Bank of America is laying off another 312 workers. The affected employees work in the company’s Fort Lauderdale office that handles mortgages. Earlier this year, the bank laid off 675 at this same location. Bank of America is in the process of cutting 30,000 workers from its 288,000 total workforce. Chief Executive Brian Moynihan is restructuring the company as it copes with the mortgage collapse that began in 2009.
Palm Beach County
GUILTY GUN DEALER
Jose A. Quintana, a former Miami Beach police officer, has pleaded guilty to illegal gun selling. He was accused of selling the weapons at gun shows, even though he did not have a license, and of selling guns to customers without conducting the required background checks. Quintana now faces up to five years in a federal prison and a $250,000 fine. He is also required to forfeit 96 rifles, 79 shotguns, 418 handguns and 25,889 rounds of ammunition he owns.
Rosaitzel Mendoza, 22, of Boca Raton, has been charged with running a reverse sell scam on a Georgia woman in the amount of $1,500. “Reverse sell” is a common check scam whereby a buyer sends a seller a check for an item listed for sale on the Internet. The check is made out for three times as much as the item is selling for. The customer tells the seller that they or she made a mistake and asks the seller to refund the overpaid amount in a money order. The check bounces and the customer makes off with the money order. Book ’em Danno!
ABUSE on School Bus
Broward County School Superintendent Robert Runcie is moving forward to fire bus attendant Darryl Blue and driver Chelsi Edwards based on a video that showed the school bus attendant allegedly abusing a 13-year-old autistic student. The video of the Oct. 9 incident shows the child sitting in his seat and Edwards repeatedly yanking on a harness that secured the Deerfield Beach boy in his seat. All the while, the boy was screaming and writhing in pain. Blue has been charged with aggravated child abuse.
Some city of Fort Lauderdale employees are dropping their health insurance coverage after, they say, the cost nearly tripled without warning. For example, The employee’s contribution for a family plan that now costs $81.90 bi-weekly will increase to $271 after Jan. 1. City Manager Lee Feldman has had several meetings to explain the increases.
Juliet Hibbs, 47-year-old teacher at Deerfield Beach High School, has filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the School District of Broward County alleging she was mistreated. Hibbs was investigated after the parents of a student complained to Principal Jon Marlow that she failed to inform them about their daughter’s sexual orientation. Hibbs was cleared but she is now on medical leave due to the stress from the allegations.
RED LIGHT CASH
The Florida Supreme Court will issue a ruling involving the city of Aventura’s red light cameras. Aventura installed the cameras before the Legislature passed bills approving them. If the ruling is against the city, Aventura may have to refund millions of dollars collected from traffic citations.
For the second time in four months, burglars hit Caribe Café, located in the 7100 block of West Flagler Street in Miami. They made off with a safe reportedly containing more than $35,000 in cash. This is a strange set of circumstances and something in the milk just ain’t clean.
James R. Hertwig, chief executive of Florida East Coast Railway, announced the FEC is moving forward with plans to create a passenger rail line on its track located along Florida’s east coast. The line, to be called All Aboard, would span from Miami to Orlando and is estimated to cost more than $1 billion to construct. The company intends to launch the train service in 2014 with hourly service and a three-hour travel time between Miami and Orlando.
DOWN FOR THE COUNT
Florida Gaming Corp., owner of Miami Jai-Alai, has been placed in receivership. ABC Funding filed a motion as part of its $84 million foreclosure lawsuit against the facility located at 3500 NW 37th Ave., Miami. It also houses a 1,000-slot machines casino.
The Miami-Dade County Inspector General is investigating the Carrie P. Meek Center for Business, located in Homestead, over $1 million in federal grants it received even though the IRS had revoked its non-profit status for failing to file tax returns over the last three years. The state shut down the organization for failing to carry the required insurance coverage. To make matters worse, the center’s executive director, Hilda B. Hall-Dennis, is not returning calls seeking comment. What a mess!
Katherine Murphy, former principal of Aventura School of Excellence, won a $155 million wrongful termination lawsuit against the city of Aventura which operates the charter school. But Circuit Court Judge Rosa Rodriguez did not agree with the jury and tossed the verdict five days later. Murphy’s attorney, Ben Kuehne, is filing motions for reinstatement of the verdict. In the lawsuit, Murphy alleged Aventura City Manager Eric Soroka, who was personally named in the law suit, also mistreated her.