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Two from Miami to sit with First Lady for Obama speech

Leonard Abess Jr., the Miami banker who gave $60 million to his tellers, bookkeepers and clerks, is getting a prized bonus of his own: tonight he'll get to watch President Barack Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress from First Lady Michelle Obama's box.


The White House says Obama earlier this month announced new restrictions on executive compensation, "designed to ensure fiscal responsibility," and that Abess "demonstrated this sort of responsibility last November when he decided to quietly share some $60 million of the proceeds he received from the sale of City National shares to Caja Madrid with current and former frontline bank employees."

Also sitting with the first lady, Geneva Lawson, a 51 year employee at City National Bank of Florida. Currently the safe-deposit custodian at the Miami Beach branch, Lawson has also worked as collection teller, payroll teller, savings teller, print shop clerk, and proof/bookkeeping clerk. She's one of the beneficiaries of Abess's generosity and plans to save and buy a new car with her bonus


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Prosy Delacruz

It is acts like this of corporate leaders that makes America great! Sharing profits with employees is perhaps the best way of addressing recessionary woes and stimulating the economy again. Thank you, Leonard Abess Jr! May your acts be replicated throughout the nation!!

Linda Thompson

My God bless you Mr. Abess for truly you are an Angel from Heaven reaching out to touch others. We are thankful that people like you are in this world.

With sincere appreciation your fellow American


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You story should serve as an example to all millionairs that want to avoid paying taxes and to contribute to the healing of our nation of this horrible economic disaster.

I pray that God protect and bless you and your family for your generous gift to your employees. I wish someone would have done that for me after years of earning minimum wage.

I am now retired, and I am still earning minimum income to survive on a retirement check from social security. I am 68 years old down here in beautiful San Rafael, California.

In a small way I also gave back to society by serving as a volunteer senior advocate for ten years without pay in a building for senior citizens with no Property Manager and managed by public housing in San Francisco. I felt very good of those ten years I helped seniors get a response from public housing to their concern.

Mirna Escobar
455 Manuel T. Freitas Parkway, #207
San Rafael, CA. 94903


Dear Mr. Abess:

God has a way of rendering honor where honor is due. Your gift to your employees got the attention of the new President of the United States, and he told your story when he was addressing the U.S. Congress.

You deserve every accolate, recognition, and applause you received from him and the members of Congress. I pray that it will serve as an example to all those millionairs and CEO that has never lifted a finger to help their fellow-man during such difficult times.

I too felt like a million dollars when I started to use my bilingual secretarial skills after my retirement and nervous brakedown ten years ago, and volunteer to represent senior citizens submit letters and complaints to the San Francisco Housing Authority when our senior development was going to hell in a hand basket.

There was no Manager or Security Guard on the property to save money, and there were drug users, loud music, discrimination by black residents against immigrants and Russian tenants in our building. I defended them all at great risk to my life.

My apartment was bomb by drug dealers when I started cooperating with police on February 6, 2001, and to-date the bombing has not been solved. It is still a cold case in the San Francisco Police Department.

However, I am not sorry that I made my development a safer and better place to live.

I relocated to San Rafael, California to live near my married daughter and four grandchildren, but I have not forgotten those senior citizens I left behind in San Francisco.

My efforts to lobby for a Manager and a Security Guard has been rewarded. I heard this week that a Property Manager and a Security Guard has been hired for Woodside Gardens Senior Development in San Francisco. It feels good to help others, and I did my part, without a dime in my pocket.

I used my expertise and work experience and knowledge of the HUD rules and regulations to force SFHA to take care of the tenants without favoritism for black residents.

Good job Mr. Abess - God is smiling at you from heaven.

455 Manuel T. Freitas Parkway, #207
San Rafael, CA. 94903

South Florida Movers

For the life of me I cant think of anything endearing to say about Michelle Obama. Her comments during the electing stating "for the first time Im proud to be an American" were appalling to me. I dont think I'll ever get over that.

Miami Website Designer

As my 2 yea rold would say "go o-ama!"
Thanks for this bit of info.

Miami Website Design


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Thanks for such a great post and the review, I am totally impressed! Keep stuff like this coming.

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Well..now after ms. Lawson hung out with the first lady, couldn't she at least get a free car with a presidential bonus or something? :)

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