Dec. 1 (UPI) -- A Texas driver is due in court after being pulled over in the carpool lane with a passenger that turned out to be a well-dressed mannequin.
The Office of Constable Ted Heap, Harris County Constable Pct. 5, posted a photo to Facebook showing a mannequin decked out in sunglasses, lipstick, a blond wig and a zip-up sweater while sitting in the passenger seat of a vehicle.
Deputy constables said the driver had been pulled over after they noticed the passenger was not sufficient to qualify the driver to use the high-occupancy vehicle lane.
"This mannequin may have saved the driver on time and a $3.20 toll fee today, but it will cost her a day of work for court and up to $150 in legal fines," the Facebook post said.
Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Texas needs capital support to expand the port infrastructure necessary to help keep up with the increase in U.S. oil and gas exports, a commissioner said.
The port at Corpus Christi is the fourth largest sea port in the country by tonnage, the largest crude oil export terminal and, by 2020, could be one of the largest points for liquefied natural gas leaving the United States.
The port authority there started working on improvements to the regional shipping channel in the 1990s. A partnership agreement was signed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in September for improvements, but the Texas Railroad Commission, the state's energy regulator, told UPI they were still waiting for funding.
"The project would widen and deepen the port, allowing million barrel supertankers to load American crude and providing $100 million in annual transportation cost savings," Commissioner Ryan Sitton said. "The project has been in the works for decades but held up due to bureaucratic red tape."
Read more: https://www.upi.com/Energy-News/2017/12/01/Texas-looks-to-port-overhaul-to-keep-pace-with-oil-and-gas-exports/3281512131791/
Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Prosecutors asked a federal judge in New York on Friday to force former pharmaceutical executive and hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli to forfeit $7.4 million in assets.
That could include $5 million in bail money, and a one-of-a-kind rap album by hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan -- titled Once Upon a Time in Shaolin -- which Shkreli bought for $2 million last year.
Prosecutors said they were also interested in Shkreli's holdings in Turing Pharmaceuticals, a Lil Wayne album The Carter V, a Picasso painting and an Enigma machine from World War II.
"We will vigorously oppose the government motion," Shkreli's lawyer Ben Brafman told CNN.
Read more: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2017/12/01/Martin-Shkreli-may-have-to-forfeit-assets-including-2M-Wu-Tang-Clan-album/3281512146489/
According to a report published by the University of Illinois at Chicago, day laborers in Houston are being exploited amid recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The report highlights the economic exploitation of these workers and the hazardous working conditions they face.
The report surveyed 361 workers in the Houston area in October, approximately one month after the hurricane. The vast majority of them engaged in disaster relief in the area were from Mexico and Central America, 72 percent of them undocumented.
In Houston, undocumented workers are hired on an as-needed basis for manual labor in construction, landscaping, loading and moving. In most cases, undocumented workers are hired at some 20 informal hiring sites in the Houston area, located near building supply stores, gas stations and along major roads and intersections.
According to the report, 26 percent of undocumented workers reported wage theftnonpayment of wages for work completedin the period following Harvey. The unpaid wages among the 361 workers surveys exceeded $20,000, with an average of $212.48, a median of $85 and a maximum amount of $2,700. Furthermore, 44 percent of undocumented workers reported wage theft in previous months, and 57 percent in the past year.
Read more: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/12/01/undo-d01.html
LEVELLAND The former director of the Levelland Housing Authority pleaded guilty this week to a federal embezzlement charge.
Cecilia Chavez faces a punishment of up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and restitution payments after pleading guilty to a federal felony count of theft of government funds of more than $1,000, admitting to embezzling about $39,000 from the Levelland Housing Authority over five years using its credit card.
Court documents state she had been the housing authoritys executive director since February 2007.
However, agents learned through their investigation that Chavez spent $39,000 of housing authority funds for her own benefit from January 2011 to June 2017.
Read more: http://amarillo.com/local-news/news/crime-and-courts/2017-11-30/former-levelland-housing-agency-head-pleads-guilty
FRANKFORT -- Jefferson Davis, the president of the slave-holding Confederate states, remains a hero in Kentuckys Capitol Rotunda.
A commission that oversees state-owned statues voted last month to remove a bronze plaque attached to a controversial statue of Davis that declares him a patriot hero statesman, but that plan changed Wednesday after questions were raised about the commissions legal authority to take down the plaque.
Leslie Nigels, director of the state Division of Historic Properties, said in late October that the plaque would be removed in a few days.
Her comment came immediately after the Historic Properties Advisory Commission voted unanimously to remove the plaque because of its subjective language. The plaque is attached to a 15-foot-tall marble statue of Davis, a Kentucky native who led the Confederate states from 1861 to 1865.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article187126268.html
Rick Pitino filed a breach of contract lawsuit Thursday against the University of Louisville Athletics Association seeking damages of $4,307,000 per year through 2026.
Pitino, who was fired by Louisville last month in the wake of a federal investigation into alleged corruption in college basketball, argues Louisville did not allow him due process in placing him on administrative leave and locking him out of his office and had no grounds on which to terminate his contract for cause, according to that contract.
In a press release announcing the lawsuit, Pitino maintains he had no knowledge of the alleged scheme to pay a recruit last summer with funds from an Adidas executive and said he implemented the actions required of him by Louisville in regard to the stripper scandal that led to sanctions against the Cardinals by the NCAA. Both controversies were cited in Pitinos termination letter.
It has been reported that Louisville would owe Pitino about $44 million if it terminated his contract without cause. Pitino appears to be asking for about $40 million.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/sports/college/mens-basketball/article187376163.html
FRANKFORT -- A former employee in Gov. Matt Bevins office, who is also the daughter of an outspoken Republican lawmaker, said Thursday that a member of the State House of Representatives sent her highly inappropriate messages.
Jordan Morgan, 28, said she received several electronic messages from state Rep. Michael Meredith, R-Oakland, that should not have come from a married man.
Meredith, 32, was one of four Republican lawmakers who secretly settled allegations of sexual harassment made this fall by a legislative employee. After news reports about the settlement, state Rep. Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, resigned on Nov. 5 as speaker of the House and three others Meredith, Brian Linder of Dry Ridge and Jim DeCesare of Bowling Green were stripped of their positions as committee chairmen.
Gov. Matt Bevin has urged all four lawmakers to resign their seats but none has done so.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article187315808.html
A former internal investigator at the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services who alleged that her superiors wanted her to cover up mistakes made in a horrific child abuse case in Berea has settled her whistleblower lawsuit.
Bridget Frailley, a 20-year employee, sued the cabinet earlier this year, saying she refused to falsify her report on how the cabinets child-protective office in Madison County erred by leaving the girl with her abusive father, Julio Valladares, and his abusive girlfriend, Linda Richmond, both of them now in prison.
As part of a sealed settlement on Nov. 13, the cabinet paid Frailley $43,000. It also gave her a new job in Louisville as a social services specialist. She was involuntarily transferred in March to what she considered the less desirable post of social services clinician, which was part of the reason for her lawsuit.
The Herald-Leader obtained the terms of the settlement in Franklin Circuit Court through the Open Records Act.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article187378213.html
Kentuckys highest court will hear a controversial case involving a Lexington companys refusal to print a T-shirt for the citys annual gay-pride festival.
The Kentucky Supreme Court issued an order last month saying it would hear the case, which stems from a decision in 2012 by Hands On Originals to refuse to print a T-shirt for the Lexington Gay and Lesbian Services Organization. The companys owner said he had religious objections to pride in being gay.
The case, which began five years ago, has been watched closely across the state and the country.
The Lexington Human Rights Commission ruled that Hands On Originals violated the Lexingtons fairness ordinance, part of which prohibits businesses that are open to the public from discriminating against people based on sexual orientation.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/counties/fayette-county/article186842438.html
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