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FAA settles with Southwest Airlines


Southwest Airlines will pay a fine of $7.5 million for flying planes that had missed critical safety checks – $2.7 million less than government regulators initially ordered.

The agreement announced Monday by the Federal Aviation Administration also gives the Dallas-based airline nearly two years to pay the fine in three installments of $2.5 million each.

The first installment is due in 10 business days from the signing of the agreement.

Last year FAA ordered Southwest to pay $10.2 million.

The airline protested the fine and had been in negotiations with FAA for the past year.

The airline was fined for flying 46 Boeing 737s on 59,791 flights without performing mandatory inspections for fuselage cracks.

An estimated 145,000 passengers flew on the unchecked planes on 1,451 flights over an eight-day period in the spring of 2007 after the FAA had notified the airline of the problem.


$3 million award in stun gun death

A jury in Texas has awarded $3 million to the mother of a mentally ill man who died after he was shocked 18 times with a stun gun and hogtied during an arrest.

Shirley Nagel sued four deputies from the Precinct One Constable’s Office after they detained her son, Joel Don Casey, in 2005. Casey’s death was later ruled a homicide.

Jurors on Monday found three of the four deputies used unreasonable and excessive force.

Assistant Harris County Attorney Frank Sanders said the deputies were not trying to hurt Casey or violate his constitutional rights. The county plans to appeal.

New York

Madoff wants home, millions

Bernard Madoff is seeking to keep a $7 million Manhattan penthouse and an additional $62 million in assets, saying they are unrelated to the fraud that authorities say cost victims more than $50 billion.

In court papers filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Madoff and his lawyer claim the apartment, $45 million in municipal bonds and $17 million more in a separate account all belong to Madoff’s wife, Ruth.

The bonds in an account held by Ruth Madoff at COHMAD Securities Corp. and about $17 million held by her in a Wachovia Bank account “are unrelated to the alleged Madoff fraud and only Ruth Madoff has a beneficial interest in these assets,” Bernard Madoff and lawyer Ira Sorkin said, according to the papers. Sorkin declined to comment Monday.

A court-appointed trustee overseeing the liquidation of Madoff’s assets has said the apartment and other property used to secure bail was off limits for now.

But if there’s a conviction, those assets and possibly property of Madoff “insiders” could be seized to help pay claims by alleged victims.


Ousted governor signs book deal

Rod Blagojevich, the first U.S. governor in more than 20 years to be removed from office by impeachment, signed a deal Monday to write a book “exposing the dark side of politics,” his publicist said.

Blagojevich signed a “six-figure” deal to write a book for Phoenix Books, to be released in October, publicist Glenn Selig said in a news release.

Selig said the former governor “plans on exposing the dark side of politics that he witnessed in both the state and national level.”

Aside from the “six-figure” description, the terms were not disclosed.

From wire reports

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