Daily News Bulletin: Brawl breaks out at Orange County courthouse between DA investigator, defense attorney

Brawl breaks out at Orange County courthouse between DA investigator, defense attorney

An Orange County district attorney investigator got in a brawl with a court-appointed private attorney at Santa Ana’s Central Justice Center on Wednesday morning.

O.C. Sheriff’s spokesman Mark Stichter said that at about 10:30 a.m. an argument turned into a physical altercation between the two men outside a courtroom at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.

The defense attorney, James Crawford, was at the courthouse to work with a witness, according to his attorney Jerry Steering, when he and an investigator got into an argument. Steering said that soon after, the investigator allegedly came up behind Crawford and punched him nearly a dozen times. Crawford suffered fractured sinuses and visited the hospital on Wednesday night, Steering said.

No arrests were made at the time of the incident, though deputies assigned to the courthouse responded and made a report, Stichter said.

The incident comes after Crawford recently obtained a re-trial for a man convicted of the 1998 murder of a pregnant woman in Fullerton, Steering said.

“He was able to obtain that new trial in the last week of February,” Steering said. “A lot of people didn’t like this.”

Steering said that Crawford will be suing the man who attacked him and perhaps the county.

A statement from the O.C. District Attorney’s Office said that the incident is currently under investigation by the O.C. Sheriff’s Department, and will then be sent to the California state attorney general’s office for review. (KPCC)

Wounded Warrior Project Fires Top 2 Executives After Reports Of Overspending

After media reports charged massive overspending and waste by the Wounded Warrior Project, the organization’s board of directors fired its CEO and chief operation officer Thursday. The charity has received hundreds of millions of dollars in yearly donations.

“CEO Steve Nardizzi and COO Al Giordano are no longer with the organization,” the charity announced in a news release that also reported the results of an independent review of its finances — a review that was prompted by a series of CBS News reportsthat said the Wounded Warrior Project uses some 40 percent of its funds on overhead expenses and pays millions of dollars for staff conferences and meetings in luxurious settings.

This week, the group has been using its Facebook page to defend its fundraising costs and to say that it “has always been an open and transparent organization,” citing its most recent IRS filing as proof.

That filing, IRS form 990, shows that in the financial year from Oct. 1, 2013, to Sept. 30, 2014, the WWP reported spending $26 million on “conferences, conventions, and meetings.”

The group’s 990 form also reported the salaries of the now-departed executives, with Nardizzi being paid more than $496,000 and Giordano more than $397,000.

“Former employees say spending has skyrocketed since Steven Nardizzi took over as CEO in 2009,” CBS News reported. “Many point to the 2014 annual meeting at a luxury resort in Colorado Springs as typical of his style.”

The report quoted a former employee saying Nardizzi “rappelled down the side of a building at one of the all hands events. He’s come in on a Segway, he’s come in on a horse.”

CBS also stated that some 500 staff members attended the Colorado conference, with a total cost of around $3 million.

After those reports aired in late January, the Wounded Warriors Project’s board of directors said it would retain independent advisers “to conduct a thorough financial and policy review of the concerns.”

Summarizing the review’s findings Friday, the WWP’s board also sought to refute or calibrate some of CBS’ claims — saying, for instance, that the gathering at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado didn’t cost $3 million but $970,000, and adding, “such events will be curtailed in the future.”

The group also said that it “spends 80.6 percent of donations on programming.”

As for the $26 million spent on conferences, the WWP says that its review found “approximately 94 percent (or approximately $24,392,000) was associated with program services delivered to Wounded Warriors and their families.”

It did not provide details to substantiate that finding.

While spending rose at the Wounded Warrior Project in recent years, so did the nonprofit’s revenue. Data collected by Pro Publica shows that total revenue to the WWP grew from $18.6 million in the financial year ending in 2007 to $342 million in the one ending in 2014.

On the ratings service Charity Navigator, the Wounded Warriors Project earns an overall score of 84.5 out of 100, good for three stars. Breaking down the group’s finances, Charity Navigator says that nearly 60 percent is spent on programs and services, with 6 percent going to administrative expenses and 34 percent spent on fundraising.

Revelations about the WWP’s spending practices seem to have surprised supporters of the group whose mission is to support severely wounded veterans who served in America’s conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It’s really unfortunate that wounded veterans will really be hurt by the drop-off in donations to come,” one man wrote, in what is now the most-liked comment on the group’s most recent Facebook posting. “My checkbook is now closed to this organization.”

Another commenter in that same thread noted the WWP social media representative’s responses and stated: “Stop defending. You’ve got a lot of housekeeping to do. My suggestion is stop commenting on Facebook and get to work!”(NPR)

BEN CARSON ENDORSES DONALD TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT

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Ben Carson stands behind Donald Trump during a campaign event where Carson announced that he is endorsing the GOP front-runner for president. (ABC)

Former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson says he and Donald Trump have “buried the hatchet” after months of political wrangling, and he is endorsing the GOP front-runner’s White House bid.

At a press conference in Palm Beach, Florida on Friday, Carson, who left the race earlier this month, described “two Donald Trumps” – the persona reflected on stage, and a private, “very cerebral” person who “considers things carefully.”

Former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson says he and Donald Trump have “buried the hatchet” after months of political wrangling, and he is endorsing the GOP front-runner’s White House bid.

At a press conference in Palm Beach, Florida on Friday, Carson, who left the race earlier this month, described “two Donald Trumps” – the persona reflected on stage, and a private, “very cerebral” person who “considers things carefully.”(ABC)

Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s Former Pacific Palisades Property Asks $33 Million

A newly-built Pacific Palisades estate that sits on property once owned by former presidential couple Ronald and Nancy Reagan is on the market for $33 million.

The 12,000-square-foot Spanish Revival-style home and guesthouse sits on a nearly 28,000 square-foot-lot, and features 270-degree city and ocean views, according to its developers, Jaman Properties.

The Reagans bought the property in 1957, when Pacific Palisades was a sparsely populated frontier. At the time, Ronald Reagan was a working actor hosting “The General Electric Theatre” television show.

When GE learned Ronald Reagan was building his family home, they offered to make it “the house of the future,” outfitting the residence with an all-electric kitchen, innovative lighting and a home theatre.

The former President’s longtime home is now a blend of contemporary comfort and luxury coupled with elements preserved from the Reagans’ tenure.

The lavish estate now includes five bedrooms– including a 2,000-square-foot master suite, a gym, a 2,000-bottle temperature-controlled wine room and an entry hall with 24-foot ceilings. Other details include a saltwater pool with spa, a powder room wallpapered in 25,000 peacock feathers and a glass fronted “show garage” with a bar.

Some features of Reagans’ original home have been incorporated in the new dwelling, including the living room’s original bar where the former president entertained world leaders, and the door to the shower Reagan was using when he learned he won the presidency.

Although the Reagan projection booth no longer stands, the new house has a cashmere lined screening room for up to 15 people. The estate also includes a presidential rose garden with blooms named after presidents and first ladies.(NBC)

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