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GEORGIA

Megachurch leader to take sabbatical

LITHONIA — Megachurch leader Bishop Eddie Long announced Sunday that he is taking time off to focus on his family after his wife filed for divorce.

Mr. Long’s spokesman, Art Franklin, said the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church leader told his congregation — which counts 25,000 members — during church services that he will take a sabbatical but will continue to serve as senior pastor at the church just outside Atlanta.

Mr. Franklin declined to say how long the pastor’s sabbatical from the church would be. He said Mr. Long and his family “are asking for privacy and sensitivity to their family.”

Vanessa Long filed a petition for divorce Thursday in DeKalb County Superior Court to end her 21-year marriage to the embattled minister, saying the marriage is “irretrievably broken” and that there was “no hope of reconciliation of the parties.” She asked the court for temporary and permanent alimony, as well as attorneys’ fees and an equitable division of marital and nonmarital property.

Vanessa and I are working together in seeking God’s will in our current circumstances,” Mr. Long said in a statement.

CALIFORNIA

Former housing office chief took $1.2 million to leave

LOS ANGELES — Records show Rudolf Montiel received nearly $1.2 million when he was dismissed as head of the Los Angeles Housing Authority last spring.

A Los Angeles Times investigation published Sunday says news of the payout has prompted audits and raised accusations that officials improperly spent taxpayer money intended for the poor on travel and entertainment.

City Controller Wendy Greuel, who has been auditing the agency’s travel expenses, released documents Friday outlining public funds used for limousine rides and meals at pricey downtown restaurants.

Mr. Montiel was unavailable for comment. His attorney, Michael Posner, defended the settlement, saying Mr. Montiel’s contract entitled him to 18 months’ pay if dismissed. Mitchell Kamin, the new president of the Housing Authority’s board, tells the Times that the deal was in the agency’s best interest and would be paid for largely by insurance.

NEW MEXICO

Three men arrested in toilet-paper theft

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