Appeals court upholds convictions in oil scam
LOUISVILLE (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld the convictions of two men who ran an oil-and-gas drilling scheme in which investors lost millions of dollars.
The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals found no mistakes in the handling of the cases of 51-year-old former attorney Bryan Coffman and 60-year-old Tennessee businessman Gary Moss Milby. Both men were convicted in May 2011 of multiple charges of mail, wire and securities fraud. Coffman and Milby were also ordered to forfeit $33 million in cash, cars and property.
During the trial that lasted nearly a month, prosecutors characterized the investments as operating like a pyramid scheme with payments from new investors being given in small amounts to longer-term investors with some people receiving no money at all.
Milby surfaced in the public eye when he threw his daughter a lavish Sweet 16 birthday party that was featured on MTV. The episode showed Milby presenting his daughter with a private helicopter ride, a new BMW and a shopping spree.
Coffman is serving a 25-year sentence at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind. Milby is serving a 20-year sentence at the federal prison in Ashland.
Coffman and Milby alleged a variety of errors on the part of the trial court, including handing down excessively long sentences that were out-of-line with prison terms in similar cases.
Biden among Urban League meeting speakers in Ohio
CINCINNATI (AP) — The National Urban League wants to make sure job issues and economic insecurity are in the forefront of this fall’s election campaigns, its leader said Wednesday as members of the civil rights organization gathered for their four-day conference.
Vice President Joe Biden’s scheduled speech Thursday headlines the lineup of participants at downtown Cincinnati’s convention center. Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky and the heads of the national GOP and Democratic Party also will take part.
Urban League president Marc Morial said the mayors and other urban leaders at the conference, which has the theme “One Nation Underemployed,” will discuss ways to increase employment, pay and education opportunities and want them to be campaign issues with midterm elections ahead.
“We’re going to have to work hard; it’s on the minds of the people, the insecurities of the economy,” Morial said in an interview. “We’re also in an environment now when international issues are filling up the discourse of the country, but when I travel the nation and talk to people across the spectrum, the economic issues are paramount.”
He said Washington could take immediate steps by raising the federal minimum wage and investing in jobs-heavy infrastructure projects such as highways and bridges. President Barack Obama has advocated for infrastructure projects and hiking the minimum wage but has run into congressional concerns about more spending and wage increases that some say would hurt businesses and then lead to job losses.
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus and his Democratic Party counterpart, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, are among the other speakers.
Soldiers deploying from Campbell, Bragg
FORT CAMPBELL (AP) — Soldiers from two 101st Airborne Division brigades from Fort Campbell and from the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, will deploy to Afghanistan, involving about 3,600 soldiers.
The Defense Department said the deployment involves about 1,000 soldiers from the 1st Brigade and about 900 from the 3rd Brigade from Fort Campbell and about 1,725 from the 82nd Airborne Division.
The military said the deployments are to take place this fall.
McConnell credited with helping save jobs in ad
LOUISVILLE (AP) — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is getting credit for protecting aluminum factory jobs in a TV ad released by his campaign.
The ad debuting Wednesday across Kentucky focuses on McConnell’s efforts to pass fair trade legislation.
It features Cardinal Aluminum CEO Chip Edwards, who says illegal trade practices by Chinese companies threatened jobs at his Louisville plant. He says McConnell took action to hold the Chinese companies “accountable” and helped save the jobs.
McConnell backed legislation allowing the Commerce Department to continue imposing duties on imports from countries including China.
The commercial comes one day after his Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes, released an ad featuring a coal miner questioning McConnell’s commitment to job growth.
Grimes’ campaign said Wednesday that McConnell has supported tax breaks that encouraged companies to ship jobs overseas.