Category Archives: Judge Kenneth Todd

Hot Air

Manns’ Act

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.

Manns

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….”

Gay’s Best

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.

BAP 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.

Zimmerman

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.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Of course I’ve got lawyers. They are like nuclear weapons. I’ve got ’em because everyone else has. But as soon as you use them, they screw everything up.” — Danny DeVito

UNFORGIVEN?

How long should a man who commits a random dismemberment murder be locked away from society?

Robert Lee will be coming back to town this week, according to a story today in the Herald Times.

Lee in 1986 killed a young woman named Ellie Marks in her home, cut her up, and stuffed the body parts into Hefty bags, which he buried in soil mere yards away. Lee, who had a lengthy police record, kept a notebook in his home with instructions on how to kill, dismember, and dispose of a young woman.

The Shanty Where Ellen Marks Lived And Was Murdered

Judge Kenneth Todd sentenced Lee to 60 years (the max non-death penalty sentence for the crime at the time) after a two-week trial. The crime was described as “barbaric.” At Lee’s sentencing hearing Todd said, “Atrocities were committed.”

Go here for more information on the crime. It’s a video done up in a Hallowe’en motif, so it takes away from the gravity of the whole thing, but it’s informative nonetheless.

Lee behaved well in prison and earned some college degrees, both of which merited sentence reduction. After 25 years in stir, Lee will be sprung from Pendleton Thursday. He’ll live for a while at the Backstreet Mission until he finds a permanent home.

He’ll be walking the streets by this time next weekend.

Can we ever forget? Can he?

TO METER OR NOT TO METER

Bloomingtom, like every other municipality in this holy land — big, small, and in-between, needs dough. One way to rake in some of the quarters city budgeteers crave is to install parking meters, which our town is considering for the entire downtown area.

A Few Tens Of Millions Of These Ought To Do It

Here’s a precis of the situation, sent to the Electron Pencil by a city official familiar with the proposal.

“The current system is a 2-hour limit on free parking that is monitored (and ticketed) by City parking enforcement staff. The new proposal is to place meters everywhere to replace the two-hour free parking spots, allegedly to solve the problems of the “two-hour shuffle” when downtown employees have to move their cars every two hours or be ticketed.

“Patron/customer turnover is needed for vibrant downtown commerce, and so they (city staff) want to incentivize more use of the downtown parking garages, which they claim are underutilized.

Coming Soon To A Parking Spot Near You?

“They also want to de-incentivize car usage in the downtown encouraging more to walk, bike and take public transportation. Noble goals, but not always practical for folks with physical limitations and creaky bones…, families with children, and people who need to shop conveniently and/or transport goods. I’m fine with the current two-hour limit on parking as it also prevents long term parking — [e.g.] students in the downtown rentals who are looking for spots to warehouse their cars at the expense of the downtown turnover.

“I believe the downtown merchants have not been properly informed or surveyed about what their needs actually are in improving the foot traffic and patron support for their businesses. I also am mindful of all residents who come downtown to transact business at the Courthouse and Justice Building, not all are of independent means. Also, downtown employees in low-paying service jobs will be negatively impacted with fewer choices for free or reasonably priced parking options.

Courthouse Square Eateries May Be Affected

“These meters could also extend into the evening hours, having an impact on the arts district and dining establishments. Those in Public Works currently supporting the idea say it isn’t about generating revenue, but about ‘changing behaviors.'”

Big Mike’s Wisdom alert: City big shots and drones always claim the installation of parking meters has nothing to do with the generation of revenue. It’s like the country that throws huge amounts of resources into its nuclear “research” program. Oh, god forbid, it protests, we have no intention of building a nuclear weapon.

And the next thing you know, seismographs all over the planet are recording that country’s initial nuclear test.

Aw, We Just Had Some Enriched Uranium Lying Around….

TEMPUS, MY FRIENDS, FUGIT

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