Marketing in U.S. Bid’s Way
Colorado Springs, Colo. — If Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Washington are picked to host the 2024 Olympics, one of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s first tasks will be to hand over millions in sponsorships to the victorious city’s new organizing committee.
It’s one of those costly facts of life of the Olympics thanks to the Joint Marketing Program Agreement that a country’s Olympic federation must sign when it puts a city up as a candidate to host the games.
The last two American bids, from New York and Chicago, included agreements that didn’t conform with the International Olympic Committee’s guidelines, which call for about 90 percent of the host federation’s domestic sponsorship to be channeled to the new organizing committee.
Tiafoe Falls in ATP Debut
Washington — Sixteen-year-old Francis Tiafoe lost his ATP tour debut while fellow Americans Robby Ginepri and Donald Young won their opening round matches at the Citi Open on Monday.
Russia’s Evgeny Donskoy defeated Tiafoe, the world’s seventh-ranked junior player and a D.C.-area native, 6-4, 6-4.
Top-seeded Tomas Berdych will face Ginepri, who advanced to the second round with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Colombia’s Alejandro Falla 6-4, 6-2.
Messi Tax Fraud Case Going Forward
Madrid — A Spanish judge on Monday rejected a prosecutor’s request to drop charges of tax fraud against Lionel Messi and ordered the investigation into three cases of suspected unpaid taxes to proceed.
A court statement said there was “sufficient evidence” to believe the Barcelona and Argentina star “could have known and consented” to the creation of a fictitious corporate structure to avoid paying taxes on income from his image rights.
The statement was issued by the court in Gava, Barcelona, that was initially called on by prosecutors to investigate if there was a case for Messi and his father to answer.
In June, Messi’s public relations firm said a prosecutor had agreed to drop the tax fraud case against the player and his father.
Messi’s father, Jorge Horacio Messi, is under investigation for an alleged 4 million euros ($5.3 million) in unpaid taxes from 2007-09.
Messi’s father made a payment of more than 5 million euros ($6.6 million) in August 2013 to cover alleged unpaid taxes, plus interest.
Monday’s statement said it was not necessary for Messi “to have full knowledge of all accounting or corporate transactions or the exact amount of the fraud” for him to have had a clear idea of an intention to defraud.
Once the investigating judge finishes his deliberations, he will give the Tax Office and the State Prosecutor’s office 10 days to come up with a strong case against Messi or a final decision to dismiss the case.
Should the judge, backed by a new decision from tax and prosecution authorities, rule the case against Messi must go ahead with an indictment, the Barcelona star would have to appear in court to be questioned.
Spain has been cracking down on tax evasion as it fights to repair the country’s public finances after a prolonged recession triggered by the collapse of its once-booming real estate sector.
Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro warned footballers they should make sure they were “comfortable” with their tax affairs.
Jury acquits man in Eastern Michigan player death
Eds: Adds reaction from police investigator, details. Restores background.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A jury on Monday acquitted a man in the robbery-slaying of Eastern Michigan University football player Demarius Reed.
The Washtenaw County Circuit Court jury reached the not guilty verdict in the trial of Ed Thomas, 21, one of two men charged in the slaying of the 20-year-old wide receiver from Chicago.
The other man charged, Kristopher Pratt, 20, accepted a deal and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, testifying that he shot Reed and Thomas participated in the Oct. 18 robbery.
The jury acquitted Thomas on open murder, armed robber and conspiracy charges.
“I’m surprised and disappointed,” Ypsilanti police Lt. Thomas Eberts, one of the lead investigators of the killing, told The Ann Arbor News. “I believe we had the right person.”
In closing arguments Monday, Assistant Prosecutor Nimish Ganatra said Thomas was just as guilty as the admitted triggerman, Pratt, who was a key witness against Thomas.
Ganatra said Thomas spotted Reed and pointed him out to Pratt. Thomas handed Pratt the gun that he used to kill Reed, Ganatra said.
“They knew exactly what they were getting into, they knew exactly what they were doing,” Ganatra said.
After Pratt shot Reed once in the chest, Thomas stole Reed’s wallet and phone, then Pratt shot Reed again in the face, Ganatra said.
But Defense lawyer Lorne Brown argued that the case rested on false testimony by Pratt. Thomas was just hanging out with Pratt the night of the killing and wasn’t part of the crime, Brown said.
“He’s got the deal of a lifetime,” Brown said. “He was offered the chance to trade in his entire life in prison, and all he had to do was lie on Ed Thomas.”
Brown acknowledged that his client witnessed the killing and didn’t report it.
“On the other hand, he didn’t involve himself with what Kristopher Pratt did,” the defense lawyer said. “The prosecution didn’t prove that. Most importantly, he didn’t do it.”