General Info
FCC refuses access to staff on LightSquared, despite offer PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 19 March 2012 10:55
Wednesday, March 7, 2012

 

In January, staff for Sen. Chuck Grassley on separate occasions asked the Federal Communications Commission chairman to make two senior staff members available to discuss the LightSquared wireless project.   The first staff member was Paul de Sa, who was described as the “father” of the LightSquared project, before he left the agency.  When Grassley staff asked to meet with de Sa, the FCC’s legislative affairs director responded that he was “not available.”  The second staff member was Joshua Gottheimer, who, according to media reports and FCC materials, has been named the FCC chairman’s senior counselor with a special responsibility toward implementing President Obama’s National Broadband Plan.  The broadband plan recommended a particular spectrum band that primarily would have benefited LightSquared.  Gottheimer previously worked for a public relations firm that serves LightSquared.  When Grassley sent his Jan. 30 letter requesting a meeting with his staff and Gottheimer, the FCC asked his office to keep the letter confidential while the agency decided how it would respond to the request.   Grassley’s staff waited one month and did not hear from the agency.  Grassley’s staff called the FCC, and the FCC refused to provide access to Gottheimer.

 

Grassley made the following comment on the FCC’s refusal to make senior staff available to discuss LightSquared.

 

“The FCC chairman wrote to me last October that he would ‘continue to make staff available to discuss this matter further’ with me or my staff at our ‘convenience.’  That turned out to be an empty offer.  The FCC has refused to allow access to two staff members who likely would be able to shed some light on the FCC’s questionable decision to give the green light to the LightSquared project.  It’s unfortunate that this agency operates as a closed shop when the public’s business ought to be public.  It adds insult to injury to promise openness and fail to fulfill the offer.  The good news is a key House committee is trying to shed light on the FCC’s thinking on LightSquared.  Some transparency might be required of the agency after all.”

The text of Grassley’s letters to Genachowksi requesting access to staff members is available here and here.  The chairman's letter from last October offering to make staff available is available here.

 
Protect Yourself from the U.S. Lawsuit Epidemic PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 19 March 2012 10:54
Lawyer Offers Tips for Safeguarding Your Assets

In Florida, a man serving 12 years in prison for DUI manslaughter is suing his victims’ survivors for his pain, suffering, medical bills and “loss of capacity for enjoying life.”

In Illinois last year, siblings aged 20 and 23 sought more than $50,000 in damages from their mom for “bad mothering,” including setting a curfew for her then-teenage daughter, "haggling" over clothing prices, and failing to send college care packages.

Lawsuits like these are, unfortunately, more the rule than the exception, says Hillel L. Presser, a lawyer specializing in domestic and international asset protection planning and author of Financial Self-Defense (www.assetprotectionattorneys.com).

“Litigation is America’s fastest growing business, and why not? Plaintiffs have everything to gain and nothing but a few hours’ time to lose,” Presser says. “Even if a case seems utterly ridiculous, like the guy in prison suing his victims’ family, defendants are encouraged to settle just to avoid potentially astronomical legal fees.”

So where does a person begin? You’ll likely need the expertise of an asset protection planner, Presser says, but here are some steps you can take on your own.

• Take stock of your wealth. Inventory your assets – you probably own more than you think. Besides savings and retirement accounts, consider any money owed to you, anticipated inheritances and future assets. Property includes homes, vehicles, jewelry, and land. Don’t forget to consider intangible assets, those non-physical but valuable brands, trademarks, patents and intellectual property. Visit www.assetprotectionattorneys.com for an inventory worksheet.

• Put only assets that are exempt from seizure in your name. Federal and state laws protect some personal assets from lawsuits and creditors. Those assets typically include your primary residence; personal items such as furniture and clothing; pensions and retirement funds; and life insurance. State exemption laws vary; federal laws govern exemptions in bankruptcy.

• Protectively title non-exempt assets. Putting the title to valuable assets in the names of corporations, limited partnerships, domestic trusts and other entities offers some protection. You still get to use and enjoy the asset but legal ownership is with an entity that’s not subject to your personal creditors’ claims. Which entities best shield which assets depends on the asset, your state laws, taxation and your estate plan, to name a few considerations. You can also combine protective entities, for instance, giving ownership of your limited liability company to a limited partnership. It’s best to get professional advice when choosing the entity that will best protect an asset.

Whether you’re worth millions or a few hundred thousand, it’s important to not get caught with your assets showing, Presser says. The more you have exposed, the more enticing a target you become. And the less you have, the more catastrophic the outcome can be.

“If the average person with $200,000 is sued for $1 million, he’s wiped out,” Presser says. “It’s not so horrific for the person with $25 million who gets sued for $5 million.

About Hillel L. Presser

Hillel L. Presser’s firm, The Presser Law Firm, P.A., represents individuals and businesses in establishing comprehensive asset protection plans. He is a graduate of Syracuse University’s School of Management and Nova Southeastern University’s law school, and serves on Nova’s President’s Advisory Council. He also serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations for his professional athlete clients and is a former adjunct faculty member for law at Lynn University. Hillel has authored several books, including “Asset Protection Secrets” and has been featured in Forbes, Sports Illustrated, the Robb Report, the Houston Chronicle, and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications.

 
Governor Quinn Announces Appointments to Illinois Medical District Commission PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Monday, 19 March 2012 07:59

New Appointees to Bring Fresh Leadership to Vital Economic Engine

CHICAGO – March 6, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today continued his efforts to grow our economy by announcing four new appointments to the Illinois Medical District Commission (IMDC), which oversees the largest urban medical district in the country. Jennifer Woodard, James Clewlow, Meredith O’Connor and Blake Sercye will join the board that also includes two appointees designated by the mayor of Chicago and one designated by the president of the Cook County Board.

“Cutting-edge, health-related fields, such as biotechnology, are important economic engines in Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “For Illinois and the city of Chicago to remain at the forefront of these fields, we need to have leaders who will spur job creation and economic development by providing the vision and oversight necessary to identifying opportunities and investments that will benefit everyone.”

The IMDC, formally established in 1941, develops and manages the 560-acre Illinois Medical District (IMD) in Chicago, which has 20,000 employees working in hospitals, health clinics, research labs and the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) - the nation’s largest medical school, and the state’s largest biotechnology complex. The IMD supports 50,000 direct and indirect jobs, while generating $3.3 billion in economic activity and more than $100 million in state and local taxes. The IMD is funded through property sales and lease proceeds and cannot levy taxes.

 

Jennifer Woodard is associate vice chancellor in the Office of External Affairs at UIC. During her 14 years at UIC, Woodard has lead numerous initiatives focused on bringing support to the academic, research and service missions of the campus. Prior to joining UIC, she practiced law, specializing in corporate and international corporate matters. She has served on several non-profit arts and service organization boards, including Chicago Opera Theater, El Valor and the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. She holds degrees in English literature and history from the University of North Dakota and a juris doctorate from the Northwestern University School of Law.

James Clewlow has served as chief investment officer for CenterPoint since January of 2005, after serving as senior vice president of investments. He joined CenterPoint in 1997 and oversees investment activity for the company. Mr. Clewlow has been involved in industrial real estate since graduating from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1985. He worked for CBRE as an industrial real estate broker for 11 years serving the Chicago area and joined CenterPoint in an acquisitions capacity. Mr. Clewlow received his master’s degree in business administration from Kellogg's Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

Meredith O’Connor is the managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle’s Midwest Region. Prior to joining Jones Lang LaSalle, O’Connor was the deputy director of business development at World Business Chicago (WBC), a public-private economic development corporation comprised of more than 20 top executives from many of Chicago’s leading companies. She spent more than 10 years as deputy commissioner with the city of Chicago where she founded a new unit in the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) to advocate for science and technology-based economic development. She also held several other city positions, including assistant to the mayor and was appointed as the youngest-ever assistant sergeant at arms for the Chicago City Council. Ms. O’Connor holds a master’s of business administration in finance from Loyola University’s Graduate School of Business.

Blake P. Sercye is an associate in the litigation department at Jenner & Block.  Prior to joining the firm, Sercye handled family law, sealing and expungement matters as a PILI Fellow at the Chicago Legal Clinic in the city’s Austin neighborhood. He serves on the board of directors for the Umoja Student Development Corporation, a nonprofit organization that provides tutoring and college preparatory counseling for inner city high school students. He is also a member of Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School’s Young Leader’s Council, the Chicago Westside Branch of the NAACP and the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. Sercye earned his juris doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was a member of The University of Chicago Legal Forum and the Black Law Students Association. He received a bachelor’s degree in politics with honors from Princeton University.

 

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What: Iowa Hospice is hosting a free workshop that will provide new recipes, ingredientsubstitution tips and handy cooking techniques about “cooking for one” after suffering a loss. Who: Muscatine Hy-Vee’s dietitian, Kristen Decker, wil PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Aleshia Chiesa   
Monday, 19 March 2012 07:54
NorthPark and SouthPark Malls to host Miss Sunburst model search and baby contest

WHO: NorthPark and SouthPark Malls will host a Miss Sunburst model search and baby contest on
Saturday, March 24.

WHAT:

Entries are being accepted now for the Miss Sunburst model search and baby contest.
Each contestant will receive a crown and trophy. Winners will go to the state finals in
May. The baby pageant is for boys and girls. The age groups are as follows:

Baby – under one year
Tiny – 1 year
Little – 2-3 years

A king and queen will be chosen in each age group. They will receive a crown and trophy and
runners-up in each age group will also receive a trophy and crown. The model search is
for girls ages 4 – 27 years old. The age groups are as follows:

4–6

WHEN:

WHERE:

7 – 10
11 – 13
14 – 17
18 – 27

A winner in each age group will receive a crown and trophy and runners-up will also
receive a trophy and crown. Entry forms are available at the Guest Service Center in
front of Younkers at NorthPark Mall and at the Mall Office in SouthPark Mall. Contact
www.pageantinfo.com or call 813-839-8054 to have all the information sent to you.

March 24, 2012

SouthPark Mall – 11am
NorthPark Mall – 4pm

SouthPark – Younker’s Court

CAMERA CREWS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS WELCOME

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Sen. Grassley and Rep. Issa Request Assessment from OMB of Federal Guidelines for Employee Personal Email Monitoring PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 19 March 2012 07:46

Request Comes in Wake of Investigation into Monitoring of Communications Between “FDA Nine” Whistleblowers and Congress

 

Agency may have intercepted passwords to personal accounts to search those accounts, which would be illegal

 

(WASHINGTON)—Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) have requested that the Obama Administration conduct a complete assessment of federal agency guidelines for the monitoring of employee’s personal email accounts.  Grassley and Issa are conducting investigations into Food and Drug Administration (FDA) actions against nine employees who were whistleblowers to Congress about inappropriate actions they witnessed inside the agency.

 

In a letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Acting Director Jeffrey D. Zients, Grassley and Issa noted that the “FDA may have intercepted passwords to the personal email accounts of its employees for the purpose of logging in to search for archived messages to and from Congress and the Office of Special Counsel.” Although the FDA admitted monitoring the accounts, it also obtained confidential email between the whistleblowers and Congress sent prior to the time that the monitoring allegedly occurred, which raises questions about how the FDA obtained the prior emails.

 

“The FDA specifically targeted these employees for monitoring after they contacted the Presidential transition team and Congress to blow the whistle.  Therefore, the FDA’s purpose for conducting surveillance was unlawful, because retaliation against individuals who engaged in protected forms of whistleblowing is illegal,” Grassley and Issa added.

 

Grassley and Issa wrote to Zients saying that their investigation of FDA’s surveillance of whistleblowers had given rise to a broader question about the policies and practices for electronic surveillance at all federal agencies.  They asked OMB to address a series of questions regarding parameters for such searches.

 

A complete copy of the letter and a full list of questions is here.

 

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