This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2011
Mentoring a path to success
Nonprofit gives disadvantaged students a boost toward college
E RICA W . M ORRISON
anae Black is looking forward to her senior year in high school, when she can line up for the 100-meter dash again. For now, though, it’s all about the books. Black, 17, a junior at Elizabeth Seton High School in Bladensburg, put track — and ballet, another of her passions — on hold to prepare her grades for the rigor of college applications. The choice impressed her grandmother, who has raised her for most of her life. “She gave all that up to buckle down and do what she has to do,” said Laurese Black-Lowe of Capital Heights. Black and her grandmother credit much of her determination to Ayesha Edwards-Kemp, Black’s mentor for the last three years through a program called Capital Partners for Education. CPE recently was awarded $30,000 by Washington Post Charities, a McCormick Foundation Fund that aims to support D.C.-area nonprofit organizations with programs focused on increasing educational opportunities for disadvantaged children. “When she started asking questions about college, I realized she had been listening to what I was saying,” said EdwardsKemp, a management and program analyst for the U.S. Department of Education and an Elizabeth Seton graduate. Black wasn’t always keen on college. After hearing stories from Black-Lowe, who is enrolled in college courses, and watching her older sister — now a student at St. John’s University in New York — go through the application process, she wanted nothing to do with it. “I didn’t want to go to college,” said Black, who said she is now considering Towson, Georgetown and other area universities. “But it’s not an option.” Black is one of 113 students currently working with CPE, a nonprofit organization that steers students to area private high schools, provides up to $4,500 in financial aid and
MARK GAIL/THE WASHINGTON POST
matches students with support — including mentors, test preparation, etiquette instruction and resume building. Created in 1993, CPE has helped 400 students over 19 years. The organization says 70 percent of the students who start in their freshman year graduate from high school and attend college; 73 percent finish college. Every one of their students who graduated from high school this year is now at college, according to CPE. The mentors are key to those numbers, according to CPE Executive Director Khari Brown. “Anyone who has been successful has had a mentor,” said Brown. Brown, a former high school basketball coach who has been with CPE for 11 school years, says the program attempts to give students the same advantages as those from any other family. “Our goal is to remove barriers of income, social and economic class that these students may encounter,” Brown said. Qualifying students must be entering ninth grade, apply to one of CPE’s partner schools, live in the D.C. area and meet a maximum income requirement. Once accepted, they must maintain satisfactory grades, demonstrate good behavior and participate in all of CPE’s programs — including community service and other workshops. And mentorship. “My mentor, she pushes me to do my homework,” Black said. “She tells me about how life was at Seton and how she always wanted to go to college.”
It took a year before Black truly opened up to her, Edwards-Kemp said, but they are now close. “It’s almost like a sister relationship, but sometimes like a mother because I have to crack a whip,” Edwards-Kemp said. “In the beginning, I was doing all the talking, and she did all the listening. Now it’s reversed: I get all of the stories and do most of the listening.” Edwards-Kemp and Black talk once a week by phone, multiple times via Facebook and hang out every two weeks — with trips to the movies, shopping and other things Black described as “girly.” Her grandmother approves wholeheartedly. Black’s mother was a drug addict, even using drugs while pregnant, and she died shortly before her 15th birthday; Black-Lowe has looked after her granddaughter since she was 7 months old. When Black-Lowe took responsibility for Black and her sister, she said, she vowed three things: That they should move forward rather than be defined by their mother’s fate, that they would be raised with God in their lives and that they would get an education. She credits Edwards-Kemp with a key role in that plan. “She’s showing Tanae that there are other things out here in life and you have to put your best foot forward and strive for excellence and success,” Black-Lowe said. “I like that about her.”
firstname.lastname@example.org For more information, visit washingtonpostcharities.com.
Rhonda Martin, left, listens as Maryland Legal Aid lawyer Teresa Cooke goes over ways she plans to help Martin, who has been evicted from a Prince George’s townhouse after falling behind on her rent.
More seek Legal Aid in hard times
Agency deals with budget cuts even as its client rolls swell
J IMM P HILLIPS
Guaranteed the Most Comfortable Pillow You’ll Ever Own!
Hi, I’m Michael J. Lindell, Inventor, Manufacturer, and ® President of MyPillow , Inc. Years ago, like you, I found myself extremely frustrated with my pillow going ﬂat. Most pillows are designed to break down. I would wake up in the morning with a sore arm, my neck would hurt, my ﬁngers would be numb, I would toss and turn all night not knowing why. I tried many different pillows on the market and none of them worked. So, I started to research pillows and study sleep disorders. I was adamant about creating the world’s healthiest, most comfortable, and most durable ® pillow. MyPillow uses our unique, patented medical ﬁll that stays cool, conforms to your exact individual needs regardless of sleep position, and stays healthy for your full 10-Year Warranty. It is dust mite resistant, non-allergenic, and you can wash and dry it as easily as your favorite blue jeans.
Rhonda Martin listened as her attorney, Teresa Cooke, went over what she needed to do to end a harrowing housing dispute. Next to Martin was a binder filled with copies of contracts, bills and other papers documenting her troubles. First, she faced eviction from her Prince George’s County townhouse and a lawsuit over more than $9,400 in unpaid rent, which is what sent her to Cooke in early September. Now, having agreed to vacate her home, Martin was trying to find a place to live, which is why she was back at Cooke’s office in Riverdale looking for help. “I’m trying not to become homeless,” she said. “I’ve never been in that situation.” For nearly a quarter-century, Cooke has been a lawyer for the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, working with people to help them keep a roof over their heads. “We’re going to work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Cooke said of Martin’s fear of becoming homeless. As Maryland Legal Aid celebrates its centennial this year, the national housing crisis, which has hit suburban Washington hard, is making the work it does even more vital. At the same time, the agency, like similar organizations across the country, is grappling with funding cuts that make it harder to help the increasing number of people in need of assistance in civil cases. For example, Prince George’s, the second-most-populous jurisdiction in the state, has endured more foreclosures than any other in Maryland. And the economic downturn has brought Legal Aid
prospective clients that the organization would not have seen 10 years ago. “I review a lot of the intakes, and we’re getting people from Potomac calling us,” Cooke said. “But these individuals are now actually financially eligible for our services.” In most cases, a potential client must not have a household income that exceeds 125 percent of federal poverty guidelines. A four-person family would meet this year’s guidelines if it had a household income of less than $22,350 per year. “It shows me that even the wealthiest amongst us can hit hard times suddenly,” said Cooke, whose office covers Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. Housing costs across the region remain relatively high even as unemployment and other forces have made it harder for many people to afford a place to live. Rental prices in the D.C. region fell slightly between 2010 and this year, but the Center for Housing Policy continues to rank the District and its Maryland and Virginia suburbs among the most expensive rental markets in the nation. “It is very expensive to live in this area,” Cooke said. “If you are working at a minimum-wage job 40 hours a week, all of your money would go to pay for a one-bedroom apartment. You’d have no more money left for food or clothing or transportation or anything like that.” The District Court in Hyattsville handled 153,000 failure-topay-rent cases last year, according to court records. “It’s huge,” she said. “And, unfortunately, people end up getting evicted, and they end up homeless.” Battles on Capitol Hill have made Maryland Legal Aid and other groups that, like it, get money from the federally funded Legal Services Corp. frequent targets for restrictions and budget cuts.
The most recent budget battle ended Nov. 18, when President Obama signed a compromise funding bill for the 2012 fiscal year. The measure, however, cut federal funds for legal aid programs to $348 million, more than $56 million less than the previous fiscal year. That cut means Maryland Legal Aid will get $670,000 less. Although Cooke’s office has not resorted to layoffs in response to previous funding cuts, it has instituted hiring freezes. “That puts a tremendous strain on the staff, for one person to do the work of three,” Cooke said. In 22 years at Maryland Legal Aid, Cooke has handled nearly every kind of case. But she prefers housing disputes because it’s an area of civil law with quick turnaround, meaning she is able to help more people over time. It also has enabled her to make her mark on state law — a 1997 case she argued before the Maryland Court of Appeals resulted in a ruling that allows judges to prevent evictions. In Martin’s case, Cooke helped her reach a settlement to pay her landlord $1,472. In return, Martin agreed to move out of the rental where she had lived for 11 years. At their meeting in late October, Martin was looking at properties that would accept her federal Section 8 housing voucher. Cooke told her that the weak housing market would give her more housing options. Martin signed a lease on a rental in early November, but bureaucratic red tape is preventing her from moving in. For now, she remains in her old home while she waits for an inspector to determine that her new residence meets Section 8 guidelines. Martin said she is grateful for the work Cooke and her colleagues at Maryland Legal Aid did on her behalf. “She turned a nightmare into a blessing,” Martin said.
Va. Tech gunman was a ‘typical college kid’
his hair buzzed short and a wardrobe composed mostly of sweathistory. pants and sweatshirts. He skatePolice have said that they had boarded, watched TV with his not found a connection between roommates and worked behind Crouse and Ashley and that they the scenes for theater productions. think Ashley acted alone. Perry said Ashley liked Virginia State Police conJay-ZandMotown,favored tinued to work on the case baseball caps and liked to through the weekend but work out at the gym. had not released any new Jade Jackson, who said information, spokeswomshe was Ashley’s resident an Corinne Geller said. adviser at Radford last Ashley graduated from year, said he got in trouSpotsylvania High School ble for breaking a chair in in 2007, where he played Ross Ashley his dorm room, skatefootball and won acaboarding in the hallways demic awards. He enrolled at the and smoking. But at his core, he University of Virginia’s Wise Counseemed like a nice guy. ty campus for the 2007-08 school “Yes, he was occasionally in year, then transferred to Radford, trouble, but he never seemed dea small public school nestled in the pressed. He never seemed to be Blue Ridge Mountains about 15 having a hard time,” Jackson said. miles south of Virginia Tech. AshDougMead,thetechnicaldirector ley was a senior business managefortheDepartmentofStudentActivment major who enrolled in two itiesatBondurantAuditorium,hired classes this semester, according to Ashley to work on the stage crew at a school spokeswoman. theauditoriummorethanayearago. Ashley looked like an average Ashley would help set up lighting college student, Manion said, with and other elements for shows. ashley from C1 “He was a pretty typical college kid. He wasn’t a standout worker, but he wasn’t the worst I ever had,” Mead said. “It was a complete and utter shock what happened.” Mead said Ashley did not seem troubled and did not have a reputation as a partier. The students that worked on his crew said Ashley was not a heavy drinker or a drug user. Ashley was supposed to work for Mead again this year, but he missed a mandatory meeting and Mead never heard from him again. He assumed that Ashley no longer wanted the job. This school year, Ashley lived off campus in his own apartment in a gray three-story building in downtown Radford. Several of his neighbors said Ashley mostly kept to himself and was soft-spoken. “He wasn’t out of the ordinary,” Paul Stinnett said. “He didn’t stick out.”
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Johnson reported from Washington.
MyPillow is not available in stores.
I have spent the last seven years selling MyPillow face-to-face at fairs, expos and events. Hundreds of chiropractors and medical doctors carry and recommend them for their patients. I have been featured on medical talk shows that air around the world. I have sold hundreds of thousands of pillows and have received thousands of testimonials (refer to mypillow.com) from satisﬁed customers regarding how MyPillow® has changed their lives, and our customers have reported that it has helped them with conditions such as:
• • • • • • •
Snoring and Sleep Apnea Fibromyalgia & TMJ Restless Leg Syndrome Migraines/Headaches Neck & Back Pain Asthma/Allergies Anxiety & Insomnia
Many people, like me, are in search of the pillow that will help them sleep comfortably. At night, you may sleep with your arm under your head for support, ﬂip-ﬂop from side-to-side, ﬂip your pillow over because of overheating, basically robbing yourself of highly beneﬁcial REM sleep. Even if you are asleep for a full night, if your vertebrae are not fully supported, you might not be getting any quality, healing sleep. I’m so conﬁdent MyPillow will help you that I’m offering an unprecedented 60-Day MoneyBack Guarantee in addition to the 10-Year Warranty! My customer service is the best there is. My company is a member of the Better Business Bureau, and we have an “A+” rating. ® MyPillow is patented. U.S. Patent #7461424. We do all of our own manufacturing, and all materials are 100% made in the U.S.A. I truly believe MyPillow is the best pillow in the world, and that if everyone had one, they would get better sleep, and the world would be a much better place. God Bless!
Fists fly in overnight eruption of assaults in Northwest
M ARTIN W EIL
BUY NOW! Receive 25% oﬀ with promo code “WASHD”
www.MyPillow.com or 855-974-5569
Oﬀer ends 12/31/11
A championship boxing match was held Saturday night in Washington, but well before it started, plenty of punches had been thrown in a series of unrelated incidents on downtown streets. In four hours starting late Friday, police reported seven incidents in Northwest Washington in which people attacked others with fists or open hands. In two cases, people were
knocked unconscious by repeated blows, police said. In one, a verbal altercation in the 1200 block of Wisconsin Avenue turned violent shortly before 2 a.m. Saturday, and a man was punched in the head and body, police said. Police said he was taken to a hospital. They said they made two arrests. The second incident in which a man was knocked out occurred near 18th and I streets about 3:30 a.m., police said. They said the victim told them that, as he
was walking, someone came up from behind, punched him on the side of the head and continued punching him as he lay on the ground. Police said they made an arrest in that case, too. Among places where other incidents occurred were the 800 block of 16th Street, the 1200 block of Connecticut Avenue , the 1300 block of 16th Street, 14th and U streets, and the 1600 block of Rhode Island Avenue.
A2 Politics & The Nation
Politics & The Nation
Arizona sheriff accused of anti-Hispanic bias
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2011
FBI pondered sting against Gingrich
No evidence found after arms dealer talked of potential bribe in ’90s
Japan’s economic troubles accelerate A14
Economy & Business
Mario Draghi, the man holding all of Europe’s cards A25
J AMES V . G RIMALDI
Editorial: Greece is no closer to solving its financial problems A32 Masha Lipman: In Russia, new generation finds its political voice A33
l Two charts with the continuation of a Dec. 15 Page One article about the D.C. government’s responsiveness to service requests from residents included incorrect labels. Figures for response time were shown in days, not in minutes. l A Dec. 15 Metro article about an income tax lien filed against a home owned by D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) incorrectly said that his estranged wife lives at the house, on Orange Street SE. Neither Barry nor Cora Masters Barry lives in the home. Cora Barry lives in another house the couple jointly own, also in Southeast. l A photo caption with a Dec. 14 Style article about the Senate’s Secret Santa gift exchange misstated the party affiliation of Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.). He is a Democrat, not a Republican. l A photo caption with a Dec. 11 Metro article about Maryland Legal Aid incorrectly said that Rhonda Martin was evicted from her Prince George’s County townhouse after falling behind on her rent. As the article said, she was threatened with eviction but a Legal Aid lawyer helped her reach a settlement in which she agreed to move out of the home and pay her landlord $1,472.
The Washington Post is committed to correcting errors that appear in the newspaper. Those interested in contacting the paper for that purpose can: E-mail: email@example.com. Call: 202-334-6000, and ask to be connected to the desk involved — National, Foreign, Metro, Style, Sports, Business or any of the weekly sections. The ombudsman, who acts as the readers’ representative, can be reached by calling 202-334-7582 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
DONATE YOUR CAR
Wheels For Wishes
* Free Vehicle Pickup ANYWHERE * We Accept All Vehicles Running or Not * We Also Accept Boats, Motorcycles, and RVs * Fully Tax Deductible
WheelsForWishes.org 1.855.233.9474 (Wish)
It is a curious case in the annals of the FBI: The bureau considered a sting operation against thenHouse Speaker Newt Gingrich after sifting through allegations from a notorious arms dealer that a $10 million bribe might get Congress to lift the Iraqi arms embargo. The FBI ended up calling off the operation in June 1997. It decided there was no evidence that Gingrich knew anything about the conversations the arms dealer was secretly recording with a man who said he was acting on behalf of Gingrich’s then-wife, Marianne, according to people with knowledge of the investigation. But details of the case, which became public this week in an article and documents posted online by a nonprofit journalist, show how a series of second- and third-hand conversations alleging that the top man in Congress might be for sale caught the attention of federal investigators. “There are so many falsehoods,” Marianne Gingrich said Thursday. “The FBI, they should have been protecting me, not going after me. This is scary stuff.” Her lawyer, Victoria Toensing, said: “There was no basis whatsoever for an investigation. These were people puffing, which means they were making up access to a high-level goverment person.” Gingrich’s presidential campaign did not provide immediate comment when asked for response Thursday. The investigation began after the arms dealer, Sarkis Soghanalian, told federal prosecutors and FBI agents in Miami that Marianne Gingrich said during a meeting in Paris in 1995 that she could provide legislative favors through her husband. The case progressed to the point that it was deemed a major investigation requiring approval in Washington. Soghanalian, a convicted felon who is now dead, said he wanted the speaker’s help in getting the arms embargo lifted so he could collect an $80 million debt from Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, according to an FBI document filed to obtain continuing wiretap authorization for the case. The facts in the document were “developed through a cooperating witness,” whom The Washington Post has confirmed was Soghanalian. Soghanalian said Marianne Gingrich assured him “she would be able to do anything [Soghanalian] requested of her ‘as long as they had an understanding,’ ” the document states. Several months after the meeting in Paris, a man who had been on the trip with Gingrich and Soghanalian told the arms dealer that the embargo could be lifted for the right price. In conversations recorded by Soghanalian, the man, a Miami car salesman named Morty Bennett, stated that Marianne “wanted 10 million dollars to get the job done, five million of which would go directly to Marianne Gingrich,” the document states. Bennett said in an interview Thursday, “I knew somebody and
JOHN BAZEMORE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
A convicted arms dealer who cooperated with authorities told the FBI that Marianne Gingrich, shown during her divorce from former House speaker Newt Gingrich, said she could secure legislative favors.
JOHN DURICKA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Gingriches together in the 1980s.
the date just l ady
FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Images of Washington, DC POTOMAC RIVER SCHOOL
MERICAN AINTING FINE ART
5118 MacArthur Boulevard, N.W. Washington, DC 20016 (202) 244-3244 classicamericanpainting.com Hours: Sun. 12 – 6; Mon. thru Sat. 11 - 7
introduced them to somebody and that was it. Thank you for calling, and don’t call me back.” The document and the existence of the aborted sting was first revealed this week in a 6,400word story by Joseph Trento, who operates a Web site called DC Bureau (www.dcbureau.org). Trento interviewed Soghanalian several times before his death in October at 82. The investigation foundered because there was no evidence against Newt Gingrich to establish “predication” — a basis to believe the target was engaging in or about to engage in criminal activity — according to people familiar with the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case. FBI policy requires predication before significant undercover operations are initiated. “There wasn’t any direct evidence that he knew anything,” said a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “The rules are you just can’t go in there and do an integrity check on someone.” Bruce Udolph, the former chief federal corruption prosecutor in Miami, said he could not confirm the existence of the investigation but added, “With respect to Speaker Gingrich, I am not aware of any direct, credible evidence linking him to any conspiracy to receive a bribe from anyone.” The Justice Department referred calls to the FBI, which declined to comment on the case. The Armenian-born Soghanalian was a high-volume arms dealer nicknamed “the Merchant of Death” who was indicted by federal authorities in South Florida for conspiring to sell U.S. helicopters to Iraq in violation of a U.S. ban. His 61/2-year sentence was reduced to two years in 1993 because of his cooperation with federal authorities. He was already a federal informant when he met with Marianne Gingrich in Paris in July
1995. Also in attendance at those meetings were Bennett and Howard Ash, who had earlier worked with Marianne Gingrich at the Israel Export Development Corp., a company that advocated for a free-trade zone in the Gaza Strip. Marianne Gingrich, who had left her position as vice president of marketing at IEDC, said she went to Paris at the request of her former boss to help get an invest-
“There are so many falsehoods. The FBI, they should have been protecting me, not going after me. This is scary stuff.”
Marianne Gingrich, former House speaker’s ex-wife
ment from Soghanalian in IEDC. The FBI document states that Soghanalian, Marianne Gingrich, Ash and Bennett spent several days together in Paris. Gingrich said “her relationship with her husband was purely a relationship of convenience,” the document states. “She told [Soghanalian] that she needed her husband for economic reasons, and that he needed to keep her close because she knew of all his ‘skeletons.’ ” “She also told [Soghanalian], ‘It’s time for me to make money using my husband, and after we get started doing this, it will be easy,” the document says. In January 1996, the document states, Soghanalian said he received a call from Bennett, who said he was acting on behalf of Marianne Gingrich and asked for $10 million to get the embargo lifted. Bennett wanted more than $1 million in advance, $300,000 in cash. The rest of the money was to be wired into Bennett’s bank account so that it could be trans-
ferred to the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, an Israeli-based think tank with offices in Washington where Ash was a fundraiser, according to the document. “Bennett stated that the way they had the deal structured nobody would ever be able to prove it was anything illegal,” the document states. “Bennett stated that it would be handled like a campaign payment and ensured the source that [Marianne] Gingrich knew what she was doing. Bennett stated that the money was for Gingrich and her husband and that they needed buffers to protect them.” Marianne Gingrich said Thursday, “All that’s hogwash.” Soghanalian asked for a telephone call with Marianne. Bennett said that “would spook Gingrich” but that he would try to arrange it “for small talk about their Paris trip,” the document states. But Bennett never produced Marianne Gingrich. He reestablished contact with Soghanalian in February 1997, and the FBI asked for approval from headquarters to keep recording the conversations “to develop evidence of possible Hobbs Act, Conspiracy, and Bribery violations by Bennett, Ash, Marianne Gingrich, and as yet unidentified federal officials,” the document states. Ash did not return calls seeking comment. In June 1997, Soghanalian was planning to meet Gingrich and his wife at a fundraiser in Miami arranged by Ben Waldman, a Reagan administration official who later was lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s business partner in the controversial purchase of a casino cruise line in Florida. Waldman did not return calls for comment. FBI agents began preparing to bug the meeting, but Neil Gallagher, then deputy chief of the FBI’s criminal division, ordered the investigation closed prior to the fundraiser, people familar with the case said. They said local agents were upset by Gallagher’s move. “I’d have to refer any comment back to the FBI,” Gallagher said Thursday. The FBI special agent in charge in Miami at the time, Paul Philip, who signed the document, said he could not recall the case. After reviewing the document, he said he could understand why the case did not progress. “When you’re dealing with elected officials, you have to be real careful,” he said. “Not that they can do anything to us. But their reputations are so fragile, if you don’t really, truly try to do the right thing, you could really shaft somebody.”
email@example.com Staff researcher Lucy Shackelford contributed to this report.
Jack h. Olender & assOciaTes, p.c.
The MalpracTice law FirM
White House sticks by award to Marine despite controversy
D AVID N AKAMURA
“The King of Malpractice”
1147 CONNECTICUT AVENUE, NW WASHINGTON, DC 20036
For over 40 years, Jack H. Olender has been a vigorous champion of justice on behalf of the catastrophically injured.
Fees are contingent.
www.olender.com • firstname.lastname@example.org
888 17th St., N.W., 4th ﬂoor, Washington, D.C. 20006
The White House on Thursday stood by the Defense Department’s decision to award the Medal of Honor to Sgt. Dakota Meyer despite a report that the Marine Corps embellished some of Meyer’s actions in presenting his story to the public. White House press secretary Jay Carney said the narrative of events that Obama read into the public record while awarding the military’s highest honor to Meyer
on Sept. 14 was based on documents provided by the Marine Corps that received “quite extensive” vetting. “The president remains very proud of Sergeant Meyer and the remarkable acts of bravery he displayed on that day,” Carney said. McClatchy Newspapers reported Thursday that portions of the events described by Obama about Meyer’s actions while serving in Afghanistan were “untrue, unsubstantiated or exaggerated.”
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.