Ronda Rousey: Why WWE decided to book dream match against Sasha Banks at Royal Rumble | WWE | Sport

According to Cageside Seats, the publisher and editor of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Dave Meltzer claims Vince McMahon’s promotion were initially set to put Rousey in another bout against Charlotte Flair.

However, the encounter didn’t take place because the wrestling giants are considering a WrestleMania 35 megamatch between Rousey, Charlotte and Becky Lynch.

‘Rowdy’, The Queen and Lynch have been embroiled in an intense feud during the last few months and rumours suggest they could become the first ever women to headline WrestleMania.

The Man started feuding with Rousey last October immediately after WWE’s first ever all-female Pay-Per-View event Evolution.

The two popular WWE superstars were set to battle at Survivor Series but the highly-anticipated fight was cancelled.

Lynch suffered a broken nose and a concussion at the hands of Nia Jax and was therefore sidelined until she regained full fitness.

Charlotte replaced The Irish Lass Kicker and got herself intentionally disqualified during her battle with Rousey.

The Queen bludgeoned the UFC legend with a kendo stick until the foreign object broke into pieces.

The seven-time women’s champion then wrapped a chair around the MMA hero’s neck and almost ended her career when she stomped on it with full force.

Rousey was then targeted by both SmackDown superstars on social media but she got her revenge when she cost them the SmackDown Women’s Championship at TLC.

The Baddest Woman on the Planet dropped Lynch and Charlotte from the top of a ladder during a Triple Threat Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match, which also included Asuka.

That allowed the Empress of Tomorrow to climb up and retrieve the belt to win her first ever title on the main roster.

Lynch is now set to battle Asuka at the Royal Rumble and Charlotte is considered the favourite to win the Women’s Royal Rumble Match.

Rousey will defend the RAW Women’s Championship against Banks, who became the No1 Contender after beating Jax on RAW.

Happy New You – Frank McNally on the hopes and dreams of January

Even if you have no interest in English football, you will probably be aware that something called the “January transfer window” is now open. This liberating concept extends to most big European leagues, now mid-season, and means that clubs are free to move players in and out for the rest of the month, culminating with frenzied TV coverage of the last hours before the window closes again.

January has a similar effect on life in general. The Monday just gone – the first working one of a new year – is traditionally the busiest day of all for divorce lawyers, and the start of a month in which their trade is brisker than in any of the other 11. 

Parallels with the English soccer season are obvious. For many marriages, the stress of the crowded Christmas fixture-list brings painful clarity about weaknesses in the line-up. By January, partners may know exactly who needs to be shipped out, if not who’s coming in to replace them.

On a less drastic level, the new year is also the time when people feel the need to get rid of bad habits, or acquire good ones. As with football clubs, we do this in the hope – however unrealistic – of greater success in life, or of just staying “up” and avoiding relegation. As with football teams too, the temptation is to overstretch: mortgaging our future selves to unhappiness at current inadequacy.

Historically, January had more to do with doors than windows. The name comes from Janus, the two-faced Roman god, who could look backwards and forwards simultaneously and was guardian of entries and exits. The humble janitor, now usually a general caretaker in public buildings, is an etymological descendant. 

Speaking of Rome, my personal (and imaginary) janitor has just ushered the Italian language onto our premises for 2019. I don’t normally got in for resolutions, but for months past I’ve been meaning to try out that Duolingo phone app, which has supposedly revolutionised language-learning.  

For best effect, the experiment had to involve a language I’d never studied before. So Japanese was briefly tempting, based on a vision in which my future self attends the World Rugby Cup final in Tokyo in November and chats fluently with the hosts about Ireland’s thrilling win.  

But being slightly more realistic, I opted instead for Plan B, which foresees me ordering a cappuccino in the Piazza Navona before the Six Nations game next month while passing myself off as a local. Achieving the sartorial elegance required may be the biggest challenge.

A plan I do usually follow through on during Christmas holidays is catching up with books I’ve long meant to read, for self-improvement or otherwise. Top of my list this year was an 80-year-old classic: Stephen Rynne’s Green Fields, the diary of a gentleman farmer in 1930s Kildare.

By “gentleman farmer”, I don’t mean that Rynne didn’t work hard. He did, and at a range of things that would strain most modern farmers.  

On his mixed holding near Prosperous, he raised sheep, cattle, poultry, barley, wheat, vegetables, strawberries, a bewildering range of apple trees, and made his own butter.

But he was a poet and philosopher too, and especially at this time of year, depended on books to get him through the long pre-electrified nights. He was single when writing, although pondering marriage. Interestingly, for the week that’s in it, he thought he might “like to be married in the winter, if I could be a bachelor in the summer”. But when he did subsequently acquire a wife, the arrangement was full-time.

A patriot, proud of the Free State’s independence, Rynne nevertheless had English heroes, chief among them William Cobbett: the farmer, journalist, and reforming politician of a century earlier.  

Rynne would have liked to recruit Cobbett retrospectively for Ireland’s cause. “Could we but have exchanged prisoners of war in the long struggle between the two nations, how gladly we would have swapped Thomas Moore for [him], aye and thrown Richard [Brinsley] Sheridan into the bargain,” he wrote.  

Warming to this fantasy transfer window, he went on to suggest a more elaborate literary exchange, whereby Ireland acquired his beloved GK Chesterton, while off-loading James Joyce and Oliver St John Gogarty, among others. 

I may not share all Rynne’s literary tastes, but this was an ideal time of year to read his book. In keeping with the theme, it may even have planted seeds. Who knows, 2019 might also be the year I start growing things. With the optimism of the season, I don’t just mean ear hair.

11 Books Written By Black Women We Can’t Wait To Read In 2019


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Knopf/Facebook – Alfred A. Knopf

The Source of Self-Regard by Toni Morrison – February 12

Toni Morrison doesn’t need a cosign from us, but her latest The Source of Self-Regard is a must-read. It’s a collection of essays, speeches and other meditations, such as a prayer for those who died during 9/11. Not only does Morrison comment on her own novels, but also on current social issues such as Black Lives Matter, the press and modern day feminism. Pre-order now!

College Board Offers Explanation On Florida Teen’s SAT Cheating Accusation

Within seven months, Kamilah Campbell improved her SAT scores by more than 300 points. But instead of celebrating the impressive achievement, the Florida teenager has been accused of cheating and was told that her test results are invalid. Now, her family is taking legal action against The College Board and Educational Testing Services (ETS), which administer the nationwide test.

“Kamilah explained that she took the SAT for the first time on March 10 with no preparation. Between then and October, she practiced diligently, working with her teachers, receiving tutoring, and regularly accessing the preparatory resources of Khan Academy,” reads a statement from Campbell’s lawyer, high-profile civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, reports The Root.

Campbell originally received a score of 900 out of 1600 after her first attempt at the college entrance exam. The second time her score jumped to 1230. The South Florida high school student credits her impressive improvement to months of prep that included working with a hired tutor, taking online classes, and using The Princetown Review SAT prep book as a study guide.

“I did not cheat. I studied, and I focused to achieve my dream,” Campbell said Wednesday at a press conference, according to CNN. “I worked so hard and did everything I could do.”

Rather than celebrating her achievement, ETS sent her a letter stating her SAT results will not be released until a pending review. As a result, Crump says Campbell’s ability to apply for certain scholarships and her dream college, Florida State University, may be hindered.

“We are writing to you because based on a preliminary review, there appears to be substantial evidence that your scores … are invalid,” read the letter, reports The Hill. “Our preliminary concerns are based on substantial agreement between your answers on one or more scored sections of the test and those of other test takers. The anomalies noted above raise concerns about the validity of your scores.”

Crump, however, argues that ETS’ accusations are an attack on her integrity, intelligence, and opportunity to realize her dreams of going to college.

“It is not for ETS, a private corporation, to define the limits of human achievement and betterment,” he said. “In concluding that the only way Kamilah could have improved her score so substantially was by cheating, ETS defamed Kamilah’s character and replaced what should have been appropriate and motivating personal pride with shame and confusion.”

He added, “Although Kamilah provided a sound explanation and evidence for her improvement, ETS has refused to relent, denying this promising and dedicated student access to a college education, the funds to pay for it, and fulfillment of her dreams.”

A spokesperson at The College Board told BLACK ENTERPRISE that scores are never flagged for score gains, alone. Rather, score reviews are triggered by a “range of factors that cast doubt on the validity of a score,” says the non-for-profit. “We give the benefit of the doubt to the student and we never hold or cancel scores unless there is strong evidence that the scores are invalid.”

The College Board went on to list the types of evidence that suggest invalidity, which include:

  • A student’s answer sheet resembles not only another student’s, but a group of students who have very similar answers, including the same wrong answers.
  • The same group includes students whose scores have been canceled for irregularities in the past. The group of students’ answers match not only one another, but an answer key or “cheat sheet” that has been found circulating among students.
  • There is an absence of any scratch work in the testing booklet.
  • Each of these factors and other similar evidence are rare. In combination, they are extremely rare and establish a very strong pattern.

The College Board added that their pending review will not impede Campbell’s opportunity to apply to FSU.

“We are in contact with John Barnhill, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management at Florida State University, who assured us that a student whose scores are delayed will be allowed to submit scores when they become available after the review process is complete.”


Former Miss USA helps women find ‘The Sparkle Effect’ (”1on1 with Jon Evans” podcast)

“I was a new girl at school,” she remembers about her first year as a seventh-grader at Roland-Grise Middle School. “I had a really short haircut. I had a face covered with acne, and braces. So, I did not feel pretty. I felt really lonely at times. That whole phase, I feel it was about nine years of the ‘ugly duckling’ phase, I had to work through. But through all of that, and through feeling insecure and even years of feeling depressed, I still had this dream of becoming Miss USA one day. That’s a really important message in the book. We’re going to go through phases, or years, or seasons of not necessarily feeling confident or worthy of the dream that God put in our heart. But we still have to make a decision that we’re going to believe that if God put a dream in our heart that we are worthy of it, even when our feelings don’t match up.”

12 Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week

From a monthlong odyssey of dance to a photographic exhibition that asks “What is possession?,” an evening of stand-up with Fred Armisen and a celebration of the Year of the Boar, here are the 12 best things to do in Los Angeles this week!

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DANCE

Direct From Germany

After more than 40 years as one of L.A.’s most vibrant live theaters, the Odyssey Theatre began opening its stage to dance, and three years ago it launched its own dance festival. Over the next month, Dance at the Odyssey 2019 offers six different programs of contemporary dance, mostly from L.A.-based companies. The festival opens with Berlin-based choreographer Shade Théret teaming with artist Lukas Panek in Maybe. It’s described as a site-specific work, so it will be interesting to see what the theater’s converted industrial warehouse inspires. Théret is co-presented by the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, which brings German cultural works to L.A. — mostly film, but occasionally dance, too. Check the website for the full festival lineup. Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Sawtelle; Sat., Jan. 5, 8 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 6, 2 p.m.; $25. (310) 477-2055, odysseytheatre.com. —Ann Haskins

ART

Luminescent Creatures

This weekend is your last chance to trek out to Pomona for the Magical Chinese Lantern Festival. The experience features more than 1,000 larger-than-life displays made from materials ranging from lanterns to old-school glass medicine bottles and porcelain plates; expect to see animals ranging from koi to cheetahs, lions, pandas, even dinosaurs. (If you want a challenge, try to guess how many medicine bottles are in the peacock lantern display.) There are martial arts demonstrations nightly, as well as shadow puppet shows and other folk art demonstrations. There will be food and alcoholic beverages as well as more seasonal appropriate offerings such as hot chocolate. Fairplex, 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona; Thu.-Sat., 5:30-10 p.m. (last entry 9:20 p.m.); thru. Jan. 6; $14.27-$27. Chineselanternfestival.com. —Avery Bissett

Parker Day's EXPAND

Parker Day’s “Disease”

Courtesy Superchief Gallery L.A.

sat 1/5

ART

Are You Mine?

Possession. It’s ownership, stewardship, control. It’s nine-tenths of the law. When it’s demonic, it means you’re not in charge of your own soul. But what if you’re the demon? What if you’re actually possessed by an angel? When you’re self-possessed, it comes across as confidence. All of this forms the psychological and emotionally expressive fodder for Parker Day’s new series of bright and bold studio photographs, “Possession.” Known for her total vision, which she pursues with seismic art direction, set construction, costume design and styling, Day’s gift for creating an endless pageant of unique character portraits finds new direction in this series, exploring permutations of possession as it relates to individual experiences in the skin they were born with, and the skins they subsequently fabricate for themselves. Superchief Gallery L.A., 739 Kohler St., downtown; opening reception: Sat., Jan. 5, 7-11 p.m.; runs thru Jan. 31; free. superchiefgallery.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot

Arthur OmuraEXPAND

Arthur Omura

Courtesy the artist

MUSIC

French Connection

When it comes to keyboards, Arthur Omura is more interested in the overlooked and even undiscovered properties of ancient instruments than he is in the synthesized sounds of modern machines. The Bay Area keyboardist is adept at dialing up the spidery, fluttering delicacy of a courtly tune on harpsichord, but for this afternoon’s solo recital, as part of the Edendale Up Close Concerts series, Omura focuses on chamber-music organ works by French Baroque composers. The free, hourlong program ranges from the poignant stateliness of François Roberday’s Fugues et caprices to alternately meditative, showy and reverential pieces by Jean Titelouze, François Couperin, Eustache Du Caurroy and others. Edendale Library, 2011 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; Sat., Jan. 5, 12 p.m.; free. (213) 207-3000, lapl.org/whats-on/events/arthur-omura-french-baroque-chamber-organ-recital. —Falling James

TorpedoBoy Steps and Screws Wearing Some Cutty Black ShoesEXPAND

TorpedoBoy Steps and Screws Wearing Some Cutty Black Shoes

Courtesy Shulamit Nazarian Gallery

ART

Alternate Universe

“An Ingenue’s Hues and How to Use Cutty Black Shoes” is the title of painter Trenton Doyle Hancock’s new exhibition, but the phrase’s dark whimsy and prosaic flourish set the tone for the entire experience. Visually, Hancock engineers a rough-edged mashup of graphics, comics and illustration styles with a juicy abstract expressionist aesthetic. This he deploys in chronicling the ongoing adventures of (mostly) fictional characters inhabiting the Moundverse — a parallel yet all too familiar world of the artist’s own imagination. With elements of superheros and classic mythology, alter-ego figures like TorpedoBoy enact narratives of adventure and protection, coping with the negativity and all-too-real world of racism and danger. Shulamit Nazarian, 616 N. La Brea Ave., Hancock Park; opening reception: Sat., Jan. 5, 6-9 p.m.; runs Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., thru Feb. 17. (310) 281-0961, shulamitnazarian.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot

MUSIC/COMEDY

Right Said Fred

Veteran punk drummer and Saturday Night Live sketchateer Fred Armisen holds forth tonight in an evening billed as “stand-up for musicians.” While he’ll probably throw in a few jokes like “Why do bagpipers always walk when they play? To get away from the noise” or ‘What do you call a drummer without a girlfriend? Homeless!” he’ll also regale you with anecdotes about being a musician getting his big break through comedy, what it’s like to be the new voice of Speedy Gonzales, and finding out that he’s a quarter Korean and not Japanese as he’d thought he was all along. Largo at the Coronet, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Grove; Sat., Jan. 5, 7 p.m.; $30. (310) 855-0350, largo-la.com. —David Cotner

sun 1/6

CULTURE

Year of the Boar

2019 marks the Year of the Pig, the ultimate animal in the 12-year cycle of the traditional Chinese Zodiac. In the case of the Japanese zodiac calendar and the Oshogatsu Family Festival, it’s the pig’s close relation— the boar — that is showcased. You’ll be able to partake in the New Year’s tradition of fukubukuro — purchasing a discounted grab-bag of goodies — and enjoy free Yakult, soba noodles with tofu, vegetables and nori (noodles often symbolize good health and fortune in Asian culture) and sample a selection of Japanese New Year’s dishes. There will be performances from the experts of candy sculpting, taiko drumming, calligraphy and mochi making. Admission to the museum’s exhibits will be free for the day — highlights include one dedicated to vintage kaiju toys and photographs depicting the experience of interned Japanese-Americans during World War II. Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave., Little Tokyo; Sun., Jan. 6, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; free. (213) 625-0414, janm.org. —Avery Bissett

ART

To Infinity and Beyond

Paintings by Gary Brewer are surreal in a sort of 18th-century natural sciences kind of way, but luminous like stained glass and very often completely abstract. His supersaturated colors hum with optical vibration, as his patterns and images merge and morph between the crispness of botany and the vague pleasures of a dream. He thinks a lot about Darwin’s book, and the fractal, macro/micro patterns of the universe and the consciousness, and how they manifest in material beauty, and mathematics, and jazz music. So it’s rather perfect that the exhibition of his new paintings, “Infinite Morphologies,” be held in a salonlike downtown gallery space, which also will host concerts and conversations on Sundays during the monthlong installation. Marie Baldwin Gallery, 814 S. Spring St., downtown; Sun., Jan. 6, 5-10 p.m.; runs Tue.-Sat., 1-6 p.m., thru Feb. 3; free. mariebaldwingallery.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot

mon 1/7

BOOKS

Tales of the Outback

A woman named Lilly finds herself clawing through the dust and sand of the Australian Outback on a search for her long-lost father, in Janet Clare‘s new novel, Time Is the Longest Distance (Vine Leaves Press). Lilly’s literal journey inspires a series of romantic and emotional digressions, and her interactions with her family and various exotic Australians are sparked by Clare’s evocative observations and punchy dialogue. “Men and machines are exhilarating to me,” Lilly says. A few pages later, she adds, “I loved New York, and I’d become proficient at holding on, maintaining the magnificent daylight confidence of a capable woman.” Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Mon., Jan. 7, 7 p.m.; free, book is $14.99. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com/event/janet-clare-discusses-and-signs-time-long-distance-conversation-david-francis. —Falling James

tue 1/8

FILM

Rolling Along

An initiative of Free Wheelchair Mission — a charity that gives free wheelchairs to people in the developing world who otherwise would not have access to them — tonight’s screening of Because No One Should Have to Crawl showcases the documentary that was part of the public television series The Visionaries. Narrated by the constitutionally redoubtable Sam Waterston, it’s an eye-opening voyage through the various sloughs of despond, made markedly more bearable by the efforts of kind people — including Free Wheelchair Mission executive director Nuka Solomon in a post-show Q&A — extending a helping wheel to those in need. Downtown Independent Theatre, 251 S. Main St., downtown; Tue., Jan. 8, 7 p.m.; free. (213) 617-1033, facebook.com/events/281493662506829/. —David Cotner

wed 1/9

FILM/COMEDY

Punch-Drunk Pulp

What better way to make sense of a complicated film than drinking your confusion away? Tonight’s Comedians Cinema Club presents Pulp Fiction (Drunk), during which comedians re-enact this violent masterpiece with all the charm of a drunken relative cornering you on Simchat Torah with tales of half-remembered adventures that go nowhere and ethnic slurs about furniture. Other films upcoming in these inebriated interpretations include Forrest Gump and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. And let’s face it: If it weren’t for Comedians Cinema Club — the fools — how else could people with taste, like you, stand out? Black Rabbit Rose, 1719 N. Hudson Ave., Hollywood; Wed., Jan. 9, 8 p.m.; $15. (323) 461-1464, comedianscinemaclub.com. —David Cotner

thu 1/10

MUSIC

Revisiting the Thin White Duke

Several great musical minds and perhaps even the ghost of a Thin White Duke will be hovering in and around Disney Hall this weekend as composer John Adams conducts pianist Orli Shaham and L.A. Philharmonic in the mesmerizing cycles of his own dream-laden Grand Pianola Music, following Gabriella Smith’s seashore-inspired Tumblebird Contrails. Then Adams stirs up the world premiere of Philip Glass’ Symphony No. 12, Lodger, featuring Beninese vocalist Angélique Kidjo. It’s the third of three works by Glass riffing on David Bowie and Brian Eno’s Berlin Trilogy. Glass’ unfolding, repetitive and shifting patterns can be compelling, and his previous extrapolations from Bowie’s Low and Heroes have taken flight with dramatic grandeur. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Thur.-Fri., Jan. 10-11, 8 p.m. & Sun., Jan. 13, 2 p.m.; $25-$174. (323) 850-2000, laphil.com. —Falling James

Taranaki seller of $22.3m Lotto Powerball ticket excited she’s ‘given someone their hopes and dreams’

The excited Taranaki shopkeepers who sold the Lotto Powerball ticket that won $22.3 million hope the lucky person is a local.

“It would be nice for it to be a local,” said Lorraine Reeve, of the Inglewood Book Centre. “At the moment there’s a lot of tourists and visitors coming through.”

Reeve said she and her husband had sold a ticket that won $1m soon after taking over the business around a decade ago, but never anything as big as last night’s $22,333,333 – a $22m Powerball prize plus $333,333 first division win.

“This is amazing. We were so excited that we felt – I mean we had only just sold the ticket, so imagine being the winner.”

“[It] took my breath away. It was really exciting; very, very exciting. Let’s just say we didn’t sleep much last night.”

Reeve said customers had been talking about the win all morning, “and it’s surprised a few people”.

“They have come in checking their tickets and they didn’t actually know we’d sold the winning one, so that’s even quite exciting too.”

She said the winner hadn’t brought in the winning ticket yet, but she hoped they would bring it to her shop.

Asked if she would put up a poster proclaiming “winning ticket sold here, $22 million”, Reeve said: “I’ve got the big winner sold here poster – that’s a start.”

She said she bought Lotto tickets but not the Powerball option, although her husband did buy Powerball last night.

“[You] can’t be envious can you – you’ve given someone their hopes and dreams.”

Lotto NZ said the $22.3 million ticket had not been presented yet. The buyer should write their name on the back of the ticket and check it immediately at any Lotto outlet, online at MyLotto.co.nz or through the Lotto NZ ticket-checker app.

Inglewood Community Board chairwoman Karen Moratti said, “Congratulations to David and Lorraine [Reeve] at the Inglewood Book Centre. It’s wonderful that they had a big win there. They have had some wins before.

“Obviously we would love it to be that it’s going to a local and I wish them all the very best with their big win.

“They might just go straight to Auckland, like some people do – try and keep it a little bit quiet, but in a small town that might not be so easy.”

South Florida student demands SAT score be released after…


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A South Florida student accused of cheating on her SATs held a press conference Wednesday along with her high-profile attorney, Benjamin Crump. 

“My name is Kamilah Campbell. I didn’t cheat,” Campbell said. “I studied to achieve my dreams, and I know to achieve them, I had to be focused and dedicated. And I won’t let ETS or anyone take my dreams away from me.”

Campbell is still waiting for her SAT scores to be released following a Jan. 1 college deadline. 

Last week, the Dr. Michael Krop Senior High School student told Local 10 News about her dreams of attending Florida State University. 

But her dream has been threatened after she received a letter from Educational Testing Services saying her October SAT scores were invalid. 

Campbell said it is due to a 300-point score increase from March. 

“She studied harder than she ever studied before. Focused more than she ever focused before to conquer this test,” Crump said. “She made a 1230 on the SAT in October.”

“I turned in a letter from my tutor, a letter from my teacher and I wrote a statement myself. I also turned in pictures of the study book I used on my own,” Campbell said. 

Campbell stood alongside her mother, community members and Crump, asking ETS to release her scores immediately.

“She stayed up late nights, she stayed up early mornings, studying. She received extra tutoring because she set a goal in her head she wanted to reach and she accomplished that goal. She deserves to be honored,” the student’s mother, Shirley Campbell, said. 

An ETS official released a statement regarding the issue, saying, “We cannot discuss specific students’ scores. After every test administration, we go to great lengths to make sure that all test scores we report are accurate and valid. In order to do so, we sometimes take additional quality control steps before scores are released.”

Campbell has created a GoFundMe page, which states that she may now be forced to pay for college without scholarship assistance due to her SAT score being withheld.

The website states that Campbell is “unable to accept money for legal fees,” but will spend the funds “at her sole discretion.”

Copyright 2019 by WPLG Local10.com – All rights reserved.

How Biden Has Paved the Way for a Possible Presidential Run

The list includes Mr. Biden’s sister and longtime campaign manager, Valerie Biden Owens, who is vice chairwoman of both the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware and the Biden Foundation, as well as a paid consultant to the institute; Mike Donilon, his strategist across four decades and now the managing director of the institute and a consultant for Mr. Biden’s PAC; and Steve Ricchetti, his vice-presidential chief of staff and now the managing director of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. Another longtime Biden operative, Joshua Alcorn, has been paid by Mr. Biden’s PAC while serving as an executive at the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children.

The top compensation, as far as can be determined from Internal Revenue Service records, belongs to Gregory C. Simon, who was projected in a tax exemption application to receive $552,500 a year to run the cancer initiative. Mr. Biden selected Mr. Simon in the final year of the Obama administration to lead the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force for less than 40 percent of that amount.

Gregory C. Simon runs the Biden Cancer Initiative.CreditMatt Low

Mr. Biden declined through his spokesman to be interviewed about his post-vice-presidency. But several people close to him emphasized that he had built his mini-empire not to prepare for 2020 but to make a continuing contribution on matters of longstanding concern.

“They planned a lot of this under the assumption that Hillary Clinton would be president of the United States,” said Sarah Bianchi, a former Biden policy aide who is now a paid senior adviser to the institute.

That said, some top staff members will undoubtedly decamp for a campaign if there is one, several advisers said. Whether all the groups could sustain operations is unclear, given that Mr. Biden could face pressure to suspend fund-raising to avoid improper influence.

During the 2018 cycle, Mr. Biden maintained visibility with campaign visits to 24 states and at least 135 other speaking engagements, giving him a platform whenever he wanted. At a book-related talk in Missoula, Mont., in early December, he fueled coast-to-coast speculation about his plans by declaring himself “the most qualified person in the country to be president.”

Mr. Biden has long been self-deprecating about his relative lack of wealth, compared with some politicians. He and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, left office with assets worth between $277,000 and $955,000 (not including their house near Wilmington, Del.), as well as a mortgage of $500,000 to $1 million and other smaller loans, according to a 2015 federal disclosure. The report gives values in ranges.