JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Florida agency that oversees the welfare of children in our state confirms to the I-TEAM that a widespread investigation is underway into its own employees for possible fraud. The Office of the Inspector General investigation involves more than 1,300 employees of the Florida Department of Children and Families who applied for Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) benefits last fall after Hurricane Irma. News4Jax extensively covered days of area residents standing in long lines to fill out paperwork and apply for these benefits following Hurricane Irma. By late October, more than $1.2 billion in D-SNAP benefits were paid to 7.2 million Floridians. In order to obtain these special benefits from the federal government, an individual living in a disaster area would have to show he/she suffered a loss of income due to the disaster, did not have access to resources, and had incurred disaster expenses. In a statement to the I-TEAM, DCF … [Read more...] about I-TEAM: DCF employees under investigation for food stamp fraud
President Trump referred to Robert Mueller’s team as “Angry Democrat Thugs” who are looking for “trouble” as he continued to rail about White House lawyer Don McGahn being interviewed for 30 hours by the special counsel’s investigators. “Disgraced and discredited Bob Mueller and his whole group of Angry Democrat Thugs spent over 30 hours with the White House Councel, only with my approval, for purposes of transparency,” Trump posted on Monday morning, misspelling counsel. “Anybody needing that much time when they know there is no Russian Collusion is just someone looking for trouble,” he continued. In another tweet, Trump complained that “If you FIGHT BACK or say anything bad about the Rigged Witch Hunt, they scream Obstruction!” The president also continued to accuse Democrats of collusion and wondered why Mueller wasn’t investigating them. “They are enjoying ruining people’s lives and REFUSE to … [Read more...] about Trump: Mueller’s ‘Angry Democrat Thugs’ are looking for ‘trouble’
In June of this year, Pennie and Rick Zamarripa made a pitch before Dallas County leaders for approval of a $500,000 bronze statue of a police officer hugging a woman and child. The Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation is raising money to build the statue and place it downtown. During the meeting, County Judge Clay Jenkins asked his staff to add a link directing people to donate to the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation on his page on the county’s official website. The link is there today.After Zamarripa’s mother and girlfriend found out about the statue, they were incensed that they had not been told about it. Patrick’s mother, Valerie Zamarripa, wrote on the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation Facebook page: “Sgt. Pennie is not a man of his word. He has done nothing except kiss Rick Zamarripa’s butt to get rich and famous off of my son’s death. ... he promised to keep us informed, but never has. ... This is my son too!”“Where is all the … [Read more...] about DPD sergeant collected millions for fallen officers. A fraction went to the families.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Days after an I-TEAM investigation revealed a three-year dispute between a Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department EMT and a local military veteran, the city isn't taking sides, but it is taking action. This week, a JFRD spokesperson told the I-TEAM that JFRD EMT Milton “Aundre” Hannon "has been removed from field duty and placed on a 40 hour week pending the outcome of our internal investigation." This means Hannon will not be able to get overtime pay while the city investigates his secondary businesses. News4Jax first reported Friday that U.S. Navy veteran Linwood Walker had contacted the I-TEAM hoping to get his motorcycle back from Hannon. He said he made a deal with Hannon, who has a business customizing motorcycles, and that deal soured. Walker gave Hannon his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 to detail the bike and give it a new paint job -- paying him $4,400. However, that happened three years ago. … [Read more...] about City takes action against JFRD EMT after I-TEAM investigation
Convention authority CEO Rossi Ralenkotter has been under fire for his use of agency gift cards for personal travel but now he faces questions about his recording of vacation leave. Chitose Suzuki Las Vegas Review-Journal @chitosephotoLas Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority President Rossi Ralenkotter gives his retirement speech during a board meeting at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_VerduzcoRossi Ralenkotter, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority president and CEO, speaks during Preview Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce's largest annual networking event, at Cox Pavilion on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye Las Vegas tourism CEO Rossi Ralenkotter did not report nearly 200 hours of paid time off that he took while traveling on personal business using taxpayer-funded gift cards, records show. He also did not log about 100 … [Read more...] about Las Vegas tourism boss didn’t record dozens of vacation days
Rossi Ralenkotter, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority president and CEO, speaks during Preview Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce's largest annual networking event, at Cox Pavilion on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfayeLas Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority President Rossi Ralenkotter during a board meeting at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco Attorneys for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board have agreed to sweeten a pending deal for CEO Rossi Ralenkotter by upping his post-retirement consulting contract to $270,000 amid a police investigation of the agency. The new figure is $90,000 more than what was disclosed last week, when the board scheduled a public discussion of Ralenkotter’s retirement for Tuesday. Ralenkotter also would receive reimbursement for travel expenses and any … [Read more...] about LVCVA board lawyers seek sweeter deal for Rossi Ralenkotter
Many Connecticut cemeteries are not getting the attention or maintenance they need. Some are overgrown, others are overlooked. Preservationists worry that a lot of these cemeteries could become so neglected there may no longer be an opportunity to save them. "It's a business like everything else. It has to make money. When you no longer have space to bury people, you no longer have money," said Ruthie Shapleigh-Brown, executive director of the Connecticut Gravestone Network. The group's mission is to preserve old and overlooked burial sites across the state. At Scott Swamp Cemetery in Farmington, the grass needed to be cut and weeds need to be pulled. In Meriden at West Cemetery, some of the tombstones were toppled over. Meanwhile, in Pomfret, the area off of Murdock Road is so overgrown it was difficult to see that Dennis Cemetery is even there. In recent years, municipalities have been asking for state money to help maintain these cemeteries and dozens of others as … [Read more...] about Neglected Cemeteries: Who’s Responsible?
Lakey said Caraway had also suggested the restaurant move to a new shopping center down the road. Lakey and his wife, Laura, wanted to stay put. They told Caraway no.“It’s a name I’ve tried to forget,” Lakey said.The Lakeys were forced to close their restaurant about a year later. The financial troubles were just too big to overcome.“We lost everything we had,” Lakey said, tears welling in his eyes.Today, Lakey and his wife live an hour’s drive from Dallas. Robert is on disability, and Laura works in hospice as a nurse’s aide. Reached Friday, Laura Lakey said she believes justice has been served with Caraway pleading guilty to taking bribes.“He won’t be able to do people that way anymore, thank God,” she said.Around the same time the Lakeys said they were rebuffing Caraway’s request for money, the council member was able to drum up other donations — this time for a political crony’s … [Read more...] about Shake-down allegations, money woes dogged Dwaine Caraway for decades
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board member Bill Noonan during a board meeting at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_VerduzcoLas Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority President Rossi Ralenkotter during a board meeting at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco With a looming public vote on a retirement package for Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO Rossi Ralenkotter, a key board member said Friday he wants more details about the police investigation into the mishandling of $90,000 in Southwest Airlines gift cards. The convention authority board on Tuesday will discuss Ralenkotter’s financial separation agreement, along with a potential six-figure bonus and 18-month consulting contract worth $180,000. “I would be interested to hear what Metro is looking at beyond what our comprehensive … [Read more...] about Board member seeks more clarity about police probe of LVCVA
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville paramedic who promised to customize a motorcycle for a Navy veteran three years ago has yet to deliver on that promise -- or return the bike, the veteran told the I-TEAM. Linwood Walker, who served 20 years in the U.S. Navy, brought the dispute to News4Jax hoping we could help get his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 back. Walker said he trusted Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department employee Milton “Aundre” Hannon because Hannon works for the city in a public role. He said Hannon agreed to detail the bike and give it a new paint job, but that was three years ago. "I wanted the motorcycle lowered. I asked him to extend the swing arm out, put on chrome rims, chrome paint, a custom voodoo exhaust, some custom lights. It was going to be custom all the way around,” Walker said. But he said none of that ever happened, and now Hannon has gone dark. "He knows he owes me my bike and $4,400,” Walker said. “That's why he's not taking my … [Read more...] about Navy vet claims paramedic holds motorcycle hostage over soured business deal