Charlottesville Breaking News
Just a week before the planned re-opening of St. Maarten Café on the Corner, which closed abruptly at the end of January after 26 years, more trouble has struck. On the night of March 5, the massive 200-pound, hand-made sign that has been hanging outside since 1985 was stolen.
"It makes me want to cry," says Nicole Hamilton, fighting back tears. "I'm freaking out I'm so upset."
Hamilton, along with her husband Russ and several local investors, were planning to re-open the popular Corner restaurant, but when they arrived that morning they noticed the sign was missing
"We're just looking to have it safely returned," says Hamilton. "And we won't press charges."
If you have any information about the sign, call Crime Stoppers at 977-4000 or fill out an online incident report.
–->Update: Look what happened next.
Butch Wells was bothered when he learned that a former employee of his may have been collecting unemployment benefits during the 18 months she earned a paycheck from him. What intensifies his anger is that three others charged with welfare fraud– all of them African American– are getting prosecuted while his ex-employee may be allowed to negotiate her way out of trouble.
Do some government agencies criminalize benefits fraud while others steer clear of the courts? It looks that way.
For example, in early January, three African-American women were arrested and charged with felony welfare fraud for allegedly collecting from Charlottesville's Social Services. That same week, Wells says he was contacted by a Virginia Employment Commission investigator looking into allegations of double dipping about one of his former employees, and the investigator said she'd be meeting with the former employee, who is white, to set up a repayment plan.
From April 2010 to November 2011, Wells, who owns a home health care business called Tassco II, says the ex-worker was paid more than $52,000. And according to his estimates, during that time, she could have reaped as much as $30,000 in unemployment benefits.
"The three arrested for welfare fraud are African American, and one they're negotiating with is white," says Wells. "It has a hint of...
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ON THE BLOCK
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On the cover:...