Wesley Snipes

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Wesley Snipes
Wesley Snipes (41969097750) (cropped).jpg
Snipes in July 2018
Born
Wesley Trent Snipes

(1962-07-31) July 31, 1962 (age 58)
OccupationActor, film producer, martial artist, author
Years active1985–2010, 2013–present
Spouse(s)
  • April Dubois
    (m. 1985⁠–⁠1990)
  • Nakyung "Nikki" Park[1]
    (m. 2003)
Children5[1]

Wesley Trent Snipes (born July 31, 1962) is an American actor, film producer, martial artist and author. His prominent film roles include New Jack City (1991), White Men Can't Jump (1992), Passenger 57 (1992), Demolition Man (1993), U.S. Marshals (1998) and the Marvel Comics character Blade in the Blade film trilogy (1998–2004), The Expendables 3 (2014 film) and for his role on The Player (2015). Snipes was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male for his work in The Waterdance and won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor for his performance in the film One Night Stand.

He formed a production company, Amen-Ra Films, in 1991, and a subsidiary, Black Dot Media, to develop projects for film and television.[2][3] He has been training in martial arts since the age of 12, earning a 5th dan black belt in Shotokan Karate and 2nd dan black belt in Hapkido.[4]

Early life[edit]

Snipes was born in Orlando, Florida, the son of Marian (née Long), a teacher's assistant, and Wesley Rudolph Snipes, an aircraft engineer.[5][6] He grew up in the Bronx, New York. He attended the High School of Performing Arts of Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts but moved back to Florida before he could graduate. After graduating from Jones High School in Orlando, Snipes returned to New York and attended the State University of New York at Purchase. He also attended Southwest College in Los Angeles, California.

Career[edit]

Acting[edit]

Snipes signing autographs at Comic Con International in 2010

At the age of 23, Snipes was discovered by an agent while performing in a competition. He made his film debut in the 1986 Goldie Hawn vehicle Wildcats. Later that year, he appeared on the TV show Miami Vice as a drug-dealing pimp in the episode "Streetwise" (first aired December 5, 1986). In 1987, he appeared as Michael Jackson's nemesis in the Martin Scorsese–directed music video "Bad" and the feature film Streets of Gold. That same year, Snipes was also considered for the role of Geordi La Forge in the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation, but the role eventually went to LeVar Burton.[7] Snipes auditioned & lobbied hard for the role of Leroy Green in the 1985 cult classic movie The Last Dragon but the role was given to Taimak instead.

Snipes's performance in the music video "Bad" caught the eye of director Spike Lee. Snipes turned down a small role in Lee's Do the Right Thing for the larger part of Willie Mays Hayes in Major League, beginning a succession of box-office hits for Snipes. Lee would later cast Snipes as the jazz saxophonist Shadow Henderson in Mo' Better Blues and as the lead in the interracial romance drama Jungle Fever. After the success of Jungle Fever the Washington Post described Snipes as "the most celebrated new actor of the season".[8] He then played Thomas Flanagan in King of New York opposite Christopher Walken. He played the drug lord Nino Brown in New Jack City, which was written specifically for him by Barry Michael Cooper. He also played a drug dealer in the 1994 film Sugar Hill.

Snipes has played a number of roles in action films like Passenger 57, Demolition Man (with Sylvester Stallone), Money Train, The Fan, U.S. Marshals and Rising Sun, as well as comedies like White Men Can't Jump, and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar where he played a drag queen. Snipes has appeared in dramas like The Waterdance and Disappearing Acts.[9]

In 1997, he won the Best Actor Volpi Cup at the 54th Venice Film Festival for his performance in New Line Cinema's One Night Stand. In 1998, Snipes had his largest commercial success with Blade, which has grossed over $150 million worldwide. The film turned into a series. He also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and an honorary doctorate in humanities and fine arts from his alma mater, SUNY/Purchase.[10] In 2004, Snipes reprised his role in the third film, Blade: Trinity, which he also produced. In 2005, he sued New Line Cinema and David S. Goyer, the film's studio and director, respectively. He claimed that the studio did not pay his full salary, that he was intentionally cut out of casting decisions, and that his character's screen time was reduced in favor of co-stars Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel. The suit was later settled, but no details were released.[11] He has discussed reprising the role of Blade as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Trinity was his last theatrical release in the U.S. until 2010.[12]

He later appeared in The Contractor, filmed in Bulgaria and the UK, Gallowwalkers, released in 2012, and Game of Death. Snipes was originally slated to play one of the four leads in Spike Lee's 2008 war film Miracle at St. Anna but had to leave the film due to tax problems; his role eventually went to Derek Luke.[13]

Snipes in 2014, at the French premiere of The Expendables 3.

Snipes made a comeback performance in Brooklyn's Finest as Casanova "Caz" Phillips, a supporting character, it was his first theatrical release film since 2004. He also had to turn down the part of Hale Caesar in The Expendables because he was not allowed to leave the United States without the court's approval.[14] In 2014, he appeared in the sequel The Expendables 3. His comedic role-playing D'Urville Martin in Dolemite Is My Name has earned him positive reviews and a number of award nominations.

Other ventures[edit]

In the late 1990s, Snipes and his brother started a security firm called the Royal Guard of Amen-Ra, dedicated to providing VIPs with bodyguards trained in law enforcement and martial arts. Amen-Ra is also the name of his film company. In 1996, the first film produced by Amen-Ra was A Great And Mighty Walk – Dr. John Henrik Clarke.[15]

In 2000, the business was investigated for alleged ties to the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors. It emerged that Snipes had spotted 200 acres (0.81 km2) of land near their Tama-Re compound in Putnam County, Georgia, intending to buy and use it for his business academy. Both Snipes's business and the groups used Egyptian motifs as their symbols.[15] Ultimately, Snipes and his brother did not buy the land, instead establishing their company in Florida, Antigua, and Africa.[15]

In 2005, Snipes was in negotiations to fight Fear Factor host Joe Rogan on Ultimate Fighting Match.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Snipes with wife Nikki Park in 2009.

Snipes began training in martial arts when he was 12 years old. He has a 5th degree black belt in Shotokan karate and a 2nd degree black belt in Hapkido. He has also trained in Capoeira[4] under Mestre Jelon Vieira and in a number of other disciplines including kung fu at the USA Shaolin Temple[17] and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Kickboxing.[citation needed] During his time in New York, Snipes was trained in fighting by his friend and mentor Brooke Ellis.[18]

Snipes has been married twice, first to April Snipes (née Dubois), with whom he has a son Jelani, who had a cameo role in Snipes' 1990 film Mo' Better Blues. In 2003, Snipes married painter Nakyung "Nikki" Park, with whom he has four children.[19]

Snipes, who was raised a Christian, converted to Islam in 1978 but left Islam in 1988. During a 1991 interview, Snipes said "Islam made me more conscious of what African people have accomplished, of my self-worth, and gave me some self-dignity".[20]

Snipes' apartment was destroyed by the collapse of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers during the September 11 attacks. He was on the West Coast at the time.[18]

Income tax conviction[edit]

On October 12, 2006, Snipes, Eddie Ray Kahn, and Douglas P. Rosile were charged with one count of conspiring to defraud the United States and one count of knowingly making or aiding and abetting the making of a false and fraudulent claim for payment against the United States. Snipes was also charged with six counts of willfully failing to file federal income tax returns by their filing dates.[21] The conspiracy charge against Snipes alleged that he filed a false amended return, including a false tax refund claim of over $4 million for the year 1996, and a false amended return, including a false tax refund claim of over US$7.3 million for the year 1997. The government alleged that Snipes attempted to obtain fraudulent tax refunds using a tax protester theory called the "861 argument" (essentially, an argument that the domestic income of U.S. citizens and residents is not taxable). The government also charged that Snipes sent three worthless, fictitious "bills of exchange" for $14 million to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).[22]

The government also charged that Snipes failed to file tax returns for the years 1999 through 2004. Snipes responded to his indictment in a letter on December 4, 2006, declaring himself to be "a non-resident alien" of the United States; in reality, Snipes is a birthright U.S. citizen.[23] Such tactics are common of the "Freemen", "Sovereign Citizen", or "OPCA" (Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument) category of litigation strategy.[24]

Snipes retained Robert Barnes as his defense attorney.

On February 1, 2008, Snipes was acquitted on the felony count of conspiracy to defraud the government and on the felony count of filing a false claim with the government. He was, however, found guilty on three misdemeanor counts of failing to file federal income tax returns (and acquitted on three other "failure to file" charges). His co-defendants, Douglas P. Rosile and Eddie Ray Kahn, were convicted on the conspiracy and false claim charges in connection with the income tax refund claims filed for Snipes.[25][26]

On April 24, 2008, Snipes was sentenced to three years in prison for willful failure to file federal income tax returns under 26 U.S.C. § 7203.[27][28][29] Kahn was sentenced to 10 years in prison and Rosile was sentenced to four and one half years in prison.[30] The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed Snipes's convictions in a 35-page decision issued on July 16, 2010.[31][32][33] Snipes reported to federal prison on December 9, 2010 to begin his three-year sentence,[34] and was held at McKean Federal Correctional Institution, a federal prison in Pennsylvania.[35][36][37] On June 6, 2011, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear Snipes's appeal.[38][39][40] Snipes was released from federal prison on April 2, 2013,[41] finishing his period of house arrest on July 19, 2013.[41][42]

On November 1, 2018, the United States Tax Court ruled that the Internal Revenue Service did not abuse its discretion in rejecting an offer in compromise made by Snipes and in sustaining the filing of a notice of federal tax lien in connection with approximately $23.5 million in Federal tax liabilities for tax year 2001 and years 2003 through 2006.[43]

Filmography[edit]

Feature films[edit]

  Denotes lead role

Title Year Functioned as Notes
Actor Producer Role
Wildcats 1986 Yes No Trumaine
Streets of Gold 1986 Yes No Roland Jenkins
Critical Condition 1987 Yes No Ambulance Driver Cameo
Major League 1989 Yes No Willie Mays Hayes
King of New York 1990 Yes No Thomas Flanigan
Mo' Better Blues 1990 Yes No Shadow Handerson
New Jack City 1991 Yes No Nino Brown
Jungle Fever 1991 Yes No Flipper Purify
The Waterdance 1992 Yes No Raymond Hill
White Men Can't Jump 1992 Yes No Sidney "Syd" Deane
Passenger 57 1992 Yes No John Cutter
Boiling Point 1993 Yes No Agent Jimmy Mercer
Rising Sun 1993 Yes No Lt. Webster "Web" Smith
Demolition Man 1993 Yes No Simon Phoenix
Sugar Hill 1993 Yes No Roemello Skugs
Drop Zone 1994 Yes No U.S. Marshal Pete Nessip
To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar 1995 Yes No Noxeema Jackson
Money Train 1995 Yes No John Robinson
Waiting to Exhale 1995 Yes No James Wheeler Uncredited cameo
The Fan 1996 Yes No Bobby Rayburn
John Henrik Clarke: A Great and Mighty Walk 1996 No Yes Documentary film
Murder at 1600 1997 Yes No Det. Harlan Regis
One Night Stand 1997 Yes No Maximilian "Max" Carlyle
U.S. Marshals 1998 Yes No Mark J. Sheridan / Mark Roberts / Mark Warren
The Big Hit 1998 No Yes
Down in the Delta 1998 Yes Yes Will Sinclair Limited release
Blade 1998 Yes Yes Eric Brooks / Blade
Play It to the Bone 1999 Yes No Ringside Fan Cameo
The Art of War 2000 Yes Yes Agent Neil Shaw
Liberty Stands Still 2002 Yes No Joe Direct-to-video
Zig Zag 2002 Yes No David "Dave" Fletcher
Blade II 2002 Yes Yes Eric Brooks / Blade
Undisputed 2002 Yes Yes Monroe "Undisputed" Hutchens
Unstoppable 2004 Yes No Agent Dean Cager Limited release
Blade: Trinity 2004 Yes Yes Eric Brooks / Blade
7 Seconds 2005 Yes No Jack Tulliver Direct-to-video
The Marksman 2005 Yes No Painter Direct-to-video
Chaos 2005 Yes No Lorenz / Jason York Direct-to-video
The Detonator 2006 Yes No Agent Sonni Griffith Direct-to-video
Hard Luck 2006 Yes No Lucky Direct-to-video
The Contractor 2007 Yes No Agent James Jackson Dial Direct-to-video
The Art of War II: Betrayal 2008 Yes No Agent Neil Shaw Direct-to-video
Brooklyn's Finest 2009 Yes No Casanova "Caz" Phillips
Game of Death 2011 Yes No Agent Marcus Jones Direct-to-video
Revelations of the Mayans: 2012 and Beyond 2012 No Yes Documentary film
Gallowwalkers 2012 Yes No Aman Direct-to-video
The Expendables 3 2014 Yes No Doctor Death
Chi-Raq 2015 Yes No Sean "Cyclops" Andrews Limited release
The Recall 2017 Yes Yes "The Hunter" Limited release
Armed Response 2017 Yes Yes Isaac Direct-to-video
Dolemite Is My Name 2019 Yes No D'Urville Martin Limited release
Cut Throat City 2020 Yes No Lawrence Limited release
Coming 2 America 2021 Yes No Gen. Izzi Post-production

Television[edit]

  Denotes lead role

Title Year Functioned as Network Notes
Actor Producer Role
All My Children 1984 Yes No Marty ABC Episode: "Episode #1.3877"
Miami Vice 1986 Yes No Silk NBC Episode: "Streetwise"
Vietnam War Story 1987 Yes No Bookman Unknown Episode: "An Old Ghost Walks the Earth"
A Man Called Hawk 1989 Yes No Nicholas Murdock ABC Episodes: "Choice of Chance", "A Time and a Place"
The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd 1989 Yes No Hood Lifetime Episode: "Here's Why You Should Always Make Your Bed in the Morning"
H.E.L.P. 1990 Yes No Off. Lou Barton ABC 6 episodes
America's Dream 1996 Yes No George Du Vail HBO Television film
Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child 1997 Yes No The Pied Piper HBO Episode: "The Pied Piper"; voice role
Masters of the Martial Arts Presented by Wesley Snipes 1998 No Yes Unknown Television film
Futuresport 1998 Yes Yes Obike Fixx ABC Television film
Disappearing Acts 2000 Yes Yes Franklin Swift HBO Television film
Dr. Ben 2001 No Yes Unknown Television film
The Bernie Mac Show 2003 Yes No Duke Fox Episode: "Bernie Mac Rope-a-Dope "
The Player 2015 Yes No Mr. Johnson NBC 9 episodes
What We Do in the Shadows 2019 Yes No Wesley FX Episode: "The Trial"
Paper Empire 2019–2020 Yes No Damon Moore Unknown Episodes: "The Fintch Factor", "Market Lunch Break", "Digital Limbo", "Calling Kiev"

Theatre[edit]

Title Year Venue Role Notes
Execution of Justice 1986 Broadway Sister Boom Boom

Miscellaneous crew[edit]

Title Year Choreographer Notes
Blade 1998 Yes
Blade II 2002 Yes

Music video[edit]

Title Year Performer Role Notes
"Bad" 1987 Michael Jackson Mini Max
"Video Greatest Hits - HIStory" 1995 Michael Jackson Mini Max (segment "Bad")

Soundtrack appearances[edit]

Title Year Performer Notes
Wildcats 1986 Yes "Football Rap (End Credits)"; uncredited
Mo' Better Blues 1990 Yes "Pop Top 40"
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon 2015 Yes Episode: "Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting/Wesley Snipes/Chris Cornell" - "Fame"; uncredited

Video games[edit]

Title Year Role Notes
Demolition Man 1994 Simon Phoenix Live action Full motion video
Julius Styles: The International 2011 Julius Styles Voice role

Publications[edit]

  • Talon of God (Co-written with Ray Norman) (July 25, 2017)[44]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Category Title Result
CableACE Awards Best Actor in a Dramatic Series Vietnam War Story Won
MTV Movie Awards Best Villain New Jack City Nominated
Image Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Motion Picture New Jack City Won
Gold Special Jury Award Best Actors (shared with Eric Stoltz and William Forsythe) The Waterdance Won
Independent Spirit Awards Best Supporting Actor The Waterdance Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Screen Duo (shared with Woody Harrelson) White Men Can't Jump Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Villain Demolition Man Nominated
Image Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Television Movie or Mini-Series America's Dream Won
Venice Film Festival Best Actor (Volpi Cup) One Night Stand Won
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Duo – Action/Adventure (shared with Tommy Lee Jones) U.S. Marshals Nominated
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Actor – Horror Blade Won
MTV Movie Awards Best Fight Blade Nominated
Hollywood Walk of Fame Motion pictures star All film work Won
Black Reel Awards Network/Cable – Best Actor Disappearing Acts Nominated
Black Reel Awards Best Actor (Motion Picture) Undisputed Nominated
Black Reel Awards Best Supporting Actor Brooklyn's Finest Won
Image Awards Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series The Player Nominated
DFCS Awards Best Supporting Actor Dolemite Is My Name Nominated
SDFCS Awards Best Comedic Performance Dolemite Is My Name Won
SDFCS Awards Best Supporting Actor Dolemite Is My Name Nominated
SLFCA Awards Best Supporting Actor Dolemite Is My Name Nominated
Black Reel Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor Dolemite Is My Name Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b James Howard (December 31, 2019). "Full Detail on Wesley Snipes' Wife Nakyung Park!". Medium. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  2. ^ "Wesley Snipes". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  3. ^ Adam James (January 15, 2019). "Why Hollywood won't cast Wesley Snipes anymore". Looper. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Wesley Snipes: Action man courts a new beginning". The Independent. London. June 4, 2010. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
  5. ^ LaVelle, Alisa; Buzgon, Michelle (August 9, 2000). "1ST PERSON: Meet Wesley Snipes". Knight Ridder/Tribune.
  6. ^ "USA vs Wesley Trent Snipes, Eddie Ray Kahn and Douglas P. Rosile" (PDF). Fraudsandscams.com. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
  7. ^ "Letters of Note: STAR TREK/Casting". Retrieved March 25, 2010.
  8. ^ Mathews, Jay (June 7, 1991). "AN ACTOR'S HUE AND CRY". Washington Post.
  9. ^ "Wesley Snipes". Biography.com. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  10. ^ Blue, R.; Naden, C.J. (2001). Wesley Snipes. New York, NY, USA: Chelsea House Publishers. p. 36. ISBN 9780791058008. Wesley Snipes doctor Fine Arts SUNY.
  11. ^ Alabama Set your local edition » (February 27, 2010). "Wesley Snipes talks about his tax trouble and new movie, 'Brooklyn's Finest' | al.com". Blog.al.com. Retrieved April 5, 2013.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ "Wesley Snipes has met with Marvel about returning as Blade the vampire hunter in Cinematic Universe". comicbook.com. July 9, 2015.
  13. ^ Collis, Clark. "Fall Movie Summer Preview, September: Miracle at St. Anna." Entertainment Weekly, Iss. #1007/1008, August 22/29, 2008, pg. 42–45.
  14. ^ Norman, Tony (December 3, 2010). "Dear Wesley Snipes: Next Time, Try Wall Street"". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on January 4, 2011. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  15. ^ a b c Nashawaty, Chris (December 21, 2007). "The Trials of Wesley Snipes". Entertainment Weekly, pp. 45–51.
  16. ^ "Joe Rogan vs. Wesley Snipes in Ultimate Fighting Match". Hiphopmusic.com. November 16, 2005. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
  17. ^ Ritter, Peter (May 14, 2006). "Neighborhood Report: Greenwich Village; This Monk Is a Boldface Name". New York Times. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  18. ^ a b "Interview with the Sports Junkies". 106.7 The Fan. February 19, 2010.[dead link]
  19. ^ "Wesley Snipes' Wife Nikki Nakyung Park". BallerWives.com. August 8, 2009.
  20. ^ "Wesley Snipes, Hollywood's hottest new star talks about: his divorce, his days on the streets and why he does not have 'jungle fever'." Ebony Magazine. September, 1991 by Laura B. Randolph[dead link]
  21. ^ "FindLaw: U.S. v. Wesley Snipes: Hollywood Actor Wesley Snipes Indicted on Tax Fraud Charges". News.findlaw.com. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
  22. ^ Superseding Indictment, October 12, 2006, United States v. Wesley Trent Snipes, entry 6, page 8, paragraphs 29 & 30 and page 9, paragraph 39, case no. 5:06-cr-00022-WTH-GRJ, United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida (Ocala Div.).
  23. ^ "Feds: Snipes Declared Himself Alien, Warned Against Past Tax Prosecution", Foxnews.com, January 25, 2008.
  24. ^ "Meads v. Meads, 2012 ABQB 571 (CanLII), par. 68, retrieved on 2018-03-26".
  25. ^ "Wesley Snipes acquitted of federal tax fraud - today > entertainment - today > entertainment > celebs - TODAY.com". Today.com. October 4, 2015. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 3, 2008. Retrieved February 9, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^ "Snipes Sentenced To 36 Months". Orlando: WESH. April 24, 2008. Archived from the original on April 25, 2008. Retrieved April 24, 2008.
  28. ^ [1][dead link]
  29. ^ [2] Archived July 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ "Wesley Snipes to serve 3 years in prison for tax convictions". AP Online  – via HighBeam (subscription required). April 25, 2008. Archived from the original on November 5, 2013. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  31. ^ "Movies Fever".
  32. ^ [3][dead link]
  33. ^ United States v. Wesley Trent Snipes, July 16, 2010, case no. 08-12402, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
  34. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 14, 2010. Retrieved January 15, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  35. ^ "Wesley Trent Snipes, inmate # 43355-018". Federal Bureau of Prisons. United States Department of Justice.
  36. ^ Martinez, Michael (December 9, 2010). "Actor Wesley Snipes reports to prison to begin sentence". CNN.
  37. ^ "Wesley Snipes Leaves Pa. Prison After Tax Sentence". April 6, 2013. Archived from the original on April 9, 2013.
  38. ^ Order List, p. 2, certiorari denied, Wesley T. Snipes v. United States, case no. 10-1075, United States Supreme Court (June 6, 2011).
  39. ^ "Supreme Court Won't Hear Wesley Snipes Tax Evasion Appeal". Fox News. June 6, 2011. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
  40. ^ Bill Mears. "High court dismisses actor's appeal on tax evasion conviction". CNN.com. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
  41. ^ a b "Wesley Snipes -- Released from Prison". TMZ. April 5, 2013.
  42. ^ "Find an inmate". Federal Bureau of Prisons. BOP Register Number 43355-018.
  43. ^ Snipes v. Commissioner, case no. 027902-15L, T.C. Memo 2018-184, U.S. Tax Court (Nov. 1, 2018).
  44. ^ "Talon of God". Retrieved December 11, 2017.

External links[edit]