- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 17, 2004

Ferry captain seeks legal fees from city

NEW YORK — The captain of a Staten Island ferry that killed 11 persons in October wants the city to pay $250,000 for his legal fees.

Michael Gansas filed a notice of claim with the city this week, declaring his intent to sue for the money. New York defends employees against legal actions that stem from their role as municipal workers.

City lawyers have said Mr. Gansas forfeited that right by refusing to cooperate with crash investigators. The captain became the focus of intense legal and media attention after the crash when he declined to talk to investigators, citing his constitutional right against self-incrimination.

Mayoral spokesman Edward Skyler said it was “beyond outrageous” that Mr. Gansas was asking taxpayers to pay his legal fees after he refused to cooperate.

Eight wounded at New York diner

NEW YORK — Two gunmen opened fire in a Brooklyn diner yesterday morning, wounding eight people before pistol-whipping a patron and fleeing with cash and jewelry, police said.

The two men had been sitting in the Galaxy Diner at about 5:15 a.m. yesterday when they got up and started shooting, police and witnesses said. Seven customers and a busboy were wounded.

The men demanded money from the diner’s cashier, but the cashier fled, police said. Police were searching for the suspects and investigating whether the shootings were sparked by an argument at a nearby party.

Six of the eight shooting victims weren’t seriously wounded, police said. Four of the injured were hospitalized in stable condition.

Detroit City Council fights strip club

DETROIT — Detroit’s City Council has decided to take up the fight against a proposed downtown strip club offering total nudity after the mayor gave up.

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick told the city’s religious leaders Friday that his fight to keep the Deja Vu strip club from opening ended because a federal court ruled the club was protected under the First Amendment, WDIV-TV reported yesterday.

But now the City Council is moving toward prohibiting total nudity in both licensed and unlicensed establishments. Councilwoman Sharon McPhail has proposed an ordinance that would fill a hole in a law that allows nudity only if liquor is not served on the premises.

Woman who faked cancer sentenced

URBANA, Ohio — A woman who accepted $6,400 in donations after shaving her head and dyeing her skin to make it appear she had cancer has been sentenced to three days in jail and three years of probation.

Katrina Combs’ ruse went on for about three years before a co-worker raised concerns to police, said Mindy Baily, Miss Combs’ former boss at a nursing facility. Miss Combs, 31, said she felt she couldn’t come clean after taking the money.

Under her sentence, she must return the donations, pay a $500 fine and also serve 400 hours of community service.

In a similar case in the same small central Ohio town, a woman pleaded guilty in August to theft and endangering a child for receiving $31,000 in donations after she shaved her daughter’s hair and gave her sleeping pills to make it appear that the girl was receiving chemotherapy.

Teresa Milbrandt was sentenced to 6 years in prison. Her husband, Robert Milbrandt, received four years and 11 months, though he didn’t admit a role in the hoax.

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