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Feds sue directors from failed bank

ATLANTA — Federal bank regulators filed a lawsuit Friday against 10 former directors and officers of a failed Georgia bank that collapsed and led to a wide-ranging criminal investigation and prison time for two of its top officials.

The Federal Deposit In­surance Corp. complaint accuses the former Omni National Bank officials of negligence and loose lending policies that led to the bank’s March 2009 collapse. It seeks to recover more than $37 million in losses that included loans targeting low-income properties.

It names several defendants who have already been charged criminally with their role in the bank’s collapse.

Jeffrey Levine, the bank’s former vice president, was sentenced to five years in prison in 2011 after pleading guilty to cooking the bank’s books. Karim W. Lawrence, another Omni executive, was sentenced to almost two years in prison on charges of taking bribes at the bank.

The lawsuit claims Levine, Lawrence and five others approved loans for low-income properties despite “numerous, repeated and obvious violations” of the bank’s loan policies and procedures.

Cross set ablaze in black women’s yard

SWANSEA, S.C. — Lexing­ton County deputies say someone left a burning cross in the yard of a Swan­sea home where two black women live.

Investigators say a neighbor found the cross burning as he headed to work about 2:45 a.m. Friday. He also saw a truck racing away.

Deputies say the cross was about three feet tall and made from planks from a wooden pallet. The fire did not spread beyond the cross.

Investigators say they don’t have any suspects and aren’t sure why the cross was placed there. A police report says deputies collected six empty cans of beer and a fast-food burger box and receipt from the yard near the cross.

Fall kills Kentucky man in Savannah

SAVANNAH, GA. — A Ken­tucky man died in Savannah after he fell over a handrail onto the old stones paving the pedestrian walkways near the city’s historic riverfront, police said.

Douglas Welch, 57, of Nicholasville, Ky., was killed in the fall, which happened at about 12:30 a.m. Fri­day, Savannah-Chatham County police said.

Welch fell from the top of a stairway onto Factors’ Walk, a stone-paved promenade at the bottom of a steep bluff where downtown Savannah stands about 40 feet above the Savannah River, authorities said. He was walking down the stairs alone and apparently lost his footing.


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Many black colleges struggling

Although Paine has struggled with its own failures over the past several years, HBCUs across the nation are dealing with some of the same troubles that are threatening their missions and existence.
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