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Local Govt & Politics
Secret settlement with fired airport chief new focus of federal probe

Secret settlement with fired airport chief new focus of federal probe

Secret settlement with fired airport chief new focus of federal probe
Federal prosecutors have sought testimony and records related to a secret settlement between then-Mayor Kasim Reed, left, and Miguel Southwell, the former airport general manager who Reed fired in 2016. The two men are pictured here in a photograph from 2015. KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC

Secret settlement with fired airport chief new focus of federal probe

The secret legal settlement between former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration and fired airport general manager Miguel Southwell has become a major focus of the on-going federal corruption investigation at Atlanta City Hall, new records obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution show.

The development is significant because prosecutors appear to be probing unanswered questions about how the city’s law department negotiated the settlement’s terms, why a portion of it was kept from City Council and who paid Southwell $147,000 to resolve the dispute.

“It’s important for us to understand how that occurred, where the money came from, and who allowed it to occur,” Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore told the AJC.

Mark Trigg, the attorney hired by the city to negotiate the 2016 settlement with Southwell’s attorney, testified Dec. 11 before the federal grand jury considering evidence in the now four-year-old corruption probe, according to legal bills and emails obtained by the AJC.

Trigg also provided federal prosecutors with text, email and voice mail messages related to the Southwell settlement, after extended negotiations with federal prosecutors over allowable redactions intended to protect attorney-client privileged communications, the documents show. Prosecutors continued seeking unredacted messages as recently as Feb. 27.

Attorney Thomas O’Brien and other lawyers with a Los Angeles-based firm that is working for the city on federal investigation issues submitted legal bills to the city for work from Oct. 19 to Jan. 31, with at least 44 instances of billable hours for work related to Trigg.

“Prep meeting with Mark Trigg and (his) counsel; meeting with (federal prosecutors) and FBI to discuss disclosure limitations; attend grand jury; debrief with Mark Trigg and counsel; update mayor and city attorney,” says a Dec. 11 entry that billed the city law department for 6 hours at $950 per hour.

The AJC received the invoices after requesting them through the Georgia Open Records Act.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The city of Atlanta hired attorney Mark Trigg, left, to negotiate a settlement with Miguel Southwell, the airport chief who former mayor Kasim Reed fired in 2016. (Contributed by Dentons)

Secret settlement with fired airport chief new focus of federal probe

Photo Credit: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The city of Atlanta hired attorney Mark Trigg, left, to negotiate a settlement with Miguel Southwell, the airport chief who former mayor Kasim Reed fired in 2016. (Contributed by Dentons)

One of Trigg’s attorneys on Wednesday provided the AJC with a statement that described Trigg as a witness. The statement also said Trigg turned over information at the request of federal prosecutors about issues that the city “has expressly authorized him to provide.”

“Mr. Trigg has been advised that he is neither a subject nor a target of the pending investigation,” the statement says. “Quite to the contrary, he is merely a fact witness regarding certain isolated events within the scope of the investigation.”

Testimony before federal grand juries is secret. Witnesses aren’t prohibited from revealing what they told the grand jury, but Paula Junghans, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney for Trigg, declined to provide additional information.

Settlement defused a crisis

Reed fired Southwell in May 2016 — a move that set off explosive allegations, with both men accusing the other of illegal activities. The broadsides came at an inopportune time for Reed, who was a surrogate for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and was being vetted for a high-profile role in her administration.

By August of that year, the two men reached a detente. They released a vaguely worded statement in September retracting their previous allegations of illegal conduct. The statement also referenced a “resolution” to the matter, although a Reed spokeswoman denied Southwell had been paid as part of it.

City Council approved a $85,516 settlement in December 2016, which council members were told would pay for career counseling, job placement assistance and health insurance. The Reed administration told council that the money represented the full settlement with the fired airport boss.

But last summer the AJC and Channel 2 Action News revealed the secret portion of the agreement after the news organizations obtained emails and other documents that showed Trigg and Southwell’s attorney, Lee Parks, finalizing plans for $147,000 in additional payments to Southwell from unspecified sources.

The agreement was remarkable because the full settlement was hidden from City Council, and it turned out the vast majority of the $85,516 authorized by council actually went to Parks’ law firm for his fee in negotiating the secret portion of the settlement.

Parks told the AJC in August that “the manner in which the (Southwell) settlement was memorialized was dictated by the attorney for the City and Mayor Reed.” Parks declined comment for this story.

The city’s law department is responsible for hiring outside counsel and approving its work. Cathy Hampton was the city attorney at the time of the Southwell negotiations. She stepped down from that position in 2017.

Thursday, the AJC reported that prosecutors are also examining the relationship between Hampton and Paul Hastings LLP, another law firm handling legal matters for the city in the federal probe.

Expert: ‘They see some fire’

Demanding grand jury testimony from an attorney about a client is an unusual move by federal prosecutors because it typically requires obtaining permission from high-ranking officials in the Justice Department’s main office in Washington, D.C., said two former federal prosecutors.

“It speaks to how important this information may be and how important this investigation is to the (U.S. Attorney’s) office,” said Bret Williams, a former federal prosecutor in Georgia and New York who is now in private practice. “I think they don’t just see smoke. I think they see some fire.”

Some of that fire, Williams said, could be conspiracy or wire fraud, particularly if officials in the Reed administration sent emails or other electronic communications indicating intent to mislead the council on terms of the settlement.

Reed said last summer that the circumstances surrounding Southwell’s firing were “thoroughly reviewed by the Justice Department and no wrongdoing or improper behavior was found.” He did not respond to text messages seeking comment on Trigg’s grand jury testimony.

The city also did not respond to a request for comment.

Testimony from attorneys rare

Caren Morrison, a law professor at Georgia State University who was a federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of New York, said the legal invoices make her think prosecutors are looking at issues surrounding that settlement — as opposed to the allegations Southwell made after his firing that Reed steered contract awards to favored airport vendors.

“I think they’re following up with the attorney specifically because it doesn’t seem that they’ve fully unraveled what exactly was going on with these payments in the first place — why City Council was lied to, why the payment to the lawyer was masked,” Morrison said. “And the attorney seems to be in an extremely good position, being one of the principles dealing with this matter or trying to set up this unusual payments scheme.

“Attorneys are not frequently brought in before a grand jury. But when the investigation relates to a (process) that the attorney is an active participant in, then it makes sense to examine the attorney before the grand jury.”

Though the settlement agreement did not disclose the source of the $147,000 payment to Southwell, emails from October 2016 showed Parks complained that his client had not been paid some two months after the agreement was reached. And the emails mentioned prominent Atlanta developer Scott Taylor, who at the time had major business ventures pending with the city.

“Mark this is getting out of control,” Parks wrote to Trigg. “Scott Taylor now wants a contract that absolves him from payment. We have a contract with the city. It is your obligation to work with whoever is going to make the payments, without our having to separately contract with them.”

Taylor’s firm, Carter, said it hired Southwell as a consultant for work related to airports outside Georgia after Reed fired him as Atlanta’s airport general manager. A spokesman for the company said Taylor had no knowledge of any settlement negotiations with Southwell, and didn’t know either of the lawyers involved.

A lawyer for Trigg said Friday that Trigg “played no role in any third-party contracts to which Miguel Southwell may have been a party.”

The legal invoices and emails obtained by the AJC for this story do not mention Taylor, who declined to comment.

Our reporting

The AJC and Channel 2 Action News reported last year that the city of Atlanta secretly brokered a settlement between former Mayor Kasim Reed and former airport chief Miguel Southwell, who Reed fired in 2016. Today’s story reports that federal prosecutors are investigating the details of the settlement.

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  • More than 5.5 million people worldwide – including more than 1.6 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Tuesday, May 26, continue below:  Delaware to allow for outdoor weddings, graduation ceremonies with up to 250 guests Update 1:40 p.m. EDT May 26: Gov. John Carney of Delaware announced Tuesday that he’s lifting restrictions that barred people from holding outdoor gatherings as the state looks to reopen businesses shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic. Beginning June 1, outdoor weddings, graduation ceremonies and other events with as many as 250 people attending will be allowed, Carney said. People who attend such events will be required to wear cloth face coverings and maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet. As of Monday, the most recent date for which data was available, officials in Delaware had recorded 9,055 cases of COVID-19 statewide. At least 335 people have died of coronavirus infections, according to state health officials. “We are where we are because Delawareans listened and stayed home,” Carney said Tuesday in a statement. “While we are slowly reopening our economy, it’s critical that Delawareans not rush out and undo all the hard work they’ve done to get us to this point. Let’s continue to be cautious and responsible as we ease our way into this new normal.” More than 38,000 coronavirus cases reported in Louisiana Update 1:25 p.m. EDT May 26: Officials in Louisiana reported 245 new coronavirus infections Tuesday, raising the state’s total number of infections to 38,054. Statewide, at least 2,596 people have died of COVID-19 and at least 28,700 people have recovered from the viral infection, officials said. Officials urge people who crowded Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks to self-quarantine Update 12:55 p.m. EDT May 26: Leaders in Kansas City and St. Louis are urging people who partied close together at Lake of the Ozarks over the Memorial Day weekend to self-quarantine for two weeks. Big crowds were reported at swimming pools, bars and restaurants at the popular central Missouri lake. Postings showed people without masks partying and swimming together, seemingly ignoring guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and from the state, to keep at least 6 feet apart. St. Louis County Executive Sam Page called it “reckless behavior.” He asked the county’s health department to issue a travel advisory, citing concerns raised by residents and employers just as the county was beginning to reopen after weeks of shutdown caused by the virus. St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, both Democrats, took to Twitter to express their disappointment with the crowds at the lake, which draws from the metropolitan areas on both sides of the state, along with neighboring Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas and Iowa. “If you were part of a group that didn’t socially distance or wear masks, please, for the health of your family, coworkers and friends, stay home for the next 14 days,” Krewson said in a tweet. Kansas City Health Director Rex Archer echoed the call for a 14-day self-quarantine. 703 new cases of COVID-19 reported in New Jersey Update 12:45 p.m. EDT May 26: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said Tuesday that 703 new coronavirus infections have been reported, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 155,764. Murphy noted that reports of new cases, which fell Tuesday below the more than 900 new cases reported one day earlier, might be delayed due to the long holiday weekend. “The key metrics from our hospitals continue to move in the right direction,” he said in a Twitter post. “We continue to see many positive signs that we can keep moving forward. We’re seeing many more good days than bad.' Officials also reported 54 more deaths associated with the coronavirus pandemic. As of Tuesday, 11,191 people have died statewide of COVID-19. Pence’s press secretary returns to work after recovering from COVID-19 Update 12:40 p.m. EDT May 26: Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, said Tuesday that she’s returned to work after recovering from a coronavirus infection. President Donald Trump said May 8 that Miller was diagnosed with COVID-19 “all of a sudden.” Miller said Tuesday that she tested negative three times for COVID-19 before returning to work. “Thank you to all my amazing doctors and everyone who reached out with support,” Miller wrote Tuesday in a tweet. “I couldn’t have done it without my amazing husband who took great care of his pregnant wife.” Miller is married to Stephen Miller, the president’s senior adviser. New Jersey allows professional sports teams return to training, competition Update 12:25 p.m. EDT May 26: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey announced Tuesday that professional sports teams are now allowed to resume training and competition in the state. “While leagues make their own decisions about operations, I am confident that teams are equipped to practice and eventually play in a responsible manner, protecting the health and safety of players, coaches, and team personnel,” the governor said, according to NBC News. New York Gov. Cuomo to meet with President Trump on Wednesday Update 12:10 p.m. EDT May 26: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said he will meet Wednesday with President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C. Cuomo said at a news conference Tuesday that he plans “to talk about a number of things” with the president, including the possibility of ramping up infrastructure projects to boost the economy. “There is no better time to build than right now,” Cuomo said. “You need to create jobs and you need to renew and repair this country’s economy and it’s infrastructure. Now is the time to do it. It’s especially the time to do it when some of the volume is lower.” Jacksonville, Florida mayor says city ‘would be honored’ to host RNC Update 12 p.m. EDT May 26: The mayor of Jacksonville, Florida said Tuesday that the city “would be honored to host the Republican National Convention” after President Donald Trump threatened to pull the convention from North Carolina due to the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. >> Read more on In a series of Twitter posts, Mayor Lenny Curry said his administration and Gov. Ron DeSantis “have created a regulatory framework that operates in (a) way that is attractive to significant events like these.” He offered up the city’s partnership with the UFC, which led to several fan-free shows at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena earlier this month, as evidence that the city “has strongly demonstrated the ability to host large events in a safe (and) responsible way.' Earlier Tuesday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said his state would be willing and able to safely host the RNC, which is scheduled to take place Aug. 24 to Aug. 27 at the Spectrum Center and Charlotte Convention Center. As of Tuesday morning, 50,916 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus infections in Florida and 2,259 people have died the viral infection. Officials with the Georgia Department of Public Health said 43,586 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed statewide as of Tuesday morning with 1,853 people killed by the viral infection. In North Carolina, officials said that as of Tuesday morning, 24,140 people had been diagnosed with coronavirus infections and 766 people have died statewide. 73 new fatal coronavirus cases reported in New York Update 11:35 a.m. EDT May 26: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Tuesday that 73 more people have died of COVID-19 statewide. The number was slightly less than the 95 new fatal cases reported one day earlier. Georgia offers to host RNC after Trump threatens to pull convention from North Carolina Update 11:10 a.m. EDT May 26: Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia on Tuesday offered his state up as host of the Republican National Convention after President Donald Trump threatened to pull the RNC from it’s planned setting in North Carolina over the state’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. “With world-class facilities, restaurants, hotels, and workforce, Georgia would be honored to safely host the Republican National Convention,' Kemp wrote in a post on Twitter. Trump said in a series of tweets published Monday that North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper must immediately tell organizers whether or not they’ll be able to host the convention as expected from Aug. 24 to Aug. 27 at the Spectrum Center and Charlotte Convention Center. “Plans are being made by thousands of enthusiastic Republicans and others to head to beautiful North Carolina in August,” the president wrote. “They must be immediately given an answer by the governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied.” Cooper said Monday that state health officials are working with the Republican National Committee and reviewing their plans for holding the convention, WSOC-TV reported. “North Carolina is relying on data and science to protect our state’s public health and safety,” Cooper said, according to WSOC-TV. As of Tuesday morning, 24,140 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus infections in North Carolina and 766 people have died, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. Officials with the Georgia Department of Public Health said 43,586 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed statewide as of Tuesday morning with 1,853 people killed by the viral infection. New Jersey to allow for socially distanced graduation ceremonies Update 10:45 a.m. EDT May 26: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey announced Tuesday that schools will be allowed to begin holding outdoor graduation ceremonies in July provided they comply with social distancing measures. Murphy said the ceremonies will be allowed beginning July 6. The date is about two weeks later than graduations are typically held, according to North 4,043 new coronavirus infections reported in the UK Update 10:35 a.m. EDT May 26: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 4,043 new coronavirus infections Tuesday morning, raising the country’s total number of infections to 265,227. Officials said that as of 5 p.m. local time Monday, the most recent date for which data was available, 37,048 people had died nationwide of COVID-19. Wall Street up as recovery hopes overshadow virus worries Update 9:50 a.m. EDT May 26: Wall Street opened sharply higher Tuesday as hopes for economic recovery overshadow worries over the coronavirus pandemic. The S&P 500 jumped to nearly a 3-month high, recovering much of its post-pandemic losses. Investors are shifting their focus to how various nations are adapting to getting back to business, while striving to keep new COVID-19 cases in check. Reassuring comments by the head of China’s central bank also helped spur buying. Benchmarks in Paris, London and Tokyo also gained on Tuesday. Brooklyn Nets allowed to begin voluntary player workouts, reopen training facility Update 9:05 a.m. EDT May 26: Officials with the Brooklyn Nets said the NBA team plans to reopen its practice training facility Tuesday, two days after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said professional sports teams in the state would be allowed to begin spring training statewide. In a statement obtained by CNN, team officials said they plan to reopen the HSS Training Center for voluntary player workouts beginning Tuesday. “The organization will strictly follow the protocols outlined by the NBA and infectious disease experts to ensure that all precautions are taken in order to maintain a safe and healthy environment for players and staff,” the statement said, according to CNN. Several Nets players, including Kevin Durant, tested positive for coronavirus infections in March. Global deaths near 347K, total cases soar past 5.5M Update 7:44 a.m. EDT May 26: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus reached 346,700 early Tuesday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. In the four months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 5,518,905 people worldwide. Meanwhile, 13 nations now have total infection counts higher than China’s 84,102.  The 10 nations with the highest number of infections recorded to date are as follows: • The United States has reported 1,662,768 cases, resulting in 98,223 deaths. • Brazil has recorded 374,898 cases, resulting in 23,473 deaths. • Russia has confirmed 362,342 cases, resulting in 3,807 deaths. • The United Kingdom has reported 262,547 cases, resulting in 36,996 deaths. • Spain has confirmed 235,400 cases, resulting in 26,834 deaths. • Italy has reported 230,158 cases, resulting in 32,877 deaths. • France has confirmed 183,067 cases, resulting in 28,460 deaths. • Germany has reported 180,802 cases, resulting in 8,323 deaths. • Turkey has recorded 157,814 cases, resulting in 4,369 deaths • India has recorded 146,371 cases, resulting in 4,187 deaths. Colorado restaurant owners sue state over Mother’s Day license suspension Update 7:08 a.m. EDT May 26: The owners of a Colorado restaurant who defied statewide shutdown orders by allowing throngs of customers to dine on Mother’s Day have field suit against the state for having their license suspended. The suit was filed Friday by the owners of C&C Coffee & Kitchen in Castle Rock against Gov. Jared Polis; the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and its director; and the local tri-county health department in Douglas County District Court, The Washington Post reported. The suit alleges owners Jesse and April Arellano were denied their “livelihood and ability to operate their business after they simply allowed customers onto their premises to serve food and beverages.” More specifically, it claims that Polis’ statewide restrictions lack empirical evidence to accurately quantify the novel coronavirus pandemic’s toll because they are based on “fluctuating, often inaccurate projections,” the Post reported. Meanwhile, Polis announced Monday that Colorado restaurants will be allowed to reopen dining rooms beginning Wednesday but with strict capacity measures enforced, The Denver Post reported. Global coronavirus cases top 5.5 million Update 5:53 a.m. EDT May 26: The worldwide total of novel coronavirus cases eclipsed 5.5 million early Tuesday. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, a total of 5,508,904 cases have now been diagnosed globally, resulting in at least 346,508 deaths. South Korea links nearly 250 coronavirus cases to popular Seoul entertainment district Published 4:41 a.m. EDT May 26: A popular nightlife district in South Korean capital Seoul has been linked officially to 247 novel coronavirus cases since social distancing restrictions were eased. According to the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 83,000 tests have been performed specific to the Itaweon district outbreak, and about 30% of those who tested positive have remained asymptomatic. D.C. officials confident they can contain coronavirus by July Published 3:33 a.m. EDT May 26: The greater Washington, D.C., area could have enough testing equipment, laboratory capacity and contact tracers to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, but only if the public remains vigilant, The Washington Post reported. According to public health officials in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, the region is expected to reach peak capacity for testing and tracing by June or early July, the Post reported. Read more here. Largest Latin American airline files for bankruptcy amid coronavirus disruptions Update 2:14 a.m. EDT May 26: LATAM Airlines Group has filed for bankruptcy, and the largest Latin American airline cites the novel coronavirus pandemic as the primary cause. In a statement posted to its website, the company said it will reorganize operations under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States. Specifically, CEO Roberto Alvo said LATAM will refocus “on transforming our group to adapt to a new and evolving way of flying, with the health and safety of our passengers and employees being paramount.' No immediate impact is expected to affect reservations, employee pay, flight vouchers or passenger and cargo operations, according to the statement. US coronavirus cases approach 1.7M, deaths surpass 98K Update 1:08 a.m. EDT May 26: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surged toward 1.7 million early Tuesday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,662,302 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 98,223 deaths.  The hardest-hit states remain New York with 362,764 cases and 29,229 deaths and New Jersey with 155,092 cases and 11,147 deaths. Massachusetts, with 93,271 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,416, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 112,017. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 6,000 cases each. Five other states have now confirmed at least 51,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 96,400 cases, resulting in 3,769 deaths • Pennsylvania: 71,925 cases, resulting in 5,146 deaths • Texas: 56,409 cases, resulting in 1,533 deaths • Michigan: 54,881 cases, resulting in 5,241 deaths • Florida: 51,746 cases, resulting in 2,252 deaths Meanwhile, Maryland, Georgia and Connecticut each has confirmed at least 40,000 cases; Louisiana, Virginia, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 31,000 cases; Colorado, North Carolina, Minnesota, Tennessee and Washington each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases; Iowa, Arizona and Wisconsin each has confirmed at least 15,000 cases; Alabama and Rhode Island each has confirmed at least 14,000 cases, followed by Mississippi with 13,458; Missouri and Nebraska each has confirmed at least 12,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 10,178 and Kansas with 9,125; Delaware, Kentucky, Utah and the District of Columbia each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases; Nevada and New Mexico each has confirmed at least 7,000 cases; Oklahoma and Arkansas each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • At this rate, Jack Rico could earn a master’s degree before most of his peers graduate high school. He certainly has a good shot at earning a bachelor’s degree by then. Rico is 13 and has earned four associate’s degrees in two years, KABC reported. His most recent degree made him the youngest person ever to graduate from Fullerton College, a public community college in California. He plans to continue his education on a full scholarship at the University of Nevada, where he will major in history, the television station reported. “I’m 13, so I don’t want to rush everything,” Rico told KABC. “I’m still trying to figure it out, but I just want to focus on learning right now. That’s what I love to do.” When he is not earning degrees, Rico said he enjoys playing video games, the television station reported. Rico’s achievement is unusual, but so is his graduation ceremony. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Rico will participate in a drive-by celebration Wednesday, according to KABC. Is he a fast-mover? Rico already has a LinkedIn account.
  • An Arizona woman accused of drunken driving is also accused of hitting a man who was fleeing a crime scene, authorities said. Yessenia Garcia, 32, was arrested on suspicion of DUI, KPHO reported. According to the police, officers responded to a fight near a Scottsdale nightclub around 10:45 p.m. Sunday night. Witnesses told police a man had assaulted another man and fled the scene, the television station reported. Moments later, the suspect was hit by a vehicle driven by Garcia, according to the Scottsdale Police Department. Police said Garcia left the scene but was located by officers nearby and arrested, KPHO reported. The man hit by the vehicle was taken to an area hospital with serious injuries, the television station reported.
  • With doubts surrounding if the Republican National Convention can happen in North Carolina, Gov. Brian Kemp has offered Georgia as an alternative site. “With world-class facilities, restaurants, hotels, and workforce, Georgia would be honored to safely host the Republican National Convention. We hope you will consider the Peach State, @realDonaldTrump,” the governor tweeted Tuesday morning. Right now, the RNC is scheduled to be held in Charlotte Aug. 24-27.  But President Donald Trump tweeted the party “will be reluctantly forced” to find another site if Gov. Roy Cooper didn’t provide immediate answers about allowing full attendance.  North Carolina is currently in Stage 2 of its reopening phase. “State health officials are working with the RNC and will review its plan as they make decisions about how to hold the convention in Charlotte. North Carolina is relying on data and science to protect our state’s public health and safety,” he said. While he initially criticized the decision, Trump and his administration have praised Gov. Kemp and Georgia’s reopening in the past few weeks.  Vice President Mike Pence toured Georgia on Friday and took part in a roundtable with restaurant executives.  “Georgia is going back to work and President Trump and I are absolutely determined to work with every state in the country to safely and responsibly reopen America again,” Pence told Channel 2′s Richard Elliot. “We’re going to see the American people through this, but Richard, we’re getting through this and Georgia is leading the way back to putting America back to work.'  WSB′s sister station WSOC-TV in Charlotte contributed to this report.
  • A 71-year-old great-grandmother was fatally shot Saturday night while trying to break up a fight near a grocery store in Washington, D.C., her family said. Sheila Lucas was killed near a Giant grocery store, WJLA reported. According to family members, Lucas drove from her home to the store after her granddaughter said she had been attacked by two girls inside the store, the television station reported. Lucas met her daughter and granddaughter and was walking away from the store when the assailants returned. “My mom tried to step in between to make sure that they didn’t fight,” Lucas’ son, Robert Alston, told WJLA. “A gunshot rang (out). My mom gets hit in the head, and then she’s no longer here with us.” According to police, Lucas was taken to the hospital and later pronounced dead, WJLA reported. Another man nearby was shot also. His injuries were not life-threatening, police said. Lucas leaves six children, four adopted children, and dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 'Who shoots a 71-year-old woman in the head who has nothing to do with all this?” Alston told WJLA. “We didn’t get a chance to say, ‘Mom, we love you’. We didn’t get a chance to say, ‘Mom we’ll see you later.’ We didn’t get that opportunity. Her life was taken from us.” Police said they did not have a description of the assailants and no arrests have been made. The department said a reward of up to $25,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction, WJLA reported.
  • The grieving fiance and family of a Colorado woman who died in a car crash three months ago said the wedding videography company is refusing to refund their money. The company, meanwhile, expressed its sympathy but said the upfront fee was nonrefundable. According to her obituary, 22-year-old Alexis-Athena Steva Wyatt died Feb 3. Her wedding to Justin Montney would have been Saturday in Colorado Springs, according to their listing on Montney said he wrote to Copper Stallion Media, a Texas-based videography company, shortly after Wyatt’s death to request the $1,800 they contracted for with the company on Nov. 29, 2019. “They should have been able to do (that) because they didn’t render any services,” Montney told KMGH-TV. According to Montney, the Dallas company threatened to sue him for defamation after he left a review on explaining his circumstance, KDRO reported. The company said it received more than 75 one-star reviews “in a matter of hours.” After an exchange of emails, the company started a new website,, which it said it created to document its side of the story. Copper Stallion Media said had it bought the domain for the next two years. It also published what it claimed was an exchange of emails between Montney and the company. 'He kept emailing us trying to get a refund and we kept reiterating that the contract is non-refundable,' the website said. Copper Stallion Media said Montney emailed the company May 18 and said 'a presence will be taking place on social media.” “This statement shows malice and intent to harm the reputation of Copper Stallion Media,” the company wrote on The company said that Montney admitted to KDRO that the contract was non-refundable “but says we should give the money back due to the circumstance.” “Life is a (expletive), Justin,” Copper Stallion wrote on According to KGMH, on Saturday the company posted a photo of the couple with the following, “Today would have been the day where we would have filmed Justin and Alexis’ wedding. After what Justin pulled with the media stunt to try and shake us down for a refund we hope you sob and cry all day for what would have been your wedding day.” The post has been taken down. Calls to a representative of Copper Stallion Media by KDRO and KGMH for comment have not been returned, the television stations reported.