The attackers smashed a bottle over his head and put a staple in his forehead.
Zwolinski was assaulted outside his campaign office in Chicago.
On Thursday Rep. Cynthia Soto’s daughter and her boyfriend were arrested for the attack.
Illinois Rep. Cynthia Soto’s daughter and another campaign volunteer are accused of attacking aspiring politician Robert Zwolinski, who ran against Soto in the Democratic primary this week.
Jessica Soto and Bradley Fichter, both 26, are each charged with three felony counts of aggravated battery in connection with the assault on the 30-year-old man.
The suspects’ attorney, Frank Avila, said his clients were volunteers for Cynthia Soto’s re-election campaign and that Jessica Soto is the incumbent’s daughter.
Illinois Rep. Cynthia Soto’s daughter and another campaign volunteer are accused of attacking aspiring politician Robert Zwolinski. (ABC 7)
Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has lost custody of his two teenage children after they reportedly said they would prefer to live with their mother following an alleged domestic violence incident, according to court documents.
As reported by Gawker, Mr O’Reilly’s two children, 13 and 17, will live full time with his ex-wife Maureen McPhilmy.
The decision taken by a Nassau County Supreme Court justice last year that the children should live with their mother was appealed by the news host to delay its enforcement.
According to the 1,400 word opinion issued on 24 February, the court’s four justices unanimously ruled in his ex-wife’s favour based upon “the clearly stated preferences of the children” and the “quality of the home environment provided by the mother”.
Mr O’Reilly’s 17-year-old daughter told a court-appointed forensic examiner last year that she saw her father dragging her mother down a staircase by the neck.
He responded to Politico in May last year: “All allegations against me in these circumstances are 100% false. I am going to respect the court-mandated confidentiality put in place to protect my children and will not comment any further.”
Court transcripts seen by Gawker allegedly revealed that his daughter also considered Mr O’Reilly as an absentee parent who was not interested in developing a relationship with her and struggled to control his rage, which she found “scary”.
He also allegedly told his daughter that her mother was an “adulterer”.
The court decided that the parents would share custody over issues like which schools the children should attend, which medical care they receive and the religion they practise – he has strong connections with the Catholic Church. Mr O’Reilly had previously insisted he had sole legal custody for those matters.
A court docket shown by Gawker suggests that Mr O’Reilly is still fighting against the verdict and is pursuing contempt of court charges against his ex-wife. It is not known why he believes Ms McPhilmy has violated the court’s instructions.
Mr O’Reilly was accused of sexual harassment in 2004 by former Fox News producer Andrea Mackris – he allegedly bragged about attending a sex show in Thailand and insisted that she masturbate over the phone with a vibrator. Mr O’Reilly reached an out-of-court settlement with Ms Mackris.
Police allege Texas mother Juanita Garcia used her 7-year-old daughter to scam people by telling them the girl is stricken with cancer, and has only months to live.
Garcia allegedly organized fundraisers and told people both in person and through social media that her daughter her daughter was diagnosed with cancer, and fighting for her life, KHOU reports.
Child Protective Services became suspicious of Garcia and reported to the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s officials on Oct. 22 the 46-year-old had been approaching people for donations and organized fundraisers for alleged cancer treatments for her daughter.
“Through the course of the investigation, investigators discovered that seven year old child had been medically evaluated, and no illness had been found,” according to a media release posted to the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.
“During questioning, Garcia admitted to investigators that her daughter had never been diagnosed with cancer, and that she had obtained monetary donations from various persons.”
Sheriff’s officials arrested Garcia Dec. 9 on a child exploitation charge, a third degree felony. Images posted with the media release show Garcia went as far as shaving the young girl’s head, and dressed her in cancer awareness clothing to gain sympathy in Facebook posts.
In one image, the young girl poses with a shirt that reads: “I’m NOT a boy. I’m a girl fighting cancer.”
KGBT reports Garcia allegedly convinced the child she had cancer in June, and the girl believed she was destined to die soon.
“My princess fighting her cancer I know she will prayers for my baby,” Garcia posted to Facebook June 24, according to the site.
Child Protective Services took custody of the young girl. Garcia is lodged in the Hidalgo County Adult Detention Center on a $10,000 bond after her arraignment on the exploitation charge.
Hidalgo Sgt. J.P. Rodriguez told KRMG the situation shows why people should pay close attention to where their charitable donations are going.
“We don’t want to discourage people to participate in those fundraisers, but we do want them to be cautious,” he said, adding that it’s critical to “confirm information before donating to strangers.”
“This makes me sick,” Samantha Compton posted to the sheriff’s Facebook post. “My 4-year-old daughter has fought adult brain cancers since she was 18 months old! No amount of money is worth a child having cancer and the kids that do have cancer and their family needs help can’t get it because of people like her. This makes me so angry!”
“How rotten and low-down can one get using a child like this,” Dora Robles added.
“Sick woman needs to get a job and quit begging and living off of people and her child,” Manuel Guajardo wrote. “Where is the father?”
“There should be a hate or disgust button to click on,” Carol Ann Kane posted. “Disgusting and a pathetic display of motherhood. Just because you have a child doesn’t make you a ‘parent.’ That’s a role you have to earn. Appalling!”
Gee who would have thunk?
Via The American Mirror:
Jorge Ramos, the amnesty activist moonlighting as a Univision and Fusion journalist, revealed in June that his daughter is an employee of the Hillary Clinton campaign.
In a statement on the Fusion website, Ramos wrote:
As journalists the most important thing we have is our credibility and integrity. We maintain that, in part, through transparency with our audience, our colleagues and our critics. That is why I am disclosing that my daughter, Paola, has accepted a position working with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
A little more background on the Univision and Ramos bias, Univision doesn’t even bother to pretend Ramos is a fair journalist, they admit he’s pushing a political agenda.
As Univision News President Isaac Lee explained to a journalism forum at the University of Texas at Austin earlier this year, the journalism Ramos practices is focused on promoting a very particular agenda.
As is evident from Lee’s remarks, Ramos’ agenda is not focused on what’s best for the population of the country as a whole, but rather the interests of Univision’s audience, an audience that most certainly includes a sizeable portion of unauthorized immigrants to the United States, with whose amnesty agenda Ramos closely identifies.
“Univision’s audience knows that Jorge is representing them,” Lee said of how Ramos understands his role as the country’s leading Spanish-language journalist. “He is not asking the questions to be celebrated as a fair and balanced journalist. He’s asking the questions to represent them. He’s going to ask the person whatever is necessary to push the agenda for a more fair society, for a more inclusive society and for the Hispanic community to be better.”
The credibility and impartiality of Univision’s coverage of U.S. electoral politics has already been undermined by the network’s executive chairman, Haim Saban, pledging his “full might” to the mission of putting Hillary Clinton in the White House. That credibility has been further eroded by the network’s partnership with the Clinton Foundation.
The child thrown from a car by her father during a police chase in Springfield is going to be okay. The child’s father, an armed robbery suspect, was arrested.
Springfield Police Sgt. John Delaney told 22News this chase started on Putnam Circle late Friday afternoon. Narcotics detectives had spotted a suspect wanted on an armed robbery warrant. The suspect was reportedly picking up his 10-year-old daughter from the bus stop at the time. Sgt. Delaney said police started to chase the suspect who lead them through Springfield, into Chicopee and then back into Springfield.
According to Delaney, the suspect shoved his young daughter out of the car near Red Rose Pizza in the South End of Springfield. Lieutenant Thomas Maccini told 22News she is going to be okay, and was not taken to the hospital.
Police continued to chase the suspect who then hit a vehicle on Cross Street, ditched his car and was running away. Police caught up with him a short time later and took him into custody.
22News spoke with Saud Madkhali, the owner of the car hit by the suspect. He said, “I’m driving, I can see the police following the man, after I left here from my apartment. He hit my car and it’s big damage on the back.”
The man who was arrested Friday for an armed robbery and for throwing his 10-year-old child from a vehicle he was driving while being pursued by police has been identified.
28-year-old Gilberto Dannil Diaz Jr. of Drexel Street in Springfield is facing numerous charges related to the incident. Springfield Police Sgt. John Delaney confirmed the man’s identity with Western Mass News Saturday morning. He added that the girl was 10-years-old, not 8 as was previously reported by police.
Police told us originally that Diaz was wanted for numerous armed robberies at Walgreens and CVS pharmacies where large quantities of prescription pills were taken.
The man initially ran from police on Putnam Circle in Chicopee Friday afternoon shortly before 4:30 p.m. From there he made his way into Chicopee and then back into Springfield.
The driver, who had his 10-year-old daughter in the vehicle at the time of the chase, sped down Liberty Street in Springfield and entered I-291. He exited I-91 in downtown Springfield in an attempt to elude police.
“During the course of this pursuit Diaz drove recklessly throughout the city , striking officers vehicles on several occasions and causing three accidents with minor property damage. The subject also discarded narcotics from the vehicle which were recovered by officers,” explained Delaney.
When Diaz approached Red Rose Pizzeria on Main Street he slowed the Chevy Cruz he was driving to a roll and shoved the young girl out of the vehicle police said, causing her to fall to the ground. He “nearly (struck) his daughter with the vehicle as he attempted to make his getaway again,” added Delaney.
The young girl who was shaken up was not injured in the incident. She was transported to the youth aid bureau and the Department of Youth and Family Services is now assisting with this case.
Police arrested Diaz behind Stockbridge Court, at 45 Willow St., “Detective Kalish forced the vehicle onto a wooded area at the end of Cross St. to prevent any further endangerment to the public. At which point Diaz was apprehended after a foot chase,” said Delaney.
Diaz has been charged with the following: Armed Robbery while Masked Warrant (Diaz held up the Walgreens in Springfield prior to his arrest), Failure to Stop for a P.O., Reckless Operation, 4 counts of A&B by means of a car, Assault by means of Motor Vehicle on a 10-year-old Child, Reckless Behavior of a Child, Risk of Injury to a Child, Resisting Arrest, Leaving the Scene of a Personal Injury Accident, Trafficking in Heroin 36-100 Grams, and 3 counts Possession of Class B with Intent to Distribute.
Last Sunday, Springfield police responded to an armed robbery at the Walgreens Pharmacy located at 50 St. James Blvd. There was an arrest warrant issued for Diaz following that armed robbery.
Sgt. John Delaney told Western Mass News at the time that a man armed with a silver handgun jumped over the pharmacy counter and demanded employees to open the safe and lay on the floor. The suspect took Oxycodone, Oxycotin and Percocet pills from the store and fled on foot.
This was not the only recent pharmacy robbery though. On April 22, a man robbed an Agawam Walgreens at gunpoint and got away with 40 bottles of Oxycontin.
About one month later, a man walked into an East Longmeadow Walgreens armed with a handgun looking for pills. Police say the suspect got away with a large quantity of pharmaceutical drugs.
No word if Diaz has any connection to those last two incidents.
In September 2013, Jeri Wright, daughter of Reverend “God Damn America” Wright, and 12 other Democrats were charged with embezzling $16 million in Federal health grants that should have gone to AIDS charities and other programs for the poor and needy.
More than one of the defendants had direct ties to President Barack Obama.
In March 2014 Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s daughter Jeri was found guilty on eleven counts that included money laundering and lying to federal agents.
This week US District Judge Sue E. Myerscough sent Jeri Wright to prison.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported:
Jeri L. Wright, the daughter of President Barack Obama’s former pastor, is headed to jail after a federal judge on Monday revoked a deal that allowed her to remain free as she awaits sentencing on a money-laundering conviction.
U.S. District Judge Sue E. Myerscough ruled that there was probable cause to believe that Wright committed a theft while she was free on bail and ordered Wright detained by U.S. marshals in Springfield, according to Sharon Paul, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in the Central District of Illinois.
Wright’s attorney, Victor P. Henderson, could not immediately be reached for comment.
A Lieutenant Colonel was escorting his daughter to Rochester Adams high school in Michigan, when the man in uniform was rudely informed that he would not be permitted to enter the premises.
The reason that the military officer was given? His uniform ‘might offend people.’
The security personnel hired by the school told the 24-year veteran Lt. Col. Sherwood Baker that if he wanted to take his daughter inside the building, he would have to go home and change clothes.
Lt. Col. Baker’s wife Rachel Ferhadson told WJBK, “before he was allowed in, the security guard stopped him and said sorry you’re not allowed in the school. Security told him men and women in uniform weren’t allowed because it may offend another student.”
The school superintendent Robert Shaner, who is a military veteran himself, went out of his way to apologize to the family for the misconduct of the security personnel.
But the question that should come to mind about protecting students from ‘taking offense’ at a soldier in uniform: what about offending a military officer in the U.S. Army with a long career of service defending Americans from enemies of the country, while putting his life on the line to do it?
A teacher is currently being held for evaluation in a psychiatric ward of a hospital after allegedly murdering her disabled daughter.
27-year-old Magdalena Nunyango Amunyoko was born with a rare condition, according to the Huffington Post, leaving her bedridden and with slurred speech. Her 49-year-old mother, whose name has not yet been released, worked as a teacher in South Africa and served as her daughter’s caregiver.
Amunyoko’s brother reportedly found her charred remains after the mother used a barbecue grill to burn her daughter’s body.
The Huffington Post reported:
Amunyoko’s mother reportedly refused to tell her son where his sister was, so he searched the home for her. It was outside, on a barbecue grill stand, that he found the gruesome remains of his sister.
When authorities arrived on the scene, Amunyoko’s mother allegedly refused to let them inside her home. Investigators reportedly broke down the front door to gain entry.
“We found a dustbin with ashes and other burned items and when it was lifted up, we found a human body, which was identified to be that of the late 27-year-old woman,” Oshana Regional Police Commander Ndahangwapo Kashihakumwa told The Namibian Sun.
Inside the home, investigators reportedly found handwritten letters on a table with the words “burn the enemy” written on them.
“She told the police that there are devils in the house and that she was seeing devils,” said Kashihakumwa.
In addition to the victim, police found the remnants of a television, a satellite dish and Amunyoko’s wheelchair.
Neighbors told local reporters they saw items burning in the suspect’s backyard Friday, but were unaware Amunyoko’s body was among them.
“We just thought [Amunyoko’s mom] was moving out of the house or something… We saw her burning things and we still just thought she was cleaning up her yard,” a unidentified neighbor told The Namibian.
The preliminary police investigation indicates the victim was hacked to death with a machete Friday, before she was burnt on the barbecue grill.
Authorities are investigating Foursquare Gospel Church, suspecting that teachings of demons and spirits might have indoctrinated the mother.
Pastor Festus Negumbo denies the teachings, stating, “We do not teach people about demons and devils, which will confuse them, but we teach people about morality. She has not been coming to church for over a year now and we tried to reach out to her, but she isolated herself. She never said anything about demons in her house to the church.”
A Superior Court judge who sentenced a wealthy du Pont heir to probation for raping his 3-year-old daughter noted in her order that he “will not fare well” in prison and needed treatment instead of time behind bars, court records show.
Judge Jan Jurden’s sentencing order for Robert H. Richards IV suggested that she considered unique circumstances when deciding his punishment for fourth-degree rape. Her observation that prison life would adversely affect Richards was a rare and puzzling rationale, several criminal justice authorities in Delaware said. Some also said her view that treatment was a better idea than prison is a justification typically used when sentencing drug addicts, not child rapists.
Richards’ 2009 rape case became public this month after attorneys for his ex-wife Tracy filed a lawsuit seeking compensatory and punitive damages for the abuse of his daughter.
The fact that Jurden expressed concern that prison wasn’t right for Richards came as a surprise to defense lawyers and prosecutors who consider her a tough sentencing judge. Several noted that prison officials can put inmates in protective custody if they are worried about their safety, noting that child abusers are sometimes targeted by other inmates.
“It’s an extremely rare circumstance that prison serves the inmate well,” said Delaware Public Defender Brendan J. O’Neill, whose office represents defendants who cannot afford a lawyer. “Prison is to punish, to segregate the offender from society, and the notion that prison serves people well hasn’t proven to be true in most circumstances.”
O’Neill said he and his deputies have often argued that a defendant was too ill or frail for prison, but he has never seen a judge cite it as a “reason not to send someone to jail.”
Richards was no frail defendant, court records show, listing him at 6 feet, 4 inches tall and between 250 and 276 pounds. Nor do court records cite any physical illnesses.
O’Neill said the way the Richards case was handled might cause the public to be skeptical about “how a person with great wealth may be treated by the system.”
Richards, who is unemployed and supported by a trust fund, owns a 5,800-square-foot mansion in Greenville he bought for $1.8 million in 2005. He also lists a home in the exclusive North Shores neighborhood near Rehoboth Beach, according to the state’s sex abuse registry. His great-grandfather is du Pont family patriarch Irenee du Pont, and his father is Robert H. Richards III, a retired partner in the Richards Layton & Finger law firm.
Jurden, who has been a judge since 2001, and Superior Court President James T. Vaughn Jr. did not respond to questions last week about the case.
Deputy State Court Administrator Amy Quinlan said in an email that judges must consider the charges, state sentencing guidelines and “any mitigating or aggravating factors and recommendations” from prosecutors, defense lawyers, corrections officials and others. “That procedure was followed in this case as well.”
The lawsuit filed by Richards’ ex-wife accuses him of admitting to sexually abusing his infant son between 2005 and 2007, the same period when he abused his daughter starting when she was 3.
Police said they investigated allegations involving the boy in 2010 after his mother filed a complaint, but said they did not have sufficient evidence to justify charges. Investigators will take another look at the allegations included in the lawsuit, which are based on reports by probation officers.
The plea offer
Attorney General Beau Biden’s office had initially indicted Richards on two counts of second-degree rape of a child – Class B violent felonies that carry a mandatory 10-year prison term for each count.
According to the arrest warrant filed by a New Castle County Police Detective JoAnna Burton in December 2007, the girl, then 5, told her grandmother, Donna Burg, that Richards sexually abused her.
Burg said the child reported that her father told her it was “our little secret” but said she didn’t want “my daddy touching me anymore.” The girl said her father molested her in the bedrooms of her mother and brother in the mansion at 10 Summit Lane near Winterthur Museum, the arrest warrant said.
Tracy Richards, who confronted her then-husband, told police he admitted abusing his daughter but said “it was an accident and he would never do it again,” the warrant said.
Richards was free on $60,000 secured bail while awaiting trial on the charges that could have put him behind bars for years.
But in June 2008, just days before a scheduled trial, prosecutor Renee Hrivnak offered Richards a plea to a single count of fourth-degree rape, which carries no mandatory time, and he accepted, admitting in court that he abused his child.
“It was more than reasonable, an enlightened plea offer,” Richards attorney Eugene J. Maurer Jr. said.
Fourth-degree rape is a Class C violent felony that by law can bring up to 15 years in prison, though guidelines suggest zero to 2½ years in prison.
At his February 2009 sentencing, Hrivnak recommended probation, Biden’s chief deputy Ian R. McConnel said, adding that in retrospect he wished she would have sought prison time. Hrivnak would not comment.
Biden spokesman Jason Miller said the attorney general – who routinely hails the prosecution of child predators as a top priority for his office – did not know about the case.
Miller said only Hrivnak and her supervisor, Allison Texter, were part of the decision on how to resolve the case. Texter, who is now in private practice in Wilmington, did not return calls for comment.
State Prosecutor Kathleen M. Jennings could not discuss the case, McConnel said, because she had represented Richards while he was on probation. Jennings, a former chief deputy attorney general, rejoined the office in November 2011 after about 15 years in private practice. She would not say when she represented Richards.
McConnel would not discuss the rationale behind the Richards’ plea deal and Hrivnak’s recommendation of probation for the fourth-degree rape conviction.
He noted, however that prosecutors handling child sex cases routinely have difficulty relying on the testimony of youngsters, especially if the defendant is their father. The well-being of the child is paramount in such cases and parents and prosecutors are often reluctant to put children through the trauma of testifying and being cross-examined, he said.
“These cases are extremely complicated and difficult and we strive to do justice in each and every case to the best of our ability given the facts and circumstances presented,” McConnel said. “That sometimes results in a resolution that is less than what we would want.”
‘Will not fare well’
While judges have the latitude to sentence defendants within legal parameters, they are urged to follow more lenient guidelines established by the Delaware Sentencing Accountability Commission, a panel of judges and other top officials in the criminal justice system. The panel, known as SENTAC, has a policy that prison should be reserved for violent offenders, including rapists.
Jurden gave Richards, who had no previous criminal record, an eight-year prison term, but suspended all the prison time for probation.
“Defendant will not fare well in Level 5 setting,” said the final line of her sentencing order. In Delaware’s correctional system, Level 5 is prison.
Joseph S. Grubb, chief New Castle County prosecutor, said he was not involved in the case, but stressed that whether Richards’ might suffer or thrive in prison was not something prosecutors considered.
“It’s not a concern for us,” Grubb said. “We try to do the right thing in each case. Absent that equation is the physical condition of the defendant.”
Grubb said he did not know “how the judge gathered” that Richards might have trouble in prison, but assumed the presentence report included information she used. That report was not available in the court file.
O’Neill, the public defender, said that while Jurden’s rationale surprised him, “I commend her for making such a courageous ruling. When I find the appropriate place, I’m going to make that argument.”
Defense lawyer Michael W. Modica said he has argued that clients should be spared prison because of medical or mental issues, but judges routinely reject the suggestion. He said he recently persuaded a prosecutor not to recommend prison for a client who had cardiac bypass surgery while awaiting sentencing for a DUI, and the judge sentenced the man to home confinement.
“I’ve never heard of the judge saying in general that he is not going to do well,” Modica said. “Who thrives in jail?”
Jurden also ordered Richards to “participate in a sex offenders” treatment program after his lawyer provided her with an evaluation from a clinic in Massachusetts. Her order stipulated that he undergo inpatient treatment followed by outpatient treatment. The judge also ordered him to have no contact with children under 16 and prohibited him from possessing pornography.
Jurden’s order also included other mitigating circumstances considered before sentencing, citing his “strong family support” and “significant treatment needs which must be met.” The order noted, “Treatment needs exceed need for punishment,” which the SENTAC manual lists as a factor for judges to consider.
Attorneys said a treatment sentence is more common for first-time drug offenders, drunk drivers and the mentally ill, but is not unheard of for sex offenders. “It’s not completely out of left field that a judge would say that,” Grubb said.
Prosecutor Josette Manning, who spent six years in the sex crimes unit, said juvenile offenders in Delaware are often sent to out-of-state treatment facilities rather than a detention center. Some adults can get sex treatment in prison, she said, but when an offender can afford to pay the cost of inpatient treatment themselves, judges sometimes make that part of the sentence instead of prison.
“It’s absolutely appropriate for a judge to consider a defendant’s treatment needs during sentencing” for sex crimes, Manning said.
Modica, who has represented numerous sex offenders, said he has seen the need for treatment as a factor in reduced sentences for defendants in child porn cases but not for sex crimes. “I can’t think of a case like that,” he said.
Richards spent eight months on Level 3 probation, which requires weekly contacts with a probation officer, before Jurden moved him down to Level 2, which requires only monthly visits with a probation officer.
County police chief Elmer Setting said that while police can’t control how attorneys and a judge resolve a case, “In serious situations where we have a guilty plea, we hope for prison time.”
Kendall Marlowe, executive director of National Association for Counsel for Children, said the bottom line is that individuals who abuse youngsters deserve to be punished.
“Child protection laws are there to safeguard children, and adults who knowingly harm children should be punished,” said Marlow, whose nonprofit agency assists lawyers who handle child welfare cases.
“Our prisons should be more rehabilitative environments, but the prison system’s inadequacies are not a justification for letting a child molester off the hook.”
Defense lawyer Joseph A. Hurley said it makes sense to him that the judge would be concerned about Richards’ time in prison.
“Sure, they have protective custody, but that is solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. We’re not a third-world society,” Hurley said.
“Sex offenders are the lowest of the low in prison,” Hurley said. “He’s a rich, white boy who is a wuss and a child perv. The prison can’t protect them, and Jan Jurden knows that reality. She is right on.”
Typical union goon behavior.
Via Red State:
In the latest development of a more than year-long labor dispute in Vancouver, the National Labor Relations Board has accused picketers of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 4 of a multitude of horrific acts which include violence, threats of rape and implied harm to children, as well as racial slurs toward company security officers.
These acts, according to The Oregonian include the pinning of a security officer’s legs under a moving vehicle, blocking drivers’ vision and causing permanent eye injury to a security officer, reckless pursuit of company vans, as well as threatening a manager’s daughter with rape and “implied threats to harm a manager’s children by telling him they would ‘see his children at school’ and asking, ‘are (his) children okay today?’”
The labor dispute began in February 2013, when United Grain Corporation – a wheat exporter that runs a terminal in Vancouver, Washington – locked out 44 ILWU workers following six months of “fruitless negotiations” and after an ILWU member allegedly sabotaged the company’s equipment. […]
In addition to the acts alleged by the NLRB, the union has used religious leaders to accuse the company of sins, “including the sin of ‘theft in stealing the right to work,’ the sin of ‘heartlessness in failing to acknowledge the humanity of their workers’ and the sin of “manipulation in hiring replacement workers who need the money.’”
A special investigation by The Daily Caller has discovered that a State Department contract specialist participated in awarding more than $52 million in taxpayer-funded contracts to a company owned and operated by her husband and daughter.
Kathleen McGrade helped their company, Sterling Royale Group, win 43 federally funded contracts over the last few years.
………………………………………Brian Collinsworth and Kathleen McGrade
McGrade acted as the Contracting Officer (CO) for awards to Sterling Royale Group. McGrade’s husband, Brian Collinsworth, serves as the company’s Vice President. McGrade’s daughter, J.L. (Jennifer) Herring, is its president and CEO.
When TheDC first reached Collinsworth for comment, he denied being married to McGrade. “She is the CO on our contracts, but we are not married in any way, shape or form. That’s kind of funny, but, okay,” Collinsworth said, adding that he and McGrade have no relationship “other than a professional one of a CO to a company.”
Collinsworth also denied that Herring is McGrade’s daughter, and his stepdaughter.
But wedding photographs and other personal pictures Collinsworth posted on MySpace.com suggest otherwise. TheDC has seen Collinsworth’s MySpace profile, last updated in early 2007, which declares that he is “happily married to my beautiful wife of one year, Kathy.”
“I have four children from a previous marriage and one brand new step-daughter (see photos),” Collinsworth adds in the profile. “At the moment, I’m working in the construction business doing Embassy work for the US Government.”
When TheDC approached him with this new evidence, Collinsworth cut off communications and has not returned further requests for comment.
Since the State Department has refused to confirm or deny McGrade’s identity, TheDC presented photographs of Collinsworth and McGrade to Herring’s ex-fiancee, Keith Smithey.
Smithey confirmed that Collinsworth is married to McGrade, and that Herring is McGrade’s daughter. Smithey was at the wedding. “I was one of their groomsmen,” he told TheDC.
Smithey added that McGrade and Collinsworth covered their tracks and kept their marriage concealed from the State Department and others. “It was a big secret,” Smithey said. “In fact, they even told me it was a secret and not to tell anyone that they know that they are married, because of the whole conflict of interest and all that.”
In addition to photos documenting their marriage and their allegedly improper professional relationship, TheDC has discovered that McGrade and Collinsworth appeared as co-owners on a 2010 real estate record for a house in Stafford, Va. McGrade also publicly lists a condominium residence in downtown Washington, D.C.
When TheDC visited that building, a security guard confirmed that Collinsworth lives with McGrade at that address.
McGrade owns a boat named after Collinsworth’s and Herring’s company, too. According to records TheDC obtained, the ”Sterling Royale” is a 36.5 foot recreational boat registered to McGrade in Stafford County, Va.
Collinsworth’s name shows up on a dock space he and McGrade reserved for it at James Creek Marina in D.C. A staffer at James Creek confirms that they registered the spot but never brought that particular boat there.
Collinsworth has not responded to TheDC’s requests for comment about the shared homes and boat. Neither McGrade nor Herring responded to any requests for comment.
McGrade works for a company called ATSG, LLC, a State Department contractor that handles the disbursement of federal dollars. A secretary at ATSG and State Department spokesperson Andy Laine confirmed for The Daily Caller that McGrade works on-site at the State Department.
Laine added that, though she handles disbursement of taxpayer money, McGrade is not personally paid with taxpayer funds. ATSG writes her paychecks. The owner of ATSG refused TheDC’s request for comment for this story.
Smithey said Herring rarely did any work for Sterling Royale. He said Collinsworth and McGrade “used her” because she had security clearance and because it helped them classify the business as “woman-owned.” He said Collinsworth really ran the company.
“When I was with her, she really didn’t do anything,” Smithey said of Herring. “Every 15 days or so, she would go to D.C. [from their home in Stafford, Va.] and have a meeting with her mom and stepfather. Then, she wouldn’t even touch anything after that.”
It’s unclear whether McGrade told her ethics supervisors at the State Department that she was directing tens of millions of dollars in contracts to a company owned and operated by her husband and daughter. State Department officials won’t comment on the specifics of the arrangement, confirming only that they are investigating the matter.
“The Department of State has referred this matter to the Office of the Inspector General,” Laine wrote in an email to TheDC.
Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington says McGrade could be criminally charged if the Inspector General’s investigation finds that she didn’t tell her ethics supervisors about her family relationships with officers of a company receiving public money on her watch.
“In the absence of disclosure and a written determination by the agency, an executive branch employee may not use her position to make decisions that financially benefit family members,” Sloan told TheDC. “The failure to disclose the conflict of interest can be criminally prosecuted.”
If McGrade’s ethics supervisors knew about her familial connections at Sterling Royale Group, rules would require them to sign an ethics law waiver in order for those contracts to proceed. State Department officials refused to confirm whether or not McGrade received such a waiver.
Sterling Royale describes itself as a company that “helps development and project owners succeed by controlling thousands of project variables, based on the collective experience of our staff.” According to official company documents, though, Sterling Royale employs only three people, two of whom are Collinsworth and Herring.
The other is a man named Steve McIlvaine. It’s unclear if McIlvaine is aware of, or involved with, any improper or unethical conduct. When TheDC contacted him, McIlvaine said he wasn’t sure what was going on. He has not responded to subsequent requests for comment.
The 43 contracts Sterling Royale procured from the State Department’s Overseas Building Operations, totaling $52,095,333, covered various design and construction projects beginning in May 2009. Sterling Royale continued to receive contracts through June 15 of this year.
Many of these contracts were for construction of “commercial and institutional building” projects in foreign countries. Others were for “site visit[s]” and “design services.”
Publicly available documents show the contracts were for embassy security, construction and maintenance. The documents don’t offer specifics about what services Sterling Royale actually performed. Only the State Department could provide details on each individual project and its status, several knowledgeable sources told TheDC.
State Department spokespersons also won’t confirm or deny whether McGrade has continued to disburse federal dollars since The Daily Caller approached them with information about her apparent conflict of interest.