I know nothing about Alphonso Manns other than what I read about him in the Herald Times Saturday (paywall). Manns is the Dem candidate to supplant longtime Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Kenneth Todd in the November election.
Manns, it was learned, once was whacked along with two others with a $1.3 billion judgement in a fraud case involving gold bullion. It seems Mann and his then-wife and law partner repped a kinky character named Otis Phillips who’d conjured a scheme to get investors to put earnest money down on the gold, pending approval of their qualifications to participate in the deal. The investors, in turn, would not be approved and Phillips would keep the earnest dough.
The gold never existed.
Back in 1997, the H-T‘s Mike Leonard described the set-up thusly:
[T]he investment scheme Dollie Manns represented hinged on the smuggling of gold and platinum that former Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek purportedly stashed in China and Indonesia when Communist forces led by Mao Zedong took control of the country 48 years ago.
Leonard went on to quote an Indiana Securities Division and Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission ruling in its investigation of Dollie Manns (Alphonso’s former wife):
She (Dollie Manns) exploited the investor by opportunistically initiating a conversation with her about the ‘investment’ knowing, by reason of her association with the investor’s lawyer (Al Manns) that the investor had just closed a lucrative real estate transaction. Her actions indicate a predilection to take advantage of unsuspecting clients of the firm and thus impart a strong negative implication to her fitness as a lawyer….
By converting the investor’s $20,000 to uses other than those agreed to by the investor and by failing to return the funds pursuant to the parties’ understanding and after the investor demanded return, the respondent violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 8.4(b). her conversion of the investor’s funds violated Professional Conduct Rule 8.4(c) in that it represents conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation.
Alphonso Manns (IDS photo)
Phillips spent two years in the joint for the scam (not his first time as a guest of the state) and the Manns’s were named as co-respondents in the criminal case. The judgement against them was upheld by the a Texas appeals court, although the original penalty was reduced to $400 million.
The Manns’s, being neither billionaires nor hundred-millionaires, couldn’t come up with the scratch and so filed for bankruptcy. Even though the plaintiffs in the case could have pressed to collect the 400-extra-large, they didn’t, presumably because they were embarrassed nearly to death to have been taken in such a flimsy scheme.
For his part, Manns says he’s as pure as the driven snow.
Maybe. I only know I’m not voting for him. A judge, I’d hazard to opine, needs to possess better sense than to get involved in a business deal with, as the Texas appellate court described Phillips, “a shadowy figure…, (and) an ex-convict, (who) masterminded this scheme….”
In more savory news, Indiana University verse-ologist Ross Gay‘s poem, “To the Fig Tree on 9th and Christian” has been named one of the best of the year. It’s been included in the compilation The Best American Poetry 2014.
The Best… books are a neat series that gather together some of the finest writing of the year. The books come out annually and include titles such as The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Travel Writing, and The Best American Essays. [Shameless plug alert] A piece I wrote about women boxers in the Chicago Reader back in 1994 was named a notable work in The Best American Sports Writing 1995. Read the piece here.
Once you’re finished with that make sure you check out Gay’s poem. It appeared originally in the American Poetry Review.
Those Zany Zimmermans
GQ mag yesterday released a story online from its October, 2014, issue detailing the sheer lunacy of the Zimmerman family. You remember George Zimmerman don’t you? Got into a scrape with a kid he was stalking, found himself on the losing end, and so shot the kid in the heart, killing him.
The kid’s name, natch, was Trayvon Martin.
Honestly, you knew from the start — as did I — that George himself was as mentally stable as a 17-year-old on his 30th crystal meth booty bump. Bet you didn’t know, though, that he comes from a clan that makes the Bluths look like the Huxtables.
The apple, babies, fell directly under the tree.
Yay! It’s Okay That I Killed A Kid!
Anyway, read the piece and try to understand the sheer weirdness of the family that has inspired love, devotion, and loyalty from the likes of Sean Hannity and his Fox News audience.