- Created on 21 February 2013
The American International Automobile Dealers Association today announced Centerville, Ohio, dealer Jenell Ross as its 2013 chairwoman. Ross took over the position during AIADA's 43rd Annual Meeting and Luncheon, held today in Orlando, Fla.
"Our brands, more than ever before, are America's brands – and I'm going to tell that story," said Ross during the meeting. "In 2013, we are no longer bogged down by the natural and economic disasters that hobbled us for the past five years. Now is the time to surge forward and grow our businesses, claim new market share, and ensure our continued strength and sustainability."
Ross is the president of Bob Ross Automotive, which operates Buick, GMC, Fiat, and Mercedes-Benz franchises in the Dayton, Ohio, area. She inherited the role from her father and mother who founded the dealership group in 1974. Mercedes-Benz of Centerville was the first Mercedes-Benz dealership to be owned by an African American and is currently the only one owned by an African American woman.
Ross has been a member of AIADA's board of directors since 2000 and is an active member of the auto retail industry, as well as her community. In 2012, she created the "Pink Ribbon Driven" campaign on behalf of her mother, Norma Ross, who died from breast cancer. Her community involvement includes the Diversity Council for the Centerville-Washington Township, the Miami School Alumni Council, and the Dayton Chamber of Commerce's Minority Business Partnership.
Also during the meeting, AIADA recognized Cincinnati dealer Mike Dever with its 2013 David F. Mungenast Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is named after the late AIADA chairman who was known throughout the auto retail industry for his commitment to his community and the industry. Dever is a 45-year veteran of the auto retail industry and operates nine dealerships in Ohio, Kentucky, and Utah.
"Mike embodies the very best of America's international nameplate dealer community. Much like Dave Mungenast himself, Mike's success as a dealer is only surpassed by his reputation as someone who has invested his time and resources into improving his community," said AIADA President Cody Lusk. "I can think of no one better to honor with this year's award."
AIADA's 2013 officers of the board of directors are: Jenell Ross, chairwoman (Centerville, Ohio); Ray Mungenast, immediate past chairman (St. Louis, Mo.); Larry Kull, chairman-elect (Marlton, N.J.); and Greg Kaminsky, secretary/treasurer (El Cajon, Calif.).
- Created on 20 February 2013
"Guilty, your honor," Jackson responded to US District Judge Robert Wilkins after looking back at family members in the courtroom, including his father, civil rights activist Jesse Jackson.
"I used monies that should have been used for campaign purposes," Jackson acknowledged to the judge.
When Wilkins asked if he realized that the guilty plea meant giving up the right to a trial, Jackson responded: "I have no interest in wasting the taxpayers' time or money."
Wilkins set sentencing for June 28.
Jackson's wife, former Chicago Alderman Sandra Stevens Jackson, had her own court appearance scheduled for a few hours later. She was expected to plead guilty to filing false tax returns.
Jackson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and false statements. That charge carries a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but Wilkins noted that prosecutors and defense attorneys appeared to recommend a lighter sentence.
However, Wilkins said he was not bound by sentencing guidelines, telling Jackson: "The bottom line is, I don't know what sentence you're going to get and you don't know what sentence you're going to get."
Jackson's lawyer, Reid Weingarten, told reporters after the hearing that he would mount a strong legal case for a fair sentence, noting his client is the father of two young children and has health issues that influenced his behavior.
Last year, Jackson dropped out of public sight to get treatment for mood disorder and other problems.
"It turns out that Jesse has serious health issues," Weingarten said. "Many of you know about them. We are going to talk about them extensively with the court and those health issues are directly related to his present predicament. That is not an excuse. That is just a fact. And Jesse has turned a corner there as well."
Neither Jackson nor his wife spoke to reporters when they arrived at the courthouse in Washington.
Last week, prosecutors filed charges against the couple in separate criminal informations, which are used when parties strike plea agreements.
The documents say the former Democratic congressman from Illinois misused about $750,000 in campaign funds from August 2005 through approximately July 2012.
According to court documents, Jackson's campaign credit cards were used for $582,772 in personal expenditures. Jackson's purchases included a gold-plated men's Rolex watch costing more than $43,000 and almost $10,000 in children's furniture.
As part of the plea agreement Jackson, 47, will have to forfeit the $750,000 in improperly used funds and assorted memorabilia that prosecutors said he bought with campaign cash.
The items include two hats belonging to the late singer Michael Jackson costing more than $8,000; a $5,000 football signed by U.S. presidents; and memorabilia involving the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and martial artist Bruce Lee.
Jackson issued a statement through his attorneys Friday that said, in part, "I offer no excuses for my conduct and I fully accept my responsibility for the improper decisions and mistakes I have made."
Jackson's wife is not mentioned by name in the document outlining misuse of campaign funds.
But there are references to her as "Co-Conspirator 1," a former consultant and later the manager of Jackson's re-election campaign. According to the court documents, "Co-Conspirator 1" bought $5,150 worth of fur capes and parkas and had them shipped from Beverly Hills, Calif., to Washington.
Sandra Jackson faces up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine for one count of filing false tax returns from 2006 through 2011.
Jesse Jackson Jr. had served in Congress since 1995. His name came up during the investigation of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, linked to allegations that Blagojevich attempted to sell the US Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama when he became president.
No charges were filed against Jackson, but the House Ethics Committee decided to look into whether Jackson or an associate offered to raise a large amount of money for Blagojevich in exchange for Jackson getting the Senate seat.
Jackson dropped out of sight last spring and his office later said he was being treated at the Mayo Clinic for a mood disorder, depression and gastrointestinal problems. He was re-elected in November but resigned a few weeks later.
His father recently said his son was "taking his medication and handling his challenges."
Sandra Jackson resigned her position as a Chicago alderman in January.
- Created on 19 February 2013
Legendary record executive Clive Davis dropped quite a bombshell on the world in his new memoir, saying in it that he's bisexual and is currently in a "strong monogamous relationship" with a man, according to the Associated Press.
Davis says the relationship has been going on for the last seven years and it is not his first with a male.
In his new memoir, "The Soundtrack of My Life," which will be available at book retailers Tuesday, the twice-divorced 80-year-old father of three reveals that he first had sex with a man in the 1970s.
Davis writes that he was not repressed or confused during his marriages and that sex with a man "provided welcome relief."
He also writes that he started dating a man from 1990 to 2004, which he says was a "tough adjustment" for his son Mitchell. He says after "one trying year," he and his son worked things out. The AP report did not report that either of Davis' other two children did or did not have an issue with his relationship.
Davis has won five Grammys and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a nonperformer. From 1967 to 1973, Davis was the President of Columbia Records and was the founder and president of Arista Records from 1975 through 2000 when he founded J Records. He also served as the Chairman and CEO of the RCA Music Group.
He currently serves as the chief creative officer of Sony Music Entertainment.
- Created on 20 February 2013
Anchor Robin Roberts returned to her post on "Good Morning America" Wednesday morning, five months to the day that she underwent a bone marrow transplant to treat myelodysplastic syndrome or MDS, a rare blood disorder.
"I keep pinching myself and I realize that this is real. This is really happening," Roberts said. "Faith, family and friends have brought me to this moment and I am so full of gratitude."
The cancer survivor continued.
"There's so many people that I want to thank throughout the morning, my doctors and nurses and family and colleagues and people who have sat in this chair and those who have blazed the trail before me," Roberts said.
"As my mother said, 'We all have something,'" she said. "Everyone's story has purpose and meaning and value and I share this morning, this day of celebration, with everyone."
Her return to the show after only a five-month absence to join her co-anchors George Stephanopoulos, Josh Elliott, Lara Spencer and Sam Champion, was a moment she had visualized during her recovery.
"It's something like this," she told them, "looking into Sam's blue eyes. ...I love how we're sitting, how we would be sitting. ...But I know when I sit back down, right in this chair, and I look over and I see you and I see you and I see you and I see you, it's gonna be, all is right in the world. And it's gonna seem like no time has passed at all."
"GMA" announced Roberts would return on Feb. 6 after her most recent test showed no signs of abnormalities and she received the blessing of her doctors to return to work. Roberts did a few test runs in the show's Times Square studio to start getting herself used to the anchor chair again, testing the studio lights on her sensitive skin and eyes, and adjusting to the early morning wake-up calls.
George Stephanopoulos announced last Thursday on "GMA" that Roberts would appear on the red carpet at this Sunday's Oscar ceremony. It was at the Oscars one year ago that Roberts has said she started feeling badly and one of her recovery goals was to be back in time for this year's ceremony.
Read a personal note from Robin.
- Created on 19 February 2013
The stars came out this weekend to support the opening of August Wilson's "Two Trains Running" presented by Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company. Opening Night on Friday, Feb 15 brought in actors Samuel L. Jackson (Django Unchained, Iron Man) and John Beasley (Everwood, Treme), as well as Joyful Drake and Nadine Ellis from BET's Let's Stay Together. On Sunday, Feb 17, New York Times' bestselling author Pearl Cleage was in attendance, as well as actor Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show).
Two Trains Running is directed by LaTanya Richardson Jackson. The show is set in 1969, the Hill District of Pittsburgh is gentrifying while the regulars at a popular local diner grind out an existence against the backdrop of a turbulent world. Unknowingly, the regulars take up a fight that carries them head on into the Civil Rights Movement. Two Trains Running is an inspiring story about the protest that changed a nation.
Atlanta's city and local leaders are encouraging the public to see "Two Trains."
"The arts are essential to the quality of life of our citizens and to the economic and social health of our communities," said a statement from Fulton County's Office of Communications. "The mission of the Fulton County Department of Arts and Culture is to insure all citizens' access to the arts. Fulton County Arts & Culture operates four arts centers whose collective goals are to encourage creativity in communities, make the arts accessible, and provide arts opportunities for traditionally underserved populations."
The show opened with a preview on Feb. 12 and will run through March 10. Performances take place at the Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road, Atlanta, Ga., 30331. Tickets can be purchased by calling: 1-877-725-8849 or by visiting http://www.ticketalternative.com/Sitepages/Search.aspx?catid=Performer&pattern=Two%20Trains%20Running