Goodbye, employee discount. Hello, jail time

DEAR HARRIETTE: In response to Nicolette in Mineola (L.I.), who works at a popular clothing store, I think she should be aware she could face legal charges for theft if she lets friends use her employee discount. A recent story in the St. Paul newspaper described an individual who gave friends her discount at a local department store and was charged with theft, received jail time and a large fine - in addition to losing her job. I don't think her friends should put her in legal jeopardy over a few shirts. Kathy, St. Paul Dear Kathy: I couldn't have put it more honestly or dramatically. The bottom line for all of us, and especially young people, is that it's never worth it to buckle under peer pressure. When you live with integrity and follow the wisdom of your heart, as well as the law and protocol of your job or any other environment in which you find yourself, you can defend your actions. As tempting as it may seem to want to help out your friends when you get a break of whatever kind, just make sure your offering does not break a rule or law. Your friends probably won't, and often can't, bail you out during those hard times. DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my friends was recently fired from her job. After numerous poor performance reviews she assumed her days were numbered and that it was only a matter of time before they let her go. She complained about her job for months but never put forth the effort to improve her work. When she told me she lost her job, my immediate reaction was "What did you do?" and not the usual "I'm so sorry to hear that." Should I have been more sympathetic? Was my reaction wrong? Eryn, Naperville, Ill. Dear Eryn: Don't feel bad for being honest. That's the sign of a true friend. This woman needs a wakeup call. Usually, it takes a big jolt to recognize you must change your behavior. She hasn't noticed this yet about her own life. You can continue to be a good friend by probing more. Also encourage her to think differently the Continue Reading

Don’t bet on jail time for ex-Flyer Tocchet

A National Hockey League coach who ran an illegal sports gambling ring will likely walk away without jail time when he's sentenced today, despite international headlines linking the case to professional hockey's biggest star. Rick Tocchet could get up to five years in state prison for promoting gambling and conspiracy, charges to which he pleaded guilty in May.However, there is a presumption against incarceration for first-time offenders who plead guilty to third- or fourth-degree crimes, which means the retired Philadelphia Flyer is unlikely to serve any time for his crimes, said Rachel Goemaat, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Attorney General's Office, which prosecuted the case.An assistant coach with the Phoenix Coyotes under Wayne Gretzky, Tocchet partnered with a New Jersey state trooper and another man in a sports betting venture they ran for five years. He was placed on indefinite leave from his job after he was charged.GOLF: Laura Diaz shot a bogey-free 6-under 65 to take the first-round lead at the Canadian Women's Open in Edmonton, Alberta, while 17-year-old Michelle Wie opened with a 75 to drop 10 strokes back.Kelli Kuehne and Kyeong Bae fired 66s, 2005 winner Meena Lee topped a group at 67 and Paula Creamer and Juli Inkster shot 68s.PRO BASKETBALL: The Nets added some depth to their backcourt, signing 6-2 free agent guard Robert Hite, who played well for them during the summer league several weeks ago.On Feb.1, Hite was charged with DUI after leaving a birthday party for then-teammate Dwyane Wade. Although the charges were later dropped after tests showed that Hite's blood alcohol level was below the legal limit, the Heat eventually released him.- Julian GarciaThe Detroit Pistons signed free agent Jarvis Hayes. The 6-foot-8 swingman appeared in 81 games last season for the Washington Wizards, averaging 7.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 20.1 minutes.PRO FOOTBALL: Trent Green, whose 87.3 passer rating the past six seasons is the best in Chiefs history, Continue Reading


A BROOKLYN JUDGE sentenced TWU Local 100 President Roger Toussaint yesterday to 10 days in jail for orchestrating an illegal transit strike that paralyzed the city in December. Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Theodore Jones also hit Toussaint with a $1,000 fine. "This strike was illegal," said Jones, citing the state's Taylor Law. Toussaint was not immediately taken into custody. Jones gave him 30 days to appeal. Transport Workers Union Treasurer Ed Watt and Recording Secretary Darlyne Lawson were hit with $500 fines but no jail time. Jones meted out punishment after Toussaint, Watt and Lawson pleaded guilty to contempt-of-court charges. Toussaint told Jones the union was forced to strike by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's "cavalier" approach toward the labor negotiations. "I accept responsibility for my actions and I only ask that you consider the larger context," Toussaint told Jones. He said the three-day strike was a last desperate resort to gain a fair labor contract. "We did what we felt we had to do to stand up for dignity and respect for our members and for all working people in New York," Toussaint said outside court. The TWU and the MTA still have not reached a contract settlement after union members rejected a pact by seven votes in January. The union is currently conducting a revote, even as negotiations head for arbitration. MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow praised Jones' decision and said it "reflects the gravity of the union's decision to knowingly and willfully violate the law." Gov. Pataki added, "It is entirely appropriate that Roger Toussaint and the leadership of the TWU is held accountable for the illegal strike that endangered millions of New Yorkers." Eileen Long - mother of Firefighter Matthew Long, who was struck and severely injured by a private charter bus while bicycling to work because of the strike - said she wished the punishment was harsher. "I don't think 10 days is enough," she said. "My son has been Continue Reading


DR. NICHOLAS BARTHA could face serious jail time if he's convicted of blowing up his upper East Side home. Prosecutors could slap Bartha with arson charges for intentionally causing yesterday's explosion. Because no one else was in the doomed building, he would likely be charged with third-degree arson or lower, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. He could also face first-degree reckless endangerment charges if prosecutors believe blowing up the E. 62nd St. structure caused a "grave risk of death" to passersby or neighbors. The charge carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Former Cardinal Hayes High School principal avoids jail time after paying more than $8K in restitution

The embattled ex-principal of a Bronx Catholic school thanked the heavens — or least an altruistic judge — Monday after ducking jail time for stealing thousands of dollars from his former employer. “Just thank you, your honor,” said Christopher Keogan, 58, as he got off nearly scot-free for pilfering more than $8,200 from Cardinal Hayes High School. The former member of the Christian Brothers was able to pay back the $8,251 restitution by Monday's deadline, after Justice Steven Barrett gave him an extra two weeks to do his penance. Keogan, who pleaded guilty last September to two counts of petty larceny, would have faced a year in prison had he not coughed up the cash. The ex-educator left Cardinal Hayes in scandal after photos of nude men were found on his computer in 2008, though no criminal charges were filed in the manner. The morally strict school's former dean of discipline was indicted two years later on charges that he forged money orders and made personal purchases using a school credit card. With his legal troubles finally behind him Monday, Keogan, wearing a red tie, gray vest and khakis, beamed and hugged relatives upon emerging from the courtroom. “I'm just happy, that's all,” he told a News reporter as he strolled down the Bronx Supreme Court hallway a free man. His attorney, Monte Malik Chandler, had previously claimed that Keogan could not come up with the restitution because he was making a mere $200 a week working at a soup kitchen. Chandler declined to specify exactly how the one-time principal had raised the dough this go-around, but said it was a “collaborative effort” between Keogan's relatives and school alumni. The all-boys institution, located in a massive Art Deco building on the Grand Concourse and E. 153rd Street, boasts famous alumni including Regis Philbin, Martin Scorsese, and the comedian George Carlin. Join the Continue Reading

Ex-Capitol Hill, Obama aide dodges jail time for sex assaults after suffering serious injuries in acid attack

A Washington judge on Friday approved a plea agreement allowing a seriously injured former Capitol Hill staffer to avoid prison time for sexual assault, according to court records. Donny Ray Williams Jr., who admitted to assaulting two women and threatening a third, will sidestep a 4 1/2-year sentence in exchange for five years of probation, counseling and a 10-year listing on the sex offender registry, The Washington Post reported. By pleading guilty in December, Williams admitted to charges that, in 2010, he spiked a woman’s drink with Ambien and raped her, and plied another victim with booze until she was too drunk to give consent to intercourse, according to the Post. But Williams’ brutal injuries at the hands of an unidentified attacker who burned him with acid in 2013 also played a role in the sentencing. Williams lost vision in one eye and has nearly lost it in the other, and he spent almost two months in the hospital with second- and third-degree burns, reports the Post. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sharon Marcus-Kurn said Williams crimes’ had a “life-changing” effect on his victims, but she told Judge Robert E. Morin that the disfigured Williams has undergone 20 surgeries with several more to go following the attack, according to the Post. Morin ruled that the deal struck by prosecutors and Williams was “practical and reasonable,” the Post reported. “He was a victim of an independent crime and has serious medical issues,” Morin said. For his part, Williams reportedly showed remorse during Friday’s proceedings. “How easy it is for men to use power to abuse,” Williams said, according to the Post. “Rape is cowardly, shameful and downright evil. I promise, I will protect a woman’s right to her own body.” Williams started his Hill career as a staffer for Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings in 1999, before joining Continue Reading

Lindsay Lohan tried to log community service hours from comfort of her home before judge threatened jail time

There’s more drama in the Lindsay Lohan community service saga. Before she asked a judge to move her court-ordered service to Brooklyn, the “Mean Girls” actress tried to serve hours from the comfort of her London apartment, new court paperwork reveals. Lohan attempted to log time in January and February by organizing and posting photos to the Facebook page of the U.K. charity group Community Service Volunteers, according to paperwork sent to a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge. “Unfortunately, a member of staff gave Linday a memory stick so she could do this work at home,” the log obtained by The News stated. “I apologise,” the staffer who prepared the CSV log filed in court Thursday wrote. “The member of staff was not aware that hours could not be done at home.” Lohan, 28, earned other hours by going into the CSV offices where she mailed new business cards to staff and worked with the IT department “tagging” computers, the log said. The actress was ordered to complete an extra 125 hours of community labor earlier this year after the prosecutor on her Santa Monica, Calif., car crash case challenged some of the 240 hours she submitted to satisfy the original sentence for her 2013 reckless driving conviction. At a progress report hearing Thursay, Lohan’s lawyer said her client was having trouble finishing the time with CSV after the group moved more than an hour and a half away from her London residence. She said Lohan had completed only nine hours and 45 minutes so far but planned to “immediately” return to the U.S. and finish the remaining 115 hours at Brooklyn Community Services in New York, an organization previously approved by prosecutors. The judge agreed but said he would not extend her May 28 deadline. He gave her a fighting chance by waving a prior rule restricting Lohan to 4-hour shifts. He warned this was Lohan’s Continue Reading

Lindsay Lohan racing to Brooklyn to finish community service to avoid jail time

From nightclubs to prekindergarten, Lindsay Lohan is set to wreak havoc on the city. Lohan is racing back to New York to finish her court-ordered community service in a desperate bid to avoid another trip to jail, her lawyer said Thursday. The “Mean Girls” star has completed only nine hours and 45 minutes of the remaining 125 hours linked to her 2012 reckless-driving case — and her time runs out May 28, a Los Angeles County judge said. Lohan has been logging the time in London, but her approved British charity recently moved 90 minutes away, and she pays $76 an hour for private transportation, making it difficult to complete her service there, lawyer Shawn Holley said in court. It sounds like the judge is losing patience. “She has had three years to take care of this. If it’s not done by May 28, there will be consequences,” Judge Mark Young said as he approved her request to switch back to Brooklyn Community Services, the group that placed her at Fort Greene’s Duffield Children’s Center while she was filming her TV show “Lindsay” last year. Fed-up prosecutors vowed to seek jail time if Lohan misses the deadline. “She has had every chance,” Melanie Skehar with the Santa Monica city attorney’s office told the Daily News. “I honestly don’t see how she will get these hours done.” Lohan, by rule, could only work four hours a day to satisfy her community service. A judge waived that restriction, giving her a fighting chance at completing her required hours. A spokesman for Brooklyn Community Services could not immediately confirm a new placement for Lohan. A Duffield supervisor said she had “no clue.” “We haven’t heard from her,” supervisor Ashanti Shaheed said Thursday, declining to discuss the feasibility of offering 115 hours by May 28. “She served here before, and Continue Reading

Ex-Giants WR Plaxico Burress avoids jail time on tax evasion charges: report

Former Giants and Jets receiver Plaxico Burress will not get jail time for his tax evasion charges, according to a report. According to TMZ, Burress, who was indicted on charges he failed to pay taxes in New Jersey last month, had been facing up to a decade in prison. But the receiver reached a deal with Mercer County officials and will now simply pay the amount owed. Burress had been charged in April for failing to pay $48,000 in state income taxes on his 2013 return. He had been charged with willful failure to pay a state tax, as well as issuing a bad check or electronics fund transfer. Burress had been the first person charged in New Jersey under the 2014 law that makes issuing a bad electronic check a criminal offense. According to TMZ, Burress maintained all along that he'd made a "simple mistake," and he quickly struck a deal to settle the issue. Thus the oft-troubled receiver avoids his second stint in jail. Burress spent nearly two years in jail from 2009-2011, after accidentally (and now infamously) shooting himself with his own gun in a nightclub in November of 2008. Continue Reading

Lindsay Lohan may flee to Monaco to avoid jail time if community service hours aren’t completed by deadline: report

In her latest act, LiLo may be going from floozy to fugitive. Lindsay Lohan is plotting to flee to Monaco to avoid another jail stint if she doesn’t complete her community service on time, TMZ .com reported Saturday. The perpetually-troubled star managed to show up for community service at a Brooklyn daycare last week in a bid to avoid jail. The 28-year-old actress must complete 115 hours before May 28 to satisfy the probation requirement in her 2012 reckless driving case in California. Santa Monica prosecutors say they will likely ask for six months of jail time if Lohan isn't able to meet the deadline. “If she doesn’t get it done, she won’t go back to California for her court hearing,” reported. One of Lohan’s wealthy friends apparently owns a hotel in Monaco — and has made it clear that she can stay as long as she wants, the gossip site reported. Lohan couldn’t be reached — but she said Monday that she was thrilled to be back in New York. “Happy to be home in nyc with my family and friends. Missed this place,” the actress said in a Twitter message. Her father blasted the TMZ report. “Why would she even come back and attempt to do it, if she plans on leaving?” Michael Lohan told the Daily News. “By no means do I ever think Lindsay would flee to go anywhere.” Join the Conversation: Continue Reading