was forfeited to police a year later through Virginias civil asset-forfeiture program.


Vatican finances still lack transparency | National Catholic Reporter

One is the balance sheet for Vatican City State, which includes the famous museums, fire department, post office, pharmacy, phone company and other municipal offices and services. It employs approximately 1,900 people.

The other report is for the Holy See, which has nearly 2,900 employees working in Roman Curia offices, the diplomatic service and other entities tied specifically to Apostolic See (ie, the papacy) and its universal mission. Included here are the Vaticans radio, television and newspaper enterprises.

The summaries of the two consolidated financial statements that Pells office put out on July 16 constituted nothing more than a press release. Obviously, he and his staff went into greater detail two days earlier, when they presented those same statements to the Council for the Economy, the 15-member board of cardinals and lay finance experts that German Cardinal Reinhard Marx heads.

Why were these fuller reports not made public?

In the past, the Prefecture of the Economic Affairs of the Holy See — a sort of comptrollers office — has sent the more detailed statement to all the worlds bishops. But this information is never shared with the rest of the shareholders and benefactors of the church — that is, the other 99.9 percent of its reportedly 1.2 billion members. And it was not shared this year, either.

In any case, even the bishops are never given much more than skeletal figures indicating only the bottom-line financial situation of a number of Vatican institutions and agencies. For example, not even they are told where the vast array of the Holy Sees real estate and rental properties are located, in which institutions it deposits its cash, or in which companies it invests.

The recently released financial statements indicate that Vatican City State ended 2014 with a surplus of 63.5 million euro ($68.8 million), almost double that of the previous year. The press release says without even a hint of detail that this was mostly due to the continued strong revenue from the cultural activities (especially the Museums) and favourable movements in investments. What other cultural activities besides the museums were so lucrative? And where is this theocracy, the smallest state in the world, investing its money? Not even the bishops know.

If Vatican Citys finances once again towered in the black, the Holy See was once more awash in red. It showed — to quote the press release — a deficit of 25.621 M Euro which is similar to the deficit of 24.471 M Euro reported in the 2013 Statements. That is exactly 1.15 million euro deeper in the hole. But since Pell and his apostles of good accounting have been on the job, Vatican assets previously off the balance sheet have been brought to light and included in the financial report.

The Australian cardinal has stressed that this is part of the transparency he wants to bring to the Vaticans world of finances. And all Catholics should encourage and applaud every step taken in the direction of transparency and full disclosure.

But Pells record in this area is not encouraging. Yes, he has been able to balance the books and put money in the coffers of those places where hes been a bishop. Most recently, that was in Sydney. And Danny Casey, his personal assistant at his current Vatican job, was his chief financial officer in that big Australian archdiocese.

The cardinals critics Down Under (and they are many) have voiced concerns about Pells lack of transparency. One example they always point to is the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Sydney in 2008 for World Youth Day. They say costs for the papal visit and the global youth gathering have never been made completely clear, especially how the expenditures were divided by the government and the Australian Catholic church.

The critics have also raised concern over the financing of Domus Australia, a former Marist Brothers convent in Rome that Pell convinced the Australian bishops to purchase and then refurbish for use as a 32-bed hotel for pilgrims. The final price tag has never been revealed, but it is believed to have cost much more than the reported 30 million Australian dollars usually cited.

But that does not seem to worry Pope Francis. It is generally assumed that he brought the now-74-year-old cardinal to Rome on the Australians tough-guy reputation to clean up what had become a murky financial situation at the Vatican. After a rough start, partly because of Pells sometimes less-than-diplomatic demeanor, the pope put some necessary checks on the cardinals wide-ranging powers over Vatican finances by giving special authority to two of his confreres. Pell now has to play nice with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, secretary of state, and Marx at the Council for the Economy.

Still, reforming the way the Vatican handles its money largely rests on the broad shoulders of the man once called Australias most prominent Catholic. Pope Francis wants him to focus squarely on the new job hes been given in the twilight of his ecclesiastical career: reforming Vatican finances. Because, in case you have not noticed, Pell doesnt seem to be interested in many of the other reforms the pope is pushing.

In this, the cardinal has been more than transparent.

[Robert Mickens is editor-in-chief of Global Pulse. Since 1986, he has lived in Rome, where he studied theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University before working 11 years at Vatican Radio and then another decade as correspondent for The Tablet of London.]

Editors note: We can send you an email alert every time Robert Mickens column, A Roman Observer, is posted. Go to this page and follow directions: Email alert sign-up.


Stop forcing benefits down my throat and give me hard cash, dammit

Worstall @ the Weekend This rise of the gig economy might mean that we should redefine the whole concept of being an employee, as compared with being a contractor. There is a political argument going on around this very subject already.

Theres plenty of people in the US arguing that Ubers drivers – and all those other people at TaskRabbit, Lyft and all the rest – should really be employees. I am putting the idea to you that OK, things have changed. So instead of that, lets work the other way: lets make everyone a contractor.


50 Cent’s comments on ‘Conan’ are coming back to haunt him in court

Posted by admin on 08/03/2015 in Filing Bankruptcy | Short Link
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Team Coco50 Cent on Conan on July 15.

On July 15, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson went on TBS’ “Conan” to promote his new film, “Southpaw.” During the appearance, the rapper/actor also addressed his filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection just two days prior.

He explained to host Conan O’Brien: “Yeah, I need protection. You get a bull’s-eye painted on your back when you’re successful, and it’s public. You become the ideal person for lawsuits.”

Jackson filed for bankruptcy days after he was ordered to pay $5 million to rival rapper Rick Ross ex-girlfriend, Lastonia Leviston, who sued him for posting a sex tape online to millions of viewers in an alleged attempt to embarrass Ross.

While testifying on July 21 in a Manhattan Supreme Court, Leviston’s attorney took the comments Jackson made on Conan and ran with them.

Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News/POOL50 Cent testifying in court on July 21.

Using Jackson’s comments on “Conan” as ammunition, Leviston’s attorney tried to make the point that the only reason Jackson filed for bankruptcy was to shield himself from the lawsuit. (A clip of 50 Cent’s comments originally available on the show’s website has since been taken down.)

Check out the back-and-forth questioning, according to a court transcript of the proceedings obtained by Business Insider:

Lawyer: Lets talk about things youve said since this bankruptcy. You went on Conan OBrien, did you not?

Jackson: Yes.

Lawyer: You said that you made a joke out of the fact that you need protection regarding bankruptcy?

Jackson: Yeah. You got to smile when you are in public situations. If youre crying, they will just have more fun with you.

Lawyer: Did you also say that you considered yourself a target?

Jackson: I do.

Lawyer: Were you talking about this case?

Jackson: Well, just in general because overall if you know attorneys make a living off this.

Jackson then addressed Leviston in court and said, “I’m sorry if you feel I hurt you in any way,” in regards to posting the sex tape, which he said was given to him by Levistons fiancÃ.

Leviston’s attorney then went back on the offensive.

From the court transcript:

Lawyer: Mr. Jackson, you went on the Conan OBrien show after the verdict came in and after you filed for bankruptcy — 

Jackson: Right.

Lawyer: — protection and you said Im the target not her. Im the target, right?

Jackson: Right. When you look —

Lawyer: Did you say that?

Jackson: Yes.

Lawyer: Did you say that filing bankruptcy is about asset protection?

Jackson: Yes, I believe I said that.

Lawyer: Did you also say — it may not have just been on that show — that reorganization or this filing does stop things moving forward that you dont want moving forward?

Jackson: Yes.

Lawyer: Were those your words?

Jackson: Yes.

Lawyer: Thats what you filed this bankruptcy petition for reorganization, wasnt it, to stop something from moving forward that you didnt want moving forward?

Jackson: Yes.

Lawyer: And you also said, did you not, that Im not going to give people what I work for. They are going to have to work for it too. People that you owe money to?

Jackson: No, I was saying Im not going to give money to people. They have to work hard like I worked hard to get what I have.

Lawyer: Did you say, Im not going to give people what I work for, they are going to have to work for it too, in the context of talking about this bankruptcy?

Jackson: No, just in general they are going to have to work for it like I worked hard for it.

Lawyer: When did you say that, was this last week?

Jackson: Yes. That was on the talk show. Youre talking to a comedian. Youre taking a lot of things out of context. Its like taking a joke wrong to the media.

Three days later, Jackson was ordered to pay Leviston $2 million in punitive damages on top of the $5 million he was originally ordered to pay.

BI reached out to 50 Cents rep for comment, but did not receive a reply. We will update this story accordingly.


Clinton Cash

Posted by admin on 08/03/2015 in Cash | Short Link
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Bill and Hillary Clinton will surely go down in history as the greatest actors of their generation.

Living in the rarified air of political and media elites for decades, the Clintons are in point of fact much more related in terms of temperament and philosophy with some of the moonshiners in Bills home state of Arkansas, home of the famous Football Hogs.

In other words, they are cagey, single-minded and vicious when cornered.

Among the myriad unseemly plot points in the Clinton Chronicles is the trail of cash that has always meandered in and out of whatever scheme the old Polecat and First Polecat were involved in.

Now, on the heels of Hillarys breathless sprint to political immortality, Peter Schweizer has written a gripping account of that follow the money plot point, the aptly titled Clinton Cash.

In the book, Schweizer outlines what reads like a Quentin Tarantino movie, and the subtitle says it all: The untold story of how and why foreign governments and businesses helped make Bill and Hillary rich.

Whew. You said a mouthful, Mr. Schweizer. The author backs up his tease with a truly astonishing tale of favors, kickbacks and borderline treason all for the purpose of giving Bill and Hill a front-row seat at the golden trough.

Discussing the Clintons penchant for wrapping themselves in the cloak of service to the people, Schweizer notes instead: The reality is that most of what happens in American politics is transactional. People look for ways to influence those in power by throwing money in their direction. Politicians are all too happy to vacuum up contributions from supporters and people who want access or something in return. After politicians leave office, they often trade on their relationships and previous positions to enrich themselves and their families.


State’s debut of new super-data system hurt by bad information

Posted by admin on 08/03/2015 in Secured Funding | Short Link
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Parents, educators and researchers will have to wait a bit longer before state officials release a series of reports about students and the workforce as part of the debut of a first-of-its-kind database in Nevada.

The new super-data system, which connects information from public schools, higher education and employers, has been years in the making, with a public launch set for Friday. But the three state agencies building the database agreed to a more limited rollout of the Nevada P-20 Workforce Report, or NPWR, after discovering the system produced inaccurate information about average salaries for workers.

As of late Friday, none of the planned six reports appeared on the NPWR website, npwr.nv.gov.

We want to be sure that everything is not only running as it is supposed to, but that all of the reports are displaying the correct data, said Linda Heiss, senior director of institutional research at the Nevada System of Higher Education.

This is taking longer than anticipated (but) bottom line, we want it to be right, she added. We cant take it back once individuals begin using the data.

Her organization, along with the Nevada Department of Education and Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, have spent months working with a contractor to validate the data and formulas that will populate the public portion of the NPWR site.

Another portion will allow researchers and policymakers to monitor the effectiveness of Nevadas education initiatives with the use of data collected from the moment a student starts preschool to school graduation, acceptance to a university and eventually the first day of work.

While officials expect to release the public reports over the next several weeks, the NPWR site on Friday already hosted information and videos that describe the system, how it works and how student privacy is protected.

The full site is available, but the established reports are not, said Glenn Meyer, director of information technology at the Nevada Department of Education. It was not an issue of functionality, but quality control of the information contained in the reports.

NPWR is a new process involving three agencies and we want to ensure the information is as accurate as possible, he said.

The state secured funding for NPWR three years ago through a $4 million grant from the US Department of Education. Officials recently applied for an additional grant to expand the database and use it to develop even more studies.

For now, the first batch of reports that NPWR will produce include average wage broken down by industry and county; most common degree by industry; remedial course enrollment rates by high school; student completion rates at Nevada colleges and universities; average starting salary and employment within each field of study; and the share of students enrolling in higher education within and outside Nevada.

There isnt any fault to place on anyone, Heiss said of the delayed publication of those reports. Everyone is working really hard, but we just want to make sure it is accurate above all else.

Contact Neal Morton at nmorton@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279. Follow @nealtmorton on Twitter.


Women from Chechnya allegedly cheated Islamic State recruiters to get some …

Posted by admin on 08/03/2015 in Cash | Short Link
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MOSCOW Police in Russias province of Chechnya have opened a probe against three local women who have allegedly cheated the Islamic State group out of money.

Regional police spokesman Magomed Deniyev said that the women had allegedly created accounts on social networks to contact IS, according to a report by government daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta on Friday.

Deniyev said the women would claim they lacked money to make a trip to Syria and ask for funds, and then erase their accounts after receiving cash. Deniyev claimed the three women earned 200,000 rubles (about $3,300).

He said they would unlikely face any punishment for fraud since it would require IS to file a complaint.

Russian officials said more than 1,000 Russian nationals have joined IS.


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