Wade on Birmingham

Archive for August, 2009

football season: dear coach

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Please take us to the
national championship
(or else, you’re fired).

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Birmingham’s Biggest Crooks: The HealthSouth 16

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

In August, we’re celebrating Birmingham’s Biggest Crooks, whether they be liars, thieves, extortionists, swindlers or thugs. A 30-part series running daily until Birmingham mayor Larry Langford’s Aug. 31 Oct. 19 federal trial. Thanks to Bhamwiki for helping with this project.

The HealthSouth 16

HealthSouthThe Securities and Exchange Commission accused Birmingham-based HealthSouth Corp. and its founder Richard Scrushy of a $2.7 billion accounting fraud in 2003. Two years later, Scrushy was acquitted on all 36 charges. But 16 HealthSouth officials were found guilty of fraud, conspiracy and other crimes.

Only eight were sent to prison for a total of 20 years and 2 months.

Angela Ayers, vice president of finance and accounting, pled guilty April 4, 2003, to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, securities fraud and filing false records; sentenced to 4 years’ probation including 6 months’ home detention and $2,000 fine.

Aaron Beam, co-founder and chief financial officer, pled guilty May 6, 2003, to bank fraud; sentenced to 3 months in prison, 1 year probation, plus forfeiture of $275,000 and $10,000 fine. Founded the annual Beam’s Crawfish Boil in 1994 (now Schaeffer’s Eye Center Crawfish Boil).

Richard Botts, senior vice president in tax department, pled guilty Aug. 28, 2003, to falsifying company tax returns; sentenced to 5 years’ probation and 6 months’ home detention, plus forfeiture of $265,000 and $10,000 fine.

Jason Brown, vice president of finance, pled guilty in December 2003 to falsifying financial reports, sentenced to 1 year and 1 day in prison.

Hannibal “Sonny” Crumpler, CFO of HealthSouth spinoff Source Medical Solutions, convicted Nov. 18, 2005, of conspiracy and lying to auditors; sentenced to 8 years in Talladega Federal Correction Institution.

Cathy Edwards, vice president of asset management, pled guilty April 4, 2003, to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, securities fraud and filing false records; sentenced to 4 years’ probation including 6 months’ home detention and $2,000 fine.

Catherine Fowler, vice president in the treasury department, pled guilty Nov. 24, 2003, to hiding the sale of another public company’s stock; sentenced to 2 years’ probation and $5,000 fine.

Emery Harris, assistant controller, pled guilty on March 31, 2003, to fraud; sentenced to 5 months in prison and 3 years’ probation, including 5 months’ home detention, plus $3,000 fine and $106,500 in restitution.

Will Hicks, vice president of investments, pled guilty Aug. 29, 2003, to conspiring to make false statements to auditors and maintain false books and records; sentenced to 3 months’ home detention and 2 years’ probation, plus forfeiture of $50,000 and a $2,500 fine.

Kenneth Livesay, chief information officer, pled guilty April 4, 2003, to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, securities fraud and filing false records; sentenced to 5 years’ probation including 6 months’ home detention, plus forfeiture of $750,000 and $10,000 fine.

Michael Martin, CFO, pled guilty May 1, 2003, to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud and to filing false records; sentenced to 3 years in prison, plus forfeiture of $2.4 million and $50,000 fine.

Malcolm “Tadd” McVay, CFO, pled guilty May 1, 2003, to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud and to filing false records; sentenced to 5 years’ probation including 6 months’ home detention, later sentenced to 3 months in prison.

Rebecca Kay Morgan, group vice president of accounting, pled guilty April 4, 2003, to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, securities fraud and filing false records; sentenced to 4 years’ probation including 6 months’ home detention, plus $2,000 fine and $235,000 in restitution.

William Owens, CFO, pled guilty March 27, 2003, to fraud; sentenced to 5 years in prison.

Weston Smith, CFO, pled guilty March 19, 2003, to conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud and to having knowingly certified false statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission; sentenced to 2 years 3 months in prison, 1 year probation, plus forfeiture of $1.5 million.

Virginia Valentine, assistant vice president of finance and accounting, pled guilty April 4, 2003, to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, securities fraud and filing false records; sentenced to 4 years’ probation including 6 months’ home detention and $2,000 fine.

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football season: can you hear the roar?

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Can you hear the roar
coming from across the quad?
It’s time for kickoff.

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Birmingham’s Biggest Crooks: Lakendall Sims

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

In August, we’re celebrating Birmingham’s Biggest Crooks, whether they be liars, thieves, extortionists, swindlers or thugs. A 30-part series running daily until Birmingham mayor Larry Langford’s Aug. 31 Oct. 19 federal trial. Thanks to Bhamwiki for helping with this project.

Lakendall Sims

Lakendall SimsPosition held: murderer, rapist, convict

Wanted for: all of the above, plus assault, escape, robbery, kidnapping, burglary and theft.

Date of conviction: January 2008 for rape; Jan 30 for murder

Sentence: Was serving 20 years for rape, now serving two life terms in prison for murder.

Criminally fun fact: Sims had been out on bail after being charged with rape in 2006, awaiting an August 2007 court date. In June 2007, he and three other teenagers — known as the Lipscomb Four — were charged with one murder, then a second murder.

On Sept. 16, a bailiff was taking Sims from the Jefferson County Jail to a courtroom in the Bessemer Courthouse when Sims asked to go to the restroom. He overpowered the bailiff, handcuffed him and stole his gun and his pants.

Sims walked out the front door of the courthouse, hijacked a van, hid out in a house and in the woods, but was recaptured the next day. He says he evaded capture by police in the woods by lying perfectly still.

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the days are getting shorter

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Impatient autumn,
wait your turn. The unruly
summer needs more time.

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Birmingham’s Biggest Crooks: 16th Street Baptist Church bombers

Friday, August 28th, 2009

In August, we’re celebrating Birmingham’s Biggest Crooks, whether they be liars, thieves, extortionists, swindlers or thugs. A 30-part series running daily until Birmingham mayor Larry Langford’s Aug. 31 Oct. 19 federal trial. Thanks to Bhamwiki for helping with this project.

16th Street Baptist Church bombers

Thomas Blanton Jr., Herman Frank Cash, Robert Chambliss and Bobby Frank Cherry

Robert ChamblissChambliss, also known as “Dynamite Bob,” led a secret cell of the Ku Klux Klan and was the ringleader among the church bombers. He was convicted in 1977 for the murder of four girls caused by the 1963 bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church. Chambliss was sentenced to several terms of life in prison, and died there in 1985, still claiming innocence. Much of the testimony against him came from female relatives disgusted by his physical abuse of wife, Tee. Chambliss supposedly had help building the bomb from fellow Klansman Troy Ingram.

Bobby Frank CherryCherry worked as a welder, carpet cleaner and truck driver. A member of the Klan, he supposedly married five times and had 15 children. He learned how to work with explosives while active with the Marines. Cherry’s ex-wife Willadean Brogdon testified, “He said he lit the fuse.” He was convicted in 2002 of murder and sentenced to life in prison. He died there in 2004, but maintained all along on his Web site that he was innocent, a “political prisoner in the state of Alabama.”

Thomas Blanton Jr.Blanton has worked as a security guard at the Liberty Park subdivision in Vestavia Hills and a sporting goods sales associate at the Walmart in Hoover, as well as an aircraft mechanic in the Navy in the 1950s. A state investigator said that Blanton would wait in grocery store parking lots and put acid on car seats belonging to black shoppers so it would burn their skin on contact. The Klansman was convicted in 2001 of murder and sentenced to life in St. Clair Correctional Facility.

Cash was a truck driver and Klan member. In 1965, the FBI considered him a top suspect in the church bombing, but he passed a polygraph test. Cash was arrested on weapons charges a few months before the bombing. He was never indicted for the bombing and died in 1994 in Pinson.

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traffic snarl

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Clogged lanes move inch by
inch in never-ending race
between points A, B.

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Sidewalk 2009: ‘Best Worst Movie’ to open festival

Friday, August 28th, 2009

sidewalk.wadeonbirmingham.com

A first: documentary on opening night

Wade on Birmingham - Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival“Best Worst Movie,” a documentary about the so-called worst movie of all time, will open the 2009 Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival. The selection marks the first time a documentary feature, rather than a narrative feature, has opened the 11-year-old event.

The festival announced the selection this morning on its site, along with e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and Fox 6.

The movie catches up with the stars of the much-maligned “Troll 2,” a horror movie made in 1989 in Utah that neither featured trolls nor was a sequel. The Italian director, as well as the crew, spoke no English, but worked with an American cast, including Alexander City’s George Hardy. (Organizers plan to show “Troll 2,” though the time and the location have not been announced.)

“Best Worst Movie” has won awards from various festivals, including South by Southwest.

In an interview with the Birmingham News earlier this year, Hardy discussed the unique aspects of “Troll 2,” saying with a laugh, “One of my lines is, ‘Go away, monster.'”

It screens at 8 p.m. Friday at the Alabama Theatre. Tickets are $12, $10 for members in advance. Scheduled to appear are director and producer Michael Paul Stephenson, producers Lindsay Stephenson, Brad Klopman and Jim Klopman, and stars Hardy and Jason Steadman.

Official site | Sidewalk page | IMDB

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Have you seen “Troll 2”? Will you be at Sidewalk on opening night?

Action! Complete Sidewalk Festival coverage.

Sidewalk 2009: Local flavor

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

sidewalk.wadeonbirmingham.com

Wade on Birmingham - Sidewalk Moving Picture FestivalDetails about the lineup for the 2009 Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival have been trickling out this week.

Among the 60-plus blocks, we take a closer look at the movies with an Alabama connection, complete with preview videos.

(Only the opening night film remains to be announced. The opening night film has been announced.)

The lineup so far:

The 11th annual Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival takes place Sept 25-27 in downtown Birmingham. Tickets: two-day pass, $15, $12 for members; opening night film $12, $10 for members.

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‘Alabama Moon’

Alabama Moon - John Goodman

John Goodman stars as “Mr. Wellington” in “Alabama Moon,”
premiering at the 2009 Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival.

World premiere. One of two closing night films, “Alabama Moon” is based on the award-winning children’s book of the same name by Point Clear native Watt Key. Set in the early 1980s, the movie focuses on 11-year-old Moon Blake who hides out in the Alabama forests with his radical father. Suddenly orphaned, Moon must learn to adapt to the world around him on his own. Filmed in Louisiana.

  • Stars Jimmy Bennett, John Goodman and Clint Howard.
  • Directed by Tim McCanlies.
  • IMDB
  • 6:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Alabama Theatre
  • Scheduled to attend: Howard, Gabriel Basso, Uriah Shelton, producer/Tuscaloosa native Lee Faulkner and composer Ludek Drizhal.

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‘Courting Condi’

A pseudo-documentary about one man’s object of desire, former Secretary of State (and Birmingham native) Condoleeza Rice.

  • Directed by Sebastian Doggart.
  • Official site | IMDB
  • 12:30 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Birmingham Museum of Art

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‘Interplanetary’

North American premiere. Five years after making a splash at Sidewalk with the horror-comedy “Hide and Creep,” Birmingham-based Crewless Productions returns with a sci-fi-comedy set on Mars about a slasher loose on a corporate base. Filmed in Birmingham.

  • Stars Melissa Bush, Chuck Hartsell and Kyle Holman. (And yours truly.)
  • Directed by Chance Shirley.
  • Official site | IMDB
  • 4:15 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Carver Theatre

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Shorts blocks

  • Films from August’s Scramble, 6:15 p.m. Sept. 26 at Alabama Power
  • UAB Digital City, 11 a.m. Sept. 26 at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
  • Local shorts No. 1, 9 p.m. Sept. 26 at Alabama Power
  • Local shorts No. 3, 11 a.m. Sept. 27 at Alabama Power [we’re not sure what happened to No. 2]

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‘So Long Are You Young’

A documentary about “Youth,” written by Birmingham businessman, author and humanitarian Samuel Ullman in 1917. The poem lives on to influence political leaders Robert and Ted Kennedy, Panasonic founder Konosuke Matsushita, Nobel Peace Prize winner and president of Korea Kim Dae-jung and Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

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‘They Came to Play’

A documentary about the entrants in the Van Cliburn Foundation’s piano competition, including Birmingham ophthalmologist Drew Mays.

  • Directed by Alex Rotaru.
  • Official site | IMDB
  • 6:45 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Birmingham Museum of Art

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Which ones will you see? Let us know in the comments.

Action! Complete Sidewalk Festival coverage.

Birmingham’s Biggest Crooks: Jack Montgomery

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

In August, we’re celebrating Birmingham’s Biggest Crooks, whether they be liars, thieves, extortionists, swindlers or thugs. A 30-part series running daily until Birmingham mayor Larry Langford’s Aug. 31 Oct. 19 federal trial. Thanks to Bhamwiki for helping with this project.

Jack Montgomery

Jack MontgomeryPosition held: state judge, attorney

Wanted for: racketeering and extortion

Date of conviction: Jan. 4, 1994

Sentence: Montgomery faced up to 100 years in prison, but was found dead in the basement of his Vestavia Hills home 2 days before sentencing. His death was ruled suicide by self-inflicted gunshot wound, but the gun was never found. Montgomery had to be declared legally innocent by the court, since he had not been sentenced prior to his death.

Criminally fun fact: Montgomery, known as the “Slamming Judge,” scared defendants by flipping a coin to decide sentencing. He once set bail at a record $9 trillion.

Montgomery claimed to have been tortured as a prisoner of war during the Korean War, but never served.

Montgomery took bribes from a drug dealer to fix trials until caught by an undercover Hoover police detective. Prior to sentencing, he broke his hip while running naked down his driveway and also wounded himself with a chainsaw.

Birmingham Post-Herald reporter Steve Joynt wrote about Montgomery in the biography, “Jack’s Law,” which Memphis’ Flashlight Films is developing into a movie.

(Hat tip: The Progressive Electorate.)

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smiling and wagging

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Pet me, says the hound
on the patio. And we
oblige the canine.

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Birmingham’s Biggest Crooks: Jeff and Jessica McCord

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

In August, we’re celebrating Birmingham’s Biggest Crooks, whether they be liars, thieves, extortionists, swindlers or thugs. A 30-part series running daily until Birmingham mayor Larry Langford’s Aug. 31 Oct. 19 federal trial. Thanks to Bhamwiki for helping with this project.

Jeff and Jessica McCord

Jessica McCord, Jeff McCordPositions held: Jeff, Pelham police officer; Jessica, wife and mother

Wanted for: murder

Date of conviction: Jeff: April 15, 2003; Jessica: Feb. 15, 2003

Sentence: Jeff: two life terms in prison, eligible for parole in 24 years 6 months; Jessica: life in prison with no parole

Criminally fun fact: Jessica orchestrated the murders of her ex-husband and his wife over an ongoing custody battle. Jeff shot each one four times in the den of the McCords’ Hoover home. They put the bodies in her ex-husband’s rental car, then drove it to Georgia and set it on fire.

Jessica was about 2 months pregnant with her fifth child at the time of their arrest. A friend of the couple and Jessica’s mother were both convicted of perjury related to the case. The story became a 2007 episode of the reality crime series, “Snapped.”

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the liberal lion sleeps tonight

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Teddy Kennedy
gave life to public service
so we don’t have to.

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Birmingham’s Biggest Crooks: Jeff Germany

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

In August, we’re celebrating Birmingham’s Biggest Crooks, whether they be liars, thieves, extortionists, swindlers or thugs. A 30-part series running daily until Birmingham mayor Larry Langford’s Aug. 31 Oct. 19 federal trial. Thanks to Bhamwiki for helping with this project.

Jeff Germany

Jeff GermanyPositions held: Jefferson County commissioner

Wanted for: misapplying county funds and conspiracy

Date of conviction: June 14, 2006

Sentence: 3 years 7 months in prison, plus repaying the county $126,860

Criminally fun fact: Germany funneled $479,990 in public funds through the nonprofit Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity to benefit himself ($25,000), his wife (a Mercedes), his ex-girlfriends and business buddies. Germany’s lawyer contended during the trial that the money went to constituents in his district.

Germany said, “If you’re saying I can’t help my friends, then the only people I can help are my enemies, and I’m not going to do that.”

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Vote 2009: City council, board of education election results

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Who won today’s Birmingham city council and board of education races?

Wade on Birmingham - Vote 2009We’ll update this post as results come in.

City council, by district

  1. Lashunda Scales
  2. Runoff: Carol Duncan (I) and Kim Rafferty
  3. Valerie Abbott (I)
  4. Maxine Herring Parker (I)
  5. Runoff: Johnathan Austin (I) and Elias Hendricks
  6. Runoff: Carole Smitherman (I) and Sheila Tyson
  7. Runoff: Jay Roberson and Ernestine Williams
  8. Steven Hoyt (I)
  9. Runoff: Leroy Bandy and Roderick Royal (I)

Board of education, by district

  1. Tyrone Belcher
  2. Virginia Volker (I)
  3. Runoff: Elisa Burns-Macon and Brian Giattina
  4. Runoff: Carolyn Cobb (I) and Edward Maddox
  5. Emanuel B. Ford
  6. Runoff: Gwendolyn Bell and Willie Maye (I)
  7. Runoff: Odessa Ashley (I) and Alana Edwards
  8. April Williams (I)
  9. Phyllis Wyne (I)

(I) = incumbent

One council incumbent (Joel Montgomery) and one school board incumbent (Dannetta K. Thornton Owens) lost tonight. Nine runoff races will take place Oct. 6.

Also:

Update: The Progressive Electorate has analysis on the council races by district.

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More Vote 2009 coverage.