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Thread: Farmers Bank

  1. #26

    Default Re: Farmers Bank

    Quote Originally Posted by Timshel View Post
    Also, hardly a substantive point, but issue date and publish date are two different things. Neither you nor the Oklahoman made a false statement - just referring to two different things.
    The Consent Order was issued and published on March 21st. The FDIC uploaded it to their site and issued a press release. The order is signed and dated. I have all this documented, I'm not just talking out of my arse.

    And if the Oklahoman has records I'm not privy to, they should be cited in the article and they only mention things I had already specifically referenced. Considering they mention absolutely no new info in their article, I think it's safe to assume they didn't find anything new on their own. In fact, I can't even think of what 'record' would mention this and use that wording.


    As how I am certain they are ripping off my work, they've been doing it for years. It's not a coincidence that they publish this story 2 days after mine while the most important information was in the public domain for months. Steve Lackmeyer admitted to this practice himself on OKCTalk when I called him out on it (concerning one of many other examples).

    I have lots more info I'm not going to share; at least not yet.

    I've worked on this since February. They clearly slapped together a quick story as soon as my article came out. That should be obvious and I'm not going to cite all the dozens of similar examples.

    It is also standard journalism practice to cite when you 'follow' a news story by writing one of your own. You see this all the time in respectable news outlets and I've interviewed multiple journalism ethics experts who say it's clearly understood that when your report is completely prompted by the work of another, you cite them and give them credit. Something we do every single day here.

  2. Default Re: Farmers Bank

    Quote Originally Posted by Timshel View Post
    ...

    Also, are you certain that, at the Oklahoman, the reporter writes the captions for the photos (real question - don't know the answer)? Seems like this could easily be poor editorial work rather than poor reporting - which still isn't great - but given the specific dig made at Steve here seems to be a relevant distinction. ...
    At all the papers my wife has worked for as a copy editor, the reporters never wrote photo captions, including the Oklahoman way back when she was there.

  3. #28

    Default Re: Farmers Bank

    From the June 28, 2019 press release (https://www.fdic.gov/news/news/press...pr19058.html):

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    June 28, 2019
    Media contact:
    David Barr
    (202) 898-6992
    dbarr@fdic.gov
    The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) today released a list of orders of administrative enforcement actions taken against banks and individuals in May. There are no administrative hearings scheduled for July 2019.

    The FDIC issued a total of 11 orders in May 2019, and is publishing one issued in March 2019 . . . . (Emphasis added.)

    https://www.fdic.gov/news/news/press/2019/

    The only March 21, 2019 Press Release currently on the FDIC's website is titled "FDIC Announces Meeting of Advisory Committee on Community Banking" and does not discuss the Consent Order. I suppose there could have been one that was subsequently removed, but I doubt it. And FWIW, the FDIC's press release announcing the March Enforcement Decisions and Orders, which is typically where it would have been published (April 26, 2019) does not include the Consent Order.

    As to your other points, fair enough and I don't necessarily think you're completely wrong. Just pointing out the difference between an assumption/assertion and a proven fact. If you're able to provide evidence that it's the latter (e.g., that the Oklahoman's story was "completely prompted" by your work), I'm all ears, but until then it will remain in the former category for me. And I hope you don't take that personally, as I truly appreciate all the work you're doing and acting as a check on the Oklahoman. Similarly, I hope you appreciate when me and others question the basis for information presented here as fact/truth/falsehood/etc., especially assertions that cannot easily be proven and that are potentially damaging to others' reputations/careers/etc.

    Here, I wouldn't be shocked at all if the Oklahoman saw/used/etc. your post here, but at the same time, I don't think anyone would question the newsworthiness of this story so no one can be surprised that the Oklahoman would cover it or that they were not/did not become aware of this story through other means. And given the nature of this story, the information presented was destined to be similar, even if they did all of their own reporting (though the Oklahoman managed to bungle even some of this).

  4. #29

    Default Re: Farmers Bank

    Quote Originally Posted by Timshel View Post
    Here, I wouldn't be shocked at all if the Oklahoman saw/used/etc. your post here, but at the same time, I don't think anyone would question the newsworthiness of this story so no one can be surprised that the Oklahoman would cover it or that they were not/did not become aware of this story through other means. And given the nature of this story, the information presented was destined to be similar, even if they did all of their own reporting (though the Oklahoman managed to bungle even some of this).
    Understand this is not something this is open to debate among journalists.

    Which is why you see "as first reported by" millions of times in the press, even when they do their own reporting in some form.


    I apologize for being prickly about this but it's a huge hot button. Imagine that you work for months on something then someone (appears to) swoop in and copy your work after you've already provided all the answers. As I said, the reporter in question has admitted to this practice.

    I will also say that it's a false assumption that the Oklahoman would have covered this story (and many others) if not for our work.

  5. #30

    Default Re: Farmers Bank

    Pete, I think you're right on the time line. Back in Jan, Farmers had a table at OKC Fight Night and Aaron was there. Their table was right next to Keystone energy which also is in todays business section. Thats the lease broker that conspired to defraud Sandridge out of money. Oh wow! the paper fails to mention the name of the company in the article. Gee, imagine that. And yes that's the same member of the Kerr family who has been in trouble with johnny law in the past.

  6. #31

    Default Re: Farmers Bank

    There is much more to come on this story.

    I suppose it's just another huge coincidence the Oklahoman only covered what I had already written about, even though there are lots more related people and issues.


    This is very similar to TEEMCO. They only did stories after we continued to write our series. And almost all of it was just quotes from their now-incarcerated CEO (which they printed, even though most of it completely contradicted research I had already done and printed) and when his sentence was handed down, I was literally the only observer in the courtroom and the Oklahoman printed a nothing story they lifted directly from a court press release.

  7. Default Re: Farmers Bank

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    There is much more to come on this story.

    I suppose it's just another huge coincidence the Oklahoman only covered what I had already written about, even though there are lots more related people and issues.


    This is very similar to TEEMCO. They only did stories after we continued to write our series. And almost all of it was just quotes from their now-incarcerated CEO (which they printed, even though most of it completely contradicted research I had already done and printed) and when his sentence was handed down, I was literally the only observer in the courtroom and the Oklahoman printed a nothing story they lifted directly from a court press release.
    You should do a big piece on the crappy journalism coming out of the Oklahoman. It really is turning into even more of a joke than it already was outside of the sports section and no one else in the state is even talking about it.

  8. #33

    Default Re: Farmers Bank

    I've been outlining a piece called "OKC is a great place for a scam" for quite a while.

    It was actually a quote from a local lawyer who knew a bit about the TEEMCO scandal as I was covering that story. He said it in such a casual and accepting way, it was burned into my brain.

    And he is 100% right. All it takes is hiring a PR firm (or paying them to write content) and the Oklahoman will gladly not only publish anyone's propaganda, they'll give them the front page of the Sunday business section and upload a 6-minute video where they are allowed to just say whatever they want to say, without even being interrupted by a single question.

    The Journal Record is just as bad. They gave TEEMCO a freaking award for nonprofit work and never even bothered to do a simple search to verify that it even had a 501(c)3 charity -- which it didn't. The JR also took the PR bait on Farmers (the Gazette declined, BTW).

    The Oklahoman accepted payment for content for EPIC Charter Schools and gave their leader -- yes, the one accused of embezzling $5M of state education funds -- a leadership award.


    There is also a very odd culture in OKC where if you aren't being a blind cheerleader for everything all the time, it makes people very uncomfortable and in extreme cases you'll even have people turn on you.


    All of this holds OKC back. We still operate like a small town even though we like to pretend we are a Big League City. That crap needs to change. The problem is that the power is still held by those who claim to want change and the best for the community, but are really just trying to protect their semi-monopolistic turf. And the Oklahoman is at the front of that line.

  9. #34

    Default Re: Farmers Bank

    Here is the bank celebrating a small sample of their rosy PR-driven press:


  10. #35

    Default Re: Farmers Bank

    Aaron's father, Larry Johnson quietly "retired" from the bank's Carnegie office about a month ago. This article/advertisement appeared in the Carnegie newspaper to explain it.

  11. #36

    Default Re: Farmers Bank

    By all accounts, Larry is a good man who did a lot of good for Carnegie. Same for his father Don.

    I'm sure the FDIC forced the bank to remove Larry from the board, which should tell you a lot about the mess Aaron created in a very short period of time.

    I have great sympathy for the people in that small town who have relied on that bank for decades.

  12. #37

    Default Re: Farmers Bank

    The thing that bothers me the most is that he won't button up his shirt.

  13. #38

    Default Re: Farmers Bank

    Number 1 rule of banking: If you too wild with your clothing, you're too wild with customer money.

  14. #39

    Default Re: Farmers Bank

    That beard though...LOL

  15. Default Re: Farmers Bank

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    ......

    ... ....

    It is also standard journalism practice to cite when you 'follow' a news story by writing one of your own. You see this all the time in respectable news outlets and I've interviewed multiple journalism ethics experts who say it's clearly understood that when your report is completely prompted by the work of another, you cite them and give them credit. Something we do every single day here.
    It almost seems as if Steve and/or the Oklahoman does not view Pete, OKC TALK, and the Gazette as real media or journalists. Yet Pete and his team often are the main journalists in the city that provide information beyond a 2 sentence quote or presupposition that we often find in the Oklahoman. I used to ask often why the Oklahoman would write such short stories all the time publishing them as articles, when there would be no info (such as an address, or a website, or more background/details) on a particular subject other than someone's opinion that WE NEED TO ACCEPT SINCE IT WAS IN THE PAPER. Or they 'might' mention events happening in town on the day of, no advanced notice.

    Now, you can't make any suggestions and they have their paywall - so much for constructive criticism ....

    We on here all know Pete had been screwed by Steve and the Oklahoman, because Pete dives in and reports whereas Steve (probably Oklahoman's best and best known reporter - bless his heart) publishes only the surface and far to often in my opinion writes about how far OKC has come since the 1990s in EVERY STORY!! Get over it, its 2019 now can we just get some articles without going back to the dark days?

    I wish they'd write articles with facts and back up editorials with facts, and stop writing every article like its a term paper or novel. Who, what, when, where, why, and how is the best journalistic approach in my opinion, with relevant background to tie everything which is exactly what we get with Pete/OKCT/Gazette, and not always the bombing, boomer everything (tramel), or Maps this and that - just very small time, small town.

    maybe one day soon Pete's Oklahoma Gazette can be OKC's major metro newspaper since the Oklahoman has given up and seems to be more 'alternative' to the conservative?
    Oklahoma City, the RENAISSANCE CITY!

  16. Default Re: Farmers Bank

    I will say that the Oklahoman did hire a couple of good new reporters recently, in addition to the female who writes about events/concerts in town - a huge step forward.

    In all honesty - I'd keep these new folks and fire/ask the others (and editors) to retire, then the Oklahoman probably wont have as much trouble staying in the black. ...
    Oklahoma City, the RENAISSANCE CITY!

  17. Post Re: Farmers Bank

    Quote Originally Posted by PhiAlpha View Post
    You should do a big piece on the crappy journalism coming out of the Oklahoman. It really is turning into even more of a joke than it already was outside of the sports section and no one else in the state is even talking about it.
    HERE, HERE!!!!

    I wonder what the Tulsa World would have to say as well. ... lol.
    Oklahoma City, the RENAISSANCE CITY!

  18. #43

    Default Re: Farmers Bank

    Legal woes mount for Farmers Bank

    As we were first to report after a six-month investigation, shortly after opening a high-profile branch in the Midtown district of Oklahoma City, Farmers Bank of Carnegie found itself entangled in various regulatory and legal problems that continue to advance.


    The Midtown branch of Farmers Bank features a gold 'money tree' and a coffee bar


    Claims of fraud
    A new lawsuit has been filed by three bank shareholders claiming they were fraudulently induced into investing by former CEO Aaron Johnson, who had been elevated to that post in 2016 at age 34.

    After being the focus of expansive bank marketing efforts, Johnson was abruptly replaced as president in February but prior to his departure, the suit claims he facilitated a stock sale while withholding key information from investors R.D. Smith, Greg Smith and Derrick Ott, all of Oklahoma City.

    The three plaintiffs purchased a combined 1,089 shares between 12/22/17 and 11/5/18, largely from Larry Johnson, Aaron's father and then-chairman of the bank holding company.

    The lawsuit claims Aaron failed to disclose the bank had been operating “in an unsafe and unsound manner” and that regulators had been critical of the Johnsons' actions and had taken supervisory actions that were not adequately followed.

    OKCTalk has learned from sources that starting in 2012, the institution had been operating under administrative orders from the FDIC that outlined numerous issues with demands for corrective action. The orders were the result of regular examinations.

    As we previously reported, the bank is currently subject to a lengthy consent order made public by the FDIC earlier this year. Similar to bank examination documents, administrative orders are not routinely made public.



    Shareholders claim fraud in a suit filed against the bank and former officers


    The suit also claims all bank stock had been previously pledged in a loan to First State Bank, Anadarko, another material fact that was not disclosed to the plaintiffs.

    The Smiths and Ott assert that had they been aware of this information they would have not bought stock in the bank and are therefore seeking millions in damages from the bank holding company, Aaron and Larry Johnson and former bank chief financial officer (CFO) Tracy Robison who sold her stock holdings to R.D. Smith.

    In a separate legal filing, the Smiths are demanding payment of over $1.5 million they claim is owed to them by the Johnsons and the bank based on promissory notes issued in July 2018. On Friday a summary judgment for the full amount owed by the bank was ordered by the judge in the case.


    Ex-CEO's bill increases
    As a part of an on-going lawsuit, Farmers Bank recently increased the amount it says is owed by Aaron Johnson for personal charges he made on an American Express card and had the bank pay on his behalf.

    In the initial filing, the bank claimed that in just one year Johnson had charged $398,389.49 to the bank and still owed a balance of $47,948.13.

    The claim was recently revised to add $35,504.30 for the cost of the audit that revealed the personal charges, a $5,000 cash out ticket drawn from the bank and $48,604.60 in audiovisual equipment for Johnson's home that had been charged to Farmers.


    Former bank president Aaron Johnson


    In addition to claims of breach of fiduciary duty of care, breach of duty to act in good faith and conversion of bank funds for personal use, the total amount the bank is now seeking from Johnson is $137,057.03.


    Loan to indicted doctor goes bad
    In June of 2018, Melvin Lee Robison, D.O. was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges related to what the government alleges as an opioid “pill mill” in Sayre, Oklahoma.

    The charges claim that Dr. Robison owned a medical practice that employed Moheb Hallaba, M.D. and that in a period between September 2015 and April 2017, the two physicians signed hundreds of prescriptions per week without reviewing patient files or seeing patients.

    Robison and Hallaba were charged with 54 counts of distributing controlled substances outside the usual course of professional medical practice and without legitimate medical purpose. Robison is also charged with 51 counts for fraudulent Medicare billing.

    According to the indictment, the criminal distribution of these drugs resulted in five patient deaths. If convicted of all charges, Robison would face a sentence of not less than 20 years and up to life.


    Prosecutors announce indictment of Dr. Melvin Robison


    On October 31, 2018 – just four months after the indictments and following over $128,000 in overdrafts – Farmers loaned Dr. Robison and his wife over $615,000; Aaron Johnson signed the documents on behalf of the bank.

    In addition, Farmers had loaned Robison nearly $1.2 million in June 2017 even though a year earlier Oklahoma State Board of Osteopathic Examiners had officially restricted Robison's license to practice medicine so he could no longer write prescriptions for controlled drugs.

    On July 9th of this year, the bank filed a claim against the Robisons for nonpayment of the October 2018 notes.

    Melvin Robison is the brother of Tracy Robison who at the time of the loans was the CFO for Farmers, hired into that role by Aaron Johnson. Tracy Robison left the bank not long after Johnson was replaced as chief executive.


    New leader already gone
    In February, the same month the board of the bank's holding company signed a 25-page consent order outlining mandated changes by the FDIC, Farmers brought in David Braly as the new bank president.

    In an interview with The Oklahoman, Braly stated that although the Johnsons owned controlling interest in the stock "they have no influence over the bank whatsoever".

    Braly went on to say the bank has brought on experienced and independent directors and that the previous management had kept the board in the dark about many issues.

    Addressing the issues outlined in the consent order is ongoing, Braly said.

    However, after suffering a loss of $698,000 for 2018, Farmers recently reported numbers that show an additional loss of $500,000 through June 30th of this year.

    A call placed to Farmers Bank in Midtown confirmed that Braly is no longer with the bank.

  19. #44

    Default Re: Farmers Bank

    "The suit also claims all bank stock had been previously pledged in a loan to First State Bank, Anadarko, another material fact that was not disclosed to the plaintiffs." Oh really?

    But the thing about the pill mill and the CFO, yikes!

    Excellent reporting btw

  20. #45

    Default Re: Farmers Bank

    Just updated the story to reflect that the new bank president, David Braly, is no longer with the bank.

    My understanding is he resigned.

  21. #46

    Default Re: Farmers Bank

    I’m just surprised a bank can be ran this way with the millions of bank regulations out there. That pic of the 34 year old ex-CEO tells me all I need to know.

  22. #47

    Default Re: Farmers Bank

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy180 View Post
    I’m just surprised a bank can be ran this way with the millions of bank regulations out there. That pic of the 34 year old ex-CEO tells me all I need to know.
    Much more to come.

  23. #48

    Default Re: Farmers Bank

    Interesting note, Dr. Moheb Hallaba was 89 years old at the time the charges were filed.

  24. #49

    Default Re: Farmers Bank

    Quote Originally Posted by The Shadow View Post
    Interesting note, Dr. Moheb Hallaba was 89 years old at the time the charges were filed.
    Yes, if you read through the full indictment it's pretty obvious he was brought in specifically to write prescriptions as Dr. Robison was in the process of having that part of his medical practice revoked.

    Keep in mind both doctors were indicted by a grand jury. Such cases have incredibly high conviction rates and in this situation, there are very high financial penalties being sought by the federal government.

    Not exactly a good loan candidate and of course, the most recent loan promptly goes bad and the bank still holds another $1.2M note from Robison.

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