Look at Judy! On a beautiful day in South Georgia, Judy Grant and 1,200 other runners competed in the Vidalia Onion Run. Fighting off gnats and near-summer termperaturs, Judy won the first-place trophy for her age group in the 10K race with a time of 58:03. Way to go, Judy! Besides the trophy, she won a bag of tasty Vidalias–which makes this the run for the onions, after all.
The soap opera that is the Newton County neighborhood watch case continues. Now the Newton neighborhood watch dudes’ attorney, Mario Ninfo, is blaming/crediting attorney Don Samuel with turning the case around. He says that his clients are scapegoats—in essence, claiming that they were arrested and charged to cover the Newton County Sheriff’s Department’s assets after lawmen’s faux pas.
What happened to change things? “Don Samuel happened,” Ninfo said.
Here’s how it went down. Jean-Joseph and Angelica Kalonji, originally from Zaire, showed up one evening at the vacant house their son had purchased, intending to change locks. (White) neighbors Robert Canoles and his son Brandensaw them and, assuming they’re burglars, rushed over armed with assault rifles, held them at bay, and called the sheriff’s department. Deputies responded, arresting the couple after what appears to be minimal or no investigation. They also tell Canoles, “Ya done good.”
The Kalonjis were booked. They made a phone call and got in touch with attorney Don Samuel, whose skill as a defense attorney is on par with the legendary Denmark Groover of Macon. (In other words, the go-to guy for people in deep trouble with deep pockets.) They had done a kindness for Samuel once upon a time, and he returned the favor by representing them in this case.
Everything chnaged after that. (It’s fun to watch him at work with an innocent client.) Burglary charges against the Kalonjis were dropped, and the sheriff decided that the neighborhood watch dudes were the bad guys, after all. And the publicity … bravo. Bravo. We need to be reminded of the folly that lies at the intersection of vigilantism and racial profiling (as if 100 years of lynching weren’t enough).
The neighborhood watch dudes’ lawyer is left to sputter about what a game-changer Don Samuel is, and to grouse about the sheriff’s department 180-degree flip in the case after having apparently failed to do due diligence in the first place.
By the way, the store’s online presence is impressive: The website is clean and inviting, with an up to date blog. You can order books online, too. I checked both Brambleman and Chain Gang Elementary, and the prices are low–some of the lowest I’ve seen, well below list–enough to make them in line with list price even after shipping. So if you like to shop Indie, check out the Bookshelf and Gallery.
Original Post: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Maryam Arjomand turned herself in to Atlanta police ton Monday. The 48-year-old woman has been charged with stealing more than $57,000 from the E. Rivers Elementary School PTA and foundation over a three-year period. Arjomand allegedly collected donations and deposited the money in her personal account at Signature Bank, where she worked until very recently. (See previous post.)Read more.
PTA embezzlers who steal money from kids typically don’t go to jail. The courts are content to accept a promise of restitution and put them on probation.
Take money from willing adult victims, however, and it’s a different story. Then again, this was a major scam.
Two women in California’s “Ponzi mom” scam have pleaded guilty to securities fraud. Maricela Barajas, 42, and Juliana Menefee, 51, of Diamond Bar, will each serve three years in jail and have agreed to repay $300,000 to their victims. Their ringleader, Eva Perez, 51, pleaded guilty last week and was also sentenced to a three-year jail term. She was also ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution. Perez is already serving a 10-year sentence in a similar scheme. See original post.
The women, two of whom had been members of the Neil Armstrong Elementary School PTA, convinced other PTA members (at PTA meetings, no less) that they had an exclusive Alta Dena dairy franchise at Disneyland. Authorities say they separated millions of dollars from parents from Los Angeles and San Bernadino Counties who wanted on the Disney money train. There was no there, there, however, and the unsuspecting investors were the ones taken for a ride.