October 29, 2005 in Nation/World

Barry pleads guilty to tax charges

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review
 

Washington Former District of Columbia Mayor Marion Barry pleaded guilty Friday to two misdemeanor counts stemming from his failure to file tax returns in 2000.

Sentencing for Barry, a city councilman, was set for Jan. 18 in U.S. District Court. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of willfully failing to file and failure to provide information.

A plea agreement recommended probation. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson freed Barry on his own recognizance but ordered him to inform federal authorities before leaving the area.

Barry, 69, told the court that he was not sure how much money he earned between 1999 and 2004, conceding that tax forms provided by his employers – New York-based investment firms – may support the government’s contention that he earned $534,000.

The misdemeanor charges will not require Barry to give up his seat on the City Council, where he represents one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

Baltimore giving break to drivers of hybrids

Baltimore Drivers of fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles soon won’t have to pay as much at city parking facilities.

The program, which applies to select hybrids including the Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius, will net drivers an average of $55 in savings a month, officials said in announcing the program Friday.

There were 1,514 new hybrid vehicles registered in the Baltimore area in 2004, an increase of about 80 percent compared with the year before, Mayor Martin O’Malley said.

Only 17 hybrids have monthly parking contracts with Baltimore, on average, said Peter E. Little, executive director of the city’s parking authority. With concerns over the fluctuating price of fuel, city officials said they believe that number will rise.

The city has been taking steps to increase the number of hybrid, electric and compressed natural gas vehicles in its own fleet, the mayor said.

Bar owner sentenced for death of customer

Hutchinson, Kan. A former bar owner was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for the death of a woman who prosecutors said participated in a drinking contest involving a red, yellow and green concoction called the “Stoplight Challenge.”

Billy Leroy Scott, 34, apologized to Juanita Goodpasture’s family at the sentencing Thursday.

Scott was convicted of involuntary manslaughter last month in the alcohol poisoning death of Goodpasture, 31, who had a blood alcohol content of .430 when she was found dead at her home in July 2004 after a night of drinking with her mother and sister.

The three women were drinking at The Point, a bar co-owned by Scott, when Scott served the red, yellow and green drink to Goodpasture, according to testimony.

Some said the “Stoplight Challenge” was used in a drinking contest; other witnesses testified the bar didn’t sponsor one.

Such games are illegal under state law, but prosecutors said patrons were refunded the $15 cost of the drink and awarded a T-shirt if they could remain coherent for 30 minutes after consuming it.


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