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Shakedown

WORLD
February 3, 2010 | By Tracy Wilkinson
'We have your daughter." Those chilling words, the worst nightmare of any parent, came over the telephone, spoken by a man planning to demand money for her safe return. One catch: We have no daughter. So the call, for us, was easy enough to ignore. But thousands of Mexicans receive these calls every week. Sometimes they are real; a child or spouse or other relative has been kidnapped, and a ransom is demanded. Often, they're bogus. A cottage industry has exploded alongside the skyrocketing kidnapping rate in Mexico that could be called "extortion on spec": telephoned shakedowns that play on fears, in which the perpetrators scamming for pesos make random calls.
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BUSINESS
August 30, 2009
Re: "States' rivalry for jobs heats up," Aug. 24: If Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana) really wants to keep businesses in California, he and his fellow legislators need to put their effort into improving California's business climate, not into producing an ad campaign. Thousands of Californians have lost their jobs in the last year and a recent poll by California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse shows voters are now making the connection that unwarranted lawsuits are costing jobs.
NATIONAL
April 3, 2009 | John McCormick
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was the target of an alleged extortion attempt by former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the Chicago Tribune has learned. The federal indictment issued Thursday includes a charge that Blagojevich tried to shake down "Congressman A" for campaign cash. A White House aide confirmed that it was Emanuel, who was then representing Chicago's North Side. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity.
OPINION
October 24, 2007
City Hall often seems to be haunted by some ghostly hand reaching from a dusty and long-dead charter provision to grab city government, shake out all voter-imposed reforms and yank it back into the outmoded ways of the past. This week's outrageous payout of $95,000 to fired Los Angeles Transportation General Manager Gloria Jeff is the latest such horror. Jeff's virtual extortion, ratified by City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo and Councilman Bernard C.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 3, 2006 | Jennifer Delson, Times Staff Writer
When 40 Santa Ana residents return in a caravan of vehicles this month to La Presa, a small village in Michoacan Mexico, they will come with presents for relatives and to dedicate a new town plaza partially paid for with money they earned in California. But that doesn't mean they will get the red-carpet treatment.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 5, 2006 | Seema Mehta and Christian Berthelsen, Times Staff Writers
As the Orange County Republican Party makes its first wholesale foray into local elections, the move is coming at a cost -- to officeholders. For the first time, the county's GOP is requiring incumbent candidates to join a special party association and pay a $200 membership fee if they want to receive the party's "early endorsement."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 17, 2005 | Stuart Pfeifer, Times Staff Writer
A lawyer for the former director of Orange County's Office on Aging told jurors Wednesday that his client was wrongfully fired and that Supervisor Chris Norby touched her inappropriately during a meeting. Pamela Mokler, who was fired in 2003 and is suing the county, contends Norby created a hostile work environment by making inappropriate comments about her appearance and brushing his elbow against her breast while the two were alone in his office.
BUSINESS
October 25, 2004 | Joseph Menn, Times Staff Writer
To an old-time bookie like Mickey Richardson, $500 in protection money was chump change. So when he got an e-mail from gangsters threatening to bring his online sports betting operation to its knees, he paid up. Before long, though, the thugs wanted $40,000. And that ticked him off. "I'm stubborn," said Richardson, who runs Costa Rica-based BetCRIS.com. "I wanted to be the guy that says, 'I didn't pay, and I beat them.'
OPINION
October 16, 2004
As late as August we were still urging Sacramento to pass modest tort-reform legislation to protect businesses from shakedown lawsuits. It didn't happen, hasn't happened for a decade and, in light of the power of the trial lawyers' lobby, may never happen. So we have no choice now but to urge a "yes" vote on Proposition 64. California cannot continue to tolerate such frivolous litigation.
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