State News Section
Auburn's associate head coach already fired according to press release after federal indictments unsealed in basketball scandal
AUBURN, ALABAMA (CCN) — An associate head basketball coach at Auburn University has been fired, according to an announcement by university officials on Wednesday. The press release revealed that Chuck Person, who had been suspended without pay after he was indicted in September, was fired on Oct. 18.
Person was indicted Tuesday in New York City's U.S. District Court with seven others on charges of federal bribery, conspiracy and fraud charges as part of an on-going FBI investigation into what officials have described as the "criminal influence of money on coaches and student-athletes."
Long-time Louisville Cardinals Coach RIck Pitinio was fired on Oct. 16 after news of the scandal implicated his program. University officials at Louisville also fired Athletic Director Tom Jurich on the same day.
A tweet Wednesday from NBC News reporter Tom Winter reported that things have become worse for Pitino after the U.S. Attorney's Office revealed more details about the case when indictments were unsealed. Winter said the FBI has now alleged that Pitino was "Coach-2" earlier named as one who "had knowledge of and directed payments to players."
The Montgomery Advertiser obtained the 27-page federal indictment Tuesday night against Person and co-defendant Rashan Michel and reported that Auburn officials told the newspaper that Person "is no longer an employee. As such, this is in the hands of the criminal justice system."
The criminal complaint alleges that Person and Michel conspired to obtain $91,500 from a cooperating FBI witness over a 10-month period and Person agreed to "use his official influence" over Auburn players to steer them to sign with specific financial consultants and buy suits from Michel who is a former NBA official who founded Thompson Bespoke Clothing. Michel's company is a high-end men's clothing company based in Atlanta which has become a tailor-to-the-stars with custom-made suits for college players on draft night events for both the NFL and the NBA. The indictment says Person allegedly used part of the $91,500 in bribes to steer Auburn players to Pittsburgh financial adviser Marty Blazer when they turn pro. The indictment unsealed o Wednesday alleges that Person told Blazer he gave $18,500 to the families of two Auburn players.
The Montgomery Adviser reported that the players are center Austin Wiley and forward Daniel Purifoy, according to The Montgomery Advertiser.
Auburn Coach Bruce Pearl announced after the indictments were unsealed that he is indefinitely holding out 6-foot-11 sophomore center Austin Wiley and 6-foot-7 sophomore forward Danjel Purifoy, citing only "potential eligibility issues."hours before Auburn's only exhibition game last week, a 100-95 loss to Division II Barry University.
Michel and Person are required to release "any and all property, real and personal, that constitutes or is derived from proceeds traceable to the commission of said offenses, including but not limited to a sum of money in United States currency representing the amount of proceeds traceable to the commission of said offenses."
Person was released on $100,000 bond last month after making an appearance in U.S. District Court in New York. If found guilty of the charges, Person faces a maximum sentence of 80 years in federal prison.
Person, 53, played in the NBA after becoming Auburn's all-time leading scorer. He was placed on suspension without pay following his Sept. 26 arrest on charges of bribery conspiracy, solicitation of bribes and gratuities, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and travel act conspiracy.
"Chuck Person in describing his influence over one of his players put it this way, 'He listens to one person, that is me,'" said Joon H. Kim, acting United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. "Chuck Person also said that his players trusted and looked up to him because he coached Kobe Bryant and worked for Phil Jackson."
Aattorney Theresa Trzaskoma said Tuesday that Person didn't commit any crimes. The indefinite suspension of Wiley and Purifoy came
“We're still not in a position where we can determine their eligibility yet so therefore, out of caution, they weren't eligible to play,” Pearl said following the exhibition loss on Thursday. “It's indefinite. It could be short or it could be longer. We don't know.”
Part of the $91.500 received by Person allegedly includes Person saying on camera to uncover agents bribes that he paid bribes of $11,000 and $7,500 to family members of two Tigers in order to steer them toward financial advisers. Person also allowed for meetings to take place between the mothers of the players and the people Person was working with in the alleged scheme.
Person was about to begin fourth season at Auburn and has been a mainstay in the major rebuilding project under Pearl. The Brantley native was promoted to associate head coach in May 2015 after spending his first season as an assistant coach.
Person, who played alongside fellow Auburn and NBA greats Charles Barkley and Chris Morris, is the all-time scoring leader in Auburn history with 2,311 points in 126 games — without the 3-point shot. His 18.3-point career average is sixth in school history. He is also the school record holder for field goals made (1,017), field goals attempted (1,899) and is third in total rebounds (940).
While in the NBA, Person played for and was on the coaching staffs of some of the greatest coaches in the history of basketball including Jackson, Gregg Popovich, Jack Ramsay and Rick Carlisle.
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New Flint City Council to do third day behind closed doors on long term drinking water decision
FLINT (CCN) — The new Flint City Council will meet for a third straight day behind closed doors in an attempt to make a decision on their community's long-term drinking water source. A federal judge had threatened to hold the council in contempt of court after refusing to go along with Mayor Dr. Karen Weaver's recommendation to sign a 30-year extension with Detroit-based Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), but didn't do so after a 30-day extension was worked out between the city and GLWA before the Nov. 7 elections. Five new members were elected to the nine-member council on Nov. 7 and U.S. District Court Judge David Lawson has given until Monday to come up with a plan. They met several hours in executive session on Wednesday after also going behind closed doors to talk about the water contract at their initial meeting on Monday which went more than 6 1/2 hours when ending after 2 am on Tuesday.
Click above to hear Wednesday's episode for The Daily Gazette Sports Night Show with Executive Editor Mike Killbreath and his team of Sports Writers at The Daily Gazette. The one-hour program airs every weeknight at 6 o'clock, and often includes an opportunity for listeners to call and voice their opinions on the latest sports world topics.
Click above to hear Friday's Morning Gazette Radio Show with award-winning investigative reporter Mike Killbreath. He serves as a watchdog over your tax dollars and spreads a little Metro Flint Pride every weekday live from 8-9 am on CCNRADIO.net.
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Click above to hear the last episode for The Daily Gazette Sports Weekend Show with Mike Killbreath. He's an award-winning sports columnist with a long history of championship ways in the local Flint area coaching ranks of baseball, basketball, ice hockey and roller hockey. He counts 5 state championships along with numerous regional, league and tournament championships. Mike's 3-hour tour through the world of sports every Saturday is the longest running local sports show on local radio.
Fake claims by Flint mayoral candidate rank right up there as most disgusting political stunts; FBI now investigating David Meier
If anywhere there's a hall of fame for disgusting political stunts, we have an entry here in the Metro Flint area. It's a stunt worthy of an orange jump suit.
David Meier, one of 18 candidates who want to be Flint's next mayor on Nov. 7, is now under investigation by the FBI for fake claims proclaimed last week during an interview with me on The Morning Gazette Radio Show. The mayoral candidate told my listeners he was awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor by President Richard Nixon for his heroism during the Vietnam War.
Meier also said he was a brigadier general who had "faithfully and loyally served my country in Vietnam and every war that America has been in since then." He also told my listeners that he had been employed by the CIA and had done missions since the age of 15.
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Daily Gazette Sports Night Show adds former NFL star Chris Wilson and his coaching buddy Fisher to analyze Detroit Lions
The Daily Gazette Sports Night Show has added former NFL star Chris Wilson and his Flint Jaguars coaching buddy Trace Fisher to analyze the Detroit Lions for listeners. Wilson became head coach of the Jaguars this season after ending his Canadian Football League career following a five-year stint as a defensive end star with the Washington Redskins of the NFL. He's a former Flint Northern great who made the Redskins as a non-drafted player after playing at Northwood University in Midland. Fisher, who left Powers Catholic's coaching staff to join WIlson's staff this year, is a former Grand Blanc Bobcats star who played at Wayne State University.
Detroit Lions need to rally to beat lowly Cleveland Browns to keep NFC North Division title hopes alive as Vikings, Packers win
DETROIT (CCN) — The Detroit Lions rallied from a 24-17 deficit with a late third quarter touchdown and two more in the fourth quarter to beat the lowly Cleveland Browns 38-24 in front of a sellout crowd Sunday afternoon at Ford Field in Detroit. Quarterback Matthew Stafford passed for 192 yards in the second half after a slow start against the winless Browns who fell to 0-9. Detroit improved to 5-4 in the NFC's North Division where the Minnesota Vikings went to 7-2 after beating the Washington Redskins on Sunday. The Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears to stay tied with the Lions at 5-4.
Stafford, who was 17 of 26 for 249 yards on the day, drilled a game-tying 8-yard TD pass to Theo Riddick late in the third quarter before connecting with Eric Ebron on a go-ahead 29-yard TD pass early in the fourth quarter. He hooked up on a screen pass to Golden Tate with 4:36 to go that Tate rambled 40 yards up the middle with for a game-clinching score.
Other stars for the Lions included Jamal Agnew, the NFL's leading punt return man, with returns of 29 yards and 49 yards, Nevin Lawson with a 44-yard run to paydirt after scooping up a fumble, Ameer Abdullah rushed for 54 yards including an 8-yard TD scamper and Darius Slay had an interception in the end zone.
Rookie Luke Kennard powers Pistons to sweep of 5-game homestand at Little Caesars Arena 112-103 over Miami Heat
DETROIT (CCN) — Rookie Luke Kennard hit key buckets in the fourth quarter Sunday night to power the Detroit Pistons to a 112-103 victory over the Miami Heat. The victory gave the Pistons a five-game sweep of their homestand at Little Caesars Arena. They're now 10-3 for second place behind the 12-2 Boston Celtics in the NBA's Eastern Conference where they lead the Milwaukee Bucks by 3 1/2 games and the Cleveland Cavaliers by 4 games in the Central Division.
Kennard, Detroit's first round draft choice out of Duke, made his first big splash after recently returning from a stint in the minors with Detroit's G-League affiliate in Grand Rapids. Kennard scored 14 points off the bench on 6-of-11 shooting from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers. He also grabbed five rebounds and passed out three assists. His jumper gave the Pistons a 91-86 lead and Kennard added a runner in the lane and a 3-ball on back-to-back trips to spark a 6-0 run that built a 99-92 lead after Miami cut the margin to 93-92.
Tobias Harris led the PIstons overall with a 25-point night that featured 5-of-8 shooting behind the 3-point arc. Avery Bradley added 24 points, Reggie Jackson scored 17 points and Andre Drummond scored 8 points to go with spearing 17 rebounds.