- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 22, 2009



Noble: Miami bank executive Leonard Abess Jr., for taking $60 million out of his own pocket to give bonuses to everyone on the payroll. In an era when bank owners and other corporate moguls spend much of their time explaining criminal/unethical behavior in court and begging for taxpayer money on Capitol Hill, Leonard Abess‘ selfless generosity stands out. In November, Abess sold a majority stake in City National Bancshares. He took $60 million from the proceeds and gave bonuses to all 399 members of the bank staff and also provided bonuses to 72 former employees. Some longtime employees received bonuses based on years of service which amounted to tens of thousands of dollars, in some cases more than $100,000. “Those people who joined me and stayed with me at the bank with no promise of equity - I always thought, some day I’m going to surprise them,” Abess said. “I sure as heck don’t need the money.” For voluntarily sharing the fruits of his success with his longtime colleagues, Leonard Abess Jr. is the Noble of the Week.

Knave: “Moderate” Muslim Muzzamil “Mo” Hassan, who is charged with beheading his estranged wife Aasiya in the suburban Buffalo studios of Bridges TV, the satellite television station he founded in 2004 to improve the image of Muslims in the United States. After repeated episodes of domestic violence in which police were called to their Orchard Park, N.Y., home, Aasiya Hassan filed for divorce Feb. 6 and obtained an order of protection barring her husband from the house. But despite the marital discord, the couple continued working together at Bridges TV, an American-Islamic satellite television channel which broadcast news, sports, entertainment and documentaries. The station struggled financially, and efforts to fashion a “moderate” image and better view of Muslims weren’t helped by station programming which included anti-Christian and anti-Jewish sermons; Muslim scholars questioning the origins of the September 11 attacks; appearances by defenders of the Iranian government; and suggestions that Americans were behind car bombings in Iraq.

Assiya filed for divorce on grounds of “cruel and inhuman treatment” that eventually escalated to death threats. “She lived her eight years of married life with fear in her heart,” her sister said.

Today, Mr. Hassan sits in jail awaiting trial on murder charges. For his cruel treatment of his wife and his betrayal of true moderate Muslims, Muzzamil Hassan is the Knave of the Week

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