Friday, December 4, 2009
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CMC and the Long Arm of the Law
Nancy Fisher, who pleaded guilty, and also gave testimony, was sentenced to the United States Bureau of Prisons, Western region recommended, for four years, to surrender by noon January 8, 2010. Upon release she will be supervised for a term of 3 years, and in addition to pay restitution of $119,601 to Wachovia Bank, at the rate of $25.00 per quarter during the period of incarceration with the remaining payments after release at the rate of $50.00 or more a month.
Previously Kelly Fisher-Buh was sentenced to 12 months and a day followed by three years probation. She was also ordered to start her sentence on January 4, 2008 at 12 noon.
Kelly Fisher-Buh took a plea agreement in $300 million dollar tax evasion claimed by United States Attorney Carol C. Lam, who brought a twelve-count indictment charging Sterling Wayne Pirtle (president on paper), Ronald Allen Fisher, secretary-treasurer (her father), Mark Edward Fisher (her brother) with income tax evasion, arising from their receipt of unreported and untaxed income from their operation of a now-bankrupt corporation called Commercial Money Center. Inc. ("CMC").
The real head of the group was allegedly her father, Ronald Fisher, who was a chiropractor in Florida, who filed bankruptcy, moved to Nevada, and operated from an office in Las Vegas, and could not be on the corporate papers for that reason (similar to NorVergence's Thomas N. Salzano who had his brother Peter on the corporate documents as president as he also had a bankruptcy in his past, as well as Sheldon Player, whose business card read “consultant,” and his alleged wife Donna Malone was president of Equipment Acquisition Resources.)
Continuance of Sentences:
“August 2006, Ronald Allen Fisher, his son Mark Fisher, daughter Kelly Fisher, and business partner Sterling Wayne Pirtle, were indicted for tax evasion arising from income they earned at a now-bankrupt company they operated, Commercial Money Center (“CMC”). Kelly Fisher pled guilty to one count of tax evasion and was sentenced to prison in November 2007. Subsequently, a federal grand jury handed up a superseding indictment against Ronald Fisher, Mark Fisher, and Sterling Wayne Pirtle in December 2007, adding conspiracy and bank fraud charges related to their operation of CMC. This first superseding indictment alleged that the defendants engaged in a scheme involving the sale of pools of fraudulent sub-prime equipment leases to financial institutions by CMC. According to court filings, the defendants included $70,000,000 worth of fraudulent leases into the pools they sold to the financial institutions. Before it declared bankruptcy, CMC obtained over $300,000,000 from financial institutions through its sale of sub-prime equipment leases.”
The defendants admitted they engaged in a scheme through Commercial Money Center that involved the sale of pools of fraudulent sub-prime equipment leases to financial institutions.
According to the plea agreements, Pirtle and Fisher included $70 million worth of fraudulent leases in the pools they sold to the financial institutions.
Before declaring bankruptcy, CMC obtained more than $300 million from financial institutions through its sale of sub-prime equipment lease pools.
The tax evasion counts stemmed from unreported income each defendant earned at CMC. Both Pirtle and Fisher admitted they evaded payment of about $1 million each in personal income taxes on the millions of dollars they received from CMC.
These actions go back to 2002 indictments:
Amended Judgment: Nancy Fisher:
E.A.R. – Sheldon Player Up-date
The latest news has ICON Capital calling for an immediate "Default of Judgment" in its case against Equipment Acquisition Resources, Palatine for $24,709,667.45. They listed:
(To the accountants who are readers of Leasing News, our
new web master Rick Jones discovered he numbers don’t add up, $24,709,666.55 is what it should be, but the above is from the court filing. editor)
This brings the various suits outside the bankruptcy hearing up to a little over $43 million, which include Fifth Third Bank, $10 million, Home Federal Savings Bank, Rochester, Minnesota $3.2 million, Farmers Bank & Capital Trust, $2 million, Red Oak Acquisition, $2 million, and Bank of Dixon County, Ponca, Nebraska. $321,596. They do not include attorney fees or court costs.
In the Bankruptcy proceedings, that await a December 10, 2009 10:00am hearing at Courtroom 680 219 South Dearborn, Chicago, Illinois, the latest news comes from Charter National Bank and Trust,Hoffman Estates, Illinois regarding a note on the EAR facility, 555 S. Vermont Street, Palatine, Illinois with the borrowers Sheldon G. Player and Donna L. Malone, where the borrowers are charged with failing to make payments for October 30, 2009 and November 30, 2009.
The suit notes that "6. TD Banknorth Leasing Corporation also has a lien against the Property by virtue of a junior mortgage in the amount of $9,000,000 which was recorded on April 17, 2009. 7. After payment of the liens and all applicable commissions, fees, and expenses in connection with the sale of the Property, the Debtor will have no equity in Property and there will be no funds available to distribute to unsecured creditors. 8 Additionally, Debtor has admitted that there is no equity in the Property and has filed a motion seeking authority from the Court to abandon the Property which remains pending an undetermined.10.That no cause exists to delay the enforcement and implementation of relief and therefore Bankruptcy Rule 4001(a)(3) should be waived."
ICON Capital has a lien on the Wyoming real estate property, but there are questions regarding title, as well as the situation with both Charter National Bank and TD Banknorth Leasing find themselves in.
Charter National Bank motion:
Previous EAR-Sheldon Player articles:
"It is so slow…, if I was riding a bike, I’d fall over."
"It’s so slow that the lead headline on Leasing News is an article from nine years ago..."
“It's so slow...........the "open end lease" ..........has neither beginning nor ending !!!”
Please send entrees to email@example.com
(mostly chronological order)
"Hillcrest Bank remains adequately capitalized with an overall ratio of 8.2%. Losses experienced are due to responsible and prudent decisions to remove non-performing assets from our books in order to ensure a healthy, long-term endurance strategy, which includes the growth of our commercial leasing platform.
“Hillcrest Bank, founded in 1975, has weathered many economic downturns. We will continue to evolve in accordance with the ever changing commercial banking environment while conducting business in a responsible manner to efficiently serve our customers and benefit our partners."
Bank Beat---Hillcrest Bank, Hillcrest Bank Leasing
“Should we sue a major church?”
“I have had clients sue churches in the past with no problem.. I would have an attorney review the documents and then create a conformation of assignment for the lessee to sign acknowledging the obligation and current status of payments and restate end of lease options. ...Terry”
“On suing the church related university (on the inquiry posed in today's edition of Leasing News), that depends on where you could sue (such as with an enforceable forum selection clause) and if there is diversity of citizenship between all plaintiffs and all defendants and $75K+ in controversy to enable federal court practice. With good docs. in fed. court and a reasonable good judge, the lessor should be able to win on summary judgment. See the attached Kansas Benedictine opinion granting summary judgment for a lessor in federal court in Kansas against a private college in that state. Also, many states (such as Texas) enforce contractual jury waivers.
“I would like to emphasize the advantage of an enforceable forum selection clause and, when, proper, suing in federal court as opposed to a difficult state court.
“FYI, I successfully sued several churches for Copelco and other lessors in Texas, but am not a church hater; my father is a former pastor and is professor emeritus from a small church related college where my brother and I graduated.
“Attached is my article ‘Floating’ Forum Selection and Choice of Law Clauses, 58 S. Tex. L. Rev. 119 (Fall 2006), which discusses these clauses generally and Benedictine College vs. Century OfficeProducts.”
Paul H. Cross
"…. there was an article about Sysix and "a bank which was asking questions". That "bank" is Private Bank and the deal they're speaking of is Moody Bible Institute. What I find odd is that Private Bank "employs" either directly or on contact Ned Covic - the previous President of Sysix Financial, LLC who is directly tied to the fraudulent leases."
(name with held)
(First, the lessee is not Moody Bible Institute. Mr. Covic is not the president or employed by the bank asking the question, although he is or was president of Sysix Financial. editor)
Bob Krause is Back
"After suffering a stroke this past July and being out of commission for over four months I have resumed my duties with The Alta Group. It's good to be back."
Bob Krause Recovering Well
From a NorVergence Lessee/Victim re: Church Kiosk Scheme
"It is simply amazing to me that scams similar to the NorV Ponzi scheme continue using the same technique. Provide a high tech product...promise that payments will be made by a third party...lease the equipment...and then the payments stop leaving the victim to engage the leasing company who demands that payments still be made.
"Shame on the leasing companies for not preventing these situations. But ultimately the regulators, our federal and state governments, have to share the blame. They have known about this type of scam and have done little or nothing to prevent them from happening again. My state, VA, is particularly guilty of doing nothing and, in fact, continues to be one of the most big business-friendly, anti-consumer states in the country. Nobody seems to have heard the message that NorV sent out loud and clear."
The $40,000 Church Kiosk
"Kit, good luck with your switch over. I have used Constant Contact for years and am a happy camper with their service. Their IT guys are also very helpful if need be!
"I hope you are enjoying a happy, healthy & prosperous 2009!"
Paul Bosley, National Marketing Director
(New Web Master is Rick Jones, an independent contractor, available for other assignments. Editor)
“Congrats on once again ranking #1
Theresa M. Kabot, CLP
(Alexa Reports, working with Google, ranks web sites, with the most visited sites being #1 and so on. They are ranked by traffic. There is other information available, but in the posting you are referring to they include the leasing web sites and the higher the number, the less traffic they receive. Some are a lot higher, meaning less traffic, less being read, than others, so the lower the ranking, the better rating. Editor)
Leasing News is Number #1 in Alexa Report
"Thank you for sharing this customers' voice. As a suggestion to the solution I would like to add:
"Nobody would discourage businesses to improve the bottom line, but if you want to limit the number of people doing the same amount of work, you need to work differently or risk losing quality, morale and your top performers.
"Companies should focus on processes and not capacity: it is the means, not the end. An effective process is efficient by necessity, and will give you competitive edge in bad and good times!"
Kind regards, Sicco J Bier
View from the Top--by Steve Chriest
"I love this quote.
“'...the best way to characterize the situation is to say that the beatings on the economy have stopped, but that every bone has been broken.'”
NACM Credit Manager Index "Good News"
"I would like to offer you my strong support and congratulations for your recent introduction of Adopt-A-Pet within the Leasing News. I have been very involved with an animal rescue organization over the past 6 years and I am certain that many people don't realize that as bad as these current economic times have been for humans, they have been deadly for our animal friends. Most animal shelters are overloaded with abandoned and unwanted pets and these dogs and cats usually only have a few days before being put down. Animal rescue services go into the shelters, rescue these animals and place them into temporary foster homes until a more permanent home can be found. I highly encourage your readers to contact their local animal rescue service and be a volunteer foster home for an unwanted animal. It takes so little effort and expense to save one of these innocent lives."
Adopt a Pet
"We rescued a dog from a shelter a little over a week ago. His name is now Farfel. He is a 3 year old beagle hound mix who was rescued from a "kill" shelter in downstate Illinois. We're having great fun with him!
"By the way, I'm no longer working in the leasing business but I continue to read your website with great interest. A few years ago, I went back to school and then passed the CPA exam. I'm now controller of 2 companies (manufacturing and law firm) and I assist a sole practitioner during tax season. For your readers thinking about it, there is life after leasing."
"Do you know if Marlin is charging evergreen or wintergreen rent on dollar out leases? They say 71% of their leases are dollar outs. The $5.3MM in evergreen income as of Q3/09 (net of depreciation) compares to $744k in net operating income. Without the evergreen income, they would be losing over $4MM YTD. They LIVE off of the evergreen income. If they are charging it on their dollar out leases, they are very vulnerable to a class action lawsuit that would wipe out this practice and the sole source of their profits. Not sure if my logic is correct but I think so. Please do not publish this inquiry. I am just wondering about a deeper story here."
(name with held)
Marlin Leasing and Evergreen Clauses
"They (Marlin) also offer their vendors the option to share the evergreen - sales explains to vendor that it helps to lock their client and service of vendor. They also offer the same share with the IR (interim rent) charges."
"I was very surprised to see Frances FitzGerald and her birthday headlined in Leasing News. Fire in the Lake was, and is, a magnificent book to read. I read the book when it came out and, in another life, I was calling on a professor who was setting up a new course on Vietnam and asked him what books he was going to use in the course. They were dreadful books. I took him over to the college bookstore and pointed out Fire in the Lake, The Best and the Brightest and another book by a Colonel Colson whose title I cannot recall just now. Upon a return visit he told me that the students enjoyed Fire in the Lake immensely. It is a book I wish many more people had read.
"If you don’t mind a recommendation, as your son is involved in the Iraq and Afghanistan arena, I think Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam by John Nagl is quite an interesting read. While I doubt it will win any awards it is an instructive book on counterinsurgency efforts of the British and American armies."
Beige Book--"Weakness...Commercial Sector"
"Financial institutions generally reported steady to weaker loan demand, continued tight credit standards, and steady or deteriorating loan quality. In the agricultural sector, the fall harvest was delayed in the eastern half of the nation due to excessively wet conditions during October and early November..."
"Banks reported steady to softer conditions in most Districts. Loan demand was said to have weakened in the New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Dallas Districts. New York noted particular weakness in demand for home mortgage loans, whereas Richmond and St. Louis reported this to be the strongest segment of late. For the most part, the weakness appears to have been concentrated in the commercial sector, though Boston and Chicago reported some pickup in commercial real estate lending--largely refinancing. Credit quality showed signs of deteriorating in the New York, Philadelphia, Dallas, and San Francisco Districts but was described as stable or mixed in Cleveland, Chicago, and Kansas City, with Chicago reporting some improvement outside of commercial real estate. Increasingly tight credit standards were reported in the New York, Richmond, Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, and San Francisco--largely on commercial loans."
(This ad is a “trade” for the writing of this column. Opinions
In theaters, “Up in the Air” offers light comedy in difficult times, while “Bad Lieutenant” is, believe it or not, one of the year’s funniest movies. DVD releases include a modern yuletide classic (“A Christmas Tale”), a fascinating gangster thriller (“Public Enemies”), and the chance to see a great actress having the time of her life (“Julie & Julia”).
Up in the Air (Paramount Pictures): Jason Reitman (“Juno”) offers another crowd-pleasing comedy-drama in this smooth story of romance and salvation, which is already gathering talk of Oscar nominations. Dashing as ever, George Clooney plays Ryan, a devout bachelor whose job involves delivering the bad news to downsized corporate employees. He enjoys the perks of his job, until he meets Natalie (Anna Kendrick), a young upstart who threatens his own position, and Alex (Vera Farmiga), the woman who gives him a taste of his own medicine. Will Ryan reconsider his own attitudes, or will he plunge deeper into a life of suave cynicism? Though taking place in the midst of tough economic times, the movie’s spirits remain high and satisfying, making it an unique romantic comedy with a message.
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (First Look Studios): The story of a corrupt and morally bankrupt police officer was already filmed in 1992 by director Abel Ferrara as a tragedy. Instead of just remaking it, however, legendary German filmmaker Werner Herzog (“Grizzly Man”) shoots it as a pitch-black comedy about the limits of human experience. In his best performance in years, Nicolas Cage stars as Terence McDonagh, a homicide lieutenant making his way through the vice-filled streets of post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. Can his soul triumph over sin, or will Terence join the crime all around him? Though often dark, the material is surprisingly played for eccentric laughs and unexpected lyricism, a risky decision pulled off brilliantly by the cast. Not for the squeamish, but certainly worth a look.
Netflix tip: Sometimes the best choices come from surprising combinations. When searching for titles, don’t be afraid to mix categories, because you never know what might come up when you put “Foreign,” “Westerns” and “Classics” together.
New on DVD:
A Christmas Tale (Criterion): One of the most interesting filmmakers working today, French director Arnaud Desplechin offers a tragicomic banquet with this irresistible seasonal story. It follows the travails of the Vuillards, a large family often plagued by emotional and physical upheavals but is determined to put all troubles aside and pull through for the sake of the beloved matriarch Junon (French cinema legend Catherine Deneuve). With a record number of squabbling relatives and uncomfortable secrets, however, it’s a job easier said than done. Even though there’s no shortage of drama, the movie’s mood remains exhilarating, buoyed by strong emotions and an exceptional cast. With the holidays drawing near, audiences will have the chance to discover a new Christmas favorite to set aside the old classics. With subtitles.
Public Enemies (Universal Pictures): With the mix of visceral thrills and stylistic experimentation in "Collateral" and "Miami Vice", Michael Mann has become the most intriguing action director now at work. In this sleek, rousing portrait of the legendary Depression-era outlaw John Dillinger (excellently played by Johnny Depp), Mann goes even further by telling a story in 1930s dressing that, thanks to his use of digital video cameras, plays with a striking, present-tense feel. Following Dillinger's bank-robbing spree as he meets fellow criminal Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham), takes up with girlfriend Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard) and is chased by government agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale), Mann whips up a visually arresting tale that's unlike any other crime drama in recent years.
Julie & Julia (Sony): Meryl Streep is one of today's acting legends, and it's great to see take a holiday from heavy dramas in this lightweight, enjoyable comedy. Following her Oscar-nominated turn in "Doubt," Streep has a blast playing famous chef Julia Child, whose culinary efforts (including hosting her own TV show) broke through gender prejudices in the 1960s. Meanwhile, in the present, a parallel story follows Julie Powell (Amy Adams), a young blogger and aspiring writer who spends a year following Child's recipes to the letter. Director Norah Ephron ("Sleepless in Seattle," "You've Got Mail") is an experienced hand at dishing out this sort of comedic soufflé, and, even when the combination of the two stories falters, the two actresses remain a joy to watch.
Bare root roses are the easiest to plant and grow faster when transplant rather than from a pot; sometimes up to more than a year faster. In addition, when you purchase early you will get the top of the crop, and in a number of cases, some of the varieties sell out early.
You can keep the bare root dormant in the cold weather and plant when the soil is ready ( depending on your climate.) I usually prune in February and plant soon thereafter, right before spring, but this is a very warm climate in Santa Clara Valley.
One of the best roses I have grown in quite some time is "Firefighter" from Edmunds Roses, an exclusive. It is not only a beautiful red color, but extremely fragrant, quite prolific, especially for a young plant, and tall growing, meaning is not only a garden rose but for cutting, too. While Mr. Lincoln is a long time favorite, "Firefighter" is more hardy, more prolific, and in this climate, more fragrant.
To learn more about “Firefighter,” please go here:
I would always recommend "Double Delight" and for a hedge, this miniature that grows to two feet tall: "Gourmet Popcorn." Climbing Iceberg is my favorite climber, white and very fragrant, also small booms, but quite profuse and very prolific.
Many of the roses being sold by florists and large markets such as Whole Foods are Columbian, Ecuador, and other countries in South America. I have taken them and been able to grow new ones just from the stems they are so strong. But they are also fussy in the garden, more "hot house" than California climate.
Some of my favorite multi-color roses are Joseph’s Coat, a landscaping rose, as well as the changing color of Gold Medal. If you like lavender, “Heirloom” has the best aroma, in my opinion. At my former office, I grew 400 roses and my former house several thousand and was quite active in hybridizing and importing new roses: the first to bring the Paul McCartney rose to the United States, beautiful and fragrant but a weak neck in this climate.
Roses outside the Leasing News office (also American Leasing) Santa Clara, California:
More recommendations for roses:
"This is my very favorite!! He is Blind and terrified...again imagine living for 2 years in a cage AND being blind AND being terrified.
He is available for fostering and really needs someone to show him some love!!
“All of the dogs in this have very sad stories to tell- but this dog is the one that haunts me. I met him at the beginning of 2006 and since then I have thought about the fact that after all this time he is STILL in that cage- STILL shaking with fear. Then I think about the life he had even before going into the shelter."
"Please consider fostering him- if you cannot foster but would like to help get this dog out into a foster home please contact us about transporting or donating."
Visit Baldwin Park Shelter and ask about the Cindy Bemis dogs.
Adopt-a-Pet by Leasing Co. State/City
Adopt a Pet
### Press Release ##########################
Half of Franchise Business Leaders Cite Access to Credit as Top Concern
WASHINGTON—A $3.4 billion shortfall in lending to franchise businesses in 2010 will result in 134,000 jobs not created and $13.9 billion in economic output lost, according to new data released today by the International Franchise Association.
“Our data show that while there will be sufficient capital for franchise development in 2010, banks' continued risk aversion is limiting their willingness to lend,” said IFA President & CEO Matthew Shay. “A slow recovery with limited job growth underscores the importance of protecting and encouraging lending to small businesses, which account for 60 percent of all U.S. jobs. Immediately passing enhancements to government lending programs can shore up the $3.4 billion shortfall in lending. New franchise businesses can create much needed jobs – which will speed the U.S. economic recovery.”
The updated version of Small Business Lending Matrix and Analysis prepared for the IFA Educational Foundation by FRANdata, demonstrates the impact of the continuing credit crisis on the franchising sectors’ ability to recover from the recession, to develop new franchise units, and in doing so, create more jobs for the U.S. economy. Shay said that the Lending report and a new IFA Business Leader Survey are key components of the IFA 2010 Economic Outlook for Franchise Business that will predict the outlook for total jobs, units and economic output across 10 franchise business format sectors. The 2010 Outlook is scheduled for release mid-December.
The Lending report states that $1 million in franchise lending creates or protects an estimated 40 jobs and generates an estimated $4.2 million in economic activity.
“Increasing capital flow into the franchising sector can have a very positive impact on the pace of the U.S. economy,” Shay said. “Likewise, constrained capital flow will have a negative impact on franchising sector growth and the U.S. economic recovery.”
The report estimates that banks are expected to lend $6.7 billion to franchises in 2010 versus the $10.1 billion that would meet 100 percent of demand. The shortfall can be attributed to banks’ conservative approach to a weak economic outlook and uncertainty in the commercial real estate market. At 100 percent lending, franchise business could create or maintain 305,000 jobs and $32 billion of annual economic output in 2010. The $3.4 billion shortfall in lending would result in 134,000 total jobs not created or maintained and $13.9 billion of annual economic output.
IFA Policy Recommendations
Shay said that as in 2009, the Small Business Administration will have a critical role in 2010. FRANdata estimates that if changes are made to the SBA loan programs, available credit could increase in 2010 to $7.8 billion resulting in 46,000 additional jobs and $4.8 billion in additional economic output.
IFA has worked throughout 2009 with Congress and the Obama Administration to encourage important changes to the SBA loan programs that would improve this lending outlook, including:
• Increasing the maximum Small Business Administration loan limits from $2 million to $5 million.
• Re-institute the borrower fees on all 7(a) loans with amortizations over 15 years while eliminating or reducing lender fees on all 7(a) loans with amortizations under 15 years or alternatively on true start-ups with all amortizations.
• Make the 90 percent guarantee permanent for all loans with amortizations under 15 years, and adding a 100 percent guarantee for the first two years of a franchise start-up. For loans with amortizations over 15 years, restore the 75 percent guarantee.
Franchise Business Leader Sentiment
The survey shows the issues of greatest concern currently and in the year ahead are financing and access to capital. Nearly half of the survey respondents (49.2 percent) ranked “financing and access to capital” as their greatest concern followed by nearly one quarter of survey respondents (23.8 percent) who ranked “franchise sales/development” as their next greatest concern.
Survey respondents are somewhat optimistic about business conditions in the next 12 months than those surveyed a year ago. More than 40 percent of respondents stated that they expect business conditions will be “somewhat good” in the next 12 months, compared to only 25 percent of those surveyed in November 2008. Less than 20 percent (18.8 percent) stated they expect business conditions to be “somewhat poor,” compared to one-third (33.5 percent) in November 2008.
Half of the franchise business leaders surveyed indicated their employment levels to “stay about the same” in the year ahead, while 45 percent stated they plan to increase employment moderately to significantly, and only 5 percent stated they plan to decrease employment moderately.
About The International Franchise Association
### Press Release ##########################
People's United: Expanding into Equipment Leasing
Mortgage rates hover near historic lows
Manufacturing investment falls by record 40.7% in Japan
Obama: Don't expect additional stimulus spending from feds
17 million adults unbanked/43 million underbanked
FDIC : 12% of Georgians lack bank accounts
Bank of America’s $19.3 Billion Is Biggest U.S. Sale Since 2000
French leasing continues to fall
A Tax Gift for the Holidays
Oregon wins Civil War for the Rose Bowl, 37-33 http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/news/24078028-57/story.csp
Eli admits to autographing wall in visitors locker room of Cowboys new stadium
Arnold Schwarzenegger unveils dramatic climate change map which shows flooded San Francisco of the future
"Gimme that Wine"
Sagging economy slows grape contracts
‘Green’ wine needs clearer definition, experts say
2009 Vintage Report Card: Part 1
Wine Prices by vintage
Today's Top Event in History
1908-Football uniform numerals sewn on the players’ uniforms to enable the spectators easily to distinguish the players were used by the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, this day for the game against Washington and Jefferson College. The score was 14-0 in favor of Washington and Jefferson. The idea was so popular, the sewing of numbers of jersey swept all sports from this game.
This Day in American History
1950--DAVIS, RAYMOND G. Medal of Honor
Marv Levy read parts of this poem to the Buffalo Bills, many who reportedly asked for a copy. Here is the poem and the full story:
Sir Andrew Barton
"Fight on, my men," says Sir Andrew Barton,
"Fight on my men," says Sir Andrew Barton,
But when they could not hear his whistle blow,
With that they boarded this noble ship,
My lord Howard took sword in his hand,
He caused his body to be taken down,
The National Football League (NFL) has had only one head coach with a Harvard degree, but he was an awfully good one: Marv Levy, A.M. '51, who led the Buffalo Bills to four straight Super Bowl appearances--a feat matched by no other coach--was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. At the ceremony, ESPN's Chris Berman introduced Levy by booming out the coach's signature line: "Where would you rather be than right here, right now?"
That question, embodying a Zen-like wisdom, helped focus athletes for the battle. Levy used it before every game for 44 years. His NFL teams compiled a regular-season record of 143-112 and went 11-8 in the postseason. The Bills destroyed opponents with their famous "no-huddle" offense run by flashy quarterback Jim Kelly, and boasted stars like running back Thurman Thomas, receiver André Reed, and defensive end Bruce Smith.
But perhaps Levy's greatest coaching achievement came in remobilizing the Bills each fall during their four-year Super Bowl run, since the team lost each of those big games.
"Losing each one was tremendously disappointing," says Levy, who was 65 when the streak began. "I'd like to be able to say that we won one of them, or all four, but that's not going to change. Yet each time, our athletes showed their resilience--they got right back to work. The only way to win a Super Bowl is to get into it."
After the first loss, a 20-19 heartbreaker to the New York Giants, the coach recalled a small book of poetry his mother had given him when he went into the service, and typed out four lines from an unknown British poet:
“Fight on, my men, Sir Andrew said,
"Eight or ten players came up and asked for a copy of that poem," says Levy, who on another occasion cited Hemingway's definition of character as "grace under pressure," suggesting why one newspaper called him a "Renaissance man on the sidelines."
His own college-football career took place at Coe College in Iowa, where Levy was both a running back and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. "I loved the coaches at that small college--their high ideals," he recalls. "They were models who embodied everything I wanted to be." After graduation in 1950, he "reluctantly trudged off" to Harvard Law School, but immediately found himself sitting in classes thinking, "I don't want to be a lawyer--I can't take this." Levy called home to tell his father he was dropping out of law school, and that what he really wanted to do was be a football coach. "There were 30 seconds of painful silence," he recalls, before his father said, "Be a good one."
Levy quickly transferred into a master's program in history at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where he studied under luminaries such as Arthur Schlesinger Sr., Merle Fainsod, and Sidney B. Fay, who advised Levy's thesis on the Lend-Lease program. The future leader also attended every Harvard football game. "I cannot avow that what I learned at Harvard prepared me precisely for a career as a football coach," Levy wrote in a 1994 memoir for the Phi Beta Kappa newsletter, the Key Reporter. "Perhaps being in an environment where such earnest enthusiasm pervaded all the activities--intellectual and nonacademic--of those who made up the Harvard community helped me understand how important it is to be associated with people who are intrinsically motivated."
Levy's coaching career began at St. Louis Country Day School, and included college jobs at Coe, New Mexico, William and Mary, and Berkeley, where future San Francisco 49er coach Bill Walsh was his assistant. (In 1970 Levy would be a finalist for the Harvard head coaching job that ultimately went to Joe Restic.) In 1978 he got his first NFL head coaching job with the Kansas City Chiefs and joined the Bills in 1986, staying through the 1997 season. When Levy took charge of the New Mexico program, he was the youngest head coach of a major college team in America, and by 1994 he had become the NFL's oldest head coach. "Challenge my coaching accomplishments if you wish," he wrote in the memoir. "But my stamina, at least, defies criticism."
"I went into football because I enjoyed it," he says. "You are surrounded by these great role models, playing a game that's energizing--and that's your life's work? How lucky can you get?"
(by the way, the poem is really a ballad about a Scottish Captain killed by the British, a true story remembered as a song, but that is another story for another day.)
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