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FBI Investigating Columbus Mayor Over Questionable Real Estate Deal

Mayor Michael Coleman

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has launched an investigation into the Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman in the midst of a bribery scandal, WBNS-10 reports. 

The investigation involves a 2010 real estate deal.

The questions by the FBI centered around the sale of the mayor’s home, where she lived with his wife and their three children until they filed for dissolution in 2009.

The home sold to a woman abroad for $520,000 in 2010.

Coleman issued the following statement:

The sale of our home to Mrs. Li was an arms-length and fair transaction with everything aboveboard. Our original asking price for the home was $750,000. This asking price was recommended to us by our independent real estate broker who was very familiar with comparable home sales in the neighborhood. Also, before we sold our home, we put $570,000 of improvements into it to repair and replace fire damage. But we sold the home to Mrs. Li for substantially less, for $520,000. We also know that several other homes in the neighborhood sold for more than ours on a per square foot basis, according to an independent professional appraisal report.
In view of these documented facts, there is no basis for anyone to suggest that we sold our home for more than it was worth or that there was anything inappropriate about the transaction.


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Kevin Oaks, Chief of Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector, Retires

Kevin Oaks

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The head of Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector announced Thursday that he is retiring.

The Monitor reports that Kevin W. Oaks spent his last day on the job Thursday following three decades with the federal agency.

Oaks’ former positions included operations division chief in Washington D.C., chief patrol agent of the Buffalo sector and the commander of the agency’s Tactical Unit.

As chief of the Rio Grande sector beginning in April 2014, Oaks oversaw more than 3,000 agents, nine stations and three traffic checkpoints.


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Albuquerque Journal: DEA’s Cash Seizure Needs Outside Investigation

By Editorial Board
Albuquerque Journal

A friendly “meet and greet” with a DEA agent in Albuquerque could result in what looks a lot like highway robbery – if the agent doesn’t like what you have to say or how you say it. If you refuse to consent to a search of your luggage, well, there’s consequences for that, too. Your luggage could be confiscated pending agents getting a search warrant from a judge.

And if you’re African-American – perhaps the only African-American male on an Amtrak car – with some cash on you, tag you’re it.

That’s roughly what happened to 22-year-old Joseph Rivers riding the train to Los Angeles in April, in his words, to pursue his dream of making a music video. DEA agents picked him out among passengers in a car to have a chat. Then they decided the $16,000 he was carrying – money he says he saved up to make the video – was somehow linked to drug trafficking.

Whatever probable cause or “hunch” they had, it wasn’t enough to arrest or to charge Rivers with a crime. But it was enough to confiscate his cash.

Rivers’ story, as told in a May 6 Journal UpFront column by Joline Gutierrez Krueger, went viral and got the attention of members of the U.S. House Judicial Committee, including Democratic New Mexico Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Committee members want to know a lot more about why the money was seized and whether the agents were racial profiling when they targeted Rivers.

This is far from the first time this has happened in Albuquerque and elsewhere, and it’s time such questions are being asked.


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Former Boston Cop Admits to Lying to FBI During Drug Investigation

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A veteran Boston police officer who lied to the FBI is resigning as part of a plea agreement that would prevent him from going to jail, the Boston Herald reports.

David Michael Fitzgerald, 49, admitted making false statements to the FBI on April 27 while agents investigated a street-level drug dealer. They discovered that Fitzgerald made cash loans to the drug dealer.

“Fitzgerald falsely stated to the FBI special agents were investigating that (1) the purposed of his earlier meeting that day with the Associate was simply social in nature and (2) he had never loaned money to the Associate,” court documents state. Fitzgerald has known the drug dealer and bookmaker since 2006, the filings state.

Fitzgerald’s attorney said his client is a good man who made a bad mistake.

“He was a very well respected police officer,” the attorney, Kenneth Anderson, said. “He’s a great guy who had a lapse of judgment and made a mistake.”

Other Stories of Interest



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New Leader Takes Over Busy Yuma Sector of Border Patrol

Anthony Porvaznik

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol’s busy Yuma Sector has a new leader.

On Tuesday, Anthony Porvaznik was named the Yuma Sector chief patrol agent and was sworn in during a ceremony in which his mission was made clear: “Protect America.”

“I do not expect infallibility nor perfection,” Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher said during the ceremony, the Yuma Sun reports. “Just that he accomplishes the mission: Protect America. Nothing less.”

The Yuma Sector is one of the busiest sectors of Border Patrol, covering 126 miles.

“This ceremony really brings it home to me,” Porvaznik said. “I was surprised at how much it was going to mean to me.”

Porvaznik replaced outgoing Chief Patrol Officer Steve Martin.


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FBI Joins Investigation of Possible Serial Killer in Small Ohio Town

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In just over a year, six women have vanished from a small Ohio town. Four of them have been found dead, ABC News reports. 

Now the FBI is coming to help the town of Chillcothe investigate the string of disappearances and murders.

Most of the victims were mothers in their 20s and 30s and had a history of drug use.

Local police have stopped short of saying a serial killer was to blame.

“We’ve got too many women missing in our community and it’s time to get some answers,” Sheriff George Lavender said at a press briefing on Monday.


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Chinese Hackers Steal Personnel Data from Alarming Number of FBI Agents

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Chinese cyber-thieves penetrated an alarming number of FBI agents’ personnel files during several bold breaches that Newsweek reports have “potentially dangerous national security implications.”

The FBI is now tasked with investigating the massive breach of federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) computers and will be assisted by Homeland Security.

It’s not year clear how extensive the hacking was. An FBI spokesman estimated about 4 million federal employee files were breached.

James Trainor, acting assistant director for the FBI’s cyber division, said the number could be as high as 16 million.

An FBI agent told Newsweek that he was told by OPM in May that his personnel file was breached by Chinese hackers.

“This is the second notification that I’ve been breached,” the veteran agent said on the condition of anonymity. “They got me through Anthem Blue Cross, now they have me through OPM. I think of the 17 million they have on file, they’re only notifying 4 million. But I was notified last month.”

 


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Gawker Wins Lawsuit Against FBI for Records on Hulk Hogan’s Sex Tape

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The online news site Gawker won a lawsuit against the FBI to obtain evidence connected to an FBI investigation of Hulk Hogan’s sex tape.

The evidence has been important to Gawker since it was sued by Hogan for posting footage of a sex tape featuring the wrestler.

The FBI was investigating a Los Angeles attorney’s attempted sale of the Hogan video but has since closed the probe.

A federal judge in Florida said the bureau is required to turn over the records.

The FBI maintained the evidence was exempt from disclosure laws because it would invite the privacy rights of Hogan and his partner.


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