Posts Tagged ‘Florida’
Two South Florida doctors involved in a pill mill operation that collected $40 million and dispensed more than 20 million pain pills within two years are facing charges in the deaths of nine people, federal prosecutors said Friday.
Officials say the physicians — Cynthia Cadet, 42, of Parkland, and Joseph Castronuovo, 72, of Key Largo — worked as vital tools in the Broward- and Palm Beach County-based operation that distributed oxycodone pills to addicts without any regard for their health.
A 34-page indictment…attributed the deaths of nine people to oxycodone parceled out at the pill mills…
The two doctors were among 32 people arrested last year on multiple charges ranging from racketeering to fraud and illegal drug sales…Twenty-eight of those arrested have already entered guilty pleas and been sentenced…
The indictment alleges the doctors often relied on preliminary radiology reports in prescribing large quantities of drugs, and knew that many of their patients came from outside Florida, where stricter controls of the pills were in place.
Just as I’ve worked with some great lawyers in my time, I’ve worked with some wonderful doctors. Going down either road, the public leaders of both professions spend more time supporting gross incomes more often than ethical standards or progressive policies.
I blame them as much as this corrupt pair on trial in Florida.
Throw away the key.
A military cargo plane that typically requires 3,500 feet for takeoff landed unexpectedly Friday at Peter O. Knight Airport, where the longest runway is 95 feet short.
Work began immediately to lighten the load of the 174-foot-long aircraft so that it might leave Davis Islands safely.
The drama ended at 8:27 p.m., when the C-17 Globemaster III took a hop over Hillsborough Bay to MacDill, the original destination. It landed just a few minutes later.
It was unclear why the plane, headed to MacDill, made an unscheduled landing at the small airport near downtown Tampa. Master Sgt. Bryan Gatewood, a spokesman for MacDill Air Force Base, said authorities are investigating…
Peter O. Knight is a general aviation airport operated by the Aviation Authority.
It has two runways, including a smaller one that is 2,688 feet and a larger one that is 3,405 feet. The longest runway at MacDill is 11,421 feet.
Focus, concentrate, pay attention to your job.
When a pharmacy sells the heartburn drug Zantac, each pill costs about 35 cents. But doctors dispensing it to patients in their offices have charged nearly 10 times that price, or $3.25 a pill…
At a time of soaring health care bills, experts say that doctors, middlemen and drug distributors are adding hundreds of millions of dollars annually to the costs borne by taxpayers, insurance companies and employers through the practice of physician dispensing.
Most common among physicians who treat injured workers, it is a twist on a typical doctor’s visit. Instead of sending patients to drugstores to get prescriptions filled, doctors dispense the drugs in their offices to patients, with the bills going to insurers. Doctors can make tens of thousands of dollars a year operating their own in-office pharmacies. The practice has become so profitable that private equity firms are buying stakes in the businesses, and political lobbying over the issue is fierce…
Alarmed by the costs, some states, including California and Oklahoma, have clamped down on the practice. But legislative and regulatory battles over it are playing out in other states like Florida, Hawaii and Maryland…
“I consider the fees that these people are charging to be immoral,” said Alan Hays, a Republican state senator in Florida who introduced a bill to bar physicians from dispensing pills that was defeated. “They’re legal under the current law, but they’re immoral”…
Robert M. Mernick, the president of Bryant Ranch Prepack, a company in North Hollywood, Calif., that repackages medications for office sale, said he found it extraordinary that lawmakers in other states like Florida and Maryland were allowing such drug markups to continue.
“I see it as corruption,” he said. “I think it is horrible.”
Lobbying at the state level fits into the Congressional model perfectly. Essentially, payment is made for political favors received. Doctors collecting an additional pile of money aren’t concerned with anything more than protecting their new gold mine.
This may vary from politician to politician, state to state. Old friends take care of new friends. The country club ethic of influencing votes with whatever politicians need or want – and can get away with – remains the rule.
Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan, a self-made Florida millionaire, is only in his third term in Congress, but he already is in charge of fundraising for the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, and he sits on the powerful House Ways and Means committee…
CNN has confirmed there are no fewer than four congressional and federal investigations into Buchanan’s business practices, his campaign finances and his alleged attempt to try to stop a witness from talking…
Now that witness is stepping forward in an exclusive interview with CNN. Buchanan’s former business partner says the congressman schemed to launder money from his car dealerships into his campaign coffers, and then tried to get others to cover it up…
Sam Kazran took his detailed allegations to the Federal Elections Commission, which was already looking into Buchanan’s campaign finances. Investigators there wanted to know not only about how the cash-swap scheme was set up, but if the congressman knew about it…Kazran says there is no question the congressman knew all about it…
During the FEC probe, Buchanan pushed to settle a lawsuit Kazran had brought against him. At the last minute, with a $2.9 million settlement offer from Buchanan dangling in front of him, Kazran says he was given an affidavit to sign…
Kazran says Buchanan and his team were trying to force him to lie about Buchanan’s role in the campaign cash scheme in exchange for the nearly $3 million cash settlement, money which Kazran says he desperately needed, as his finances were in trouble and his wife was suffering from cancer and was undergoing expensive medical treatments…
Now a full House ethics committee is looking into it. CNN has also learned that the FBI is conducting its own investigation.
In addition, the Office of Congressional Ethics also found “substantial reason to believe” that Buchanan failed to disclose unearned income on his financial disclosure forms from 2007 to 2010…
On Friday, lawyers for Buchanan filed a legal motion in Sarasota, Florida, to seal all documents in the Kazran case and to stop Kazran and his lawyers from speaking publicly about it.
So – Will this Congressman be running his re-election campaign from jail? We can only hope.
While I think today’s Republicans have a definite edge in the hypocrisy competition – by virtue of their holiest of Christian crusades and loyalty to the epoch of ignorance extending backwards from the 19th Century to the 14th Century – they haven’t a market corner on corruption.
This story could have been written about a Congress-thug from either wing of the TweedleDeeDum Party. And given our bought-and-paid-for Supreme Court, the questions may become irrelevant as they continue their dedication to the open purchase of elections.
It wouldn’t be an election year without Florida exhibiting its usual despicable efforts to keep residents from voting.
After the 2000 debacle where the nation had to contend with hanging chads, ballots not being counted, more lawyering than anyone ever needs to deal with, and finally a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, you would think officials there would do all they can to stay out of the news.
But, no. Leave it to the state legislature and Gov. Rick Scott to create another mess that could have easily been avoided. This time, it’s the purging of the state’s voting rolls in an effort to keep U.S. noncitizens from voting. According to Scott, potentially 182,000 voters on the rolls are noncitizens.
Now there is nothing wrong with any state ensuring that those who are eligible to vote are American citizens. But when it comes to Florida, they didn’t even take the necessary precautions to ensure that folks who are legal citizens wouldn’t be a part of their purge process.
The big question is, why now? Why would Florida, with a statewide vote coming up in 90 days, choose now of all times to do this?
That’s a question the Department of Justice is asking.
T. Christian Herren, chief lawyer in the DOJ’s voting rights division, wrote a two-page letter to Florida officials asking why they chose to make this move without consulting the feds, an apparent violation of the Voting Rights Act…
This action follows the draconian voter suppression law — supporters call it voter protection — that was passed by the Florida legislature, which was so ridiculous and punitive that the nonpartisan League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote! chose not to register voters out of fear of amassing substantial fines. A federal judge has ordered Florida to stop enforcing several provisions of that law.
It is shameful that Republicans in Florida are concerned with blocking Americans from the ballots out of some ridiculous fear of noncitizens voting.
If that actually was the case. Of course, it isn’t. Republicans are trying to keep Democrats from voting. They are trying to keep Hispanics from voting. They are trying to keep Blacks from voting. They are trying to keep senior citizens from voting.
They figure -right or wrong – the more people they can prevent from voting easily the more likely they are to win elections.
This is counter to the very foundation of the United States of America. It is contemptible no matter where in the world it might happen; but – especially here in the USA – it is the tactic of cowards who worship tyrants.
A toddler gazes in wonder at a manatee at Seaworld, in Orlando, Florida. The curious little girl reached out her hand towards the glass tank as the manatee swam towards her. British photographer Christopher Wright was captivated by their expressions and the contrasting size of the small girl and the 400kg animal.
She’s not around anymore to read this – so, I guess I can say the manatee reminds me of my 2nd grade teacher in elementary school.
An unidentified man savagely attacked by another on the pedestrian walkway of the MacArthur Causeway remained in intensive care on Sunday at Ryder Trauma Center in Miami.
The man, whose name has not been released, was said to have suffered severe facial injuries from an attacker who witnesses said chewed at the victim’s face and eyes in the walkway on the west end of the causeway. Both men were naked.
When police arrived, the attacker refused to stop biting the other man and was shot dead by a Miami police officer…
The horrific scene began about 2 p.m. Saturday when a series of gunshots were heard on the ramp, which is along Northeast 13th Street, just south of The Miami Herald building.
According to police sources, a road ranger had seen a naked man chewing on another man’s face and shouted on his loud speaker for him to back away. Meanwhile, a woman also saw the incident and flagged down a police officer who was in the area.
Video captured by the Herald security cameras show snippets of the man on the ground, then an officer arriving on the scene and the aftermath of the attack. The video does not show any of the violence.
In the video, the officer, who has not been identified, approached and, seeing what was happening, also ordered the naked man to back away. When he continued the assault, the officer shot him, police sources said.
The attacker failed to stop after being shot, forcing the officer to continue firing. Witnesses said they heard at least a half dozen shots…
Investigators believe the victim may have been homeless and laying down when the crazed man pounced.
Police theorize the attacker might have been suffering from “cocaine psychosis,” a drug-induced craze that bakes the body internally and often leads the affected to strip naked to try and cool off.
Cool off hardly seems adequate. This obviously was a world-class maniac.
The FAA is investigating what caused a private jet to lose its door as it flew over a Florida golf course.
The Canadair CL600 jet was traveling from Opa-Locka to Pompano Beach, Florida, on Wednesday when it was diverted and landed safely at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, according to FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen.
“An airport vehicle met the aircraft as it exited the runway and escorted it to Bombardier Aviation (a maintenance facility on the airport) where it was discovered that the main cabin door was missing,” she said…
The door, with retractable boarding stairs attached, crashed through trees, bouncing onto a golf course near Hallandale Beach, according to CNN affiliate WSVN, which shot video of it being removed by a tow truck.
Phew! You know how grumpy golfers can get when someone drops part of an airplane on the course just when they’re ready to take a shot.
The American Community Survey may be the most important government function you’ve never heard of, and it’s in trouble.
This survey of American households has been around in some form since 1850, either as a longer version of or a richer supplement to the basic decennial census. It tells Americans how poor we are, how rich we are, who is suffering, who is thriving, where people work, what kind of training people need to get jobs, what languages people speak, who uses food stamps, who has access to health care, and so on.
It is, more or less, the country’s primary check for determining how well the government is doing — and in fact what the government will be doing. The survey’s findings help determine how over $400 billion in government funds is distributed each year.
But last week, the Republican-led House voted to eliminate the survey altogether, on the grounds that the government should not be butting its nose into Americans’ homes…This is followed by more lies about why Republicans say we shouldn’t study and learn.
Each year the Census Bureau polls a representative, randomized sample of about three million American households about demographics, habits, languages spoken, occupation, housing and various other categories. The resulting numbers are released without identifying individuals, and offer current demographic portraits of even the country’s tiniest communities.
It is the largest (and only) data set of its kind and is used across the federal government in formulas that determine how much funding states and communities get for things like education and public health…
Private companies and industry groups — including the United States Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation and the National Association of Home Builders — are up in arms…
The leading dimwit in charge of this particular piece of backwardness, Daniel Webster, a Tea Party Republican from Florida says…“What really promotes business in this country is liberty,” he said, “not demand for information.”
Mr. Webster and other critics have gone so far as to say the American Community Survey is unconstitutional. Of course, the basic decennial census is specifically enumerated in the United States Constitution, and courts have ruled that this longer form of the census survey is constitutional as well.
I’m confident the primo reason for the foolishness is the Republican fear that Americans will have a clearer picture of how and where the stimulus program has been working, where we are starting to climb back out of the Bush recession. Here in New Mexico our unemployment rate dropped to 6.9%, last week.
Think about the kind of demagogue who advocates against knowledge, information that aids business, government, commerce. What is he supposed to be protecting?
Two of Belniak’s victims – Denise and Gerard Bassi, dead
David Belniak had drugs in his system and never braked when he slammed into the back of a family’s car stopped at a red light on Christmas Day 2007. Three people died.
In August, Belniak pleaded guilty to three counts of DUI manslaughter and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. He never said a word in court, not even when the victims’ children begged him for an apology…
Now, he’s saying he’s not responsible for the crash. And he wants to be paid for his suffering…
The suit asks for the victims’ relatives to pay Belniak, 38, for his “pain and suffering … mental anguish … loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life” and the medical bills he got as a result of a crash he pleaded guilty to causing…
Georgette DeFranco lost her mother, Linda McWilliams, 66; her sister, Denise Bassi, 50, and her brother-in-law, Gerard Bassi, 51, in the crash. DeFranco’s stepfather, Ray McWilliams, was injured but survived. Family members said he never fully recovered and he died last March at age 68…
The crash happened about 2:20 p.m. Dec. 25, 2007…Authorities said Belniak was driving between 75 and 85 mph when his pickup smashed into the back of McWilliams’ Chevrolet Tahoe. The SUV crumpled. Gerard Bassi died at the scene. Denise Bassi died in surgery that day. Linda McWilliams was taken off life support a week later.
Authorities said Belniak had alcohol, Xanax and evidence of cocaine in his system.
Belniak had a history of driving infractions. He’d faced DUI charges twice before. One of those times, in 2003, New Port Richey police searching his Ford Mustang found a gallon of the intoxicant GHB, commonly known as the “date rape” drug. Belniak served 17 months in prison after pleading no contest to trafficking the drug…
Maureen M. Deskins, the Tampa attorney representing the estate of Linda and Ray McWilliams, said the lawsuit is “gut-wrenching” and the relatives are “stunned.”
“It seems there is no end to the pain David Belniak is willing to inflict on this family,” Deskins said.
One more case added to the sum of frivolous litigation that has become the American standard for lawyers. My friends who practice that craft with justice and honor are as embarrassed as our whole nation must be – especially by the lack of concern that results from drunk driving convictions.