Washington – The Republican National Committee’s finance director and his deputy were forced out Friday as the organization still reels from reimbursements for donors to attend a lesbian bondage-themed nightclub in Los Angeles.
RNC chief of staff Michael Leavitt sent an e-mail message to committee members telling them of the changes in the fundraising department. A replacement for finance director Rob Bickhart and deputy Debbie LeHardy was to be announced soon.
The finance team’s ouster came late on a Friday as the RNC prepared for a major meeting with its state party chairs in the Washington area next week.
Metra director commits suicide
Chicago – The executive director of the Chicago area’s Metra commuter train service died of an apparent suicide Friday after he stepped into the path of one of his agency’s trains, authorities said.
Phil Pagano, 60, was on paid administrative leave at the time of his death after Metra began investigating allegations that he received an unapproved $56,000 bonus.
McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren said a train engineer put on the emergency brakes when he saw Pagano on the tracks about 50 miles northwest of Chicago Friday morning but was unable to stop. Pagano died instantly, he said.
“He stood on the tracks and he faced the train as the train was coming toward him,” Nygren said.
Spying landlord going to prison
Norristown, Pa. – A Philadelphia-area landlord who admitted he used hidden cameras to spy on 34 female tenants is heading to prison.
A Montgomery County Court judge sentenced 47-year-old Thomas Daley to four to 10 years behind bars Friday. Daley pleaded guilty last year to hiding cameras behind mirrors or in ceiling fans to spy on tenants.
Prosecutors say Daley taped the women or watched them live on his computer. They say it began in 1989 and continued until September 2008 at five apartment buildings he owned in Norristown.
A weeping Daley told the court at his sentencing that he knew what he did was wrong.
Daley pleaded guilty to charges including invasion of privacy in June.