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FBI Probes Las Vegas Homeowners Associations

In Las Vegas, there’s more than blackjack and poker going on — at least that’s what the FBI suspects. Agents are looking into suspicious links between homeowners associations and construction companies and lawyers.

By Adrienne Packer
Las Vegas Review-Journal
LAS VEGAS — In its sweeping investigation into homeowners associations, the federal government is digging up documents and correspondence related to association board members, attorneys and construction companies, according to a search warrant issued in the probe.
During searches of seven common-interest communities governed by homeowners associations, FBI agents sought ballot lists, ballots, envelopes and nomination forms.
Authorities are investigating whether individuals were planted on homeowners association boards to funnel business stemming from construction defect lawsuits to certain attorneys and construction companies.
Authorities are investigating whether individuals were planted on homeowners association boards to funnel business stemming from construction defect lawsuits to certain attorneys and construction companies.
For Full Story

Zalmai Azmi To Retire From FBI

By Ben Bain
Government Leader News
Zalmai Azmi, the FBI’s chief information officer who has directed the bureau’s massive information technology upgrade projects for almost five years, announced today that he will be retiring from the government Oct. 17.
Azmi, a native of Afghanistan who has spent 24 years working for the federal government, said he was retiring to spend more time with his wife and three young children. Azmi said he was considering several opportunities in private industry but had not made any decision on where he would be going.

Bomb-Resistant Luggage Containers Could Boost Safety

Air travel could get a little safer if airplanes start using bomb-resistant Kevlar luggage containers. But the TSA says it won’t buy them because Congress hasn’t provided funding and it won’t require airlines to have them, at least not yet.

Thomas Frank
USA Today
WASHINGTON — The government is considering the first bomb-resistant luggage container that could prevent a small suitcase bomb from crashing a jet.
A new 5-foot-by-5-foot Kevlar container holds dozens of suitcases and can protect large planes from small suitcase bombs that slip past airport luggage scanners, said Howard Fleisher, deputy director of the Homeland Security Department’s Transportation Security Lab.
Suitcase bombs have worried aviation officials since one blew up Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The bombs can get past security when they have explosive material that’s too small to trigger an alarm from a luggage scanner.
For Full Story

FBI Agents Arrest Arkansas Evangelist in Arizona

An evangelist didn’t have a prayer of eluding FBI agents Thursday. He was arrested in Arizona in connection with a sex scandal.

By The Associated Press
FLAGSTAFF, Az. – FBI agents on Thursday arrested evangelist Tony Alamo at an Arizona motel, alleging he transported minors across state lines for sexual purposes.
Alamo was staying at a hotel in Flagstaff, Ariz., when arrested, said FBI spokesman Steve Frazier in Little Rock.
The religious leader – who began his career as a California street preacher in 1966 – was scheduled for a federal court appearance Friday in Flagstaff.
For Full story

FBI Investigating Obama Incident In Oregon

Sen. Obama/senate photo

Sen. Obama/senate photo

Presidential campaigns always seem to get nasty and this one is no different. The feds are looking into an incident in which Sen. Barack Obama was hanged in effigy at a university in Oregon. Just who is behind it isn’t clear.

By Wade Nkrumah
The Oregonian
PORTLAND, Ore. — The Federal Bureau of Investigation began looking Thursday into an incident in which presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama was hanged in effigy at George Fox University.
Beth Anne Steele, spokeswoman with the Portland office of the FBI, confirmed the agency has launched a preliminary investigation into Tuesday’s incident at the Newberg campus.
“We will take a look at the information that is out there and determine whether or not there’s a potential violation of federal law,” she said.
For Full Story

Sen. Stevens Did Nothing Wrong, His Attorney Says

Sen. Stevens/official photo

Sen. Stevens/official photo

Sen. Ted Stevens is trying to get re-elected in the midst of a major distraction: his criminal trial. Stevens claims he paid his bills and was honest and upstanding. Will the jury buy it? Will the electorate buy it?

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens (R) paid every bill sent to him for extensive renovations to his home and did not lie about the work on financial disclosure forms, his attorney told jurors this morning.
“The evidence will demonstrate that you are dealing here with a man who is honest and would not have intentionally violated the law,” the lawyer, Brendan Sullivan, said in opening statements in Stevens’ corruption trial in federal court.

For Full Story

Washington Post Columnist Dana Milbank’s take on the trial

“Rifleman” Says Mafia Feared Him and Bulger

"Whitey" Bulger/fbi photoThe Soprano-like murder trial of an ex-FBI agent continued to deliver colorful testmony. Gangster Stephen “The Rifelman” Flemmi spent his third day on the witness stand and talked about buddy “Whitey” Bulger (photo).

By Shelley Murphy
Boston Globe Staff
MIAMI — Notorious gangster and longtime FBI informant Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi boasted to a Florida jury today that he and his sidekick James “Whitey” Bulger were so powerful in the 1980s that even the Mafia didn’t want to tangle with them.
“The Mafia didn’t want to get involved with us,” the 74-year-old gray-haired gangster said. “I’ll tell you we were a formidable group.They didn’t put us out of business that’s for sure.”
Flemmi is testifying for the third day in the state trial of his former handler, retired FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr., who is accused of murder and first degree murder in the 1982 slaying of Boston business consultant John B. Callahan.

For Full Story

FBI Agents Search Judges’ Chambers in Cleveland

A county corruption probe prompted FBI agents Tuesday night to search the chambers of two local judges including Judge Steven Terry. The probe first surfaced publicly in July and is heating up.

Judge Steven Terry's Chambers Searched/court photo

Judge Steven Terry

By James F. McCarty and Rachel Dissell
Cleveland Plain Dealer
CLEVELAND — The Cuyahoga County corruption scandal reached into the Justice Center Tuesday night when FBI agents searched two judges’ chambers.
Agents appeared at the courtrooms of Common Pleas judges Bridget McCafferty and Steven Terry between 7 and 8 p.m.
FBI Special Agent Scott Wilson confirmed the searches were linked to the county corruption probe made public in July after FBI and IRS agents raided the homes and offices of county officials Jimmy Dimora, Frank Russo and Kevin Kelley, but he would not say what agents were searching for.
For Full Story