In brief: Pinkberry co-founder sentenced for beating homeless man
LOS ANGELES – The co-founder of frozen yogurt chain Pinkberry was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison for beating a homeless man with a tire iron, an attack a Los Angeles judge declared “fairly merciless” and “horrendous.”
Dressed in an orange, jail-issued jump suit, Young Lee stared straight ahead as Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Henry J. Hall handed down the maximum penalty the 49-year-old faced. A jury in November convicted Lee – who helped found Pinkberry in 2005 but is no longer involved with the company – of assault.
During the three-week trial last year, prosecutors said Ronald Bolding was panhandling by a 101 Freeway ramp at Vermont Avenue in June 2011 when Lee pulled up in his Range Rover. Lee became angry when Bolding flashed a tattoo to people in the car – including Lee’s then-fiancée and other women – showing a stick-figure couple having sex.
Lee drove off, but soon returned with another man and the tire iron. Prosecutors said Lee attacked Bolding because he felt “disrespected” and demanded the victim kneel and apologize.
Bolding, who suffered a broken left arm and several cuts to the head, has filed a personal injury lawsuit against Lee, seeking damages related to his injuries. Bolding’s attorney said Friday the sentence “wasn’t a surprise.”
N.J. town authorizes $45,000 for probes into bridge closure
FORT LEE, N.J. – More than four days of lane closures at the George Washington Bridge cost commuters a lot of extra time on the road last September.
Now, those closures are costing Fort Lee, N.J., taxpayers money.
The Borough Council has approved at least $45,000 in overtime and legal fees to individuals working on matters related to the investigation that has embroiled Gov. Chris Christie’s administration.
Councilman Harvey Sohmer said officials are “all frustrated” that, through no wrongdoing of their own, they’ve been forced to incur expenses because of the scandal.
Since an email from Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, calling “for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” surfaced in January, probes have deepened as to whether the borough’s mayor was the target of last fall’s unannounced lane closures to the world’s busiest bridge. The closures resulted in hours of traffic jams that delayed police and EMT response times, caused children to be late for school and made people late for work and medical appointments.
A legislative committee is investigating whether members of Christie’s inner circle ordered the lane closures to punish Fort Lee’s mayor, a Democrat who did not endorse Christie, a Republican. Christie has repeatedly denied knowing about the closures before they occurred.