Tuesday, April 15, 2014

CMPD Leaders Fail The Department's Elite VCAT Unit

CMPD Office Shane Page is still recovering from wounds received while serving a felony warrant back in January. Last Monday April 7th, Governor Pat McCrory met with Officer Page and other members of the elite VCAT unit.

Governor McCrory issued this statement - Following up on a promise that he made to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Shane Page while visiting him in the hospital after he was injured in the line of duty in early January, Governor Pat McCrory hosted Page and other members of the elite Violent Criminal Apprehension Team at the Governor’s Mansion for lunch and a meeting today.
“I am happy to see that Shane is doing well, and it was great to meet such an impressive and talented group of men and women,” said Governor McCrory. “I asked that they keep our administration abreast of the dangers and major issues they see on the rise in North Carolina. Tackling addiction and drug abuse in particular is very important to me.” 

Page, who is 42, has been a member of the department’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Team since it was created in 2006. The unit uses SWAT-style tactics to pursue and arrest people accused of murder, rape, robbery and other crimes. Members are deputized by the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service so they can pursue suspects who flee the county or the state.

Since it's inception the VCAT unit has been credited with more the 3000 arrests of the most violent and dangerous criminals Charlotte and the surrounding counties can produce.

But according to some, Page's injuries may have been avoidable had the department equipped the VCAT unit with newer improved equiptment, including better bullet proof vests, helmets and more advanced weapons. 

The wish list was reportedly brought up during the meeting with Governor McCrory who promised team members, to do whatever it took to get the unit the best equiptment possible.

However this direct to the Govenor move apparently stepped on some toes within CMPD Admin, and resulted in a full blown altercation and beat down between one VCAT member and a certian team leader. 

The outcome of the reported altercation isn't  known, but an Internal Affairs review is either underway or in the works.

It is troubling that the Department's Officers who face the most violent offenders can't count on leaders to cover their six and more so that they would derail any effort from the Govenor to assist the unit.

Cedar's Take: Officer Page's photo was removed after a request was made via one of the comments below. While the photo provided by the Governor's Office was used to add clarity and context the request to remove the photo also had a valid point.

Shane Page was not the Officer and Team Leader involved in the fist fight and wasn't even present when the fight occurred.

Anyone who has ever served in combat knows shit happens, usually guys just laugh it off and forget it. If this did in fact escalate up to IA it is a bigger deal that what I've heard. But when the issue is money even the best marriages go sour.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/04/07/4825434/cmpd-officer-injured-in-the-line.html#.U0l1nCe9KSN#storylink=cpy

Monday, April 14, 2014

For a What It Is Worth The Clodfelter Duke Energy Connection

In the back draft of the Patrick Cannon arrest, isn't it convenient that Dan Clodfelter rushed to Charlotte's aid?

Maybe more so, maybe not. 
We all recognize the conflict of interest with Governor McCrory and Duke Energy's coal ash Pandora's box. 
Also of local concern is the massive amount of coal ash at the Mountain Island Steam Station and the extremely close proximity of the toxic waste to Charlotte's main source of drinking water. 
But what about Clodfelter's former law firm Moore Van Allen who represents Duke Energy's interest in transferring the coal ash from the Duke property to a landfill located at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CDIA)?
Then there is the Jerry Orr factor, his named keeps popping up even though he is no longer associated with the airport he tried to hijack last year.
Expect the coal ash transfer issue to get on the fast track, and get pushed to a vote in approval before the issue of a regional airport authority is settled. 
Cozy isn't it? 

18 Brief Thoughts On Why Golf Needs Bubba Watson Right Now

A fun read by former Charlotte Observer columnist Tommy Tomlinson

1. Bubba Watson came to the 15th tee of the Masters on Sunday with a three-shot lead. He hit his drive left, into the trees.
2. The 15th is a par-5 full of temptation and doom. Long hitters can reach the green in two. Gene Sarazen famously holed a double-eagle there on the way to winning the Masters in 1935. But there’s a pond in front of the green, and many a player’s Masters dream has died right there in the water. With a three-shot lead, and your ball in the rough, the only thing it makes sense to do is lay up.
3. Bubba Watson does not lay up.
4. Ask a friend who doesn’t follow golf to name three active golfers. Everybody will get Tiger Woods. Most everybody will get Phil Mickelson. Who’s next? I bet most people who don’t watch golf would say John Daly.
5. Tiger is 38 and basically done. Phil is 43 and fading. John Daly is hanging out at a Hooters somewhere.
6. Yes, Tiger is basically done — at least by his standards. Once he returns from back surgery, he might win some more tournaments, might even rise to No. 1 in the world again. But those things don’t matter much to Tiger. The majors matter. He hasn’t won one in six years. And now he’s facing not just the slow erosion of time but a body that is breaking down like an old Gremlin.  Tiger practiced harder than anybody else, for longer than anybody else, to make it to the top. But now maybe all those hours on the range are catching up to him. Maybe you’ve got only so many golf shots in you. And maybe Tiger’s almost on empty. He needs four majors to catch Jack Nicklaus’ record, five to pass him. I’d say it’s even money that he doesn’t win even one.
The rest of Tommy's list is here 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Paulina Gretzky Golf Digest Cover Takes Flack

Golf Digest is getting a solid helping of flack from the LPGA for the just out Golf Digest issue which features the maxim hottie and daughter of the hockey great Wayne Gretzky.
Paulina's claim to the golf world is that she plays some and is pretty often spotted inside the ropes with her PGA Tour beau.
Not enough reason so says the LPGA, perhaps since the last time a LPGA tour champion graced the cover of the mag was 2008.  On the other hand why not?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

More Fallout From Charlotte Catholic High School

CP is hearing that certain students, as many as two dozen will not be asked to return to Charlotte Catholic High School next year to finish out their senior year.

Additionally as many as eight rising juniors have also be asked not to return to the school.

The good news is they are not being expelled rather school administration just simply refunded their tuition. Traditionally students removed from school are not offered refunds. Apparently conferences are being held and some students are given warnings while others are just shown the door. There are no reports of students being forced to leave the school before the end of the current school year.

The rumored purge falls on the heels of a number of local Catholic church leaders calling out parents for their actions in response to a controversial presentation by Sr. Jane a couple of weeks ago.

According to one source, this servers as a stark reminder that attending CCHS is a privilege and not a right, even for members of the Catholic faith.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dan Clodfelter Takes Over As Charlotte's Mayor

Later this morning Dan Clodfelter will put his feet up on Patrick Cannon's old desk. Maybe a little cigar smoke will help clear the air?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Former Charlotte City Councilman Mitchell's Ties To CertusBank's Spending Spree

While MSM continued to focus attention on "Cannon Gate" including the request of prayers for Patrick Cannon. Late Friday Charlotte City Manager Ron Carlee went on local television to pled for anyone knowing of wrong doing to come forward, a saying "now is the time".

But little noticed outside of investment and banking circles, shareholders of  a somewhat obscure area bank questioned wild spending amid mounting losses.

CertusBank SouthPark Branch
CertusBank management spent:

• More than $350,000 on private jet flights.
• More than $300,000 on sporting events, including $131,000 on Carolina Panthers tickets.
• More than $100,000 on private club memberships and luxury vacation expenses.
• More than $1.5 million on three corporate apartments. The bank spent $1 million to out fit them.
• More then $30 million to up fit the new Greenville headquarters.
• More than $1 million in art work
• and 300,000 pennies glued to an office ceiling.

But the lavish lifestyle of the management team is nothing compared to the question of more than $11 million in payments to consultants, including large payments to Integrated Capital Strategies, a financial consulting firm owned by bank executives and managed in part by former Charlotte City Council member James “Smuggie” Mitchell.

Apparently a review of financial statements showed that ICS was overbilling the bank for its asset resolution services. The bank said it contracted with the company to help deal with the millions of dollars worth of troubled assets it assumed with the failed banks.

From the Charlotte Business Journal:
In one case, CertusBank paid ICS a total of $537,475 for a year’s work by a contractor, while ICS paid him $150,000, the letter states. CertusBank senior executives were also paid more than $1.5 million in cash between 2011 and 2013 by ICS, the letter states.
ICS chief executive Sammy Hicks III did not respond to requests for comment. CertusBank said it no longer has a contract with ICS.
Listed among the management team is Mitchell, the longtime Former Charlotte City Councilman.

Mitchell said he was hired by ICS in 2011. He was first elected to the City Council in 1999 and lost to Patrick Cannon in the Democratic primary for Charlotte mayor in 2013.

Mitchell works in ICS’ government services division, which represents and lobbies local governments and helps companies secure government business, according to its website. Mitchell said he works with small towns on issues such as setting up tax collection systems. He said he does not work with the city of Charlotte.

Mitchell is one of five executives named as the company’s leaders. He is listed as a managing partner and managing director at ICS, but Mitchell said he characterizes himself as a lower-level “grunt.” He said he is not familiar with ICS’ work with CertusBank.

Is there a CertusBank connection to Patrick Cannon as well as Smuggie Mitchell? Who knows?

But Mitchell's attempt to distance himself from CertusBank claiming "grunt" status ought to perk your ears up.

CP's Take:

There is no one on Charlotte's City Council "clean enough" to assume the role of mayor.

The Cannon scandal is embarrassing, but can you imagine council appointing a mayor from their own ranks only to have that appointee indicted a month from now?

Even if the next mayor is not charged everyone on council is tainted as long as this investigation is on going.

Frankly ask any taxpayer, any citizen, all associated with the current city council and city management are suspect. Given the term of the new mayor a special election is the only option. 

Cedar Posts Bonus:

Interesting how Anthony Foxx quickly distanced himself from Charlotte once he arrived in Washington. His cheerleading efforts for light rail came to a screeching halt. Leaving one to imagine at some point he got word of the FBI's interest in Patrick Cannon and ......

I guess we shall see.