- The Washington Times - Friday, March 13, 2009

CALIFORNIA

3 accused of giving Anna Nicole drugs

LOS ANGELES | Anna Nicole Smith’s former boyfriend and two doctors have been charged with conspiracy to furnish drugs to the former Playboy playmate before she died of an overdose in 2007.

Prosecutors said Mrs. Smith’s former boyfriend and attorney, Howard K. Stern, and doctors Sandeep Kapoor and Khristine Eroshevich were charged Thursday with three felony counts of conspiracy in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Los Angeles County district attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said the three also were charged with other felonies including obtaining fraudulent prescriptions and unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance between June 2004 and January 2007, just two weeks before Mrs. Smith’s death.

It was not immediately clear whether the defendants had retained attorneys.

ILLINOIS

Sears Tower to change name

CHICAGO | The tallest building in America is getting a new name.

Chicago’s Sears Tower will be renamed Willis Tower after London-based Willis Group Holdings. The insurance broker announced the name change and other details of its agreement with the building’s owners Thursday.

Willis is moving five local offices and nearly 500 employees into the 110-story building. The move is expected to be completed by late summer.

Willis will occupy more than 140,000 square feet at $14.50 a square foot. The company says it’s not paying anything extra for the naming rights.

The 1,451-foot skyscraper is owned by a real estate investment group formed in 2004 to buy the tower.

INDIANA

Fire destroys new apartments

INDIANAPOLIS | Fire gutted a luxury apartment complex under construction a few blocks from the State House early Thursday, with flames consuming much of the six-story complex and gray smoke billowing across the downtown skyline. No injuries were reported.

The $28 million Cosmopolitan on the Canal complex was considered a total loss, fire department spokeswoman Rita Reith said. The cause of the fire, which broke out about 3:30 a.m., was not determined.

Jerry Collins, president of the developer, Flaherty & Collins Properties, said the complex was fully insured and he plans to rebuild.

The project included 218 apartments, a parking garage, a canal-side cafe, a fitness center and 20,000 square feet of retail space, and the company had hoped to begin renting units in May.

The fire was the biggest in 20 years in the city’s downtown.

MINNESOTA

Former wrestler cleared in death

MINNEAPOLIS | A former professional wrestler accused of attacking a fellow dementia patient at a Minnesota nursing home will not be charged in the man’s death.

Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman said Thursday that it’s clear that Verne Gagne, 83, lacked the mental capacity to have intended to harm Helmut Gutmann, 97.

Police said Mr. Gagne threw Mr. Gutmann to the ground without provocation in January at a nursing home in Bloomington. Mr. Gutmann later died of complications from a broken hip.

Mr. Gagne has Alzheimer’s disease, and Mr. Freeman said it would have been “unjust” to bring charges.

Mr. Gagne owned the American Wrestling Association, which promoted pro wrestling across the Midwest from 1960 until it folded in 1991.

NEBRASKA

3 executives arrested in theft of 81 cars

OMAHA | Police have arrested three executives from a troubled Nebraska car dealership where 81 vehicles worth roughly $2.5 million, as well as the executives themselves, vanished in recent days.

Legacy’s owner Allen Patch, 52, and controller Rachel Fait, 37, were arrested separately in Tooele County, Utah. The dealership’s general manager, Rick Covello, 53, surrendered to Scottsbluff police Thursday morning, Capt. Kevin Spencer said.

An arrest warrant affidavit said that Ms. Fait may have embezzled more than $46,000 from the dealership in Scottsbluff, a western Nebraska town. The three were wanted on suspicion of theft.

About two dozen vehicles missing from the Scottsbluff dealership were traced to Salt Lake City, and at least 16 of those had been sold at an auto auction. Six others were found at the Scottsbluff airport, and the FBI found some of the other vehicles in Las Vegas.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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