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Employee Misconduct

NATIONAL
September 30, 2009 | Ashley Powers
In the summer of 2008, with presidential contenders battling fiercely over the swing state of Nevada, Christopher Edwards was racing to register voters. As the field director of ACORN's Las Vegas office, he brainstormed a way to motivate meagerly paid canvassers: If they turned in 21 or more registration cards in a day, they were each given a $5 bonus. "Hey, it's Las Vegas," Edwards testified Tuesday. "It's blackjack." But Edwards' "blackjack bonuses," which he bragged about to other ACORN offices, broke the law, state prosecutors say. Nevada bars quotas or cash incentives in voter sign-up efforts: Officials fear they could lead to false registrations.
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BUSINESS
September 1, 2009 | W.J. Hennigan
Toyota spent years concealing evidence from victims of hundreds of rollover accidents that resulted in death and injury, a former top lawyer for the automaker says. The accusation, spelled out in a lawsuit filed in federal court, has the potential to reopen cases that Toyota Motor Corp. won or settled for two decades, legal experts said. Dimitrios P. Biller of Pacific Palisades, a former managing counsel for Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc., said in the suit that the company repeatedly forced him to illegally withhold information from opposing lawyers and made him resign in September 2007.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 27, 2009 | Molly Hennessy-Fiske
In the days before Michael Jackson's death certificate was made public, only a few people had legitimate reason to view the file in the state's password-protected database. Even after the document was released, access was supposed to be limited to authorized staffers. But by the first week in July, the pop star's records had been viewed more than 300 times, said Craig Harvey, the chief coroner's investigator.
NATIONAL
July 11, 2009 | Johanna Neuman
Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee triggered a political mystery this week when they leaked a letter disclosing that CIA Director Leon E. Panetta -- four months after taking office -- last month learned his agency had misled Congress about a special project. Panetta canceled the program, and he scheduled closed-door meetings with the House and Senate intelligence panels the next day to brief them. But what was the program? Early speculation focused on waterboarding.
NATIONAL
June 6, 2009 | Josh Meyer
For nearly 30 years, a now-retired State Department official and his wife conspired to provide classified information to the Cuban government, starting with secrets squirreled away in grocery carts and culminating in encrypted e-mails sent from Internet cafes, federal authorities said Friday. Walter Kendall Myers, 72, was known to his handlers as "Agent 202," according to an indictment and criminal complaint unsealed in federal court here. Gwendolyn Steingraber Myers, 71, was "Agent 123."
WORLD
February 23, 2009 | TIMES WIRE REPORTS
A top Colombian intelligence official resigned after a scandal erupted over accusations that rogue security agents on the payroll of drug lords had illegally wiretapped politicians, judges and journalists. The telephone bugging charges are the latest scandal to rock the state security agency, known as DAS, and will further stain President Alvaro Uribe's campaign to stamp out corruption in state law enforcement in the world's top cocaine supplier. Atty. Gen. Mario Iguaran ordered his investigators to sweep into the DAS headquarters in Bogota to search for evidence of criminal activity.
BUSINESS
January 21, 2009 | TIMES WIRE REPORTS
Belkin International Inc., a Los Angeles consumer electronics maker, said it was investigating a sales staff employee accused of offering to pay for positive online reviews of its products. Belkin apologized for a freelance job posting that offered to pay for positive reviews on retail websites. After the incident provoked a furor on blogs, Belkin removed listings posted on Amazon's Mechanical Turk website.
BUSINESS
December 16, 2008 | Tom Petruno, Petruno is a Times staff writer.
KB Home Corp.'s former head of human resources agreed Monday to plead guilty to conspiring in 2006 with then-Chief Executive Bruce Karatz to obstruct a probe of options-backdating at the Los Angeles home builder. Gary A. Ray, 50, faces up to five years in prison, the U.S. attorney's office in L.A. said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 5, 2008 | Paul Pringle, Pringle is a Times staff writer
Early last year, Alejandro Stephens' long tenure as president of one of California's biggest union locals came to an end after the labor organization he headed merged into a larger local. The Service Employees International Union sweetened Stephens' exit with severance payments and other compensation that totaled nearly $180,000, said union spokeswoman Michelle Ringuette. A condition was that Stephens give up the salary he was receiving from Los Angeles County, Ringuette said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 29, 2008 | Garrett Therolf, Therolf is a Times staff writer.
At least 19 Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital employees will be fired and 45 others disciplined after a breakdown in vetting allowed scores of people with criminal records to remain on staff even after background checks indicated their past crimes, Los Angeles County officials said Tuesday.
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