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Latest from Condace Pressley

    A Cobb attorney may soon appear before a jury for an entirely different reason. Romin Alavi faces charges of stealing from one of his clients. Mike Bagan tells Channel 2 Action News Alavi represented him after an accident that left him with $38,000 in medical bills. Recently Bagan learned that Alavi settled his case and apparently cashed his $25,000 settlement check. 'The insurance company sent me a check of the $25,000 settlement that was taken by Mr. Alavi without my approval and was actually forged signatures of me and my wife deposited into his account,' Bagan said. Sheriff's investigators confirmed the money had been deposited into Alavi's account and arrested him. Since then, Alavi has apologized to Bagan via email. 'I know you probably hate me,' Alavi wrote, 'and don't really care what my personal problems may be, but I'm working hard on finding a new career and source of income so that I can pay you everything that you deserve.' Bagan said since the email, Alavi has not returned his calls. 'I still can't believe hos this whole thing happened,' Bagan said.  Who do you go to? What do you do?
  • As many as 10-thousand people may be at risk of identity theft - victimized by a man DeKalb Police have charged with fraud.   Investigators say an alert neighbor tipped them off to Clyde Chavo. The man noticed large stacks of mail that did not belong to him. Police allege Chavo ran a tax return racket out of a home in an upscale Druid Hills neighborhood.  They say he created false businesses using the identities of real people and filed thousands of fraudulent income tax returns. 'I'm surprised that [Chavo chose] this neighborhood because it's just a good neighborhood, Aaron Linzer told Channel 2 Action News. Chavo, 39, allegedly netted thousands of dollars from the scheme.  He faces five counts of fraud, and investigators say they expect the charges against him to grow.
  • Forget Thursday night poker with the guys.  For these Duluth women it was 'ladies night' with a one-armed bandit. Gwinnett Police now confirm to News/Talk WSB that at least six women have been arrested and charged in what appears to be an all female gambling ring. Investigators carried out raids on two houses in Duluth seizing ten slot machines and nearly $20,000 in cash. The first raid Monday on Michael Circle led to the arrest of Mi Hui Yi, 55.  She's charged with keeping a gambling place, commercial gambling, and possession of gambling devices. A second raid at 3927 Old Norcross Road led to the arrests of five other women.   Police identified them as:  Mi Hyang Huh, Shirly Kim, Chung Suk Han, Young Suk Han and Sung Hee Choi. Investigators say house rules were strict.  While men could attend, they could not participate.  Neighbor Cindy Murray tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish she suspected something illegal was going on, but not gambling.  “For about two years there’s been a lot of traffic in and out, in and out and it was mainly always just women,” she said.  Often the women traveled in limousines or town cars.  Murray says at one point this spring she noticed two slot machines in the cul de sac in front of the home but thought the residents were delivering them somewhere else. She said she realized during the raid what was actually going on.  “We saw all the police come down and we saw the slot machines come out,” says Murray.
  • DeKalb County's tax assessor says their budget problems should have been no surprise to school board members. Members have complained they did not know their budget deficit was greater than first reported because of declining home values. 'No that's not the case,' said tax assessor Calvin Hicks. In fact, Hicks shared with Channel 2 Action News documents as recent as May 30 to board members detailing the declines in revenue. 'They're on the distribution list,' he said, 'and we're submitting that data to them.” School board spokesman Walter Woods now says surprised was perhaps not the word to use to describe the board's reaction.  Frustrated is more appropriate. Woods said the board wanted to be certain that the numbers were indeed accurate. 'Because we didn't have a hard number,' he said.  'We want to make sure that we're telling people what they need to hear and what the real numbers are.' The board considers the budget again June 20.
  • Budget problems for the DeKalb County Schools have gone from bad to worse leaving school board members a week to figure out how to erase an $85 million budget deficit.Parents wonder aloud what more could go wrong.'It's pretty scary,' said Kanicka Romero.  'It's sad for the kids because they are the ones who are going to be hurting,' she said.Romero's daughter Isabella will be a second grader next year at Rockbridge Elementary.Monday, just as the board was about to vote on a revised budget came word from the tax assessor that declining property values put the county another $12 million in the hole.'Everything is on the table,' said school district spokesman Walter Woods.'If you look at class size, furlough days, millage rate, everything.' The school district had planned for a six percent decrease in property value.  The deficit is closer to nine percent and may lead to additional furlough days, more layoffs, and possibly higher taxes.'The board will have to make a determination about what's the least impact on student success, the best way to fund the district and get us back to a balanced budget,' said Woods. The school board meets again June 20 to vote on a revised budget plan.
  • DeKalb County lawmakers put up a rare united front against the CEO over one of his pet projects.  On Tuesday, the DeKalb County Commission stopped all work being done to clear land for a soapbox derby track.     The resolution also urges the CEO to detail any money that's already been spent on his pet project. Commissioners have already approved some $700,000 toward the soapbox track north of Lithonia, but they haven't yet approved a contract to start construction for what's expected to be a million-dollar derby track.  Upset that CEO Burrell Ellis has signed off on the clearing of the land, Commissioner Elaine Boyer introduced a resolution to stop the work immediately.  It passed unanimously among the six lawmakers there. 'The commission is the only authority to prioritize capital projects and spending,' said Boyer.Commissioner Jeff Rader was absent from Tuesday's vote. Last week the Atlanta Journal-Constitution discovered CEO Ellis signed off on nearly $100,000 work on his boyhood passion, even though the board had not approved a contract for the work.That contract, $1 million to build the 900-foot track and parking area off Rock Chapel Road, was pulled from Tuesday's board agenda.
  • The president of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce faces weapons charges after trying to board a flight with a handgun in his bag.  TSA agents stopped David Connell and police arrested him when they found a gun and 2 clips in his luggage.  Connell was being held in the Clayton County jail.  As a first offender, he may be eligible to have his record expunged.  'If an individual doesn't have a previous criminal history, and they are caught at the airport with a gun, we give them the opportunity to participate in our pre-trial intervention program,' said Clayton County Solicitor General Tasha Mosley.  'Part of the condition of going in there is that they voluntarily consent to hand over their gun.'  According to the Cobb Chamber's website, Connell joined them in 2010 from Georgia Power.  Connell had more than 40 years of service with the Southern Company.  The Cobb Chamber is among the 10 largest in the Southeast with 5400 individual and 2500 business members.
  • Another group of teens find themselves in trouble with the law after a neighborhood park was vandalized.  This time the target was the Brook Run Community Garden in Dunwoody and five teens have been charged.  'It looked like a tornado hit the garden,' said Amanda Harris.  'Lettuce everywhere. Plants destroyed.'  Harris tends a plot at the Dunwoody garden where the produce is later donated to a local food pantry.  'We had all kinds of food ready to go for that Tuesday over there.  Completely destroyed,' she said.  Dunwoody Police have charged five 16-year-olds with felony damage to property.  Four of the teens are from Dunwoody, while the fifth is from Roswell.  'We're not sure what the motive was,' said Sgt. Mike Carlson, 'probably more mischief - doing something in the middle of the night that they were not supposed to do.   Harris, who once worked in the Juvenile Justice system, thinks the teens should be ordered to do community service for the people who run the park.  Last month a group of teens from East Paulding County High were caught vandalizing the school.  Among them the valedictorian and senior class president Jason Zimmerman who was expelled and banned from graduation.  Zimmerman's scholarship to Georgia Tech is also in jeopardy. 
  • It's time for Dr. Hall to cry.'  So says Georgia State Senator Ralph Long about former Atlanta School Superintendent Beverly Hall who has been implicated but not charged in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal.  Now that tribunals have begun for teachers caught in the scandal, Long, whose district includes Capitol View Elementary School, is ready for District Attorney Paul Howard to declare his plans.  Long said seven months is more than enough time to determine the facts of the case.  He wants Hall prosecuted.  'How many teachers have you seen crying on TV?' he asks.  'How many principals have you seen?  It's time for Dr. Hall to cry.”  Long notes Capitol View was caught in the scandal and now as part of the redistricting plan is scheduled to close.  'Our schools have been decimated,' he said.  'Our property values have been decimated.  It won't be on my watch that we're not going to demand justice for our children.' In a statement to Channel 2 Action News, Howard called the investigation complex, but active saying 'it would be unfair to offer premature public comment on the matter.'  Last year a state investigation found 71-percent of the classrooms at Capitol View were flagged for cheating.
  • Brace yourself for some sticker shock next time you order pine straw for your landscape.  And it's not because there's a shortage of pine straw falling on Georgia's more than 20-million acres of forest land. Landscapers blame their price increases on a shortage of immigrant workers to rake and bale their product.  'I'm having to get some of my stock from Florida because there's not enough labor in south Georgia,' said Jim Satterfield of Four Seasons Pine Straw.  He believes Georgia's new immigration law has scared the workers away.  It's the same complaint heard from vegetable farmers during their harvest.  'We probably have 5,000 bales on order that we cannot fill right now,' he said.  Cobb homeowner Julie Lovell found out about the worker shortage and the price increase the hard way.  'I was taken by surprise,' she said, 'and I know last year we paid significantly less than we did.'  Georgia's immigration law changed in July 2011, requiring employers to check immigrant status before hiring anyone.
  • Condace Pressley

    Condace Pressley is an accomplished, award-winning broadcaster. She anchors news mornings on KISS 104.1 and on B-98.5 in addition to her leadership responsibilities with News 95-5 and AM 750 WSB.  She is WSB’s Manager of Programming Operations and leads Community Affairs for all five CMG Atlanta radio stations.  This UGA alum and Marietta native began her career as weekend anchor.  She is also producer and host of the Sunday show Perspectives.  Profiled in 2014 by The HistoryMakers, Condace is a former President of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Atlanta chapter’s 2012 Pioneer Black Journalist.

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News

  • The 58-year-old Uber driver who allegedly raped a 16-year-old girl while taking her home did not have any red flags in his background that would have disqualified him from the ride hailing service.  Abdoulie Jagne, of College Park, had been driving for the company for several months. He was permanently banned from Uber after his arrest Thursday morning, according to a statement released by Uber.  The only blemish on his record was for not having evidence of auto registration in 2015 when he was living in California, according to California court records obtained by the AJC. RELATED: Pregnant woman: “I kept bleeding” after being attacked by Uber driver RELATED:Jailed ex-Uber driver faces additional burglary, peeping Tom charges RELATED: Uber driver carjacked at Cascade Road gas station According to Uber’s policies, that would not have automatically disqualified him from being a driver.  Drivers for the ride hailing app are automatically barred if they have more than three minor traffic violations in the past three years. Minor violations include speeding tickets and non-fatal accidents, among others.  A driver also cannot have had their license suspended or revoked in the last three years, or have received a ticket for DUI, speeding over 100 mph, reckless driving, or have been in a hit-and-run in the past seven years. Any conviction of a felony, driving-related offense, violent crime, sexual offense, or child abuse or endangerment in the past seven years would also disqualify a driver.  The company uses a third party, Checkr, for background checks, according to Uber. The process screens national, state, and local databases including the National Sex Offender website and the PACER database of court records.  “What’s reported here is horrifying beyond words. Our thoughts are with the rider and her family during this time.'  Any behavior involving violence, sexual misconduct, harassment, discrimination, or illegal activity while using Uber can result in immediate deactivation, according to driver policies.  That includes physical contact, touching or flirting, or inappropriate and abusive language, among other offenses.  Early Monday morning, Gwinnett County officers were dispatched to an apartment complex off Old Norcross Tucker Road in unincorporated Tucker. There, they found the 16-year-old girl who said she was sexually assaulted by her Uber driver.  The girl, who officers said was intoxicated, said she was at a local bar drinking with friends, when one of them scheduled an Uber ride to get her home.  When officers arrived on the scene, the 16-year-old’s pants were around her ankles. The victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment and evaluation.  With information obtained by Uber, investigators determined the rape probably occurred somewhere on South Norcross Tucker Road between Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Old Norcross Tucker Road.  The victim’s friend, also a minor, helped police identify Jagne as a suspect. According to Cpl. Michele Pihera, there is no bond for Jagne and he is being held at the Gwinnett County Jail. He made his first court appearance Saturday and has a hearing scheduled for Dec. 27, Channel 2 Action News reported. Detectives want to know if any other woman has been sexually assaulted by Jagne. They are asked to call 770-513-5338.
  • A man is in jail after he struck and killed a crossing guard near a Cobb County school, police say. Channel 2 Action News received the mugshot of Lamonte Whitaker, who has been charged with vehicular homicide.    Police said he hit Edna Umeh in late November by Lindley Middle School in Mableton. RELATED STORIES: Students witness deadly accident involving school crossing guard Family demands action after school crossing guard killed by 'aggressive' driver Family pushing for change after crossing guard killed by hit-and-run driver  
  • A 7-year-old’s heartbreaking letter to Santa asking for a blanket, ball and food, brought in hundreds of donations to help her and other impoverished children at her school. >> Read more trending news “I have (been) good this day,” Crystal Pacheco wrote. “This Christmas I would like a ball and a food. I need a (blanket).” The letter was part of a classroom exercise by Monte Cristo Elementary School first-grade teacher Ruth Espiricueta, who asked them to list two wants and a need. “I started reading them and it's like, I did not expect her to say, ‘I need food. I want food, but I need a blanket more,'' Espiricueta told KGBT. 'And I asked, ‘Well, why do you need a blanket more than the food?’ ‘Well, I get to eat at school -- sometimes I may not have at home, but I get to eat at school. A blanket I have one, but it's not warm enough.’' Espiricueta posted the letter on social media, sparking hundreds of donations of blankets and other items to the school, according to KRGV.  'Unfortunately, there are other students that, as part of their needs, they included food, towels, blankets, pillows, bed, clothes, shoes and a stove,' Espiricueta told ABC News. 'Some of my students were not even excited about Christmas because they know that their parents cannot afford to buy a Christmas tree or gifts for them.' Crystal wrote the letter thinking about her brother, with whom she would use the ball, food for the family and the blanket because the house is too cold, her mother Maria Cortez told KRGV. “I'm just very emotional and proud of my children, because I raise them to appreciate the little that we have,' Cortez told KGBT. The school hopes to get 724 blankets to give to each student, so far they have 616.
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian contacts with President Donald Trump's campaign has gained access to thousands of emails sent and received by Trump officials before the start of his administration, according to several people familiar with Trump's transition organization.But the investigators did not directly request the records from Trump's still-existing transition group, Trump for America, and instead obtained them from a separate federal agency that stored the material, according to those familiar with the Trump transition organization.A transition attorney sent letters Saturday to two congressional committees saying the General Services Administration had improperly provided the transition records to Mueller's investigators. Kory Langhofer, general counsel for the transition group, wrote to the Republican chairmen of the House Oversight committee and the Senate Homeland Security committee about what the transition contends was an 'unauthorized' disclosure of its emails.The GSA has provided office space and other aid to presidential transitions in recent years and typically houses electronic transition records in its computer system. But Trump for America considers the records private and privileged and not government property.The people familiar with the transition organization spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the records' sensitivity.They said the materials included communications from more than a dozen senior Trump transition officials. Among the officials who used transition email accounts was former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to a count of making false statements to FBI agents in January and is now cooperating with Mueller's investigation. Flynn was fired by Trump in February for misleading senior administration officials about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the U.S.It's unclear how revelatory the email accounts maintained by the GSA will be for Mueller. Several high-level Trump advisers sometimes used other email accounts to communicate about transition issues between Election Day and the inauguration.Mueller's spokesman, Peter Carr, declined to comment. Jay Sekulow, an attorney on Trump's personal legal team, referred questions to the transition group. Neither GSA representatives nor Flynn attorney Robert Kelner were immediately available to respond to AP's emailed requests for comment.Officials with Trump for America learned last Wednesday that GSA officials had turned over the massive cache of emails to Mueller's team. The transition group's top officials were alarmed because many of the emails that Mueller's investigators now have are sensitive records ranging from national security discussions about possible Trump international aims to candid assessments of candidates for top government posts, said those familiar with the transition.Officials with Trump for America had been bracing for months for the prospect that Mueller's team would demand its emails, but they had been assured that any requests to the GSA would be routed to the transition organization, which claims legal ownership of the records. According to those familiar with the transition group, a top GSA official informed Trump for America last June that any request from Mueller's office would be referred to the transition.On Sept. 1, after requests in late August from Mueller's office, the GSA turned over a flash drive containing tens of thousands of records without informing Trump for America of its move, those familiar with the transition said.Those records included emails sent and received by 13 senior Trump transition officials.The media site Axios first reported on the transfer of the emails to Mueller's team.
  • The smallest KFC in the world, serving miniature $5 fill ups, opened Saturday in Portland.  >> Read more trending news Customers lined up for the free sample of the tiny fried chicken, biscuit, mashed potatoes with a small dollop of gravy, a finger-nail sized cookie and what could only be a sip of a soft drink. The novelty fast food restaurant was open until 4 p.m., according to The Oregonian.
  • Google recently released its list of the top search trends of 2017. Across the globe, people asked Google about subjects such as Hurricane Irma, April the Giraffe, the solar eclipse and more. According to Atlanta communications agency Jackson Spalding, which works with a multitude of companies, including Google, many of Atlanta’s top search results mirrored the nation's trends. Here are Atlanta’s top 10 most-Googled topics in 2017: 1. Hurricane Irma 2. Irma path 3. Tom Petty 4. Super Bowl 5. Aaron Hernandez 6. Atlanta Falcons 7. Solar eclipse 8. Las Vegas shooting 9. Charlie Murphy 10. Fidget spinner Google’s Year in Search 2017 lists are based on search terms that “had a high spike in traffic in 2017 as compared to 2016,” the company said. Information from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was used in this report.