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SWINDLED BY ATTORNEY

Defense attorney convicted for swindling client of $15,000

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Twin Cities criminal defense attorney has been convicted of bilking one her clients out of $15,000, The Hennepin County Attorney's Office says a jury on Monday found Kristi McNeilly, 46, of Woodbury, guilty of theft by swindle. Minnesota sentencing guidelines call for her to receive probation and some workhouse time, Freeman said. McNeilly’s client, a 53-year-old man, was arrested for having a small amount of drugs in a safe. The complaint says McNeilly made up a story about being told that her client would likely serve up to 20 years in prison unless he paid $50,000 to a police union. Authorities say the defendant gave McNeilly a $15,000 down payment and she spent the cashier's check on a mortgage payment, payments to credit cards and other personal spending,

XCEL-RATE HIKE REQUEST

Xcel Energy requests electric rate hike of about 20%

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Xcel Energy wants to increase its electricity rate by about 20% over the next three years, adding an average $15 to $21 per month cumulatively to residential customers’ bills. Minneapolis-based Xcel filed its request with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, which must approve any increase. The rate hike would generate about $677 million over the three years with a big portion directed to building out transmission lines to connect to renewable power sources. Xcel has 1.3 million electrical customers.

TENANTS-SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Landlords ordered to pay $736,000 in sexual harassment case

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A judge has ordered two Twin Cities rental companies and their officers to pay $736,000 to nearly two dozen women over allegations that one landlord pressured the tenants for sex to avoid eviction. The consent decree filed in federal court directs Fruen & Pfeiffer and M. Fruen Properties and individual defendants to pay $32,000 to each of the 23 women and pay a $14,000 civil penalty. The primary defendant, 70-year-old Reese Pfeiffer, is banned from managing property in the future. In a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Justice Department last year, Pfeiffer was accused of various acts of sexual harassment as far back as 2009 and continuing well into 2020 toward female tenants.

GEORGE FLOYD-OFFICER TRIAL

Judge in Chauvin trial to release names of jurors on Nov. 1

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The judge who oversaw the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin said Monday that he will make the names of the 15 jurors and alternates who sat in the courtroom public next week. Judge Peter Cahill’s order says he will make the list of jurors public on Nov. 1. The written questionnaires of all 109 potential jurors who were formally evaluated will also be made public. Chauvin, who is white, was convicted in April of second-degree murder and other counts n the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd, a Black man. He was sentenced to 22 1/2 years.

SMALL PLANE CRASH

Brother, sister killed when plane crashes in Ashland County

MARENGO, Wis. (AP) — The brother and sister who died when their small plane crashed into a house in a tiny, northern Wisconsin town were known to the homeowners, who escaped injury. The single-engine plane went down Saturday afternoon in the Ashland County community of Marengo, home to about 400 residents located about 80 miles from Duluth, Minnesota. The sheriff's office says 29-year-old Aaron Mika and his 21-year-old sister, Aleah Mika died at the scene. Martin Ollanketo says he and his wife were watching TV when they heard what sounded like a bomb. The plane crash destroyed their front porch. The homeowners knew the couple killed, recounting their graduation parties that they attended.

CONTENTIOUS SCHOOL BOARDS

Local school board resignations triple in Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Contentious disagreements over COVID-19 policies and critical race theory have caused a significant increase in the number of local school board resignations in Minnesota. According to the Minnesota School Boards Association, nearly 70 board members have resigned their positions this year, triple the number of resignations in a regular year. The association says that equates to an unusually high number of district special elections. Violent school board meetings and threats toward school board members over divisive issues that have caused dozens of board leaders to quit their positions are now at the center of many school board campaigns and platforms.

CHARTER SCHOOL-INVESTMENT LOSSES

Leader of charter school to quit following hedge fund losses

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The founder of a St. Paul charter school that lost $4.3 million in a hedge fund investment is quitting as superintendent and chief financial officer. The Hmong College Prep Academy board said in a posting on its website that it plans to meet Monday to vote on Christianna Hang's resignation. Her letter was submitted days after the state auditor’s office determined that the school failed to follow state law and its own policies when it invested $5 million in the hedge fund. State Auditor Julie Blaha says her office was not assigning blame to anyone for the school’s losses. The Star Tribune reports that the auditor's office sent its findings to the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office for possible action.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-RURAL HOSPITALS

COVID-19 wave overwhelms rural hospitals short on ICU beds

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The case of a rural Minnesota man who waited two days for an ICU bed and later died is among several examples that have frustrated officials in rural hospitals whose facilities are overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. Bob Cameron spent two days in his hometown hospital in Hallock, Minnesota, where caregivers searched nonstop for space in a larger hospital that could find and fix the source of his severe gastrointestinal bleeding and treat his COVID-19. A bed was secured Oct. 12 at Sanford Health in Fargo, North Dakota, but his condition worsened after surgery there to find the source of his bleeding. The 87-year-old Cameron died Oct. 13. During a three-week stretch this month, rural hospitals were caring for more COVID-19 patients than Twin Cities hospitals.

News from © The Associated Press, 2021
The Associated Press

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