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CLEO TV Debuts Signature Profile Series Cleo Speaks Featuring Candid Conversations With Entrepreneurs Dana Chanel and Mahisha Dellinger

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CLEO SPEAKS Premieres on Saturday, February 9 at 9 A.M. ET/8C; 

Followed by JUST EATS WITH CHEF JJ airing at 12 P.M. ET/11C;

CURLS Beauty Brands CEO & Founder Mahisha Dellinger and Sprinkle of Jesus Founder Dana Chanel share their personal stories in the premiere episode of the groundbreaking profile series CLEO SPEAKS airing on Saturday, February 9 at 9 a.m. ET. Rapper/Activist David Banner and comedian Glory Mora join culinary star Chef JJ on the next episode of CLEO TV’s sizzling new series                              JUST EATS WITH CHEF JJ this Saturday, February 9 at 12 p.m. ET.

CLEO SPEAKS

CLEO TV’s signature new series CLEO SPEAKS kicks off with Mahisha Dellinger, founder of the natural hair care line CURLS Beauty Brands, and Dana Chanel, creator of the largest online ministry Sprinkle of Jesus.  Mahisha and Dana share their unique perspectives on issues facing Millennial and Gen X women of color today, and reveal their emotional journeys that have shaped their careers and influenced their success. They also sound off on a variety of topics, including motherhood, fashion, relationships, wellness, politics, arts, social justice, business and more. She speaks. We listen.

CLEO SPEAKS is a candid new series that gives dynamic women a platform to share their truths with the world. Selected for their impact on the world, true modern leaders, from CEOs and activists to entrepreneurs, share their candor.  In intimate settings, they reveal the personal and emotional journeys that have shaped their careers and influenced their success. She speaks. We listen. Featured series participants include Tamika Mallory, Activist; April Reign, Activist/Creator #OscarsSoWhite; Tracy Garraud, Co-Host, Sway in The Morning and Founder, She’s Beauty and The Beast; Alicia Garza, Activist/Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter and more.

CLEO SPEAKS is produced by Ruby Red Inc., with Gina Holland and Martine Charles serving as Executive Producers.  For CLEO TV, Jason Ryan is Executive Producer in Charge of Production; Donyell McCullough is Sr. Director of Talent & Casting; and Robyn Greene Arrington is Vice President of Original Programming and Production.

                                 Dana Chanel | CLEO SPEAKS

                                       Sat., Feb. 9 @ 9 AM ET

                        Mahisha Dellinger | CLEO SPEAKS |
                                       Sat., Feb. 9 @ 9 AM ET

 

JUST EATS WITH CHEF JJ

Rapper/Activist David Banner and comedian Glory Mora stop by Chef JJ’s kitchen for good laughs and a savory meal on this week’s episode.   Chef JJ and his guests bring the heat while preparing an Italian Classic – Crispy Chicken Parmesan covered in Tomato Sauce over Fresh Fettuccine and Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette.

Jackson, MS native David Banner is a Grammy Award-Winning music producer, recording artist, philanthropist, activist and actor whose film credits include “Lee Daniel’s The Butler” and Ride Along.” Glory Mora is a comedian and Harlem native who recently launched her own production company to provide opportunities for up-and-coming African American and Latino women comedians.  The group dishes on everything from the influences of different cultures on food, the African Diaspora to positive music and creating opportunities for the next generation.  Don’t miss the next episode of JUST EATS WITH CHEF JJ.

JUST EATS WITH CHEF JJ is a hot new cooking show where CLEO TV viewers get to hang out with Chef JJ Johnson. Set in a hip, New York City loft, JJ prepares meals from his kitchen and entertains his celebrity friends. Each episode features notable special guests including fashion entrepreneur Nichole Lynel, actress Naturi Naughton, rapper and activist David Banner, activist Tamika Mallory, actor Malik Yoba, celebrity fitness trainer Naphtali Aikens, CLEO TV Personalities Tai Beauchamp and Elton Anderson, gospel artist Koryn Hawthorne, actor Robert Ri’chard and ESPN Commentator and NBA champion Stephen Johnson, among others. The series airs back-to-back episodes of Season 3 on Sunday at 9 a.m. ET with an encore at 7 p.m. ET.

JUST EATS WITH CHEF JJ is produced by Powerhouse Productions, with Rochelle Brown and Sonia Armstead serving as Executive Producers.  For CLEO TV, Tia A. Smith and Jason Ryan are Executive Producers in Charge of Production; Donyell McCullough is Sr. Director of Talent & Casting, and Robyn Greene Arrington is Vice President of Original Programming and Production.

CLICK THE IMAGES TO VIEW THE RECIPES, BEHIND THE SCENES, CLIPS AND MORE FOR 

JUST EATS WITH CHEF JJ ASSETS

                                                (Photo Courtesy Credits: CLEO TV)


What makes Chef JJ unique?

JUST EATS WITH CHEF JJ

                                                   

Toast to friendship |

JUST EATS WITH CHEF JJ

                                                   

Words of inspiration from David Banner |

JUST EATS WITH CHEF JJ

For more information about CLEO TV visit www.mycleo.tv and check out CLEO TV YouTube Channel. Viewers can also join the conversation by connecting via social media on Twitter,Instagram and Facebook (@mycleotv) using #JustEatsWithChefJJ and #CleoSpeaks.

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News & Entertainment

VA may owe veterans millions in refunds on home loans fees

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More than 50,000 disabled veterans could be owed as much as $190 million in refunds from the Department of Veterans Affairs for home loan fees they were wrongly charged or no longer owe, an investigation has found.

Senior leaders knew about the problem for years but didn’t ensure veterans received what they are due, the investigation by the VA inspector general found. 

Veterans pay the fees when they buy homes with the help of VA’s Home Loan Guaranty Program, but they are supposed to be exempt if they are disabled. Fees can total up to 3.3% of a home’s value. 

But the VA didn’t do that in thousands of cases dating back more than a decade because the veterans didn’t ask for the refunds.

VA loan managers, who knew about outstanding debts to veterans since at least 2014, told investigators that they had been focused on other priorities, including processing high volumes of applications.

Investigators from the inspector general’s office said in their report released Thursday that they found it “troubling” that the managers were “aware that thousands of veterans were potentially owed more than $150 million yet did not take adequate actions to ensure refunds were issued.”

“It is the review team’s opinion that requiring a veteran to submit a claim for a refund improperly places the burden and responsibility solely upon the veteran,” investigators said.

The VA issued a press release last month – as the inspector general was preparing to release the investigation results – announcing that the agency is now notifying veterans when they buy homes under the program that they are exempt from the fees if they are disabled or later determined to be disabled.

“Through an internal quality improvement effort, VA has put a plan in place to better inform veterans through key communications when the law allows VA to waive the fee for a veteran,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in the release.

The release did not say what is being done to ensure veterans due refunds from loans in prior years are paid. The inspector general found the amounts owed in its review ranged from $5,000 to $20,000.

The VA said veterans who believe they are owed a refund should consult the agency’s website for more information about VA home loan funding fees.

Between 2012 and 2017, the VA collected roughly $10 billion in fees from veterans under the loan program.

The inspector general estimated disabled veterans who were wrongly charged accounted for $286 million of those fees. But the VA only refunded about $100 million, leaving an estimated $190 million that may still be due to 53,200 veterans.   

The Loan Guaranty program was established in 1944 to help veterans finance home purchases. Loans are provided by private lenders, but the VA guarantees a portion of the loans for eligible buyers. The lenders collect the fees and transmit them to the VA.

If a veteran wrongly paid the fees, the VA can refund the money directly to the veteran. If the fees were included as part of a loan, the VA pays the lender, which applies it to the loan balance.

In 2014, regional VA loan officials in St. Paul, Minnesota, notified senior VA managers that an analysis found nearly $150 million may be due in refunds to disabled veterans for fees on 48,000 loans issued between 2006 and 2014.

“As of January 2019, the review team received no indication that a large-scale effort had been initiated to issue refunds to these veterans,” the inspector general said.   

The director of the Loan Guaranty program since 2017, Jeffrey London, told investigators he “considered contracting out the task of issuing refunds, but never requested the award of a contract because other priorities…took precedence,” the investigators wrote.

The inspector general recommended the agency identify and pay all the veterans owed refunds. In addition, the VA should implement procedures to minimize the number of veterans who are wrongly charged fees and conduct periodic reviews to ensure those who are receive prompt refunds.

The VA told investigators some of the fees were incorrectly assessed by lenders, not the VA. But agency officials said in their response to the report that they “generally agreed” with the investigation’s findings and are consulting lawyers about complexities related to issuing refunds.

The agency “has drafted a plan with contingencies ready for implementation depending on the (legal) opinion,” the VA response said. The agency did not elaborate on what the plan is or when refunds will be issued.  

 

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Former State Senator Reportedly Found Shot to Death at Her Home

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A former Arkansas state senator was reportedly found dead at her home this week, and authorities are investigating her death as a homicide.

The body of a woman was discovered Tuesday night at Linda Collins-Smith’s residence in the city of Pocahontas, some 145 miles northeast of the state capital, Little Rock. The Randolph County Sheriff’s Office said its deputies responded to the scene and then asked the Arkansas State Police to be the lead investigative agency in what is currently being treated as a homicide investigation.

“The condition of the body prevented any immediate positive identification,” Randolph County Sheriff Kevin Bell said at a press conference Wednesday. “The body has been sent for an autopsy to determine the positive identification and cause of death.

Authorities wouldn’t say if Collins-Smith is the victim, and a judge has issued a gag order sealing the documents and statements obtained by police.

“Arkansas State Police has not, as of this hour, issued a statement that positively identifies a homicide victim in this case,” Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler told ABC News in an email early Thursday morning.

However, Collins-Smith’s former press secretary, Ken Yang, told Little Rock ABC affiliate KATV that she was found shot to death inside her home and her body was wrapped in some sort of blanket. Neighbors apparently reported hearing gunshots a day or two before her body was discovered.

Collins-Smith, who ran for reelection last year but was defeated in the Republican Party primary, was “someone who truly cared about Arkansas, truly cared about her district,” according to Yang. She was 57.

“It was shocking,” he said during an interview Tuesday night. “This was not just a political relationship. This was a close personal friendship that I had with Linda.”

Politicians on both sides of the aisle expressed shock and sadness at the news of the death of their Republican colleague.

“I’m both stunned and saddened by the death of former State Senator Linda Collins-Smith,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon. “She was a good person who served in the public arena with passion and conviction. The First Lady and I extend our deepest sympathies to her family and friends during this difficult time.”

“Today, we learned of the untimely death of former Senator Linda Collins Smith. She was a passionate voice for her people and a close member of our Republican family,” the Republican Party of Arkansas said in a statement on Tuesday evening. “We are praying for her loved ones during this difficult time.”

“To so many of us, Senator Linda Collins-Smith was more than just a colleague,” the Democratic Party of Arkansas said in a statement via Twitter on Tuesday night. “She was a friend and warm person. We are stunned and saddened to hear of her death. Please join us in prayer as we remember her family and her loved ones.”

Collins-Smith lost to James Sturch in the Republican Party primary for the 19th district in Arkansas in May 2018 by fewer than 600 votes. She previously served one term in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013, switching parties after being elected as a Democrat.

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Police arrest stepfather of 4-year-old girl he claims was kidnapped

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The stepfather of missing 4-year-old Maleah Davis was arrested and charged in connection to her disappearance, one week after he told Texas police that she was kidnapped by three men who assaulted and knocked him unconscious.

Derion Vence, 26, was arrested by the Houston Police Department at a relative’s home and charged with tampering with evidence, human corpse, in the disappearance of his stepdaughter on the night of May 4.

Although a police source told ABC News that the young girl was still missing, they would not say whether she was believed to be dead or alive.

Police said in a statement on Saturday that they had obtained blood evidence linked to Maleah from Vence’s apartment and that he was seen leaving his apartment with a full laundry basket, which was found Thursday along with a gas can in the trunk of the silver Nissan Altima that he reported missing following the kidnapping.

At a late night hearing, the district attorney said cadaver dogs reacted to scents in the trunk and the laundry basket.

Vence reported the abduction on May 5, nearly 24 hours after it occurred, claiming that he had been unconscious for much of that time, according to the statement.

He told police that he was driving with Maleah and his 2-year-old son on the night of May 4 to George Bush Intercontinental Airport in north Houston to pick up the girl’s mother, Brittany Bowens, who was returning from a trip to Massachusetts, police said.

He said that on the way there, he heard a popping noise coming from his car that made him believe he had a flat tire, so he pulled over to check on it. When he got out of the car, he said that a blue pickup truck pulled up behind him and two men got out, police said during a news conference on May 5.

He told police that one of the men commented on Maleah’s appearance as the other hit him in the head, knocking him out, police said.

Vence told police that he kept going in and out of consciousness, but at one point realized that he was in the back of the pickup truck where there were actually three men and that he also saw Maleah and his son in the truck, police said.

He said that he regained consciousness the next day with only his son in Sugar Land, nearly 22 miles southwest of central Houston, and walked to Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital where he received treatment and reported Maleah missing, police said.

Although he told police that his car was taken during the kidnapping, surveillance footage showed someone in the Nissan dropping Vence off at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital on May 5, police said.

Vence’s public defender asked for a $5,000 bond, while the district attorney proposed $500,000.

Instead, the judge ruled Vence be held on $1 million bond since the ongoing investigation “is likely to result in a significant upgrade to this second-degree felony.”

Houston police are asking anyone with information about the case, the whereabouts of Maleah Davis or the person who sold the gas can to Vence to contact the department’s Homicide Division at 713-308-3600.

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