25
May , 2017
Thursday

Johnson Publishing Company Chairman Linda Johnson Rice Receives The Links Medal Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) -- Last ...
First Defense Legal Aid is launching its "Be Ready" to Protect Them Campaign: What's at ...
  WASHINGTON, D.C. – An historic, bipartisan bill to curtail the sentencing disparity between crack and ...
 Five performances added to David Cromer's Revival of Tennessee Williams' drama, starring Diane Lane and ...
  #StopITOA Coalition disrupts business as usual in downtown Chicago on first day of Illinois Tactical ...
  By William Spriggs     The White House has announced changes in projections for fiscal health. In June, ...
Sign the Petition. Tell Dick Cheney: "Blaming President Obama for the current religious strife and ...
Soap Box Rants By Pamela Bratcher-McMillan President, Chair & CEO, of PETAL et al. Do you ever ...
Dedicates wireless Link card machine, tours rooftop garden   CHICAGO, IL – Pledging to connect low-income residents with ...
  (From the Better Business Bureau)      CHICAGO, IL - With the Summer Olympics in London off to ...

Archive for January, 2017

NAACP: “President Trump’s Recent Executive Orders Indicate a Callous Disregard for Civil Liberties and the Basic Values of a Nation Born of Immigrants”

Posted by Admin On January - 31 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

NAACP statement on Executive Orders targeting Muslims, illegal immigrants

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. –NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks issued the following statement in response to multiple executive orders issued in the first week of the Trump Administration, including orders banning refugees, targeting visitors from Muslim countries and detaining people with legal permits to visit, live and work in the United States:

 

“President Trump’s recent executive orders indicate a callous disregard for civil liberties and the basic values of a nation born of immigrants. The President’s decision to enact a ban on refugees from seven Muslim nations and to sever funding for sanctuary communities places our nation on slippery slope fueled more by paranoia than fact. Not only are immigrant sanctuary communities contributing solidly to local economies, but they have significantly less crime than other communities. In the initial actions of this new administration, we see are seeing a clear pattern that threatens our communities and our democracy. There is a direct link between fostering an unnecessary enmity between police and immigrant communities and nationalizing “stop and frisk” policies, while building walls of exclusion and seeking to name Senator Jeff Sessions, an enemy of both police accountability and the vote, as attorney general. When we connect these dots, we realize the collective threat posed to our democracy and the need to unite.”

 

 The remarks were part of a joint statement on the first week of the Trump presidency’s impact on communities of color issued by the NAACP and 11 other civil and human rights groups in conjunction with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s “America Healing Racial Equity Anchor Collaborative,” a unique partnership of 12 leading national organizations dedicated to racial equity and racial healing.

 

Acting Attorney General Boente Issues Guidance to Department on Executive Order

Posted by Admin On January - 31 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Dana J. Boente, appointed yesterday to serve as acting Attorney General, issued the following guidance to the men and women of the department:

 

On January 30, 2017, Acting Attorney General Sally Q. Yates issued a memorandum barring Department of Justice Attorney’s from presenting arguments in defense of the President’s January 27, 2017, Executive Order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” At approximately 9:00 p.m., I was asked by the President to serve in the capacity of Acting Attorney General. After having dedicated the last thirty-three years of my life to this Department, I am humbled and incredibly honored to serve as Acting Attorney General. Based upon the Office of Legal Counsel’s analysis, which found the Executive Order both lawful on its face and properly drafted, I hereby rescind former Acting Attorney General Sally Q. Yates January 30, 2017, guidance and direct the men and women of the Department of Justice to do our sworn duty and to defend the lawful orders of our President.

 

Prior to this appointment, Boente had been serving as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia since his confirmation by the U.S. Senate on Dec. 15, 2015. Boente was appointed by the Attorney General in December 2012 to serve as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, a position he held until September 2013. Boente began his career with the Justice Department in 1984 with the Tax Division, and in January 2001 he became an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Fraud Unit of the Eastern District of Virginia.

 

From 2005 to 2007, Boente served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Tax Division. Following his service with the Tax Division, he returned to the Eastern District of Virginia when he was selected as the First Assistant U.S. Attorney. He served as acting U.S. Attorney for that office from October 2008 through September 2009 and from Sept. 23, 2013 until his Senate confirmation.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

Treasurer Frerichs Launches New Investment Program for Children and Adults with a Disability or Blindness

Posted by Admin On January - 31 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

 

Illinois Built 14-State Alliance to Offer ABLE Investment Accounts

 

CHICAGO, IL Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs announced a groundbreaking partnership that brings together 14 states to encourage individuals to invest money on behalf of people with a disability or blindness without jeopardizing their federal disability benefits.

Illinois leads the National Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Alliance, the country’s largest multi-state agreement for these special investment tools that allow for tax-free investment growth when proceeds are spent on qualifying disability-related expenses. Today’s announcement culminates nearly two years of negotiations and additional states also can join the Illinois-led group.

“Every parent wants the best for their child,” Frerichs said. “With this program, we can ensure that families who have a loved one with a disability or blindness get the tools that they need to plan for their future.”

Ascensus College Savings of Newton, Mass., administers the program following an open and competitively bid process. The initial five-year contract can be extended up to an additional five years. The states jointly negotiated a master contract with Ascensus and then each state negotiated additional details to reflect their unique needs. The National ABLE Alliance includes Alaska, Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

The fee structure is the lowest in the nation. Costs will vary by participant depending upon the investment strategy. The typical fee will be 34 basis points, which is 34 cents for every $100 invested. Ascensus will work with BNY Mellon and Fifth Third Bank.

Illinois’ ABLE investment program is open to residents of other states. In Illinois, 36,000 accounts are expected to be opened by in-state residents in the first five years. Across the consortium, 500,000 accounts are expected.

To sign up, or for more information about the direct-sold plans in Illinois, visit www.IllinoisABLE.com. The minimum amount to open an account is $25. Paper enrollment is expected to be available in Illinois in February. Forms will be printable online, can be requested by calling Illinois’ ABLE phone line at (888) 609-8683, and will be available at all treasurer’s office locations.

 

The 14 states have a combined population of 81.4 million people. Each state will have a unique start date.

 

Who Would Qualify and Other Rules

 

To qualify for an ABLE account, the account owner must have developed the disability or blindness before the age of 26. With the age established, a person who qualifies for Social Security Administration benefits, or has received a waiver from the IRS, will qualify for an ABLE account.

Annual contribution limits are tied to the federal gift tax amount, which today is $14,000. The ABLE investment can grow up to $100,000 and still not be counted toward eligibility for Social Security Income or other means-tested programs at the federal level. When an ABLE account balance exceeds the $100,000 cap, Social Security Income benefits are suspended. The benefits automatically resume if the account value falls below $100,000. ABLE balances have no implications on Medicaid eligibility.

 

Investment growth is tax-free at the federal level when used for qualifying purchases, such as medical services, transportation and job training.

 

 

About Ascensus College Savings

Ascensus College Savings provides a range of service models, from recordkeeping and administration to full-service program management. Working with 529 plans is Ascensus College Savings’ core business and the focal point for its technological innovations. Ascensus College Savings has offices in Newton, Mass., Warwick, R.I. and Kansas City, Mo.

 

 

Summer Food Service Program Seeks New Sponsors to Provide Healthy Meals to Hungry Children

Posted by Admin On January - 31 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL — The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) issued a statewide call for school districts, local government entities, and non-profit organizations to help ensure every child has access to nutritious meals during the summer months. ISBE administers the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), also known as Summer Meals, to provide free meals and snacks to children when schools are not in session.

School districts, local governments, and nonprofits can sponsor SFSP sites, housing the summer food programs at schools, parks, recreation centers, housing projects, migrant centers, churches, summer camps, and other locations. SFSP sponsors manage and develop their own sites and receive federal reimbursement via ISBE to cover the administrative and operating costs of preparing and serving meals. ISBE offers online trainings on topics such as financial management, system navigation, and menu planning.

Entities interested in becoming a SFSP sponsor should contact ISBE’s Nutrition and Wellness Programs Division at (800) 545-7892 or cnp@isbe.net and register for a mandatory new sponsor workshop at http://webprod1.isbe.net/cnscalendar/asp/eventlist.asp. ISBE will host new sponsor training workshops 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.:

  • March 8 in Marion
  • March 29 in Alsip
  • April 12 in Peoria
  • April 19 in Schaumburg
  • April 26 in Fairview Heights
  • May 17 in Springfield

“Childhood hunger affects almost every community in this state,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “ISBE is very proud to administer the Summer Food Service Program in Illinois. We count on SFSP sponsors and meal sites across the state to play a vital role in helping children get the nutritious meals they need to be ready to learn when they return to school in the fall.”

For every 100 children who receive meals through the National School Lunch Programs (NSLP), only 14 received meals over the summer. Although 172 SFSP sponsors and 135 Seamless Summer Option sponsors administered over 2,200 meal sites in 2016, Illinois’ children need many more sponsors to provide access to healthy food in every county in the state. Illinois currently has 36 counties with no SFSP meal sites.

“We know it can be a challenge to feed multiple kids when they are home for the summer,” said Brandon Meline, Director of Maternal and Child Health at the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, an SFSP sponsor in Illinois. “We have been thrilled to have the opportunity to help families in our community save valuable food dollars. With us as the sponsor doing the administrative work, we have inspired other community partners to provide meal sites, too.”

ISBE partner organizations No Kid Hungry and the Illinois Hunger Coalition staff a calling and texting hotline to refer families to their nearest meal sites. Interested families can call (800) 359-2163, text “FoodIL” to 877-877, or visit SummerMealsIllinois.org.

Video spotlights on Summer Meals sponsors:

Champaign-Urbana Public Health District – https://vimeo.com/199276559

Aurora Township – https://vimeo.com/189295532

Current SFSP sponsors should register for a current sponsor workshop at http://webprod1.isbe.net/cnscalendar/asp/eventlist.asp.

Super Bowl Security: Behind the Scenes Look at Game Day Preparations

Posted by Admin On January - 31 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

During the 10 days of festivities leading up to Super Bowl LI on February 5, the FBI will be working closely with the Houston Police Department and other local, state, and federal agencies to keep the city safe. At the Houston Emergency Center, a command post will monitor and coordinate law enforcement and public safety activities.

When tens of thousands of fans stream into NRG Stadium in Houston for the Super Bowl this Sunday, they will understandably be thinking more about the big game than the behind-the-scenes preparations that have gone into ensuring their safety—and that’s just the way law enforcement officials want it to be.

The Super Bowl will put Houston squarely in the international spotlight, and the FBI and its local, state, and federal law enforcement partners have been working hard to make sure the game and the events leading up to it in Houston are without incident.

“We’ve been working for several years with our partners to make sure appropriate security is in place,” said Perrye Turner, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Houston Division. “We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure it’s a safe event.”

“On the day of the big game, we will be here, but our presence may not necessarily be seen,” said Mark Webster, an FBI assistant special agent in charge in Houston who is coordinating the Bureau’s Super Bowl security efforts. “We will have multiple elements in place onsite as well as offsite.”

“On the day of the big game, we will be here, but our presence may not necessarily be seen.”

Mark Webster, assistant special agent in charge, FBI Houston

Working with the Houston Police Department—which has the lead role in security planning—and other local, state, and federal agencies, the FBI’s primary role is to provide intelligence about possible terror threats. But because the Super Bowl is a major national event, just about every aspect of the Bureau’s expertise will be called into play.

“We are using all the elements within our office,” Webster said. From SWAT teams and cyber squads to intelligence analysts and surveillance specialists, FBI personnel will be on the ground at the stadium and will also be staffing command posts set up for the 10-day operational period that includes a variety of festivities leading up to the game on February 5.

At the Houston Emergency Center recently, where the main command post is located, specialists gathered from more than a dozen partner agencies.

“Today is called a rehearsal of concept,” said George Buenik, an executive assistant chief with the Houston Police Department responsible for Super Bowl security and police operations. “We invite everybody here to check the equipment, check the hookups, to see where they’re going to be sitting, and to also meet some of the other folks that they’re going to be working with. We have a great security plan in place,” Buenik said.

Matt Slinkard, an assistant chief with the Houston Police Department also involved with Super Bowl security preparations, noted that this will be the third Super Bowl the city has hosted, along with many other national-level events. “Our city and our counterparts both locally and federally are well prepared and well equipped to deal with these types of events.”

He added that even with all the law enforcement coordination, “the community has to be our eyes and ears. We cannot do it by ourselves. If you see something—if something doesn’t seem right to you, it’s probably not right to us either—say something about it.”

The FBI’s Turner agreed. “We all have to work together to make this a safe event,” he said, expressing confidence that with the extensive planning and resources that have gone into Super Bowl security preparations, “people will be able to come to Houston, be safe, and have a great time cheering on their favorite football team.”

Attorney General Madigan and 15 Other Attorneys General Condemn the Unconstitutional Executive Order on Immigration, Vow to Uphold Constitution

Posted by Admin On January - 30 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan joined with 15 other attorneys general to condemn the unconstitutional Executive Order on immigration.

 

Madigan and the attorneys general issued the following statement:

 

“As the chief legal officers for over 130 million Americans and foreign residents of our states, we condemn President Trump’s unconstitutional, unAmerican and unlawful Executive Order and will work together to ensure the federal government obeys the Constitution, respects our history as a nation of immigrants, and does not unlawfully target anyone because of their national origin or faith.

 

Religious liberty has been, and always will be, a bedrock principle of our country and no president can change that truth.

 

Yesterday, multiple federal courts ordered a stay of the Administration’s dangerous Executive Order. We applaud those decisions and will use all of the tools of our offices to fight this unconstitutional order and preserve our nation’s national security and core values.

 

We are confident that the Executive Order will ultimately be struck down by the courts. In the meantime, we are committed to working to ensure that as few people as possible suffer from the chaotic situation that it has created.”

 

Joining Madigan in issuing the statement were attorneys general from: California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

 

 

“Lying Murdering Cops” Should be Locked up – Not Training Other Cops!

Posted by Admin On January - 30 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
From: October Chicago

Two police officers who murdered Black citizens and then lied under oath to justify the murders are currently in training to train other police officers. Raoul Mosqueda along with his partner Gildardo Sierra shot Darius Pinex to death Jan 7, 2011. Michael St. Clair II shot Wiliam Hope, Jr to death on July 8, 2010. In separate court suits brought by the Pinex and Hope families St. Clair and Mosqueda each gave sworn testimony contradicted by tapes from the nights of the murders. Yet Mosqueda & St. Clair are on track to train other police officers.

 

 

A press conference/Protest will be held today, January 30, 2 p.m., at the 7th District Police Station, 63rd & Loomis. Gloria Pinex and other families of people murdered by Police and concerned members of the community will be in attendance. They will demand that Mosqueda and St. Clair be indicted and locked up, not put in charge of training other cops!

 

 

Justice for Darius Pinex! Justice for William Hope, Jr! Justice for All!

 

 

Several years of powerful protests and rebellion have brought to light the role of the police in enforcing, with brutality and murder, the systemic oppression of of Black people and others oppressed by the system. The use of lying, murdering cops to train other cops shows no one in authority plans to change that.

The release of the damning Justice Department Report detailed the CPD’s history of outrages violating the Civil Rights of its Black and Latino citizens. The injustice of law enforcement in Chicago is known across the US and around the world and is an example of what police do across the country. The danger of increasing those abuses with federal forces has been threatened by the Fascist Donald Trump in a tweet about murder rates in Chicago’s neglected Black community and by his overall policies.

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of October Chicago and not those of CopyLinemagazine.com.
 

Heartland Alliance Calls on President Trump to Uphold American Promise and Protect the Persecuted

Posted by Admin On January - 30 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Heartland Alliance Statement:

We are alarmed and disheartened that President Trump has signed an executive order limiting refugee admissions and restricting travel to the US from a number of countries that are predominantly Muslim. This action is in sharp conflict with American values, our history, and our humanitarian obligations.

Refugees who are fleeing violence and persecution in their own country seek safety and freedom when they arrive in United States. To turn our backs on these individuals, children, and families when they are at their most vulnerable goes against our country’s founding principles.

We do not need to choose between being a country that lives up to its values and securing our own safety. The U.S. refugee program already involves rigorous security screenings by multiple enforcement agencies before refugees are resettled in our communities, a vetting process that often spans several years.

Doing our fair share to welcome a small fraction of the world’s most vulnerable refugees to the United States not only saves lives, it also strengthens American leadership in the world. The refugee resettlement program is a vital strategic tool that allows the United States to stand in solidarity with our allies worldwide who are hosting millions of refugees. It also provides us with critical leverage to call upon other governments and the United Nations to do more to protect the vast majority of the world’s displaced who will never be resettled in a third country.

Heartland Alliance believes everyone benefits when people have an equal opportunity to safety, healing, economic opportunity, and justice. We work to ensure these rights every day, from our international work with the most at-risk refugees in places like Lebanon, to our work here at home providing health care, education, job placement services, and legal support for people fleeing violence and persecution. Heartland Alliance stands with allies and leaders throughout the country who champion human rights, with people of all religions, and with refugees around the world. We call on our neighbors, friends, and leaders to make your voice heard and urge the Trump Administration to reverse course and uphold our nation’s commitment to human rights and justice.

For more infornation, contact Sam Tuttle – stuttle@heartlandalliance.org | 773-480-3711

Remembering Coretta Scott King Among Those Who Moved Us Forward

Posted by Admin On January - 30 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Remembering Coretta Scott King Among Those Who Moved Us Forward

 

By Barbara Reynolds


(TriceEdneywire.com) – Coretta Scott King died on January 30, 2006.  Yet her legacy is very much alive as a coalition builder, a strategist and a moral voice that confronted detractors but insisted upon non-violent approaches, such as dialogue, protests and economic boycotts with the end goal of peaceful reconciliation.

 

In their own analysis 60-era civil rights leaders used to refer to a Zeitgeist, the spirit of the times, which divine dimension that summons leaders exactly when needed most.  That certainly describes the timing of human rights activist Coretta Scott King who is experiencing a resurgence as people take a fresh look at those who successfully moved themselves and others forward through the heavy thicket of discrimination such as the leading ladies in the wonderful new film, Hidden Figures.

 

A second look at King’s legacy should focus on but go beyond her well known decades ordeal of successfully lobbying to make King’s birthday a national holiday and building the Dr. Martin Luther King Center for Social Change in Atlanta. Tourists from around the role visit this site, where her crypt and that of Dr. King are located near Ebenezer Baptist church where Dr. King preached and was funeralized.

 

Coretta King certainly should come to mind as millions gathered in Washington and in sister cities around the world last week to mount an overwhelming rebuke to President Donald Trump’s anti-human rights campaign and his denigration of women, minorities, immigrants and the physically challenged. Her name was scrawled on home-made signs scattered throughout.

 

It is appropriate that we remember her appeal to women and her global human rights efforts. That was the capstone of King’s 38 year mission as she shifted from civil rights to a more global inclusive human rights agenda after the assassination of her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in 1968.  A favorite slogan was: “Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul.”

 

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed her a nonvoting delegate to the 32nd General Assembly of the United Nations, where she advocated for more international focus on the human rights of women. That same year in Houston, she served as Commissioner on the International Women’s Year Conference where she created quite a stir over her support for gay rights, an unpopular issue at the time.

 

In her memoir she tells how she opposed the various women’s groups at the Conference who were advocating a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. “I feel that gay and lesbian people have families and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union. I believe unequivocally that discrimination because of sexual orientation is wrong and unacceptable in a democracy that protects the human rights of all its citizens.”

 

In the historic 1963 March on Washington-which catapulted Dr. King to fame–women, however, were not allowed to march with the leaders or give a major address. But without a doubt King, would have played a supportive role in the Women’s march as did her daughter, Bernice King.

 

King was a spokeswoman for social justice causes, both large and small, writing a syndicated news column on issues from gun violence, to environmental racism, to apartheid in South Africa. She was rarely missing in action.  “Sometimes you win, just by showing up,” she said, often referring to her role as a ministry of presence.

 

King believed that it is citizen action that is crucial to the making of a president.  She often said that   Ronald Reagan did not warm to the idea of a Dr. King holiday until the movement created a groundswell for it with three million signatures, marches and years of lobbying Congress.  He signed it on November 20, 1983.

 

In recent weeks several black leaders have been publicly scourged for meeting with President Trump through his transition stage. King, however, would have been knocking on his door, as she did with all the other presidents in her heyday.  And she would not have been there for photo-ops or “selfies.”  As a seasoned coalition building she would have prepared a well- crafted agenda, which called upon Trump to govern as president of all Americans.

 

 

In past years, King’s influence was mammoth in the shaping of the political landscape.  She successfully campaigned to elect scores of liberals to political office, worked with Carter in the selection of federal judges and threw her weight against those who stood in the way of voting rights.

 

Typical of her role is how she confronted and helped block Alabama U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions who in 1985 was vying for a federal judgeship. Sessions, who was called “brilliant,” by Trump is his choice for U.S. Attorney General. In a recently surfaced 10-page letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, King had called him “lacking in judgement and temperament who would irreparably harm the work the movement had done to seize a slice of democracy for disenfranchised blacks.”

 

King opposed Sessions for his 1985 attempt to prosecute three civil rights activists from Marion, Alabama for voter fraud – accusations that were later proved unmerited. Her opposition to Sessions ran deep because she grew up right outside of Marion which before the movement launched its successful voter rights drive were unable to counter terrorizing attacks om their lives and property.  Civil rights activists fear that Sessions will not hold law enforcement officials accountable for the episodic incidents of unarmed black men being murdered, as was done under the Obama administration.

 

In the battle to stop Sessions and others who seemed primed to push back advances in human rights, Coretta would not have panicked. In her memoir, she said, “Struggle is a never-ending process and freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation.”

 

And so it goes.

 

Rev. Dr. Barbara A. Reynolds is the author of seven books. Her latest is the Life, the Love and the Legacy of Coretta Scott King. Dr. Reynolds can be reached at Reynew@aol.com

 

 

Photo: Dr. Barbara Reynolds

 

Four School Bus Company Owners Convicted for Bid Rigging and Mail Fraud Conspiracies Involving Puerto Rico Public School Bus Services

Posted by Admin On January - 30 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Following a week-long trial, a federal jury in Puerto Rico convicted four individuals for participating in bid rigging and fraud conspiracies at an auction for public school bus transportation services in Puerto Rico’s Caguas municipality, the Department of Justice announced.

Gavino Rivera Herrera, Luciano Vega Martínez, Alfonso Gonzalez Nevarez and René Garay Rodríguez were found guilty today in the U.S. District Court of the District of Puerto Rico, in San Juan, for conspiring to rig bids and allocate the market for public school bus transportation contracts in the municipality of Caguas from approximately August 2013 until May 2015.  Each individual was also found guilty of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and four counts of mail fraud for defrauding the municipality of Caguas to fraudulently obtain contracts for school bus transportation services.  Sentencing is set for May 30, 2017.

“These defendants enriched themselves at the expense of Puerto Rico schools and have been held accountable by a jury of their peers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brent Snyder of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.  “The division will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure that school districts and other consumers benefit from competitive markets.”

“These convictions should serve as a reminder that Federal law enforcement agencies intend to vigorously prosecute those who manipulate government bidding processes to enrich themselves illegally,” said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez of the District of Puerto Rico.  “Federal law enforcement agencies will continue their ongoing efforts to investigate and prosecute these crimes, in order to promote and protect free and fair competition in the marketplace.”

“The defendants’ actions in depriving the citizens of Caguas of the right to choose what is best for the transportation of their schoolchildren, while also putting the defendants’ own financial interests above those of equally deserving Puerto Rican business owners, were particularly harmful during these difficult economic times.” said Special Agent in Charge Douglas A. Leff of the FBI’s San Juan Division.  “The FBI is grateful for its partnership with the Antitrust Division and the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General for their endless dedication to protecting the rights of all businesses, large and small, to compete in a fair marketplace.”

“Today’s action demonstrated that these business owners willfully and intentionally sought to enrich themselves at the expense of students and taxpayers.  That is unacceptable,” said Special Agent in Charge Yessyka Santana of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General’s Southeastern Regional Office.  “The Office of Inspector General will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to aggressively pursue anyone who games the system for their own selfish purpose and protect these vital funds from this type of calculated plunder.”

According to evidence presented at trial, the four school bus company owners and other co-conspirators carried out the conspiracy by agreeing during meetings and communications to allocate contracts for transportation routes awarded by the municipality of Caguas.  Trial evidence showed that the conspirators submitted fraudulent certifications and received award letters by certified mail in connection with their conspiracy to defraud the Municipality of Caguas.

The defendants were convicted of bid rigging and market allocation in violation of the Sherman Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for individuals.  The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.  They were also convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and four counts of mail fraud.  Each count of mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit mail fraud, carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Today’s conviction arose from a federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in Puerto Rico’s school bus transportation services industry.  This investigation is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal I Section, the District of Puerto Rico U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI’s Puerto Rico Field Office and the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General.  Anyone with information in connection with this investigation is urged to call the Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal I Section at 202-307-6694, visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.html or call the FBI’s Puerto Rico Field Office at 787-754-6000.

Source: FBI

Recent Comments

Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

Recent Posts