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Volume 24 No. 155
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Names In The News

In London, Raf Sanchez reports PAUL MCCARTNEY "will kick off the London 2012 Olympics." McCartney told Olympic organizers he is "up for" performing at the Opening Ceremony next July 27, but "detailed plans and choice of songs have yet to be finalised." The Rolling Stones "reportedly declined an offer to perform and Led Zeppelin are also said to be staying away after frontman ROBERT PLANT said he was not interested" (London TELEGRAPH, 7/28).

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: F1 Management Chair BERNIE ECCLESTONE has been accused of paying $44M in bribes to former German bank Bayerische Landesbank Chief Risk Officer GERHARD GRIBKOWSKY, but he said that he "paid only $23 million" and "repeated his assertion that the money was not a bribe." Ecclestone "initially denied any knowledge of the payments," but he "has now admitted to paying Gribkowsky $23m after being 'shaken down' by the German." He added that Gribkowsky "threatened to make life difficult for him" with former U.K. government body the Inland Revenue "by making 'false claims 'regarding the running of the Ecclestone family trust Bambino Holdings" (London TELEGRAPH, 7/28).

HOLLYWOOD BEAT: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's McClintock & Kit reported the story of RICH FRANKLIN's "remarkable rise from math teacher to mixed martial artist and UFC champion is headed for the big screen." Double E Pictures and Motion Theory "have optioned the life rights to Franklin's story, and set DAVID HOLLANDER to pen the script" (, 7/27)....The world premiere of "MONEYBALL" will take place at the 11-day Toronto Int'l Film Festival, which begins Sept. 8 (, 7/26).

NAMES: In New Jersey, Ellsworth Boyce profiled NASCAR Managing Dir of Business Development SEAN DOWNES under the header, "NJ Native Chooses NASCAR Over Madison Square Garden." Downes "sees opportunity" with NASCAR. He said, "NASCAR's television ratings are up, attendance is up. The sport has a big focus on green issues, and there may not be a better time for new companies and new technologies to grow their companies through the sport of NASCAR" (, 7/26)....Former NFLer SCOTT TURNER has announced his candidacy for the Texas House of Representatives. Turner played eight seasons in the NFL, and currently serves as an adviser to the NFLPA (, 7/26)….Former Steelers C CHUKKY OKOBI is being sued by 24 neighbors of the Shadyside, Pa, where he “runs a bed-and-breakfast and hosts weddings, corporate retreats and other social gatherings.” Okobi’s neighbors are claiming that the outdoor events “are a nuisance to the neighborhood” (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 7/26)…. USTA Serves, the USTA’s philanthropic and charitable entity, awarded more than $400,000 in grants to 39 community tennis organizations and other foundations during its ’11 spring funding cycle (USTA).