gina - 3/3/2007 at 01:12 AM

Dog with a college degree

An attorney challenging the authority of the city’s police chief wants the department’s police dog to appear in court as an exhibit, because he says the dog and the chief have criminal justice degrees from the same online school.

The issue gives ‘one pause, if not paws, for concern’ about what it takes to get the degrees from the school based in the Virgin Islands, Gene Murray wrote in a court document filed.

Murray is seeking to have a drug charge against a client dismissed by arguing that police Chief John McGuire — who is accused of lying on his job application — was not legally employed and had no authority as an officer.

McGuire is to go on trial in March on charges of falsification and tampering with records. A special prosecutor said McGuire lied on his application and resume about his rank, position, duties, responsibilities and salary in three of his previous jobs.

McGuire was hired as chief of this northwest Ohio city a year ago.

The union that represents Fostoria police officers and dispatchers filed a lawsuit challenging McGuire’s hiring.

Murray said asking that the police dog, Rocko, show up in court at an evidence hearing is a key to discrediting McGuire, who took part in a traffic stop and search in October that resulted in drug possession charges against Clifford Green of Fostoria.

Both McGuire and Rocko, who is listed as John I Rocko on his diploma, are graduates of Concordia College and University, according to copies of diplomas that are part of Murray’s motion. The court filing did not say how the attorney knows that diploma is for the dog or how Rocko allegedly managed to enroll in the college. ap (Associated Press)
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Comments: Well he probably didn't use the excuse the dog ate my homework, the dog probably helped him study. C'mon Rocky is that right or not? One woof for yes, 2 for no!

PhotoRon286 - 3/3/2007 at 01:41 AM


That was entertaining.

Unlike a lot of your "stories".

BTW, the dogs name was "Rocko" not "Rocky".

gina - 3/3/2007 at 09:33 PM

Tony Blair and STOP THE WAR COALITION's single ‘WAR (What Is It Good For)’ has reached number 6 in the UK charts within a few days of its release.

The record features our beloved Prime Minister and his old university band, Ugly Rumours, to see his full music video check out this link

The track is being released to highlight the 4th anniversary of the war in Iraq which falls on March 19th.

If you want to show your support for Peace you can buy the song by texting the word “PEACE1” to 78789. (you will be sent a text with instructions on how you can download the track)

The song costs £1.50 with all profits going to the STOP THE WAR COALITION. If you want to know more you can go to or email

A number one will embarass Blair and highlight the plight of those in the Middle East so please take two minutes to purchase the track for this worthy cause and forward this email with the video link to all your friends.

gina - 3/3/2007 at 09:34 PM

The BBC have banned the hit single War, which features a Tony Blair lookalike in the accompanying video, over fears that its pro-peace message will offend the government. This is our cue to make it number one and then they will have to play it. Already national news have shown footage of the enormous anti-wart demonstration last Saturday, which they did not show at the time of the event!!

The record, by the band Ugly Rumours (Blair’s college band), is currently Number Six in the UK single chart and is expected to vie with Take That for the top spot this Sunday. The song, and the video, have already featured in a local BBC news programme and the single was the ‘and finally’ spot on last night’s ITV news. It has created enormous interest around the world. And has been played and broadcast on TV stations from Damascus to Mexico City .

The BBC Radio One Newsbeat programme was due to record a package about the single today, but pulled out at the last minute, claiming that the record was ‘not newsworthy’. However, sources at the highest level within the BBC have privately confirmed that a banning order has been instituted.

gina - 4/3/2007 at 12:15 AM

By Michael Barbaro, New York Times
March 29th, 2007
The investigator flew to Guatemala in April 2002 with a delicate mission: trail a Wal-Mart manager around the country to prove he was sleeping with a lower-level employee, a violation of company policy.

The apparent smoking gun? “Moans and sighs” heard as the investigator, a Wal-Mart employee, pressed his ear against a hotel room door inside a Holiday Inn, according to legal documents. Soon after, the company fired the manager for what it said was improper fraternization with a subordinate.

Wal-Mart, renowned to outsiders for its elbows-out business tactics, is known internally for its bare-knuckled no-expense-spared investigations of employees who break its ironclad ethics rules.

Over the last five years, Wal-Mart has assembled a team of former officials from the C.I.A., F.B.I. and Justice Department whose elaborate, at times globetrotting, investigations have led to the ouster of a high-profile board member who used company funds to buy hunting equipment, two senior advertising executives who took expensive gifts from a potential supplier and a computer technician who taped a reporter’s telephone calls.

The investigators — whose résumés evoke Langley, Va., more than Bentonville, Ark. — serve as a rapid-response team that aggressively polices the nation’s largest private employer, enforcing Wal-Mart’s modest by-the-books culture among its army of 1.8 million employees.

Wal-Mart is certainly not the only company, or even the first, to investigate its employees, a practice used widely in corporate America to guard against fraud and protect trade secrets. But despite the retailer’s folksy Arkansas image, few companies are as **** ly — or unforgiving — about its employees’ wayward behavior, a legacy of its frugal founder, Sam Walton, who equated misconduct with inefficiency that would cost customers money.

No case better demonstrates the company’s prowess — or, former employees say, its ruthlessness — than the exhaustive investigation of Julie Roehm and Sean Womack, two former top Wal-Mart marketing executives.

After Ms. Roehm sued Wal-Mart for wrongful termination, the company disclosed the results of the investigation last week in a detailed and at times salacious countersuit. Investigators obtained records that they said showed the two married executives had engaged in a sexual affair, accepted free meals from an advertising agency vying to win Wal-Mart’s business and begun negotiating a deal to leave Wal-Mart to work for that agency.

Yesterday, Ms. Roehm called Wal-Mart’s investigation “a smear campaign” intended to destroy her reputation and, in a nod to Wal-Mart’s investigative firepower, said the company had outmanned her with “ex-C.I.A. operatives” and “former F.B.I. men.”

The Wal-Mart investigation was striking in its scope. Lawyers for Wal-Mart subpoenaed Mr. Womack’s wife, Shelley, compelling her to give sworn testimony about how she discovered a sexual relationship between her husband and Ms. Roehm. They prompted her to turn over dozens of embarrassing e-mail messages that her husband had sent to Ms. Roehm from a private account.

“I miss you ridiculously,” began one of the e-mail messages from Ms. Roehm to Mr. Womack. “I hate not being able to call you or write you. I think about us together all the time. Little moments like watching your face when you kiss me.”

Wal-Mart investigators also persuaded the top executives at a major advertising agency, Draft FCB, and its parent company, the Interpublic Group of Companies, to turn over hundreds of confidential e-mail messages, dinner receipts and notes from meetings. One revelation was that Ms. Roehm accepted a case of Effen vodka, valued at nearly $400, from the chief executive of Draft FCB, calling the gift, which violated Wal-Mart’s policies, “a HUGE hit” in a thank-you e-mail message.

Ms. Roehm and Mr. Womack have denied they engaged in a sexual relationship or did anything wrong. Mr. Womack did not respond to phone messages.

Kenneth H. Senser, a former top official at the C.I.A. and F.B.I. who runs Wal-Mart’s security department, said cases like these showed that Wal-Mart was determined to enforce consistently its employment policies, no matter how high the rank of the workers involved. Both Mr. Womack and Ms. Roehm, for example, were senior executives with six-figure salaries.

“It’s been very clear from these investigations that the company has taken a definitive stand,” said Mr. Senser, who interviewed both Ms. Roehm and Mr. Womack before they were fired in late 2006. “The chips are going to fall where they may. If it’s a senior vice president or cashier in the store, we are going to look at the allegations the same way — and not give somebody a pass.”

Mr. Senser, 47, and his staff of roughly 400, investigate allegations of misconduct, guard Wal-Mart executives and prepare for potential crises of all kinds, from hurricanes to terrorist attacks. (During Hurricane Katrina, they established an emergency response center inside Wal-Mart’s headquarters, filled with flat-screen televisions, that resembled one used by the F.B.I.)

Their backgrounds are impressive, if not slightly intimidating. Mr. Senser was a senior officer in the C.I.A.’s office of security, which was responsible for investigating agents considered a security risk. After that, he supervised the development of an internal security department at the F.B.I. when the agency discovered that Robert P. Hanssen, one of its agents, had spied for the Soviet Union and Russia.

Joe Lewis, who runs the internal corporate investigations unit at Wal-Mart, worked at the F.B.I. for 27 years, serving as acting assistant director for criminal investigations. He works closely with Thomas C. Gean, chief legal compliance officer, who was the United States attorney for the Western District of Arkansas.

In an interview, H. Lee Scott Jr., Wal-Mart’s chief executive, said that “it has reached the point where there are issues that take specialized skills to get to the bottom of.”

Mr. Scott conceded that the team has been unusually busy lately. “You almost have to laugh,” he said of executives engaging in egregious conduct. “You can’t make this stuff up.”

Three weeks ago, for example, Wal-Mart fired a computer technician, Bruce Gabbard, and one of his superiors, Jason Hamilton, after a two-month investigation conducted by Mr. Senser and his staff. They found that Mr. Gabbard, acting alone, had taped phone conversations between members of Wal-Mart’s media relations staff and this reporter of The New York Times. Using equipment he bought on eBay, he also intercepted text messages sent from his colleagues’ BlackBerries.

Mr. Scott, who personally apologized for the incident, said Mr. Gabbard had tried to uncover the source of leaked internal documents shared with newspapers like The Times “because he thought what was happening to his company was unfair and he was going to do something about it.” Mr. Gabbard has declined to comment.

Behind Wal-Mart’s response to such cases is a proud preoccupation with sticking to the rules. Inside Wal-Mart’s spare headquarters, large signs affixed to the doors of meeting rooms spell out a ban on gifts of any value from potential vendors, whether it is a free plane ticket or a cup of coffee.

No wonder, perhaps, that wasted money — from suppliers and Wal-Mart employees — is a recurring theme in the company’s investigations.

One of the company’s biggest investigations was of a board member and former vice chairman, Thomas M. Coughlin, whom it accused in 2005 of dipping into company funds to pay for CDs, beer, an all-terrain vehicle, duck-hunting boots and a customized dog kennel. His total theft, Wal-Mart said, was more than $500,000.

As with Ms. Roehm and Mr. Womack, Wal-Mart spared no detail in its case against Mr. Coughlin, who pleaded guilty to federal charges in the case. Investigators documented dozens of improper purchases that included fiber supplements and doughnuts and, in legal filings, described him as a rogue executive committed to defrauding the company.

But not all of Wal-Mart’s investigations involve money, or even high-stakes business matters, prompting employees to protest that the company’s investigative arm is, at times, used to intimidate employees who question authority or raise issues their bosses wish to remain secret.

James W. Lynn, a factory inspection manager at Wal-Mart, was fired in 2002 for fraternization with a subordinate after an investigation that extended across several countries.

During the investigation, a company investigator followed Mr. Lynn and a lower-level female colleague who worked in Costa Rica on a business trip to Guatemala City, where he spied on the pair for at least four days — even booking a hotel room directly across the hall from the female employee’s room to keep watch on the pair. (In the end, both Mr. Lynn and the woman did say they kissed.)

Mr. Lynn, in an interview and in a wrongful-termination lawsuit filed against Wal-Mart, claims he was singled out because he openly criticized the working conditions in the Central American factories he inspected.

“Wal-Mart is the ultimate Big Brother in corporate America,” Mr. Lynn said. He disputes Wal-Mart’s claim that it investigates every employee the same way. “They are very opportunistic,” he said. “If it is someone they want to get rid of, they will go all out. If it’s somebody whose career they want to save, they won’t.”

Sarah Clark, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman, said the company “took the steps it deemed necessary to investigate the allegations of fraternization” and denied the company was motivated by Mr. Lynn’s criticism.

Mr. Senser, who arrived after the investigation of Mr. Lynn, said his staff knew its boundaries.

“We are not in the business of prosecuting people, or pursuing an allegation to find a violation of the law,” Mr. Senser said. “We operate for the benefit of our shareholders to make sure this company is being appropriately and ethically run. There is a difference.”

Stuart Elliott contributed reporting.

Comments: That's right Wal-mart hires CIA and FBI security people to follow it's employees around and see who's rolling back more than prices! Well I told ya it's strange news.

PhotoRon286 - 4/3/2007 at 12:43 AM

Already national news have shown footage of the enormous anti-wart demonstration last Saturday, which they did not show at the time of the event!!

Why are they protesting warts???

Warts are caused by viruses.

Lots of OTC remedies for dissolving them.

DougMacKenzie - 4/3/2007 at 01:04 AM

The CIA is investigating wart protestors?

PhotoRon286 - 4/3/2007 at 01:41 AM

The CIA is investigating wart protestors?

Never mind.

Bobo - 4/3/2007 at 04:47 PM

The CIA is investigating wart protestors?

Don't worry, Dug - they'll find you!

DougMacKenzie - 4/3/2007 at 09:55 PM


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