Saturday, January 31, 2015

They buried it for three years and now the Globe wants to report on Wallace-Bajjali?

As I read the comments given by Joplin Mayor Michael Seibert, City Manager Sam Anselm, and others about how they had no idea there was anything wrong with Wallace-Bajjali, I marvel that no one is trying to pin them down on this.

How could they not know?

In the top story in today's Joplin Globe, Seibert says he was unaware that Wallace-Bajjali had any such legal obligation as the $1.5 million that was due on December 31.

"I was not aware of other commitments of Wallace-Bajjali other than those we were working on within the city of Joplin," Seibert said.

Anselm told the Globe he knew about the lawsuit, but he did not know the details.

They should have known, but there is no way the Joplin Globe can hold their feet to the fire.

The Globe has been fully aware of the checkered history of Wallace-Bajjali Development Partners and has hidden all but a small portion of it from its readership to placate the well-heeled, non-elected people who have been pulling the strings on the public part of the city of Joplin's recovery from the tornado.

Those people, whose names were unfamiliar to most of us three years ago, were the ones who were insistent on bringing in a master developer when there was a serious question about whether such a position was necessary. They were the ones who insisted on projects being done in parts of town that were not even in the path of the May 22, 2011 tornado.

The only media to sound a warning on Wallace-Bajjali was the Turner Report, as I noted the SEC fraud investigation into the firm, the fines against David Wallace and Costa Bajjali and the $1.2 million they were ordered to repay investors. That was on March 31, 2012- almost three years ago.

That warning was sounded before the Joplin City Council voted to enter into a contract with the Texas company. The Turner Report has continued to write about the master developer since that time.

The Globe limited its coverage of Wallace-Bajjali to a brief mention of the SEC problems and the reassurance of then City Manager Mark Rohr that he had personally checked into Wallace and Bajjali and the problems could be blamed on partners who had taken advantage of them.

That was the extent of the Globe's reporting on the problems of Wallace-Bajjali, with a few brief exceptions, but all of the exceptions had to do with things that were happening in Joplin.

Area readers who were interested in the background of the city's master developer had to do their research in the Amarillo publications or on this blog.

That certainly makes it difficult for the Joplin Globe as Wallace-Bajjali's glorified Ponzi scheme falls apart and leaves Joplin in a  precarious situation.

How can a newspaper fail its readership for three years and then suddenly attempt to appear to be a government watchdog?

It can't.

When Bruce Speck was finally ousted as Missouri Southern State University president in 2013 the Globe editorialized that something like the Speck reign must never happen again. This came after the Globe stopped reporting on what was happening at the university and even gave Speck tips on how to manage the media.

When Wallace-Bajjali skipped town, the Globe editorialized that we are better off without the firm, with the implication that we must never let this happen again.

I can't wait to see what the Globe Editorial Board says after the upcoming state audits of the city and the Joplin R-8 School District are released.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Billy Long raises $4,720 in five-week period, spends $5,307 on meals

Only the last five weeks of 2014 are covered in the campaign disclosure report filed by Seventh District Congressman Billy Long today with the Federal Election Commission, but that was enough time for Long to use contributors' cash to pay for at least $5,307.51 in meals.

That total was more than the $4,720 Long received in contributions during that same period, according to the report.

The report listed 14 meals, 13 of them coming in December, with the biggest amounts being $3,000 at the Prime Rib in Washington, D. C. on December 9 and $1,901.01 at the Flame in Sprngfield on December 22.

The "at least" in the first paragraph is thrown in because Long also reported making a $17,527.08 expenditure to ELAN Financial Services for a credit card payment on New Year's Eve, with no breakdown on how the money was spent.

During the five-week period, the fiscal conservative spent $196,120.85, according to the report.

Long has $563,064.56 in his campaign account.

Schweich opens election fundraising with $375,000 in two days

State Auditor Thomas Schweich, who officially announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for governor Wednesday, raised slightly more than $375,000 in oversized contributions during the first two days, according to 48-hour filings with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

His contributors included former U. S. Senator John Danforth, long a supporter of Schweich, and some of the top GOP contributors.

Schweich's primary opponent, former Speaker of the House Catherine Hanaway, has been almost entirely funded by retired billionaire Rex Sinquefield, who has contributed more than $1 million to her campaign.

The expected Democratic candidate is Attorney General Chris Koster.

Those contributing to the Schweich campaign:

Rodger Riney, St. Louis $10,000
David Grossman, St. Louis $10,000
Sam Fox, St. Louis, $37,500
Marilyn Fox, St. Louis $37,500
Larry Peterson, Springfield 5,001
Peter Herschend, Branson $25,000
Fredna Mahaffey, Springfield $5,001
William Darr, Springfield $5,001
Penn Enterprises, Springfield $5,001
Integrity Home Care, Springfield $5,001
George Walker III, St. Louis $5,010
Joe DeLong III, Jefferson City $5,100
H. E. Whitener, Fair Grove $5,100
Patrick Finneran, Newman, Georgia, $5,100
Schmitt LLC, O'Fallon, Illinois $5,100
Donn Sorenson, Clayton $6,000
John Qualy, St. Louis, $7,500
William Maritz, LaDue $7,500
Jerry Sumners, Aurora, $10,000
Friends of Thomas Long, Battlefield $10,000
Mark Eggert, St. Louis $10,000
John Danforth, LaDue $10,000
Roger Miller, St. Louis $15,000
Barnett Helzberg Jr., Kansas City $20,000
Rosalie O'Reilly Wooten, Springfield $25,000
Jesse Bodine, LaDue $25,000
Steven Trulaske, St. Louis $50,000
Kevin Childress, Kansas City $5,001
Peter Goldschmidt, Jefferson City, $5,100

Miller man indicted for shooting at airplane

(From the U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri)

Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Miller, Mo., man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for shooting at an airplane.

David Leroy Dickenson, 38, of Miller, was charged in an indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Mo., on Jan. 20, 2015. That indictment was unsealed and made public following Dickenson’s arrest and initial court appearance. Dickenson remains in federal custody pending the court’s ruling on a detention motion.

The federal indictment alleges that Dickenson attempted to set fire to, damage, destroy, disable and wreck a 1997 S2R 510 Thrush aircraft on Dec. 3, 2014. Dickenson allegedly shot a firearm at an aircraft engaged in crop dusting then attempted to dispose of the firearm to prevent its discovery by law enforcement.

Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the FBI.

Court-appointed receiver files lawsuit against Wallace-Bajjali

The court-appointed receiver in the BizRadio case  in which Wallace-Bajjali and their partners fleeced investors out of millions filed a lawsuit Thursday in U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas seeking the $1.2 million the firm promised to repay the investors.

As noted in the Turner Report Thursday, both Wallace and Bajjali resigned from their company, plus several other related companies after the receiver, Thomas E. Taylor III, demanded payment in full.

As part of the original agreement after the Securities and Exchange Commission came down hard on Wallace-Bajjali in 2012, Wallace and Bajjali each had to pay $60,000 fines and they were required to repay the investors by December 31, 2014.

Wallace-Bajjali kept putting off deadlines, saying that the money would soon be coming in from their work in Joplin and Amarillo, but almost nothing was repaid to the investors and the receiver acknowledged in a July court document that he was not expecting Wallace-Bajjali to meet the December 14 deadline.

The details on the money the receiver is seeking and the efforts that were made to get Wallace-Bajjali to pay up can be seen in last night's Turner Report post.

Agenda posted for Monday Joplin City Council meeting

COUNCIL AGENDA
February 2, 2015
6:00 P.M., Council Chambers


1.Call To Order
Invocation
Pledge of Allegiance

2. Roll Call

3. Presentations

4.Finalization Of Consent Agenda

5.Reports And Communications


1.Disability Insurance For Non-Public Safety Employees

Documents: CITY OF JOPLIN LTD PRESENTATION.PDF

6. Citizen Requests And Petitions

1. Request To Address Council
Request to address council from Jimmer Pinjuv, 2167 Annielse, regarding the city of Joplin’s direction in the aftermath of mater developer leaving town. A way to a brighter future.

McCaskill highest ranking Democrat on Investigations subcommittee

(From Sen. Claire McCaskill)

Confronting waste and abuse and strengthening accountability in government are Missouri values.

That fight dates back in part to 1941, when the U.S. military was struggling with war-profiteering. Missouri's Harry Truman fought back, launching the "Truman Committee," one of the most effective oversight efforts ever implemented by the U.S. government, saving billions of dollars. Today, the Truman Committee exists as the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations - considered the Senate's most powerful body for investigations.

Holding Harry Truman's old Senate seat, I've fought hard to keep his legacy alive. I've never shied away from a fight, either in the courtroom or the hearing room. And now, I'm excited to have a new opportunity to strengthen Americans' confidence in their government, by protecting your tax dollars and rooting out misconduct.

Last week, I was honored to be named the highest-ranking Democrat on the old Truman Committee.
I'm no stranger to the fight for a more transparent and accountable government. During my first term, I waged a successful six-year battle to rein in wasteful wartime contracting practices in Iraq and Afghanistan, and ultimately passed into law the most expansive reforms to wartime contracting since World War II. The legislation grew out of my campaign promise to continue Truman's legacy of guarding taxpayer dollars from waste, fraud, and abuse of power.

Now, as ranking member on this powerful subcommittee, I'll have the unique opportunity to help shape the agenda and lead the investigations of a panel with broad and oft-used subpoena power as I work with Chairman, Republican Senator Rob Portman, to achieve our shared goals. It's a legacy of Harry Truman's I'm honored to continue.

Billy Long introduces bills to inform taxpayers, promote pro-life principles

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

The 114th Congress continues to pick up momentum, and we are forging ahead on new legislation. I want to share with you two important bills I have introduced – one to protect and inform taxpayers, and another to promote pro-life principles for adoptions.

In an era of strained budgets and increased spending, it is important to hold the president and the Executive Branch accountable on how Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars are spent. That is why I have introduced the Taxpayer Transparency Act (H.R. 310). My bill simply extends similar requirements already imposed on the Legislative Branch to the Executive Branch. This bill requires Executive agencies to disclose that their advertisements and certain communications are paid for at taxpayer expense in mediums including printed mailers, brochures, television and radio advertisements, billboards, and e-mail. I am optimistic this common sense piece of legislation can successfully move through both chambers and land on the president’s desk.

I also introduced the Adoption Promotion Act (H.R. 311), as I continue fighting to protect the unborn and give children opportunities for a happy, fulfilling childhood within a loving, caring family through adoption. The bill would ensure that all women accessing family planning services with Title X funding are given pregnancy options counseling, including professional adoption counseling. The Adoption Promotion Act would also allow collection of data on the effectiveness of pregnancy options counseling and adoption counseling to make sure women are receiving the most effective counseling possible for their child.

I am optimistic and looking forward to seeing where the legislation heads as I work with my House colleagues on these two measures. The legislative measures I am championing are about shining a light on how taxpayer dollars are spent and helping children find loving families through adoption.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Exclusive- Wallace and Bajjali resigned to avoid paying $1.2 million to cheated investors

Joplin master developer David Wallace resigned from his company Wallace-Bajjali Development Partners almost immediately after receiving a letter from a court-appointed receiver saying action was going to be taken to force the company to pay the $1.2 million it had promised the SEC it would pay cheated investors.

Wallace and his partner, Costa Bajjali, had made the final payments on their personal $60,000 fines from the SEC just three days before the City of Joplin hired Wallace-Bajjali as its master developer.

After buying time by taking care of their personal obligations, Wallace and Bajjali did almost nothing to repay investors. As of earlier this month, the duo still owed $1,174,058.20

The entire $1.2 million was supposed to be repaid by December 31, 2012, but Wallace kept pushing the deadline back, all the way to December 31, 2014, by feeding court-appointed receiver Thomas Taylor III a series of stories about the money Wallace-Bajjali was going to make on its projects in Joplin and Amarillo and the millions the firm would make when it went public.

When the December 31 deadline passed, Taylor sentJanuary 5 letting them know that the game was over and action was going to be taken against them and they had only 10 business days to repay the debt in full.
 letters to Wallace and Bajjali
By the end of those 10 days, Wallace and Bajjali had both resigned from all of the companies that owed the money, in what appears to be an effort to avoid paying what they owe.

The following letter was sent to both Wallace and Bajjali:

Reference is made to certain replacement promissory notes payable to the order of Thomas L. Taylor III, as Receiver for Kaleta Capital Management, LP, a Texas Limited Partnership as detailed below:

- Replacement Promissory Note dated as of May 6, 2006: 

-Laffer Frishberg Wallace Economic Opportunity Fund, L.P. in the amount of $25,000.00 plus accrued interest to date hereof in the amount of $6,743.15; 

-Replacement Promissory Note dated as of August 12, 2008: Laffer Frishberg Wallace Economic Opportunity Fund, L.P. in the amount of $250,000.00 plus accrued interest to date hereof in the amount of $119,383.56; 

-Replacement Senior Secured Promissory Note dated as of March 26, 2009: West Houston WB Realty Fund, LP in the amount of $360,176.35 plus accrued interest to date hereof in the amount of $101,599.33; 

-Replacement Promissory Note dated as of April 7, 2009: West Houston WB Realty Fund, LP in the amount of $20,000.00 plus accrued interest to date hereof in the amount of $7,769.32; 

-Replacement Senior Secured Promissory Note dated as of March 30, 2009 in the amount of $215,000 plus accrued interest to date hereof in the amount of $60,388.49. 

Copies of the above-referenced Promissory Notes are enclosed. 

Pursuant to the terms of the referenced notes, each was due and payable on December 31, 2014. Demand for payment in full of the principal and accrued interest was made on January 5, 2014. The Makers of the Notes have failed to make payment and are now in default. On November, 26, 2013, you executed a Guaranty as to each of the above-referenced notes. A copy of each Guaranty is enclosed. Pursuant to the terms of the Guarantys executed by you related to each of the referenced notes, demand is hereby made for payment in full of the principal amount plus accrued interest, due within ten business days of the date of this demand.

Earlier today, a federal court judge ordered a report on the status of the repayment. Judge Nancy F. Atlas of U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas ordered Taylor to have the report ready by Feb. 13. Any disputes of that report must be filed by Feb. 20.


Joplin Mayor: Now i"m dissatisfied with Wallace-Bajjali

Earlier today, a Turner Report post noted that as recently as July 30, Joplin Mayor Michael Seibert was defending Wallace-Bajjali Development Partners, saying that common ordinary folk (like this writer and the readers of this blog) couldn't understand what a master developer does.

Apparently, the fallout from Wallace-Bajjali's departure has changed the mayor's tune.

In an interview today with KGNC-AM in Amarillo, Seibert made it clear that he was not pleased with the former master developer:

"We spend about $1.7 million in payments backed to Wallace-Bajjali for many types of services over a 2 and a half year period," Seibert said.

He said they were already dissatisfied with the firm.

"We weren't pleased with the level of projects that they'd been able to bring forward. We had projects that we were really proud of that they were involved in and don't like what they did."

He says they have several projects in motion and will continue moving forward to rebuild Joplin.

Now let me see if I understand this. The mayor, and from the sound of what he is saying, the city council, was displeased with Wallace-Bajjali. Now when did this displeasure start? Was it after July 30 when he gave his interview to the Amarillo television station explaining why Wallace-Bajjali was doing a good job and we didn't understand how this master development business works or was it before and Seibert was shading the truth during the July interview?