A tribute to John Patrick Tierney, one of the 2,996 victims of 9/11


John Patrick Tierney was born and raised in Staten Island, New York. He attended local schools St. Charles Catholic Elementary School, St. Joseph by the Sea Catholic High School. He graduated from St. John’s Catholic University in Staten Island in 1997 with a degree in psychology.

Johnny was a new firefighter, with only 8 months on the job. He graduated from the academy in July 2001, and his new assignment with Ladder Company 9 in Manhattan began only six weeks before the tragedy. His mother said that he wanted to be assigned to Manhattan “to be where it’s busy and he could learn the job and really get out there.”

While still on probationary status, Johnny had his five minutes of fame. He was pictured in a newspaper fighting a fire in Queens. This was Johnny’s first fire. (If anyone has this picture, please email me so that I can post it. I’ve searched high and low, but have been unable to track it down.)

On September 11, Johnny was finishing a night shift with Engine 33, that was to end at 9:00 a.m. He was supposed to go home, but was so dedicated to his job that he stayed to help. He jumped onto a fire truck that was so crowded as it headed toward the World Trade Center, he had to sit on another firefighter’s lap.

Johnny’s mother prayed that morning he was headed home to Staten Island. But it was not to be. Always willing to help, he had to join his fellow firefighters going to the disaster site.

When Johnny arrived at the World Trade Center, he was told that he didn’t have to go in, but he insisted that he wanted to help. His team entered North Tower, 1 World Trade Center and climbed to the 30th floor when a call to evacuate the building came.

Johnny was last seen in the lobby of North tower. Five members of the team made it out safely, while 3 (including Johnny) were never seen again. Johnny is one of 343 missing firefighters. Of the 343 firefighters lost in the tragedy, 60 of them (including Johnny) were off-duty at the time.

His cousin, John Schreiner, said “For the past two years or more, all he could think about, and his only goal, was to be a firefighter.” His family describes him as happy with his life. His hobbies included fishing, camping, and playing the guitar. His favorite music included Bob Dylan and the Beatles.

Johnny was age 27 at the time of his death. He is survived by his mother, Helen, his father, John, his brother, Thomas, his sisters, Mary and Jeannie, his nephews, Thomas and James, and his niece, Margaret.

The family was overwhelmed by the kindness of Johnny’s fellow firefighters, who invited them to see the firehouse where he worked.

In the words of Johnny’s mom:

It’s so hard to believe that a year has gone by since we last saw you. It seems like it was just the other day that you were with us and we miss you more than words can say. Life is difficult for us sometimes and we will never be the same without you. We have very sad moments because you were snatched away from us at a very young age.However, no one can take away our love for you and all the memories we have of the happy times you brought to our lives…

We remember how hard you worked to get on the Fire Department. When we went to your graduation last July we were so proud of you because you were happy at your new job. A fellow firefighter told us you were the best probie he ever met.
We know you’re telling us to smile more, Johnny. It’s not easy right now but I promise you, we will. Your memory is always with us now and forever.

My heart is heavy as I vividly recall how I felt on September 11, 2001. There are no words to express my gratitude to Johnny and my deep sympathy for his family and friends.

Thank you to the following sources for providing information for this tribute: cnn.com, New York Times, Legacy.com, Newsday.com, Staten Island Advance, and Bravest Memorial.

The list of all 2,996 tributes and writers is here.

Jeweler Charged With Money Laundering


Milwaukee area jewelery Harry C. Glinberg has been charged with money laundering, and has been accused of significantly underreporting his income to the IRS. He was arrested last week and is currently free on a signature bond.

Glinberg is accused of selling expensive jewelry to drug dealers for cash. The jewelry store is known for selling watches costing thousands of dollars, including diamond encrusted watches that retail for $30,000. Continue reading

Convicted felon Boris Gokhman ordered to pay $90,000


Milwaukee real estate developer Boris Gokhman was ordered to pay $90,000 in a civil lawsuit related to his defrauding of Medicaid. The civil forfeiture equals $5,000 each for 18 [tag]fraudulent claims[/tag] submitted to Medicaid.

The civil and criminal cases relate to an [tag]investigation[/tag] of the now defunct Cares R Us Home Health Care Agency Ltd. The company received more than $1 million in Medicaid money for nursing and personal services that were not performed or were not necessary.

Gokhman.s part in the [tag]fraud[/tag] included submitting false time sheets for services never really provided to his parents, who were Cares R Us clients. He claimed that he provided services on 650 consecutive days, when in reality he was traveling in the U.S., Canada, and Caribbean for many of those days. The [tag]fraudulent[/tag] billings brought in $29,000 to the company, of which Boris was paid $12,050.

In September 2004, Boris was sentenced to a year of probation and a fine of $7,500 after pleading guilty in the criminal portion of the case.

Boris, a Russian immigrant, has developed hundreds of apartments and condominiums in the Milwaukee area with his company, New Land Enterprises LLP.

Democrats are exploiting workers


Bill Lueders of Isthmus has broken this story about Decmocratic candidates paying workers less than [tag]minimum wage[/tag] for their work on a [tag]campaign[/tag] to raise the minimum wage.

Here’s the story:

A group that raises money for Democratic Congressional candidates uses a [tag]canvassing[/tag] company that pays some workers submimium wage, in apparent violation of Wisconsin state law, to talk about the need to raise the federal minimum wage, Isthmus newspaper has learned.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), based in Washington, D.C., has hired Grassroots Campaigns, a Boston-based for-profit company with operations in 18 U.S. cities, to conduct canvassing on its behalf. The DCCC’s “New Direction for American” agenda, which provides the talkiing points canvassers are taught to use to solicit contributions, includes a call to “Raise the minimum wage.”

What follows is an article on this topic from Isthmus‘ Sept. 1, 2006 edition, and several suppporting documents.

The handout labelled “[tag]Grassroots[/tag] [tag]Voter Outreach[/tag]” was provided by Miles Kristan, a Madison student who worked for Grassroots Campaigns, soliciting money for the DCCC. Emily Larsen, the regional director for Grassroots Campaigns (her region includes Madison as well as offices in Minnesota, Texas and Colorado) and Wes Jones, the company’s national canvass director, both say that Grassroots Voter Outreach is distinct from Grassroots Campaigns. Jones describes it as a “sister” company that solicits money for nonpolitcal nonprofit groups.

But the terms of employment appear similar, including the stipulation that “A canvasser who does not meet quota will not receive base pay and will instead be paid” a percentage of what he or she collects. The handout specifies that Grassroots Voter Outreach pays a 30% rate to those who do not make quota; Jones and former Madison employees of Grassroots Campaigns say they received a rate of 47%, which could and sometimes did amount to less than minmum wage.

More Proof of Milwaukee Alderman’s Perjury


Will the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office fail to take action AGAIN??? Milwaukee Alderman Michael McGee Jackson is officially the father of Kimley Rucker’s child, as proven by a DNA test.

Kimley is the woman who filed for a domestic violence restraining order against McGee/Jackson because of his abusive behavior.  McGee/Jackson threatened to kill her while in the courtroom for a hearing on the matter.

The child was born on July 8.  McGee/Jackson testified in court that he only had sex with Kimley once, in August of 2005.  That would be impossible if the child was born at full-term.  The child had to be conceived sometime between September and November of 2005, thereby proving that McGee/Jackson’s statements in court were untrue.

Kimley’s attorneys are pushing the District Attorney’s Office to file criminal charges of perjury against McGee/Jackson, but we know how far they’ll get with that.  Previous instances of perjury by McGee/Jackson have been overlooked so far.

Merge Discloses Accounting Errors and Irregularities


Merge Technologies Inc. disclosed in its 2005 financial statement filings with the SEC that company executives had bypassed [tag]internal controls[/tag] over the accounting function in order to inappropriately increase revenue and profits since 2002. Correcting these [tag]irregularities[/tag] decreases the company’s profits for those years.

Experts are a bit surprised that the company is admitting to the potentially illegal conduct. The SEC is conducting an informal inquiry into Merge’s accounting practices, and this admission could lead to the SEC elevating it to a formal inquiry.

Merge Technologies does business as Merge Healthcare, and the company develops software for diagnostic imaging centers, manufacturers of medical imaging equipments, and some hospitals.

Problems with the financial statements came to light shortly after a June 2005 purchase of Cedara Software Corp, which more than doubled Merge’s size.

The restated figures are:

2005 – Revenue $82.6 million; Net loss $2.7 million

2004 – Revenue $26.3 million (decrease of over $10 million); Net income $2.2 million (decrease of over $5 million)

2002 through 2003: Revenue decrease of over $6 million; Net income decrease of $3 million

Polygamist and Fugitive Warren Jeffs Apprehended


Warren Jeffs, a known polygamist and fugutive, was caught this week after the Cadillac Escalade in which he was riding was pulled over by the Nevada Highway Patrol.

The trooper who pulled over the vehicle said something didn’t seem right as soon as he approached the vehicle. The FBI arrived on the scene and found 3 wigs, 15 cell phones, letters to “President Warren Jeffs,” $54,000 in cash and $10,000 in gift cards. Continue reading

Still Nothing Done in the Milwaukee Public Museum Scandal


Back in January of this year, County Board Supervisor James White suggested that the Milwaukee Public Museum be subjected to the scrutiny of a [tag]forensic audit[/tag]. The museum’s coffers had been emptied by incompetent and possibly corrupt employees.

At that time, Assistant District Attorney David Feiss claimed that he was conducting an investigation of his own that would be quickly wrapped up. He said within a month. Here we are, seven months later with no results from him or the Milwaukee District Attorney’s office. Continue reading

Former Milwaukee police officer Jon Bartlett is going to prison


Former Milwaukee [tag]police officer[/tag] Jon Bartlett has been sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison following his convictions on [tag]felony[/tag] charges related to [tag]bail jumping[/tag] and threatening to blow up the police station where he used to work.

Judge David Hansher called Bartlett a “menace to society” and followed his prison time with 5 years of [tag]probation[/tag] and a $10,000 fine. Hansher said to Bartlett, “I find you are a ticking time bomb about to explode at any minute.”

Barlett is currently being held by federal officials on charges of trying to buy two firearms, which is prohibited for anyone charged with a felony. He also faces state charges of substanial battery in the Frank Jude Jr. beating case, as there was a hung jury on those charges earlier this year. He also faces potential federal charges in the Jude case.

Jon Bartlett spent 5 years on the Milwaukee police force before being fired on May 24, 2005 for participating in the Frank Jude beating. Eight other off-duty officers were also fired for their part in the Jude case. Bartlett was still receiving his paycheck (even though fired) under state law, and has been paid about $97,000 under this law. That will end as of today, due to his felony conviction.

Civil Settlement with Prudential Financial to be Announced


The United States Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the National Association of Securities Dealers and the New York Stock Exchange, are expected to announce a civil settlement with Prudential Financial Inc. on Monday. This will settle claims that brokers in the company’s securities unit assisted investors to rapidly trade mutual fund shares (known as market timing).

Five former Prudential Securities brokers and their branch manager in Boston were accused of assisting sophisticated investors to market time trades of mutual funds, with profits over $1.3 billion. Action is taken in cases like this because rapid trading tends to raise expenses and lower profits for long-term shareholders in a fund.

The settlement of about $600 million will be one of the biggest in the broad investigation of market timing, and will help the company avoid criminal prosecution. Prior to the Prudential settlement, total settlements of $3.5 billion were reached in the market timing scandal.