Events, People and Places
Former Mayor of Adelanto Arrested on Wire Fraud and Bribery Charges Alleging Illicit Payments for Support of Commercial Marijuana Activity
- On 17/08/2021
- In Special Report
Press Release Friday, August 13, 2021RIVERSIDE, California – The former mayor of Adelanto was arrested today by special agents of the FBI on a federal grand jury indictment alleging he accepted more than $57,000 in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for approving ordinances authorizing various types of commercial marijuana activity within the city, and ensuring his co-schemers obtained city licenses or permits authorizing certain commercial marijuana activities.
Richard Allen Kerr, 64, of Adelanto, was taken into federal custody without incident this morning. He is charged with seven counts of honest services wire fraud and two counts of bribery.
Kerr, who served as Adelanto’s mayor from 2014 to 2018, is expected to make his initial appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Riverside.
According to the indictment returned on August 11, as part of his official duties, Kerr voted on ordinances governing zoning regulations in the city and served on Adelanto’s Cannabis Dispensary Permit Committee, which determined the number of dispensary permits that would be issued and which applicants would receive them.
As mayor, Kerr supported marijuana legalization, voted in favor of an ordinance authorizing marijuana cultivation in the city, voted in favor of an ordinance authorizing the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries, and voted to authorize the distribution, transportation, and testing of medical marijuana, among other commercial marijuana activities. At the same time, Kerr secretly used his official position to enrich himself and his co-schemers bypassing these same ordinances, according to the indictment.
Kerr allegedly also drafted zones for commercial marijuana activities to include locations used by his co-schemers, and he ensured they obtained the licenses and permits they sought – in exchange for bribes, kickbacks, and gifts.
Kerr’s alleged co-schemers were a lawyer who specialized in plaintiffs’ tort litigation – identified in the indictment as “Person A” – and two individuals – labeled “Person C and “Person D” – who had business interests in the city, including those involving marijuana cultivation.
The bribes and kickbacks were disguised by Kerr and his co-schemers as gifts, donations to a charitable fund, donations to Kerr’s election campaign, or advance payments for the proceeds of planned litigation associated with a motorcycle accident.
In exchange for the bribes and kickbacks, Kerr provided favorable official action on behalf of the city to Person A, Person C, and other co-schemers with business interests in the city by authorizing various types of commercial marijuana activities, ensuring his supporters obtained the licenses or permits they sought and interfering with enforcement activities by city officials.
For example, on November 29, 2016, the Adelanto City Council held a public discussion related to an ordinance, including a discussion of “overlay zones” within which medical marijuana dispensaries would be located. The initial proposal included two zones, neither of which included a former restaurant – purchased two months earlier by Person A and his spouse.
During the discussion, Kerr requested a change in the boundaries of the second overlay zone, which expanded the zone to include Person A’s business. The plans for the business initially called for the building to be an attorney’s office, although they included items such as “elongated sales counters,” a “dispensing room,” “cashier,” and “security room,” the indictment alleges.
On December 5, 2016, Kerr deposited a $5,000 check – dated November 29, 2016 – from Person A’s real estate trust account into his bank account, and the check’s memorandum line read, “ADV XMAS FUND.”
In May 2017, Kerr voted twice in favor of a city ordinance that included Person A’s business in the marijuana dispensary overlay zone. In February, June, and August of 2017, Kerr deposited three $10,000 checks from Person A’s law firm, with the memorandum lines of each check stating, “ADVANCE.”
In total, Kerr accepted at least $57,500 in bribes and kickbacks from Person A, Person C, and other co-schemers.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted of all charges, Kerr would face a statutory maximum sentence of 160 years in federal prison.
The FBI investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Sean D. Peterson of the Riverside Branch Office is prosecuting this case
Reinstate Suspended President and others within 21 days or........-Concerned ASCSN members to its Leadership
- On 17/08/2021
- In News
Concerned members of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria(ASCSN) have threatened to picket the association's national secretariat if its suspended President and other sacked workers are not reinstated within 21 days.
This threat was handed down by the spokesman of the concerned members, Comrade Andrew Emelieze.
''We give the union and its secretariat a twenty-one-day ultimatum to settle all disputes surrounding the suspension of the President, Comrade Bola Audu as endorsed by the congress and reinstate him, and also reinstate the recently sacked union staff and halt further termination of employment in the union secretariat; else the congress shall be compelled to picket the national secretariat of ASCSN in Lagos and Abuja.''
''We also call on all members of ASCSN to stand up for the truth, September 29, 2021, the Secretary-General MUST GO or we should get ready to compel him to vacate through protest on or before September 29.' 2021. The Congress appeals to the Secretary-General not to plunge the union into further crisis before he retires.''
''Comrades, the expectation of members was that our union should stand by her President to the end until he was proven guilty by a competent court. The reverse is the case as the central working committee has been sponsored to discuss and approve his suspension while he was wrongly detained for fourteen days by NAPTIP. The President was never visited in detention by any ASCSN official neither did they make moves to ensure his welfare in detention nor allowed him a fair hearing before he was horribly suspended while still in detention. What the Secretary-General cannot forget is that the immediate past ASCSN President had a similar case but was never betrayed by ASCSN.
'' Comrades, as real owners of the union, we must ask why is the Secretary-General sacking workers to the extent that he will sack close to twenty staff in a month while he himself is seeking to work for more years after retirement? Why is Lawal refusing to retire from ASCSN? And why is he so desperate to continue to perpetuate himself in ASCSN?
Why has he turned himself to the BOSS and manipulating us all? The SG is a paid secretary of the union and why has he hijacked the union?'' Comrade Emelieze concluded.
Also, read-Legalizing Crime and Criminality
- On 17/08/2021
- In The People Talk
Of all the creations of Allah, the almighty, only human beings exhibit poor characteristics of disobedience and acts of ungratefulness.
This is why the Holy Quran 61: 1-4 reports us to ourselves, to effect positive change towards His rules and regulations to be able to stop all acts that make us look like rebellious entities.
''Whatever is in the heavens and on the earth declares the praises and glory of Allah: for He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. O ey who believe! Why say ye that which ye do not? Grievously is it in the sight of Allah that ye say that which ye do not? TrulY Allah loves those who fight in His cause in battle array as if they were solid cemented structure.''
By the above, the design and the desire of God for us are that we do things through a positive mindset and characteristic accuracy and precision in all our transactions.
Also, the Holy Bible states in Proverbs 30: 24-28 ''24There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:
25The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;
26The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks;
27The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;
28The spider taketh hold with her hands and is in kings' palaces.''
The question now is who =gave them the wisdom and why were they given the power of the discerning mind to be able to perform wonderfully the feat that is difficult for human beings to accomplish and with relative ease.
People, therefore need to follow these exemplary lifestyles of living within the divine codes of God's stipulations.
Proverbs 30: 29-33, shows us the dividend of been scripture compliant.
''29 There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going:30 A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any;
31A greyhound; he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.
32If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth.
33Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.''
Overstepping the bounds of God is a ruinous path that will ever disturb the peace of the environment to probably lead to self-destruction. Doing things according to laid down ethical principles always leads to a successful voyage that would be crowned with the cream of divine grace that would be profitable to the body system, all and sundry.
Are we not called onto this earth for a purpose? Are we not sent to schools by our parents for a purpose to add value to the system that produced us? Are we not offered employment, appointed into positions of power for the purpose of ensuring that others are rightly empowered and the transformation of the environment through assured justice, peace, and sustainable development?
Why then are we deviating from the path of scripture compliance, the glory of ethics, discipline, scripture compliance, and doing things according to the dictates of the rule of law? We are not only shortchanging ourselves by depleting the resources, rather than adding value to the system?
We should resolve to change our ways for the better to receive the grace and blessings of God.
Also read-Legalizing Crime and Criminality
- On 11/08/2021
- In Special Report
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – An Illinois man was sentenced today to 10 months in federal prison for sending a threatening message through social media to a West Virginia law enforcement officer.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Rodney Hanson, 37, sent a threatening Facebook message on January 8, 2019, to a law enforcement officer in Putnam County after a police involved shooting. Hanson pleaded guilty in May 2021 to transmitting an interstate threatening communication.
Acting United States Attorney Lisa G. Johnston made the announcement and commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers imposed the sentenced. Assistant United States Attorney Ryan A. Keefe handled the prosecution.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:20-cr-00169.
Source : FBI
- On 09/08/2021
- In Solomon's Column
Impunity in cities, towns, and villages across Nigeria revolves around the fact that that responsible for law enforcement has been heavily compromised.
Perhaps, this is the price to be paid to achieve self-centered goals with the coercive powers of Those-in-Charge in a depressed economy.
The obsessive lure of power seems too attractive for those involved to be committed to democracy. An unspecified number of citizens are now used as proxies.
The Nigerian society is now that of guns, terrorism, kidnappings, killings(for ritual purposes inclusive), contempt for the rule of law, and other violent crimes.
The reactionary approach to law enforcement and insecurity has resulted in the massive traumatization of the psyche of Nigerians; considering the increasing rate of abductions and killings in the land.
In saner climes, the structure of the national security system was fumigated, overhauled, and remodeled. This singular action ensured the exit of those lacking in integrity and credibility.
Sadly, today, state actors are not working towards leaving behind enduring legacies, instead, their energy dissipation points to monetary inducement for erstwhile credible commentators in a desperate bid to cover up the rot in the midst of non-performance.
- On 02/08/2021
- In The People Talk
The population of the world is classified into faith distinctions of believers, unbelievers, and hypocrites.
Unfortunately, the almighty Allah has created mankind to worship Him aright(Holy Quran 51:56).
The population of believers is in the minority.
The unbelievers fall into various categories.
The hypocrites are in significant numbers.
This is why the Holy Quran declared in 22: 11, at least with respect to Islam: '' There are among men some who serve Allah as it were on the verge: if good befalls them, they are therewith, well content; but if a trial comes to them, they turn on their faces: they lose both this world and the hereafter that is indeed the manifest lose''.
It is, therefore, to measure the population density through the degree of religiosity with a direct correlation with God and Godliness. Through this, it will become crystal clear that believers in every religion are few, while the hypocrites are in the majority.
The common characteristics of the hypocrites revolve around anti-social activities, definable by sins and crimes that usually threaten the peace and stability of every society.
The Holy Bible, Matthew 10: 28-31 throws more light, ''And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 Fear ye not, therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.''
The assignment before the true believers who walk the talk by been scripture compliant is not only to correct the aberrations in the land but to work on the unbelievers and the hypocrites through exemplary lifestyles.
Similarly, the Holy Quran 6:93 refers, ''Who can be more wicked than one who invented a lie against Allah, or saith, 'I have received inspiration when he hath received none or again who saith,' I can reveal the like of what Allah hath revealed?
If thou couldst and see how the wicked do fear in the agonies of death !-The angels stretch for their hands, saying,' yield up your souls-This day shall ye receive your reward-a chastisement of disgrace for that ye used to tell lies against Allah and scornfully to reject of His signs.''
Believers must be conscious but get strengthened in their faith, while the hypocrites and the unbelievers must receive admonition for positive change.
Let us fear God, but respect ourselves to be able to create a new world order of peace and development that would be safe and secured for human habitation and wellness.
- On 27/07/2021
- In Solomon's Column
Nigeria presently operates a multi-party political system, but n emerging desire is for a single party to thrive in the country's political firmament, while arm twisting, blackmail, and intimidation are the applications for membership drive.
Mao of China attained his goals through despotic means.
He did not, however, terrorize citizens, but rather ensured that the downtrodden were lifted up in every sphere of human life.
During Mao's reign, thousands of Chinese died of starvation and inhuman labor. And he justified this cruelty to humanity as the price that had to be paid for the re-education of the Chinese. The re-education also included the extermination of the heroes of the civil war and the old party chieftains.
In Nigeria, state actors breach the constitution to achieve desired goals, even though the desired goals are not in tandem with the expectation of Nigerians.
For the country not to follow the tragic history of old Yugoslavia, justice, equity, tolerance, and the rule of law must be its foundation.
Sadly, lesser figures at all levels of government have emerged today, who now take advantage of the history that was created before now. This has resulted in the massive misappropriation of limited funds and maladministration in a number of states and the center.