The City Council’s effort to remove Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick at a trial-like hearing was blocked shortly before it would have begun Monday by a judge who ruled that the city charter does not give the council such power.
The ruling by Wayne County Circuit Judge Robert Ziolkowski is a rare legal win for Kilpatrick, who has been charged with perjury, misconduct, obstruction of justice and assault. He still could be removed from office through a Sept. 3 misconduct hearing that Gov. Jennifer Granholm is to preside over.
Kilpatrick faces 10 felony counts in two criminal cases, one in which he’s accused of lying about an affair under oath, another in which he’s accused of shoving a sheriff’s deputy.
Six homes destroyed in fire
A wind-whipped fire quickly crackled through sagebrush and grass on a residential hillside Monday in northern Reno before destroying several homes and forcing evacuations. No serious injuries were reported.
The cause wasn’t known, but investigators were looking into reports that juveniles ran from the area about the time the blaze broke out.
Six homes are a total loss, and a seventh was seriously damaged, fire spokesman Steve Frady said.
Acting crime boss behind bars
The reputed acting boss of the Gambino organized crime family has been put behind bars for two years as part of a plea deal.
John “Jackie Nose” D’Amico was sentenced Monday in New York. He pleaded guilty in May to extorting a cement company.
In February, more than 60 reputed members and associates of the Gambino crime family were charged with murder, drug trafficking, robberies, extortion and other crimes dating back to the 1970s.
Settlement offered for fire deaths
The state of Rhode Island and the town of West Warwick have each agreed to pay $10 million to those left behind after a nightclub fire that killed 100 people, according to court documents filed Monday.
The state and the town are the last major defendants to agree to settlement offers, now totaling nearly $175 million, after the fire on Feb. 20, 2003, at The Station nightclub in West Warwick. More than 300 survivors and victims’ relatives still must approve the settlements.
The blaze began when pyrotechnics used by the 1980s rock band Great White ignited foam used as soundproofing on the club’s walls and ceilings. The plaintiffs split the blame dozens of ways, from the companies that made and sold the foam, to the club owners who installed it, to the inspectors who failed to identify it as a hazard.
Neither the state nor the town admitted any wrongdoing.