Rex: Did voodoo help Barry Stokes get a lighter sentence?

Sunday, September 13, 2009 at 11:45pm

Rex was at the federal courthouse recently when U.S. District Court Judge Robert Echols gave embezzler Barry Stokes an Oscar for what was at best a “B” movie performance. Seriously, Steven Segal would have given a more believable performance as Helen Keller than Stokes did as a remorseful felon.

Stokes, for those not paying attention, pulled a Bernie Madoff before Madoff got busted. Through his now-defunct, Dickson-based company 1Point Solutions, Stokes took $20 million from his clients and squandered it on personal gain.

After hearing testimony in the sentencing phase from a psychiatrist who had spent barely six hours with Stokes, Echols gave the former financier 12 and a half years in the pokey, well below the 21-plus that was expected.

As part of Echols' reasoning for the downward departure, he said that Stokes mental health, as stated by the psychiatrist, was a contributing factor in the crime. Throughout the sentencing, Stokes appeared to be on the verge of tears anytime his family was mentioned but would then go stone cold expressionless when the topic changed. The psychiatrist said it was part of Stokes’ mental health issues that when family was discussed, Stokes would tear up.

Interestingly though, Rex noticed that when Echols was announcing the sentence and spent a good 20 minutes talking about Stokes’ family, ole Barry was as dry as a bone.

The only way Rex can explain what happened is a bit of Caribbean collusion. You see during the sentencing it was revealed that Stokes had employed a psychic and used voodoo dolls to keep his enemies at bay.

Maybe one of those voodoo dolls hidden in Stokes’ closet wore a little black robe.

‘If you defeat Rommel's plan, you've defeated Rommel. lsn't that true?’

In the ‘Oh, please give me a break’ category, some people in our community got all hot and bothered last week over the potential duel in the sun between Tom Ingram and Dave Cooley over the mayor's billion dollar baby, the shiny new Music City Center.

Not unlike the fictional, but nevertheless legendary, battle between Rommel and Patton in the deserts of Africa during World War II, the battle for the proposed new convention center between the Republican titan, Ingram, and the Democratic operative and master of the dark arts, Cooley, has uninformed tongues wagging.

The fact is, however, that the "battle" will likely never take place, and if it does, it will not be between Ingram and Cooley.

Cooley and Ingram are close friends, have been for years. Anyone who has spent more than an hour at Jimmy Kelly's knows this. This is a small town, all these guys know each other, eat together, drink together, play together.

Close friendships don't make for good bloody fistfights, they make for chess matches.

Secondly, Ingram is a master strategist and spokesman — think the guy who hires the gun fighter, not the gun fighter. If Cooley is shooting it out with anyone, it will not likely be Ingram but someone Ingram, and the rest of his Gaylord hired guns, hire to do the shooting.

Finally, the real battle for the MCC is in Metro Council where Ingram will readily admit his knowledge is marginal at best. In this, he and Cooley are exactly alike, as Cooley knows a lot of Council members, just not live, current ones.

If a war breaks out between Gaylord and the mayor over the proposed convention center, the battlefield will be the second floor of the Courthouse and Cooley and Ingram, if they are playing at all, will be playing the roles of Marshall and Keital not Von Rundstedt and old Blood and Guts.

Whose goose got cooked in game of chicken?

Metro Council showed what chickens they truly were when they failed to advance a bill that would have allowed backyard chickens in Nashville’s urban neighborhoods.

Cities across the country are taking steps to encourage backyard chickens, but when a bill proposed by Kristine LaLonde and Jason Holleman was on public hearing at the Sept. 1 meeting, Metro Council members were running around like, ahem, chickens with their heads cut off.

District 13 Councilman Carl Burch pulled the legislative bait-and-switch by promising to support the LaLonde/Holleman bill and then voting it down on second reading.

The real power came from state Rep. Janice Sontany, one of the few Nashvillians to stand up and speak against the bill. Dozens of chicken advocates came to show support, but they were no match for Sontany whose influence played a primary role in convincing Council members on the fence to kill the LaLonde/Holleman bill.