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FBI and IRS Looking at Memphis Mayor’s Lavish Parties

Mayor WIllie Herenton

Mayor WIllie Herenton

In Detroit, the mayor recently went to jail. In Birmingham, Ala., the mayor faces public corruption charges. Ditto for ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. In Arizona, ex-Rep. Rick Renzi faces trial. Ex-U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens was recently convicted of wrongdoing. And on and on. Is it that our politicians are doing more and more questionable things, or are authorities getting better at unearthing their indiscretions?

By Amos Maki and Marc Perrusquia
Memphis Commercial Appeal
MEMPHIS — The lamb chops were tender, the wine fine and the setting exquisite — an upper room at the luxurious Peabody hotel.
The exclusive parties came at a price: a $1,000 donation to honor Mayor Willie Herenton.
The annual fetes, thrown at Christmas by the mayor’s aide, Pete Aviotti, are legend in Memphis, yet never has interest been more intense or more consuming.
In recent weeks, agents with the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service have been asking about those lavish parties as part of a federal probe focusing on Herenton’s private business dealings.
But if Aviotti is worried that agents have gathered evidence of wrongdoing in staging the parties, he isn’t showing it.
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