- - Sunday, August 15, 2010


City got $3 million in illegal taxes

BELL | The tiny blue-collar city that granted huge salaries to its top officials may have to repay nearly $3 million in illegal property taxes, a state official said Friday.

An audit showed that the Los Angeles suburb exceeded a state cap when it raised its property tax rate in 2007 to pay for pension obligations, California Controller John Chiang said.

Mr. Chiang sent a letter Friday to the Los Angeles County auditor-controller, instructing the agency to reduce the tax rate. The drop would mean a $250-a-year reduction on the tax bill for a $275,000 home, Mr. Chiang’s office said.

The county apportions the property taxes collected by local governments.


GM likely to file offering soon

DETROIT | General Motors Co. is likely to file paperwork next week that describes its plan to sell shares to the public, a person familiar with the matter said Friday.

The Detroit automaker had planned to file the papers on Friday but delayed the move to build distance between the filing and two major announcements it made on Thursday, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the company is not commenting publicly on the stock sale.

GM said Thursday that CEO Edward Whitacre would step down as CEO Sept. 1 and be replaced by board member Daniel Akerson. It also reported a $1.3 billion second-quarter profit, its second-straight positive quarter.

The board has not set the date of the stock sale, the person said.


Suspect cleared in mass shooting

BUFFALO | A prosecutor dropped charges Sunday against a parolee initially accused of killing four people and wounding four others outside a downtown Buffalo restaurant, and said the real shooter had been caught on tape.

Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita III asked a judge to dismiss four murder counts against Keith Johnson, 25, of Buffalo in light of new evidence.

“We can see the race, gender, the height, build, the clothing of the perpetrator,” Mr. Sedita said after City Court Judge Patrick Carney granted the request. “You can see many of the perpetrator’s actions. We have him shooting on video.”

Still, investigators pleaded for witnesses to speak up and warned that the person responsible for the City Grill shootings continued to elude them.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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