Congressional Republicans are doing their best to destroy the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. House Speaker John Boehner is leading the effort to weaken the agency which was formed to protect consumers’ interests and regulate credit card companies, lending institutions and other financial firms. Republicans are vowing to hold up confirmation hearings for a director to head the bureau, unless their demands to weaken the agency are met. This is a callous, indifferent and downright disgusting tactic. The financial industry has preyed on consumers for decades and the effort to destroy this agency says a lot.
Expect to see an increase in the numbers of 7-Eleven convenience stores in South Florida. The chain is spending more than $57 million to open 33 new locations in Palm Beach County. There will also be 30 new stores in Broward County, though the cost for those was not immediately available. The new outlets will include the Exxon Mobil stations that the retailer purchased last December. The new stores are scheduled to open by the end of the year and are part of 500 new locations 7-Eleven is opening in the U.S. and Canada.
Palm Beach County
Nathaniel Brazill, who is serving 28 years in prison for the 2000 killing of teacher, Barry Grunow, is suing the state of Florida. Brazill contends his civil rights are being violated by prison officials, who have twice put him in solitary confinement. The lawsuit alleges retaliation over other lawsuits he has filed regarding prison conditions.
DUPED BY DEPOT?
For years, office supplies chain Office Depot has received tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks and other incentives from Palm Beach County and the state of Florida. The corporate welfare was given in exchange for the firm keeping its headquarters in Boca Raton. Office Depot was supposed to create hundreds of jobs as part of the deal but that has not happened. The company has actually laid off workers over the past few years. Now, with tons of cash in hand, Office Depot CEO Neil Austrian announced 80 accounting and finance positions are moving to Guatemala. Palm Beach County Commissioner Burt Aaronson wonders if a breach of contract has occurred. It seems state and county officials have been duped.
Fede Datilus, 33, of Lantana has been sentenced to life in prison plus five years for molesting and impregnating a 9-year-old girl. The pregnancy was discovered when the child’s father took her to the doctor. The child told investigators her fear of being returned to her native Haiti if the reason she did not disclose the molestation.
Vevine Sophia Creighton, 39, of Boca Raton has been convicted of stealing $820,000 from O'Donnell Partners Inc., where she worked as a bookkeeper. Creighton was accused of forging the signature of the company’s owner on hundreds of checks made out to herself since 2002. She lives in an exclusive Boca Raton community and spent the money on expensive cars, clothes and travel according to court records.
Officials at South Plantation High School kept a secret $350,000 bank account, an audit has found. The money was spent on unauthorized school-related items, as well as tickets to sporting events. Donnie Carter, interim Broward Schools superintendent, has already said no one involved will face disciplinary action, even though having the account violated school district policy. Carter sounds like his predecessor, the hapless Jim Notter. The responsible parties must be held accountable. This is taxpayers’ money, not Carter’s, and hopefully the state attorney’s office will open an investigation.
Deerfield Beach voters in District 2 have elected a new city commissioner. Ben Preston won the special election to replace suspended Commissioner Sylvia Poitier, 75, who was removed from office after being charged with five counts of allegedly falsifying records. Preston defeated five candidates to win the seat.
Like too many South Floridians, car dealer Eddie Accardi’s Pompano Beach home is in foreclosure. Regions Bank has filed a foreclosure lawsuit against the 2,896-square-foot beachfront home which has a $2.25 million mortgage. Accardi had owned Mazda, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Subaru dealerships in Pompano Beach. Chrysler filed a foreclosure lawsuit on those dealerships in 2009 and Arcardi was left with only the Subaru of North Broward dealership.
Sgt. Peter Bigelsen, a 32-year veteran of the Wilton Manors police department, has resigned over his making derogatory comments about blacks and Hispanics. Police Chief Paul O’Connell called Bigelsen “a bigot with a badge” and recommended that he be fired. City commissioners gave him a golden deal instead. In 2010, South Florida Times uncovered numerous racist e-mails about blacks that were sent from his city computer. Offensive e-mails about President Barack Obama, including one that expressed disappointment the President was not assassinated during his inauguration, were also sent from his city computer.
Miami's new City Manager Johnny Martinez will be paid $195,000 a year. He will also get an $800 monthly car allowance, $200 a month for a cell phone and 20 vacation days annually. City commissioners approved the contract and made it clear that he will get only one month’s pay in his severance package when he leaves city employment.
A bankruptcy judge has rejected an offer by an equity firm to acquire Border’s bookstores and the chain is now set to begin closing its remaining stores. The 40-year-old chain could begin liquidating stores in Miami-Dade this week. Other stores in South Florida will follow. Overall, the company will close 400 stores and lay off 10,000
Food distributor H.T. Hackney Company will likely lay off 40 employees at its Miami distribution center. The Knoxville, Tenn.-based company has lost its contract to supply groceries to Walgreens Stores. The job cuts could come within weeks at the Miami and other locations around the state.
Photo: Elgin Jones