Suspect in Vanessa Guillen case appears in court; remains confirmed as Guillen’s

first_imgU.S. ArmyBy MEREDITH DELISO, LUIS MARTINEZ, IVAN PEREIRA and ABBY CRUZ, ABC News(KILLEEN, Texas) — A woman accused of helping to hide the body of murdered Fort Hood Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen made her first court appearance Monday to face conspiracy charges.Cecily Aguilar, 22, appeared via closed-circuit television in the Waco, Texas, courtroom to face conspiracy to tamper with evidence for her alleged role in the death of the 20-year-old soldier. The U.S. Attorney’s office of the Western District of Texas said 20-year-old U.S. Army Specialist Aaron Robinson told Aguilar, who was his girlfriend, that he killed Guillen with a hammer on April 22 and transferred her body off the Army base, according to the criminal complaint.Aguilar is currently cooperating with the FBI.Robinson, who died by suicide when he was confronted by police last week, allegedly enlisted Aguilar to help dispose of the body, and the pair allegedly dismembered and buried the remains in Bell County, according to the complaint. Last week investigators found remains in Bell County. Natalie Khawam, an attorney representing Guillen’s family, said Sunday the remains belonged to Guillen. The Army Criminal Investigation Command confirmed the news at a press conference Monday.“The Armed Forces forensic examiner has determined through DNA analysis that the remains found near the Leon River are in fact those of Vanessa Guillen,” Major General Scott Efflandt said.Aguilar did not make any statement other than to acknowledge the charges against her, and she didn’t enter a plea. She’s due back in court on July 14 for a preliminary hearing to determine bond. Aguilar is being held at the Jack Harwell Detention Center in Waco, a U.S. Marshals representative confirmed to ABC News.If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.Lewis Berray Gainor, the federal public defender assigned to Aguilar, declined ABC News’ request for comment.According to an updated criminal complaint, Aguilar cooperated with the FBI in the case by allowing investigators to tape a phone call between her and Robinson on June 30, during which Robinson didn’t deny any of the alleged crimes. Aguilar also assisted law enforcement in locating Robinson before he was confronted and died by suicide, according to the document.Guillen’s family has called for a congressional investigation into Guillen’s death. Nearly 100 lawmakers have also called for an independent review of Fort Hood’s handling of Guillen’s disappearance. On Monday, the House Oversight Committee announced it has requested a briefing on the Army’s response and investigation into the disappearance and murder of Guillen.While the Army hasn’t commented on a possible motive, Khawam previously said investigators told her that Guillen and Robinson had an argument in the base’s armory after she discovered his alleged affair with the estranged wife of a former soldier.The family has also alleged that a man had walked in on Guillen and watched her as she showered, but the Army said it didn’t hasn’t found evidence of sexual harassment. On Monday, Efflandt said Army CID will complete that investigation and “take actions against those findings.”“Please know that every person who raises their right hand to serve their family in their country in uniform deserves to be safe and treated with dignity and respect to the victims of sexual harassment assault,” he said. “We hear you. We believe you. And I encourage you to come forward.”ABC News’ Mike Repplier and Ben Siegel contributed to this report.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Corbyn defends rent caps and property MOTs after savaging by landlords

first_imgHome » News » Housing Market » Corbyn defends rent caps and property MOTs after savaging by landlords previous nextHousing MarketCorbyn defends rent caps and property MOTs after savaging by landlordsThe Labour leader rebuffed his critics and says somewhere ‘decent, safe and secure’ in which to live should be a ‘basic standard’ in society.Nigel Lewis26th November 20192 Comments913 Views Jeremy Corbyn has made the unusual step of personally defending two of his party’s most radical housing policies – rent caps and an annual ‘MOT’ for rented properties backed up by a fine of up to £100,000 for non-compliance.The policies are contained within Labour’s election manifesto launched late last week. They were immediately savaged by landlords including the Residential Landlords Association, which said both policies would ‘close down the private rented market’.An RLA statement said that Labour’s plans for rent controls linked to inflation are ‘nonsense’.“The Office for National Statistics has shown that rents are increasing by less than inflation,” the statement said.“The Party has failed to heed the warning of the Labour Chair of Parliament’s Housing Committee who has previously warned that rising rents will only be addressed when more homes are built.“The party’s former Housing Minister in Wales has also warned that rent controls serve only to reduce the quality of accommodation, choke off supply, and make it more difficult for tenants to find the homes to rent they need.”Faced by such criticism, Corbyn has defended the policies, telling the BBC that: “What we’re doing is ensuring that all tenants have somewhere decent, safe and secure in which to live and I can’t imagine that any landlord would object to their property being inspected to ensure it’s up to standard to be put on the rental market,” he said.“Surely that’s a reasonable basic thing to do in society – we don’t want people living in sub-stand accommodation.”And Renters’ representative bodies have supported the rent cap and property MOT, including Generation Rent, whose policy manager Caitlin Williams says:“Capping rents will go some way towards ensuring that renting is genuinely affordable for those on low incomes, but over the long term we need measures to sustainably bring rents down to around 30% of median local incomes.”Corbyn Residential Landlords Association Labour Jeremy Corbyn rent controls RLA November 26, 2019Nigel Lewis2 commentsMICHAEL RODGERS, RODGERS & BROWNE RODGERS & BROWNE 3rd December 2019 at 5:57 pmEven further controls and repeated ‘landlord-bashing’ will result in a greater reluctance to become a residential landlord. Fewer landlords will mean a shortage of available premises to rent and associated higher rents. Landlords already have to suffer a snowstorm of paperwork, regulations, and legislation – plus excessive Stamp Duty Land Tax if they wish to add to their portfolio or become new landlords.Increased tenants ‘rights’ seemingly regardless of the way in which premises are handed back at termination, non-payment of rent and often a biased end of tenancy attitude against landlords, all contribute to a reluctance to become a landlord in the first place or gradually sell off part or all of an existing portfolio.Eventually, if there are no landlords – there are no tenants!Log in to Replynigel ellis, Prickett & Ellis Prickett & Ellis 26th November 2019 at 11:35 amCorbyn himself must surely be well aware of the result of enforcing such policies onto the market. I am the same age and in the same area as he is. The result in the sixties/seventies was a greatly restricted residential lettings market (eventually virtually non-existent). With the subsequent down valuing of secure tenanted properties a criminal element was attracted to take advantage – e.g.Rachmanism. Which is why the law was subsequently relaxed, and the market opened up to restore a supply of quality homes to rent.Log in to ReplyWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021last_img read more

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Circuit Court of Appeals Has Scheduled Oral Arguments In Indiana’s Birth Certificate Dispute

first_imgCircuit Court of Appeals Has Scheduled Oral Arguments In Indiana’s Birth Certificate Dispute Marilyn Odendahl for www.theindianalawyer.comThe 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has scheduled oral arguments in Indiana’s birth certificate dispute for next month.A three-judge panel will hear the case, Ashlee Henderson et al. v. Jerome M. Adams, 17-1141, at 9:30 a.m. May 22. No more than 20 minutes will be allotted for each side.Eight married female same-sex couples filed a complaint over Indiana’s parentage law after the state did not list non-birth mothers as a parent on their children’s birth certificates. The women assert Indiana is violating their Equal Protection and Due Process rights.Judge Tanya Walton Pratt of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana granted summary judgment to the couples, finding the best interests of the children would be furthered by recognizing both mothers as parents.After the district court denied the state’s motion to alter or amend the ruling, the state appealed to the 7th Circuit. Indiana argues that constitutional parental rights come only with a biological relationship. In all other cases, the would-be parents may be required to adopt to gain such rights.The women are represented by attorneys Karen Celestino-Horseman, William Groth, Richard Mann and Raymond Faust. At the 7th Circuit, Celestino-Horseman will be arguing for the plaintiffs.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

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SZEMIOT, MARIO (MARIAN)

first_img80, of Bayonne, passed away at home on May 1, 2018, with his family by his side. Born in Poland, Mario came to the United States with his family at the age of 13 and has resided in Bayonne for the past 67 years. Prior to his retirement in 2003, he worked as a tool and die maker for the Industrial Retaining Ring Co. in Irvington, NJ. Mario served his country proudly in the United States Army. He was a faithful parishioner of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church and a member of the Mt. Carmel Seniors. Predeceased by his parents, Jan and Bronislawa (Juszkiewicz) Szemiot, and 2 brothers, John and Witold Szemiot. Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 53 years, Mary (nee: Wierzbicki) Szemiot; daughter Christine Cappadoccia and husband John; four sons, Richard and wife Leila; Paul and wife Debra; John; and Joseph and wife Nicole; Five grandchildren, David, Celeste, and Derek Cappadoccia; and John Richard and Emily Rose Szemiot; Also survived by many sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, and nieces, nephews. Funeral arrangements by DWORZANSKI & SON Funeral Home, 20 E. 22nd St.last_img read more

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Legislation watch

first_imgThe Forum of Private Business (FPB) has called on the government to lift barriers preventing smaller businesses competing for contracts from public authorities.Its argument has been strengthened by a report on public procurement from the Commons Trade and Industry Select Committee that said smaller firms were hampered by the complex and costly tendering process.FPB campaigns manager Matt Hardman said that while the principles of the government’s procurement policy were clear, its practical implementation was “a huge problem and smaller firms, which could often provide authorities with the best value for money, are excluded from the tendering process”.The FPB provided evidence to the committee of MPs, supported by case studies from a selection of the 25,000 small and medium-sized firms it represents. It urged the government to ensure contracts are awarded according to the principle of best value for money.One FPB member commented: “Public procurement bodies tend to put out contracts to consultants who charge fees of between £250 and £600 just to add your name to their database, with absolutely no guarantees of any work.”Hardman said public authorities tend to “bundle tenders together for convenience when they could get better value for money by breaking them up and putting them out to tender individually”.Separately, the FPB has called on the government to cut or remove business rates on around 150,000 small businesses.last_img read more

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Bread and butter tale

first_img“Hovis bakes 3,300lb bread and butter pudding” was the eyebrow-raising headline in The Telegraph that stopped Stop the Week’s week this week. “A bread and butter pudding weighing the same as two baby elephants has been unveiled,” it unveiled.Impressive, we said to ourselves, nodding. Then, mid-doffing of cap, we caught sight of the picture. “Don’t look like no 3,300lb pudding to us,” we thought! That equates to 235 stone.So, we did the maths:1,000 slices of bread (based on one slice weighing 40g): 40kg 70 apples @ 200g per apple: 14kg 56 eggs @ 50g per egg: 2.8kg = 56.8kgThere is no measure given for sultanas, milk, cream, sugar or spices etc. Based on rough percentages, we estimate it would double the amount. So let’s say 115kg in total. That’s some way short of 3,300lb (1,497kg), or The Telegraph’s two baby elephants.Now, seeing as it measured 9x5ft (2.13×1.5m), Hovis would have to chuck in some pretty weighty ingredients to make up the shortfall. The most dense element on earth is osmium, with 22.61g per cm3. Even with that added, you’re going to struggle. Plus, osmium is highly volatile and toxic. Hovis staff in High Wycome were reported to have scoffed the lot and as far as we know they’re still alive and kicking, which rules that out.This is the second time in recent months that Stop the Week has picked The Telegraph up on its dodgy numbers (in May they said a jam doughnut contains 5.7mg saturated fat). Remember that the next time they run a story bemoaning the state of UK education.last_img read more

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Watch As Ween Jams With The Great Bernie Worrell In 2003

first_imgIt’s well known that the guys from Ween are huge fans of the great Bernie Worrell. The band’s lovable guitarist Dean Ween recently had the opportunity to play with Parliament Funkadelic guitarist Michael Hampton, and had scheduled a Dean Ween Group show that was supposed to feature Worrell as a special guest star. Though Worrell had to unfortunately cancel due to his ailing health, the group still played the set, however, dedicating the music as a tribute to Worrell and his legacy.The Ween-Worrell connection has a much deeper history, as the funk wizard once joined Ween at their performance on September 26th, 2003 in Berkeley, CA. The band hit the Greek Theatre, welcoming out Worrell for an extra funky take on the Ween original tune, “Pandy Fackler.”Watch some footage of that jam session below, as well as a full-length audio stream of the collaboration. For the Ween faithful, here’s a playlist of every song from that fateful performance in 2003. Enjoy!last_img read more

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Mountain Mama: Resolve

first_imgI rode my bike for the first time this year today, barely managing to get my seat in the saddle before January ends. When I cut images of women on bikes from magazines and pasted them onto my vision board, I vowed to make a few solid changes to my daily routines. Riding bikes feels like play and I get that giddy high that comes from endorphins and spending time in the woods. Plus I’d get fit, I figured.How had almost a month passed and I hadn’t gotten on my bike? Maybe the snow, ice, and freezing temperatures were to blame, or the muddy conditions left in their wake. Probably, though, my general tendency to hibernate until spring unfolds was the culprit.I’m not alone. One third of resolutions don’t make it past the end of January and over half of resolutions fail over the course of a year. Even as I doubted that resolutions really work, I felt a pang of guilt every time I walked past my mountain bike propped up on the screened porch as I rushed out the door to meet a work deadline or pick up my son on time. I missed riding bikes with my friends, reminding me of something important – riding bikes wasn’t a chore, I actually wanted to get out there.Looking to make a long-lasting change was going to require more than pasting a photo of someone else riding her bike. It was going to require me to make room in my already busy schedule. I wasn’t going to go far or ride anything tough, I just had to get started again, reminding myself that any ride would be better than sitting in front of my computer.I pulled out my calendar and added group rides, making them sacred, uninterruptable time the way work and time with my son are. If a ride was on my calendar, I wouldn’t bail if I didn’t feel in the mood or wasn’t particularly motivated. I’d put on my biking clothes, pump up my tires and meet the group at the trailhead.Getting to the trailhead was the most difficult part of riding.  Once on my bike, the miles rolled by as I caught up with friends and met new ones, sharing rides we’d love and ones we wanted to tackle this year. The searing burn in my hamstrings subsided as I found a groove, one pedal stroke at a time.Big smiles and high-fives were shared, and I remembered the power of making a plan and sticking to it.last_img read more

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Lawsuit Claims Suffolk Taxpayers Are Owed $250M

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Calling it “the biggest ripoff” in Suffolk County history, a pair of veteran Long Island attorneys claim that the Southwest Sewer District has illegally overcharged local taxpayers by more than a quarter of a billion dollars since 2009.If their recently amended lawsuit is successful, then some 340,000 residents in Babylon, Islip and part of Huntington stand to get refunds of $3,361.10 each.The original lawsuit, filed in February in State Supreme Court in Riverhead by the law firms of Paul Sabatino II, a former Suffolk chief deputy county executive, and Reilly, Like, and Tenety asserted that the 57-square-mile sewer district had accumulated an illegal balance of $116.9 million. But the lawyers say they subsequently discovered that the county had added another $138 million to the cumulative surplus. So, they returned to court in October to amend their class action lawsuit to recover $254.9 million in over-taxation.“The magnitude of Suffolk County’s deception in trying to hide these huge surpluses from its own citizens is shocking and the contempt that it shows by county officials for the will of the people is reprehensible,” said Sabatino, who was County Executive Steve Levy’s chief deputy from 2004 to 2007 and former counsel to the Suffolk County Legislature for almost 20 years before that. “This deception has evolved into the biggest rip-off of taxpayers in the history of Suffolk County.”The lawsuit specifically cites four public referenda approved by Suffolk County voters in 1983, 1989, 1995 and 2006, which directed county officials “to return the surpluses, known as Fund Balances, to the taxpayers.” Instead, the attorneys claim, the county violated section 4-10 (F) of the Suffolk County Charter by placing the surplus in Fund 405, which they say “is an illegal fund used by the County as a subterfuge…” Irving Like, founding partner of his firm, was a member of the Suffolk County Charter Review Commission. Sabatino, as legislative counsel, helped draft the charter.As Suffolk County Comptroller, John M. Kennedy Jr. called the lawsuit “troubling” but he declined to discuss its merits, which he might have done had he still been in the legislature, where the Republican represented the 12th District for a decade until being elected to his current office in 2014 as the county’s chief fiscal officer and auditing authority.“There’s two parts here: there’s the calculus as to whether in fact an improper collection occurred and then there’s the remedy,” Kennedy told the Press. “Were we compelled to have to pay back the full amount being sought in one fell swoop, would that have dire consequences for the county? Yes, it would, in my opinion.”The court is not expected to hold hearings on the lawsuit until next year.In early October, James O’Connor, the Republican then running for Suffolk County executive, tried to make the Southwest Sewer District surplus a campaign issue. O’Connor held a press conference at the Bergen Point Sewage Treatment Plant in West Babylon and reportedly accused the Bellone administration of keeping the sewer taxes high to pay down the costs of capital construction projects.In response, Suffolk Deputy County Executive Jon Schneider told Newsday that replacing the outflow pipe from Bergen Point might cost $207 million, and the county secured about $40 million in low or no-interest loans from the state. Bellone’s deputy added that O’Connor’s accusation was the action of a “desperate politician.”A month later Bellone easily won re-election with 57 percent of the vote, while O’Connor polled 43 percent. The incumbent also substantially outraised the challenger; Bellone had $1.8 million in his campaign war chest, while O’Connor had raised about $172,000.In the meantime, Sabatino and Like redid their math and raised the amount of the surplus they were targeting for refunds.Asked to comment about the now $254.9 million lawsuit, a spokesperson for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone summarily dismissed it.“The County has about $70-plus million in ‘pay go’ projects for [the] Southwest Sewer District and has a potential draw-down for the outfall pipe of about $200 million, so budgeting has been reasonable,” said Vanessa B. Streeter, Bellone’s communications director, in an emailed statement to the Press. “The later proposed amendments to the complaint have no merit.”In the amended lawsuit the attorneys allege that the 2016 county budget “added $33.295 million to the illegal surplus in defiance of the [February] lawsuit seeking the return of illegal fund balances.” They also claim that the sewer district’s taxpayers were “illegally charged” to repay a pure subsidy from the ¼ percent sales tax that supports the drinking water protection program through the Environmental Trust Fund (known as Fund 404), “even though the public voted via public referenda…to give those sales tax proceeds to county sewer districts for the purpose of preventing double digit and triple digit sewer tax hikes.”According to the attorneys’ recalculation, the average taxpayer in the sewer district is entitled to a refund of $3,361.10—originally it called for $1,542. The attorneys say the over-taxation stems from the repeated failure of county officials to pass on “the substantial savings” that arose from the amortization of Southwest Sewer District’s debt that had been issued in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. As the debt was paid off “in increasingly large amounts,” the lawsuit says, the county held on to the savings instead of returning it to the taxpayers as the county statute and state law required.“As I warned at the beginning of this lawsuit, failure to stop this violation of the constitutional rights of the taxpayers would only encourage the county to continue its unlawful behavior in the future,” said Like in a statement. “Unfortunately, the responsible county officials have not heeded this warning. We are filing this Amended Lawsuit to protect the public interest against the county’s disregard of the laws its own voters have adopted. The strong policy of the law requires a full accounting of all public funds to prevent local governments from acquiring tax proceeds faster than they are needed and for costs and expenses not incurred.”The lawsuit’s attorneys retained former Suffolk County Budget Director, Robert Bortzfield, CPA, a career civil servant who worked in county government from 1972 to 2007, to verify the validity of the claims being made in this lawsuit.“A careful review of the finances and budgets of the SWSD confirms that the taxpayers and ratepayers in the SWSD have been overtaxed by at least $ 254.9 million,” Bortzfield said in a statement, “and the amount will continue to grow if this lawsuit is not successful.”“This is going to drag on,” Sabatino tells the Press. “The county basically stonewalled for 10 months. We tried to work with them. They’re not acting in good faith. When they came out with a new budget [for 2016] that made things worse, not better, we knew that they weren’t for real.”last_img read more

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Taking tokenization beyond the transaction

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Apple Pay has elevated mobile payments to a topic of conversation across financial institutions and credit unions, large and small. And many of those conversations relate to how these more “traditional” players get their foot in the mobile payments door. PYMNTS caught up with Melissa Santora, Fiserv Product Strategist to gain her perspective on the current and future state of mobile payments’ adoption and how FIs can actually “dust off” old mobile payments strategies to get to the top of any wallet – digital or physical.Tokenization has become a very popular concept in payments. What impact does tokenization have on financial institutions and the payments industry? MS: The impact we’re seeing on financial institutions and the payments industry relative to tokenization has been one of tremendous interest, especially since the launch of Apple Pay late last year. Apple Pay is the first use case for tokenization specifically through the EMVCo specifications, which utilize tokenization for static tokens. Therefore, the token resides on a user’s phone instead of their card number.One of the main concerns with mobile payments for our clients and their cardholders has been security. So now with tokenization, the token replaces the card number, which isn’t exposed on the phone to the merchant or through the transaction message. That’s a very powerful message for the cardholder. continue reading »last_img read more

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