Trump calls Manafort a ‘good person,’ as jury deliberates
By MATTHEW BARAKAT, STEPHEN BRAUN and JEFF HORWITZ
Friday, August 17
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — President Donald Trump on Friday defended Paul Manafort, his former campaign chairman on trial for financial fraud, calling him a “very good person” as a jury entered its second day of deliberations.
Manafort is accused of hiding from the IRS millions that he made advising Russia-backed politicians in Ukraine, and then lying to banks to get loans when the money dried up. He faces 18 felony counts on tax evasion and bank fraud.
“I think the whole Manafort trial is very sad,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
“When you look at what’s going on, I think it’s a very sad day for our country,” he said. “He worked for me for a very short period of time. But you know what, he happens to be a very good person and I think it’s very sad what they’ve done to Paul Manafort.”
The financial fraud trial is the first courtroom test of the ongoing Russia probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller. While allegations of collusion are still being investigated, evidence of bank fraud and tax evasion unearthed during the probe has cast doubt on the integrity of Trump’s closest advisers during the campaign.
But Manafort’s fate was far from clear. The case calls on the dozen jurors to follow the complexities of foreign bank accounts and shell companies, loan regulations and tax rules. It exposed details about the lavish lifestyle of the onetime political insider, including a $15,000 jacket made of ostrich leather and $900,000 spent at a boutique retailer in New York via international wire transfer.
The jury ended its first day of deliberations with a series of questions to the judge, including a request to “redefine” reasonable doubt.
The questions came after roughly seven hours of deliberation, delivered in a handwritten note to U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III.
Along with the question on reasonable doubt, the jury asked about the list of exhibits, rules for reporting foreign bank accounts and the definition of “shelf companies,” a term used during the trial to describe some of the foreign companies used by Manafort.
Ellis told the jurors they need to rely on their collective memory of the evidence to answer most questions. As for reasonable doubt, he described it as “a doubt based on reason” and told jurors it does not require proof “beyond all doubt.”
Manafort’s defense countered that he wasn’t culpable because he left the particulars of his finances to others.
“When you follow the trail of Mr. Manafort’s money, it is littered with lies,” prosecutor Greg Andres said in his final argument earlier this week.
In his defense, Manafort’s attorneys told jurors to question the entirety of the prosecution’s case as they sought to tarnish the credibility of Manafort’s longtime protege — and government witness — Rick Gates.
Prosecutors say Manafort earned some $60 million consulting for the Russia-backed political party in Ukraine, and hid at least $16 million in income from the IRS between 2010 and 2014. They say Manafort declared only some of his foreign income on his federal income tax returns and repeatedly failed to disclose millions of dollars that streamed into the U.S. to pay for luxury items, services and property.
AP writers Darlene Superville and Anne Flaherty contributed to this report.
Rainy August may require waterproofing
Columbus (August 16, 2018) – With the recent influx of rainy weather, some Central Ohio consumers may find themselves with wet basements or other water-related issues. Your BBB wants anyone inquiring about basement waterproofing contractors to feel confident that their home will be preserved and protected.
When it comes to picking a contractor, BBB urges customers to take their time and do their research. It’s important to compare prices and check references before committing. If you are unsure where to start, try some of these BBB tips for hiring a basement waterproofing contractor:
• Get at least three estimates. Have more than one contractor give you a bid and discuss the price in detail based on the type of building, materials required, time needed to complete the project and other factors.
• Do your homework. Search for the contactor at bbb.org to learn their BBB rating, find any complaints, or customer reviews. A general online search can also help you find other recent reviews.
• Phone a friend. Ask family members or friends you trust who they used to waterproof their basement. Would they recommend them?
• Check their credentials. Is the contractor licensed, bonded, registered and insured with Ohio? Ask if the company is insured against claims covering property damage, worker’s compensation, and personal liability in case of an accident. Call to verify the contractor’s insurance coverage after obtaining the name of the carrier and agency.
• Read fully before signing. Go through the contract to make sure everything that was promised to you is in writing and all of your questions are answered in detail. Do not sign a blank contract or pay money upfront in-full for the work.
• Use a check or credit card. Do not pay contractors in cash, and keep a signed copy of the contract for your records. If you need to dispute charges later, you will have proof of payment if you use a card or check.
• Ask about a guarantee or warranty. How long is the warranty offered? What does it cover? Is it transferable from homeowner to homeowner if the home was to be sold?
• Be comfortable. Do not be afraid to ask the prospective contractor questions. If you are feeling uneasy or pressured into a situation, then the contractor may not be right for you.
Consumers can search for BBB Accredited Contractors at bbb.org to find a business they can trust.
For more information, follow BBB on Facebook, Twitter and at bbb.org.
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2017, people turned to BBB more than 160 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central Ohio, which was founded in 1921 and serves 21 counties in Central Ohio.
Statement by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on President Trump’s Statement on Potential Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers
COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine issued the following statement on President Trump’s statement on a potential lawsuit against opioid manufacturers:
“It is great news that President Trump said he would support filing a lawsuit against the opioid manufacturers. In May of 2017, Ohio was the second state to file a lawsuit against the major opioid manufacturers and since then more than half of the states and many local governments have done so as well. With the addition of the federal government, I believe that this would only accelerate the momentum and add to the pressure for these companies to finally take responsibility for marketing these addictive drugs.
“In Ohio we are fighting a drug epidemic that traces its roots to the overprescribing of opiates that has affected every area of the state – from rural communities to suburbs to our big cities.
“We will not rest until justice is done, and I believe that the addition of the U.S. government in the legal fight we are waging to hold opiate manufacturers accountable would be a game-changer.”
ODNR to Offer Special Deer Hunts on Nine State Scenic River Properties
Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Permits to participate in controlled hunts awarded by lottery
COLUMBUS – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) will offer special archery deer hunts at nine locations, which border four of Ohio’s state scenic rivers, through local lottery drawings. The hunts will offer sportsmen and women a unique opportunity to explore seldom visited sites, while lessening the impact of deer browsing on native plant populations.
The Scenic Rivers program has identified properties along some of Ohio’s highest quality rivers and streams to be open for the hunts. These woodland and successional habitats, including broad floodplains and upland regions, have seen very little hunting and should offer good conditions.
Application for the hunts will be handled at the local level by ODNR staff during scheduled drawings. Hunters must attend the meetings for the hunts in which they have an interest. At that time, hunters can enter the drawing by purchasing a single ticket at the price of $5. Hunters must possess a valid 2018-2019 hunting license to purchase tickets.
Names will be randomly drawn, and those selected will be permitted to choose a specific time to hunt. An orientation will be conducted immediately following the drawing, outlining special regulations for the hunts. Hunters will be permitted to hunt with a partner. The partner is not required to attend the drawing or orientation.
All of these special hunts will be archery only, and each winner will receive a two-week period in which they can hunt at that particular site. Hunters may enter the drawings for all nine of the hunts, but they must attend the meeting for each hunt in order to enter the drawing. Entry forms will not be accepted by mail or phone.
Hunt locations and drawing dates are listed below:
The meeting and drawing for hunts along the Big and Little Darby Creek (Terra Nova, Milford Center, Andre Agnes and Little Darby Forrest Preserve) will be held at the Plain City Youth Building, located in Pastime Park, 344 N. Chillicothe St., Plain City. This drawing will be held on Thursday, Sept. 6, at 6 p.m. with registration beginning at 5:30 p.m.
• Terra Nova (Union County) – This site is located on Big Darby Creek. The hunt site is located on North Lewisburg Road in North Lewisburg.
• Milford Center (Union County) – This is site located on Big Darby Creek. The hunt site is located between Middleburg-Plain City Road and North Darby Coe Road just southeast of Collins Road.
• Andre Agnes and Little Darby Forrest Preserves (Madison County) – Both sites are located on the Little Darby Creek. This hunt is being conducted in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy and opens two sites for bowhunting this season just west of the village of West Jefferson off State Route 29.
The meetings and drawings for all four Little Miami River sites (Deerfield Gorge, Caesar Creek, Hall’s Creek and Roxanna) will be held at the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Caesar Creek Visitors Center, 4020 North Clarksville Road, Waynesville. This drawing will be held on Saturday, Sept. 8, at 10 a.m. with registration beginning at 9 a.m.
• Deerfield Gorge (Warren County) – This site is located on the Little Miami River. The hunt site is located on King Avenue, Maineville.
• Caesar Creek (Warren County) – This site is located on the Little Miami River. The hunt site for Caesar Creek is located on County Road 30 (Middletown Road), Waynesville.
• Hall’s Creek (Warren County) – This site is located on the Little Miami River. The hunt site for Hall’s Creek is located on Mason Morrow Millgrove Road, Morrow.
• Roxanna (Greene County) – This site is located on the Little Miami River. The hunt site for Roxanna is located on U.S. Route 42, Spring Valley.
The meeting and drawing for the Stillwater River Hunt will be held at the Barn at Stillwater Prairie, 9750 State Route 185, Covington. This drawing will be held on Saturday, Sept. 8, at 4 p.m. with registration beginning at 3:30 p.m.
• Abshire-Graves (Darke County) – This site is located on the Stillwater River. The hunt site is located on State Route 185, Versailles.
• Cool-Davis (Miami County) – This site is located on the northeast corner of the State Route 185 bridge crossing over the Stillwater River in Miami County.
For more information about hunting seasons and regulations, call 800-WILDLIFE or visit wildohio.gov.
Ohio pioneered the river preservation movement in 1968 with the passage of the nation’s first scenic rivers act. This legislation created a state program to protect Ohio’s remaining high-quality streams for future generations. During 2018, the Scenic Rivers program has been celebrating 50 years of working with Ohio communities to protect some of the state’s highest quality rivers. Scenic rivers retain most of their natural characteristics at a time when many rivers reflect the negative impacts of human activities. There are currently 14 designated state scenic rivers in Ohio.
To learn more about 50th anniversary events in the different regions of the state for the Scenic Rivers program, visit watercraft.ohiodnr.gov/scenicrivers.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.
AEP OHIO ANNOUNCES ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING STATION INCENTIVE PROGRAM
GAHANNA, Ohio, August 16, 2018 – AEP Ohio, an American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) company, today announced an incentive program to encourage the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at public sites, workplaces and apartment complexes. The $10 million program provides funding for up to 375 EV charging stations throughout the AEP Ohio service territory.
The program will provide AEP Ohio and others with information about how EV charging is utilized by Ohio customers. The goal of the program is to encourage EV charging in a number of different settings and learn how they are utilized by customers. This information will help inform how charging stations are deployed throughout the AEP Ohio territory, across the state, and the nation.
“AEP Ohio is leading the charge on expanding electric vehicle adoption among our customers,” said Julie Sloat, AEP Ohio, President and COO. “EVs offer a number of benefits for their owners, the environment, and they have the potential to shift how we think about mobility. Our program is a unique opportunity to learn how the availability of public and workplace charging impacts the decision to make the switch to an electric vehicle.”
The program helps participants by offsetting a portion of their charging equipment and installation costs. Maximum amounts vary based on the type of station, the type of owner, and the public’s ability to access the station. Local governments installing publicly-available charging stations may be able to do so with no cost after participating in the program.
Local governments, businesses and apartment complex owners interested in providing EV charging are encouraged to apply for the program. Applicants must be commercial or industrial customers in the AEP Ohio service territory. Complete program details and application materials are available at www.aepohio.com/evcharge.
This program was created in partnership with Smart Columbus and additional groups in support of the $10 million grant awarded to Columbus by the Paul G. Allen Philanthropies as the winner of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge. Using data to develop a regional perspective of transportation is a cornerstone of the Smart Columbus program, and information collected through this EV charging program will help cities and regions around the country develop their own EV charging initiatives.
“AEP Ohio’s charging program represents an unprecedented utility investment and commitment in electric vehicle charging and future mobility,” said Alex Fischer, president and CEO of The Columbus Partnership. “The program will measurably benefit the objectives of Smart Columbus and will serve as a model for cities working to prepare for a smarter, more sustainable future.”
AEP Ohio established a list of compatible charging equipment that participating parties must use when applying for incentives under the program. This equipment offers the necessary features to provide the information the program intends to collect.
Interested parties should apply to the program before committing to construction or installing stations. Participants are encouraged to express their interest in the program as soon as possible. Funds will be made available in three waves, beginning in fall 2018 and continuing through spring 2019. AEP Ohio staff will be available to offer assistance to parties interested in the program. Eligibility for funding is limited to stations which have been approved by the program administrator and installed after August 15, 2018.
About AEP Ohio
AEP Ohio delivers electricity to nearly 1.5 million customers of AEP’s subsidiary Ohio Power Co. in Ohio. AEP Ohio is based in Gahanna, Ohio, and is a unit of American Electric Power. News and information about AEP Ohio can be found at AEPOhio.com.
American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. AEP owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP also operates 224,000 miles of distribution lines. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning approximately 26,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP supplies 3,200 megawatts of renewable energy to customers. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.
DeWine Files Consumer Protection Lawsuit Against Used Car Seller
WARREN, Ohio — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced a consumer protection lawsuit against the operators of a Niles used car dealership accused of failing to deliver vehicle titles to customers.
The lawsuit accuses Leroy Braxton and Donetta Braxton, both doing business as Steals on Wheels, of violating Ohio consumer protection laws.
“We’re taking this action to protect consumers,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We’ve helped a number of people who had problems with this dealership, and we don’t want other people to have similar problems in the future.”
According to the lawsuit, Steals on Wheels last operated at 3045 South Main Street in Niles. In the past two years, about 25 consumers have filed complaints against the dealership, with many consumers saying they never received the title to a vehicle they purchased from Steals on Wheels.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office worked to help resolve consumers’ complaints, in some cases making payments from the Title Defect Recision Fund, which helps used car buyers resolve certain title problems. In all, consumer claims totaling over $23,000 were paid from the fund to help resolve complaints against Steals on Wheels.
The Attorney General’s lawsuit, filed in the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas, accuses Leroy Braxton and Donetta Braxton of violating Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act and Certificate of Motor Vehicle Title Act by failing to obtain certificates of title for consumers in the time required by law. The lawsuit seeks reimbursement for the Title Defect Recision Fund, reimbursement for affected consumers, and an order to prevent Leroy Braxton and Donetta Braxton from holding an auto dealer license or selling to other consumers until they have made any payments required under the action.
Consumers who suspect an unfair or deceptive sales practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.