Any good bar goes through a lot of cans, bottles, cardboard pretty quickly — not to mention all the trash that can accumulate — so it’s important for bar owners that this detritus be hauled away in a timely manner before it becomes a nuisance. But the owner of one bar in New Jersey says city-contracted sanitation workers tried to shake him down — not for money, but for free booze. [More]
If you’re a tax official in India, you might want to think twice about upsetting farmers who just might be snake charmers. Two farmers, one of them handy with the slithery beasts, dumped around 40 snakes in a busy tax office in northern India to protest alleged bribery demands.
A two-year investigation into ticket fixing, where cops agree to make tickets disappear in exchange for bribes, gifts and favors, is expected to result in the indictment of 17 NYPD cops.
Long-standing accusations of corruption in the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), the world soccer governing body, have picked up traction lately, forcing two top officials in the organization to step aside in light of accusations that they offered $40,000 bribes to two dozen officials in an attempt to buy their votes for the presidency.
Most college football fans agree that the method the NCAA decides who gets to play for its football championship is competitively abhorrent, and now a political action committee is claiming that the system is buried in financial malfeasance as well.
Do you work in a corrupt industry? The Daily Beast took a look at data gathered by Transparency International, a “global anti-corruption think tank,” and put together a list of America’s most corrupt professions. Everyone may be hating on Wall Street right now, but the worst offenders according to the criteria used are utilities. In second and third place were Wall Street and telecommunications, and media came in fifth, well before banking, insurance, or retail.
Wildcat Rep. Alan Grayson has introduced a new bill that would tax corporate political donations at the eye-popping rate of 500%. The bill is called the “Business Should Mind Its Own Business Act.” However popular among the proles, the question is if it would count as an abridgment on free-speech. In any event, “Business Should Mind Its Own Business” is fun to say. [HR 4431 IH]
Wanna buy a human kidney? If so, you should have been talking to Levy Izhak Rosenbaum of Brooklyn, NY. He’s been charged with conspiring to broker a kidney as part of a crackdown on “a corrupt network of public officials who were all too willing to take cash in exchange for promised official action,” according to the New Jersey AG’s office. Yes, you’re reading this correctly. It’s just really weird.
Chicago Democrat Luis Gutierrez introduced a bill last month that supposedly reforms out of control payday lending, where interest rates can exceed 300%, but actually gives payday lenders the freedom to charge annual interest rates that can exceed, um, 300%. It doesn’t sound like much of a reform, and in fact Gutierrez has been heavily funded by the payday lending lobby. But luckily for you and me, Stephen Colbert explains why this is all a good thing.
A House subcommittee wants to legalize payday loans with interest rates of up to 391%. Lobbyists from the payday industry bought Congress’ support by showering influential members, including Chairman Luiz Gutierrez, with campaign cash. The Congressman is now playing good cop, bad cop with the payday industry, which is pretending to oppose his generous gift of a bill.
Two Pennsylvania judges were sued in federal court this past week for allegedly taking $2.6 million in kickbacks from private juvenile detention facilities. In exchange, they sentenced hundreds of youths to the centers over the past 5 years. One of the judges, Mark Ciavarella, sent 1 out of 4 defendants to the centers, compared to a statewide rate of 1 in 10.
There’s nothing we dislike more than people who scam a system put in place to protect vulnerable consumers from abuse, but the sad fact is that they do exist. SF Weekly has an article that tracks the exploits of a serial evictee, a “renter” who leases apartments with no intention of paying rent, and then games the system in order to stay rent free for as long as possible.
The FBI has announced that a former Countrywide employee and his accomplice were arrested on charges related to “illegal access of computers containing personal information,” and “illegal sale of the data.” A criminal complaint filed last Friday alleges that one of the men, Rene L. Rebollo Jr., a senior financial analyst for Countrywide Home Loan’s subprime mortgage division (who was let go in July), had been harvesting data from Countrywide’s computers for the past two years — downloading and storing the information on personal flash drives.
Psychiatry is nothing more than a well-funded front for big pharma, according to lawmakers investigating the field’s premier organization, the American Psychiatric Association. Unlike psychologists, psychiatrists can write prescriptions, giving pharmaceutical companies a powerful incentive to lavishly subsidize both their lifestyle and profession.
Meet Tracy Warren. NPR says she’s not surprised by the mortgage meltdown because she was supposed to be in charge of preventing it. Tracy worked for a quality control contractor that reviewed subprime loans for investment banks before they were sold on Wall Street, and her company’s biggest client was none other than Bear Stearns. Tracy says she found plenty of loans to reject. The trouble is, according to Tracy, after she rejected them… her bosses unrejected them.
A Bristol Meyers Squibb executive was indicted for making a secret deal with a Canadian drug manufacturer that they wouldn’t make a generic version of Apotex, a competing drug to Plavix, if the Canucks didn’t make a generic version of Plavix. Under federal law, such anti-competitive agreements need to be submitted to the FTC. [NYT]
BitTorrent tracking site The Pirate Bay was raided by Swedish Police, and now the site claims they found evidence that the chief of police who called the raid was in the employ of Warner Brothers. [The Pirate Bay]