H/t FOTM’s Dale C. and josephbc69
Oregon Live: Portland’s former chief administrator, Jack Graham, pulled in more money than any other city employee during fiscal 2014 – and by a staggering margin. Graham, fired in November 2013 by Mayor Charlie Hales after a series of high-profile controversies, had gross earnings of $371,353.
Graham collected a year’s salary, $192,192, in severance, plus about $60,000 from cashing out vacation time. Just under $120,000 came from his base salary.
Graham tops a list of nearly 8,800 city employees who, together, earned more than $439 million between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, according to a city database obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive through the state’s public records law.
In all, Graham’s total earnings were $112,000 more than the city’s second-highest-paid employee and far more than any top official, including Hales.
Here’s a look at other findings:
1) Six figures: 943 city employees, or 10.7 percent, earned more than $100,000 from base pay, overtime, premium pay, and vacation, sick or severance payouts.
Seem high? It’s not.
Census data show that overall, 12.8 percent of Portland’s nearly 352,000 workers had inflation-adjusted earnings in the six digits, according to 2013 estimates.
2) Part-time/seasonal: The city’s numbers are heavily skewed by Portland Parks & Recreation, which lists more than 3,200 employees. Of those, nearly 2,000 are part time or seasonal recreation leaders. The highest-paid among those employees earned just under $25,000, the lowest $13.88, with average earnings of about $3,000 for the year.
Hales’ pledge to ensure that all city employees earn at least $15 an hour, incidentally, does not apply to part time or seasonal workers.
3) Politics doesn’t pay (comparatively, at least): Hales is the city’s top politician and administrator, earning a base pay of about $129,500. Yet 86 city employees earned more than Hales, a list including bureau directors, attorneys and senior-level administrators.
By including overtime, premiums and payouts, the list of employees who earned more than Hales doubles to 176. Of those, more than 60 percent work for Portland Fire & Rescue (69 employees) or the Police Bureau (36).
One year ago, when the City Council approved annual cost-of-living adjustments, Hales said he found it “nuts” that he and the city commissioners earn far less than the managers they manage. “It’s a crazy situation,” he said.
Hales at the time said he would look to form a review panel to consider pay increases for future elected officials.
4) Overtime: Portland spent $18.8 million on overtime, with nearly half of that ($8.6 million) going to employees in Portland Fire & Rescue, and an additional $5 million to the Police Bureau.
The city’s emergency responders work long, often odd hours. A typical firefighters’ schedule involves 24 hours on duty followed by 48 hours off. Union-represented firefighters work about 52 hours a week, making them eligible for about 12 hours of overtime every week.
Of about 400 city firefighters, 178 earned at least $10,000 in overtime. Of those 38 earned at least $20,000, seven of that group at least $30,000 and two of those topped $40,000.
It was only several days ago that news came of a new book by Peter Schweizer, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, on Hillary and Bill Clinton having received millions of dollars in bribes from foreign governments and individuals in exchange for favors from the State Department when Hillary was the latter’s boss as U.S. secretary of state.
But this story not only has “legs,” the publicity is already having an impact on the poisonous couple.
Today comes news that the tax-exempt “nonprofit” Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Health Access Initiative will refile their tax returns that may extend back as many as 15 years.
That’s because a Reuters investigation uncovered “errors” in tax returns filed by both outfits. In the case of the Clinton Foundation, the so-called “charity” organization is so brazen that, despite having received millions of dollars from donors, it reported it had received nothing from foreign and U.S. governments.
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz is calling on the Clinton non-profits to return all of the money they’d received from foreign governments. (Read more here.)
Thank you, Peter Schweizer!
THR: Touré Neblett, co-host of MSNBC’s The Cycle, is the latest network host to be under scrutiny for owing thousands in taxes.
According to public records reviewed by National Review, Neblett’s debt currently stands at over $59,000. A state tax warrant of $46,862.68 was issued to the host and his wife in September 2013, followed by an additional warrant for $12,849.87 six months later. Neblett formerly served as a contributor for The Dylan Ratigan Show before it was canceled by the network in 2012.
He joins three other MSNBC hosts who have also reportedly been issued tax warrants or liens, including Joy Ann-Reid, Melissa Harris-Perry and Al Sharpton.
National Review reports that the state of New York filed a tax warrant against Reid, who has been a contributor for the network since 2011, and her husband for the amount of $4,948.15 last month. Reid hosted The Reid Report for a full year — from February 2014 until its early cancelation in February 2015.
Just last week, the Winston-Salem Journal also reported that Harris-Perry, who has hosted the political commentary program Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC since 2012, and husband James Perry owed $70,000 in delinquent taxes ($21,721 of which was paid off on Tax Day, Harris-Perry told the newspaper).
Sharpton’s financial run-ins with the IRS surfaced back in November 2014, as reported by The New York Times. The Times estimated that Sharpton, host of political talk show PoliticsNation since 2011, and his combined businesses owed around $4.5 million in state and federal tax liens.
An MSNBC spokesperson declined to comment on the reports.
Fox News: Providing food and shelter to illegal immigrants isn’t enough for federally-funded Catholic organizations, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which is suing the federal government to help ensure the religious organizations provide abortion and contraception to them as well.
The suit aims to obtain government records related to reproductive healthcare policy for unaccompanied immigrant children in the care of federally funded Catholic agencies, which do not believe in abortion.
“We have heard reports that Catholic bishops are prohibiting Catholic charities from allowing teens in their care to access critical services like contraception and abortion– even if the teenager has been raped on her journey to the United States or in a detention facility,” said ACLU staff attorney Brigitte Amiri.
Almost 60,000 unaccompanied minors illegally crossed over from Mexico border last year. Nearly a third were young girls, and Amiri claims up to 80 percent were victims of sexual assault.
The government contracts with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to care for those children until they can either reunite with a relative or face an immigration hearing. The organization has received $73 million overall from the government- with $10 million coming in to care for unaccompanied minors in 2013 alone.
A letter from the USCCB shows the organization strongly objecting to a regulation proposed by the Obama administration requiring contractors provide abortions to immigrants who have been raped.
“The Catholic Bishops are taking millions of dollars in federal grants- and then imposing their beliefs on this vulnerable population who they are supposed to serve… and that raises serious concerns under the separation of church and state provision in our Constitution,” said Amiri.
But the bishops are hitting back at the ACLU- maintaining they are well within their rights to exercise religious freedom while taking care of the minors.
“For decades, we have provided exemplary services to this vulnerable population without facilitating abortions, and despite ACLU’s extreme assertions to the contrary, the law not only permits our doing so, but protects it,” said Kevin Appleby, Director of the USCCB’s Office of Migration Policy and Public Affairs.
Appleby says instances in which a client under his organization’s care asks for a service contrary to the beliefs of the Church are rare. He insists the USCCB informs the government of a girl’s desire to access reproductive healthcare if the government has legal custody of that child.
“Let’s be clear about the ACLU’s purpose here: ending the productive and successful partnership between the Catholic Church and the federal government on the care and shelter of vulnerable populations. Denying us the freedom to serve betrays the very children the ACLU is purportedly attempting to help,” he told Fox News.
The ACLU is only suing for federal documents on the USCCB’s policies at the moment, but will consider further legal actions depending on what those documents indicate. The government has not yet officially responded to the ACLU’s request.
Just send the illegals to Planned Parenthood; they’d be more than happy to do abortions.
The following is by Dick Kazan from his site http://www.kazantoday.com
The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on Tue Dec 13, 2005
Today, I’d like to tell you the remarkable story of Rose Blumkin, a Russian immigrant who never spent a day in school, arrived penniless and built the largest home furnishings store in the United States.
Blumkin was born to poverty in 1893. Her father was a Rabbi with little income and her mother worked long hours running a small grocery store to support the family of eight children. At the age of six, tiny Rose began working in the store to help her.
At 20, Rose married Isadore Blumkin, who was also poor. So they could have a better life, he went to the U.S. to get a start but before she could join him, World War 1 broke out and it would be three years before the couple could reunite.
In 1919, they settled in Omaha and struggled to get by. He ran a secondhand-clothing store and a pawnshop. Rose helped him with the clothing store and to supplement their modest income she used her basement to sell furniture. They learned English from their four children.
Rose knew first hand the difficult circumstances the vast number of poor and struggling people of the 1930’s endured and saw a business opportunity. Despite the Great Depression, she acted.
In 1937 Blumkin was nearly 44 years old but she borrowed $500 from her brother and opened a store in the basement of her husband’s shop. She called it the Nebraska Furniture Mart and her motto was, “Sell cheap, tell the truth, don’t cheat nobody.”
Blumkin’s business grew by offering merchandise at rock bottom prices. At times when she didn’t have enough inventory, she hauled her family’s own furniture into the store and sold it.
Her big competitors deeply resented her undercutting their prices and pressured manufacturers not to sell to her. This didn’t stop Mrs. B as she came to be called. She’d visit distant retailers and buy their excess inventories at sharply reduced prices, sometimes for pennies on the dollar.
As her store kept growing, Mrs. B, applied to the banks for credit but banks scoffed at her as an illiterate immigrant. She resented these “big shots” treating her this way as she had to operate from cash generated from selling her merchandise and from credit she got from her suppliers.
Despite this lack of liquidity, by working seven days a week, 10 hours a day, selling a high volume of furniture at very low prices, Mrs. B built her store into a success.
Something else also made it successful. Sometimes when a family needed furniture and didn’t have enough money, rather then let them leave disappointed, Mrs. B quietly cut the price for them. This was a nice thing to do but it was also wise of her because it built repeat trade as that family would return time and again and her business grew.
But in 1951 Mrs. B’s store suddenly hit the wall.
This happens to many fast growing businesses because cash may not come in quickly enough to cover the cost of a larger inventory or other expenses. Mrs. B got in a cash bind and couldn’t pay her suppliers.
Confronted with the loss of her business and all that she had worked so hard for, she took bold action. She rented Omaha’s City Auditorium, ran a massive sale, blew out $250,000 in inventory in three frantic days and paid off her suppliers.
After that, she operated strictly from cash as her store grew at a carefully measured pace into the largest home furnishings store in the United States, making her extremely successful.
Then one day in 1983, long-time customer and legendary investor Warren Buffett came into the store to see her. After wading his way through acres of bed-room sets, tables and chairs, lamps and rugs, he spotted Mrs. B.
Though she was nearly 90 years old, she remained a bundle of energy, using her electric scooter to zip up and down the aisles as she quoted prices and deliveries to customers, advised her staff and directed where and how to display merchandise.
Buffett had enormous respect for what Mrs. B had achieved and he wanted to buy the Nebraska Furniture Mart. He asked if she would consider selling it and when she said, “Yes,” he asked how much she wanted.
“$60 million,” replied Mrs. B. After a brief conversation, she agreed to sell 90%, with her family retaining 10% and they shook hands on the deal. Because of his respect for her integrity and her business acumen, he made this offer without auditing her books or inventory. Tax returns showed the business made $15 million a year pretax and that satisfied him.
Buffett had a one-page agreement prepared and Mrs. B, who could barely read English and did not write in it, made a mark at the bottom to signify her approval. A few days later, Buffett gave her a check for payment in full.
To close the sale, Mrs. B insisted that she remain the boss and continue to work seven days a week, 10 hours a day, as she had long done. Buffett hardily agreed and she remained active in business for the rest of her 104 years.
Success Tip of the Week:As Rose Blumkin showed us, a lack of a formal education need not prevent business success. The key for her and for any of us is to have passion for what we do and to be alert so that we absorb the crucial knowledge around us.