- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 24, 2008

CALIFORNIA

Beach town sued over homeless

LAGUNA BEACH | The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the ritzy Southern California city of Laguna Beach over its treatment of the homeless.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday claims the city has engaged in a campaign of harassment against the homeless while providing no city-sponsored shelters.

The lawsuit addresses an ordinance that criminalizes sleeping on the street, which ACLU attorneys say is unconstitutional.

The town nestled on bluffs above coves and tide pools is famous for art galleries and luxury hilltop homes with Pacific vistas. It is the setting of MTV’s reality show “Laguna Beach.”

CONNECTICUT

Yale settlement is $7.6 million

NEW HAVEN | Yale University has agreed to pay $7.6 million to resolve allegations that it broke the law by mismanaging federally funded research grants, federal authorities announced Tuesday.

The civil settlement with the government resolves allegations that some Yale researchers at times charged a federal grant account for costs unrelated to grant objectives. The government also contended that the researchers wrongfully charged 100 percent of their summer activity to grants when the researchers spent significant time on unrelated work.

Prosecutors said Yale did not admit liability in reaching the settlement and cooperated fully with the investigation. Yale acknowledged some errors occurred, but said the university has upgraded its accounting and reporting systems.

MASSACHUSETTS

‘Rockefeller’ lawyers want access to probe

BOSTON | Lawyers for a kidnapping suspect who calls himself Clark Rockefeller demanded Tuesday to see a sealed affidavit filed by California authorities who say he is a “person of interest” in the 1980s disappearance and presumed slayings of a couple there.

“Clark Rockefeller” was charged with kidnapping his 7-year-old daughter during a supervised visit in Boston in July. After his arrest in Baltimore in August, he was identified as Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, a German national who lived under various aliases after arriving in the United States in 1978.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office has labeled Mr. Gerhartsreiter a “person of interest” in the 1985 disappearance of Jonathan and Linda Sohus. Mr. Gerhartsreiter, who at the time called himself Christopher Chichester, rented a guesthouse at the home of Jonathan Sohus’ mother in San Marino, a wealthy Los Angeles suburb.

Mr. Gerhartsreiter has denied any involvement in the couple’s disappearance.

MICHIGAN

‘Secret Santas’ give $11,000 to residents

DETROIT | Two “Secret Santas” have given away $11,000 to unsuspecting Detroit area residents to add some happiness to their holidays.

The Detroit Free Press said a married couple anonymously handed out $100 bills Monday at bus stops, thrift stores and coin-operated laundries in the working-class Detroit suburb of Lincoln Park.

The couple said they wanted to give money to people hurt by the city’s struggling auto industry, the poor economy, high unemployment and numerous home foreclosures.

NEW YORK

Madoff investor found dead

NEW YORK | The founder of an investment fund that lost millions with Bernard Madoff was found dead Tuesday at his Madison Avenue office of a possible suicide, authorities said.

Authorities found the body of Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, 65, just before 8 a.m. at his office at Access International Advisors, on Madison Avenue, a couple of blocks from Rockefeller Center.

A French newspaper is reporting that Mr. de la Villehuchet committed suicide. The New York medical examiner’s spokeswoman said it has not determined the cause of death yet.

Mr. Madoff is accused of running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme that wiped out investors around the world, with big funds like Mr. de la Villehuchet’s $1.4 billion Access International Advisers being especially hard-hit.

A former business partner said that Mr. de la Villehuchet came from a long line of aristocratic Frenchmen, with the Magon part of his name referring to one of France’s most powerful families.

PENNSYLVANIA

Mother sentenced for firearms access

NORRISTOWN | The mother of a bullied teenager who planned an attack on a suburban Philadelphia high school has been sentenced to three months to a year in prison for providing the troubled boy with explosives material and access to firearms she purchased.

Michele Cossey also received five years’ probation Tuesday after pleading guilty to one count of child endangerment in September. Cossey, 47, admitted that she gave her son access to a rifle with a laser scope and gunpowder, which investigators said he was using to build grenades.

Prosecutors dropped weapons charges and related offenses.

Dillon Cossey, 15, is in juvenile custody after admitting last year that he planned to attack Plymouth Whitemarsh High School in Montgomery County.

TEXAS

Police: Shooting suspect is ex-trooper

DALLAS | A man suspected in a series of rush hour shootings near Dallas is a former Utah state trooper wanted on burglary and robbery warrants who apparently shot himself after a standoff with police, authorities said Tuesday

Brian Smith, 37, killed at least one of the victims of Monday’s shootings, Dallas police Lt. Craig Miller said. Investigators tied Mr. Smith to a killing in Dallas by matching the bullets found at the standoff, he said.

Dallas police declined to comment on a second death in neighboring Garland, where the standoff took place, because it was out of their jurisdiction. Garland police spokesman Joe Harn said his department has not been able to make a definitive connection between Mr. Smith and the killing there.

Two people were fatally shot and another person was injured by broken glass in four shootings along or near a Dallas-area highway Monday evening. Mr. Smith was in critical condition Tuesday night at a Dallas hospital.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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