- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 20, 2009

Police: Financier death a suicide

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. | Investigators believe Danny Pang, the international financier who died in Southern California last weekend while facing charges of fraud, committed suicide, a police spokesman said Friday.

Mr. Pang was indicted in July on charges of illegally structuring financial transactions to evade currency-reporting requirements, just months after the Securities and Exchange Commission seized his assets and those of his two investment companies.

Mr. Pang, a Taiwanese immigrant, died Saturday at a hospital, a day after police and paramedics were called to his gated-community home. The Orange County coroner ruled out foul play, but deferred a cause of death until toxicology reports are complete, a process that could take months.

David Schindler, a lawyer who represented Mr. Pang, said Thursday that any speculation that his late client’s death was a suicide is “offensive.” The Los Angeles attorney told the Wall Street Journal that Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, where Mr. Pang died, told his family that he had a heart attack.

Dog hangs self fleeing robbery

NEW YORK | Two men escaped a gang of armed robbers by jumping out a second-story window, but a pit bull died when he leaped after his owner and hanged himself from his chain, police said Saturday.

Police said the pit bull had been chained up in the Bronx living room early Friday when three armed men broke down the door. The residents jumped out of the window to safety. But when the dog tried to follow them, its chain wasn’t long enough to reach the ground.

Capone hideout to be auctioned

WAUSAU, Wis. | The buyer of a scenic property in northern Wisconsin will get more than just its bar and restaurant: They’ll have a former hideout of Chicago mobster Al Capone.

The 407-acre wooded site, complete with guard towers and a stone house with 18-inch-thick walls, will soon go on the auction block at a starting bid of $2.6 million.

The bank that foreclosed on the land near Couderay, about 140 miles northeast of Minneapolis, said Capone owned it in the late 1920s and early 1930s during Prohibition. Local legend claims that shipments of bootlegged alcohol were flown in on planes that landed on the property’s 37-acre lake, then were loaded onto trucks bound for Chicago.

Chippewa Valley Bank will auction off “The Hideout, Al Capone’s Northwoods Retreat” on the steps of the Sawyer County Courthouse in Hayward on Oct. 8.

Officials at odds over Badlands

BISMARCK, N.D. | Federal and North Dakota officials are at odds over listing about 12,000 acres of the scenic Badlands on the National Register of Historic Places to recognize an area that inspired Theodore Roosevelt.

The U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service are pushing for the designation to highlight the significance of the region, where Roosevelt ran his cattle more than a century ago.

Ranchers and state officials fear the designation would hinder development and say local residents were not consulted.

But now federal officials say they plan to hold meetings with state and local leaders on the proposal.

Motorcycle pileup blocks interstate

WILSONVILLE, Ore. | More than two dozen motorcycles, most of them belonging to the Brother Speed motorcycle club, crashed on Interstate 5 on Friday afternoon, blocking freeway traffic for hours, Oregon State Police said Saturday.

Police said the bikers were behind a car when traffic slowed in the northbound lanes near Wilsonville, south of Portland. The bikers and the car tried to slow but collided, scattering bikes across the pavement.

The Oregonian in Portland reported that two bikers with critical injuries were flown to Portland hospitals by helicopter. Rescue personnel said seven others were treated for shoulder and hip injuries and broken bones.

The freeway reopened about 6 p.m., nearly four hours after the accident.

Athlete sues in ‘tribal ritual’

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. | A former track athlete at Central Connecticut State University has sued the school, saying a coach forced him to drink blood as a kind of “tribal ritual.”

The lawsuit filed this week by Kenyan Charles Ngetich claims that in 2005, track coach George Kawecki told Mr. Ngetich he’d seen a documentary in which a Kenyan group drank blood, and he wanted Mr. Ngetich to drink it.

Mr. Ngetich refused, but claims Mr. Kawecki later gave him a cup of blood and demanded he drink it, which Mr. Ngetich did.

Mr. Ngetich claims the incident was the start of mocking from his coach and teammates about his heritage. He claims a resulting depression affected his performance, and he lost his scholarship. He’s seeking damages of at least $15,000.

University spokesman Mark Warren McLaughlin declined to comment.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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