Tuesday, December 12, 2017
News Roundup

Navy Veterans' attorney recalls Bobby Thompson's secretive ways

CLEVELAND — Bobby Thompson was a "Machiavellian genius" who drank four Bloody Marys at a business breakfast, dressed like a homeless man and claimed he was funded through a "black box" budget at the CIA.

So said Helen MacMurray, a Columbus, Ohio-area lawyer whose testimony dominated the second day of Thompson's trial here on charges of fraud, money laundering and theft.

MacMurray represented Thompson's U.S. Navy Veterans Association, a Tampa charity that was exposed in mid 2010 as a complete charade.

In more than six hours on the stand, the former Ohio charity regulator described how she began to have doubts about her client, what triggered the end of their relationship and how the whole episode still puzzles her.

"I made a list of 30 things he told me that made no sense, but I kept thinking, 'Of course he's telling the truth,' " MacMurray said. "He had it all planned out. He's a genius."

Thompson, who faces up to 40 years in prison, sat across the courtroom, listening impassively and passing notes to his court-appointed attorney.

A Harvard-trained lawyer and former military intelligence officer whose real name is John Donald Cody, the defendant raised more than $100 million for Navy Veterans over eight years, yet fabricated his roster of directors and members and gave little to needy veterans. He became a fugitive after a March 2010 Times story raised questions about the organization. Thompson, 66, was apprehended in May 2012.

MacMurray, who began representing Navy Veterans in 2007, said Thompson panicked when the Times began investigating. His response, MacMurray said, was to order her to hire a private investigator to see what he could find out about Bobby Thompson. When the detective found no military record for Thompson, who claimed to be a retired Navy commander, MacMurray said her client explained he had enlisted using a relative's identity because he was under-age.

When asked by Thompson's attorney, Joseph Patituce, if she had taken any action based on that information, MacMurray said "No."

She said she didn't act until nearly a year later, as states' attorneys general, including Ohio's, began investigating the charity following the Times' story. Ohio's investigation led to the criminal charges Thompson faces today.

Kris Hundley can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
The Bucsí problem isnít how they finish; itís how they start

The Bucsí problem isnít how they finish; itís how they start

For the second straight week, the Buccaneers had the ball in the final minutes of a tie game.For the second straight week, they could not finish.As disappointing as that might be, they have a larger problem, and one that has existed all season: The B...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Lightning opens road trip with shutout of Blues

Lightning opens road trip with shutout of Blues

ST. LOUIS ó This showdown was supposed to be about the best team in the East versus the best in the West. In reality, the Lightningís 3-0 win over the Blues on Tuesday night pretty much came down to this:Andrei Vasilevskiy is one of the best goalies ...
Updated: 9 minutes ago

Lottery resultsLottery numbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Tues., Dec. 12, midday:90 578 4984e_SRit30459Tues., Dec. 12, evening:85 659 2558e_SRit95745Fantasy 5Tue...
Updated: 1 hour ago

High school scoreboard for Dec. 12

Tuesdayís scoreboardGirls soccerCountryside 5, Tarpon Springs 0Palm Harbor U. 8, Alonso 0Boys soccerShorecrest 2, Indian Rocks Chr. 0Palm Harbor U. 3, Alonso 0Girls basketballNortheast 65, Dixie Hollins 25...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Defendant asks jurors: Do I look like Charles Manson?

Defendant asks jurors: Do I look like Charles Manson?

LARGO ó Daniel Richards, on trial in the murder of his 83-year-old mother, began his own criminal defense on Tuesday by asking a few questions to the pool of prospective jurors."If you were accused of killing your mother, would you want to represent ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Career Q&A: Two bosses who donít care for each other

Career Q&A: Two bosses who donít care for each other

Q: I seem to be caught between two high-level managers who really donít like each other. One is a director, the other is a vice president, and I am an assistant to both. Whenever the director stops by my desk to chat, she makes critical remarks about...
Updated: 2 hours ago
St. Pete losing two assistant police chiefs; one will join Rays

St. Pete losing two assistant police chiefs; one will join Rays

ST. PETERSBURG ó Two assistant police chiefs are stepping down next month, leaving two of the three second-in-command jobs vacant at the St. Petersburg Police Department.Assistant Chief Jim Previtera announced this week that he will resign from the d...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Winter meetings journal: Rays add more infield depth, claim it isnít prelude to a trade

LAKE BUENA VISTA ó The Rays on Tuesday adding their third infielder in the past two weeks would sure look like a precursor to trading front-liners such as 3B Evan Longoria or 2B Brad Miller.But GM Erik Neander insisted that was not the case and that ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

WASHINGTON ó Congressional Republicans on Tuesday rushed toward a deal on a massive tax package that would reduce the top tax rate for wealthy Americans to 37 percent and slash the corporate rate to a level slightly higher than what businesses and co...
Updated: 2 hours ago
GMs-turned-pundits believe now may be the time for Rays to sell

GMs-turned-pundits believe now may be the time for Rays to sell

LAKE BUENA VISTA ó The Rays have been doing a lot of talking, making another small deal Tuesday while still working toward bigger ones of a still-being-determined degree.And there have been a lot of baseball people at the winter meetings talking abou...
Updated: 2 hours ago