- Associated Press - Friday, May 29, 2015
Supreme Court case will decide public access to police files

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - News media organizations on Thursday asked the Tennessee Supreme Court to rule that some police records should be open to the public, even during an investigation and trial, while attorneys for the government argued that court rules put those records off-limits.

The Tennessean requested police records involving former Vanderbilt football players charged in the 2013 rape of a fellow student in a campus dormitory. Metro Nashville Police denied the request and the newspaper sued, along with other news media organizations, including The Associated Press.

At a Thursday hearing, government attorneys argued that a court rule protects evidence in a police file from public scrutiny until after a trial and all appeals are complete.

Lora Fox, representing the Metro Nashville government, said the court rule is an exception to the Tennessee Public Records Act, which requires most government documents to be open for public inspection. There would be no need for the rule if anyone could sidestep it by filing a public records request, she said.

Janet Kleinfelter, representing the state and the Nashville district attorney general, warned that anything less than closing all the police records until after prosecution could make it impossible to conduct a fair trial, “a fair determination of guilt or innocence.”

Robb Harvey, arguing for the news media organizations, said the court rule does apply to some police records, just not all of them. The rule in question specifically names records that are “made by the district attorney general or other state agents or law enforcement officers” and “statements made by state witnesses.”

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Atlantic City sues over failed community loan program

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - A loan program that was supposed to lend as much as $40 million to struggling homeowners and businesses in this cash-strapped resort city has given out nothing and has instead led to a federal lawsuit.

Atlantic City is suing to get back $3 million it gave to the company that has failed to run the Community Loan Program, launched in 2013 by Lorenzo Langford, the mayor at the time.

The company is partially owned by relatives of a former Langford aide, The Associated Press found. The company used most of the city money to buy a finance firm in Tennessee that has since had management of more than $6.6 million in government-backed loans taken away by the Small Business Administration.

As Atlantic City fights to overcome an economic downfall driven by its decimated casino industry, including cutting $40 million from its budget and slicing nearly 200 jobs, the suit raises questions about why money was fronted to provide loans that banks readily make.

The city says in its lawsuit that W. Wesley Drummon and his ZeMurray Street Capital misrepresented themselves, failed to deliver promised services and didn’t honor requests to return the money.

Felix Gonzalez, the lawyer for the company and Drummon, of New York, denies the city’s claims. He said in a filing this week that Atlantic City had lawyers review the loan program agreement and that the city is not a victim.

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Man sentenced to 50 years in shooting at Millington armory

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A Tennessee National Guard recruiter convicted of wounding three people inside an armory has been sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Amos Patton was convicted in February of nine charges, including four counts of assault with a firearm with intent to commit murder.

Authorities said Patton was angry after learning he was being removed from his job because a female soldier had accused him of sexual assault. He pulled a gun from a fanny pack and began shooting inside the Millington armory on Oct. 24, 2013.

The Commercial Appeal (https://bit.ly/1J5XMYchttps://bit.ly/1J5XMYc ) reported Judge John T. Fowlkes Jr. said the crime was serious even though no one was killed.

Before the sentencing Thursday, Patton addressed the court and said he prays for the victims and their families and asks for forgiveness.

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Dollar General names new chief executive officer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Discount retailer Dollar General has named a new chief executive officer.

The Tennessean reports (https://tnne.ws/1J8UjXt) that Todd Vasos will replace Rick Dreiling on June 3.

Vasos joined Dollar General in December 2008 as executive vice president, division president and chief merchandising officer.

He was promoted to chief operations officer in 2013. Prior to joining Dollar General, Vasos served in executive positions with Longs Drug Stores Corporation.

Dollar General plans to open 730 new stores this year as it expands its footprint into Maine, Oregon and Rhode Island.

The Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based company reported a net income of $355 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to $322 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.


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