The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 26, 1998 · Page 1
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 1

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Thursday, March 26, 1998
Page 1
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45 Palm Beachers sue over airport noise after talks fail LOCAL NEWS, IB four guide to Remembering the young JFIC IN ACCENT the boat show WEATHER: Mostly sunny with pleasant conditions today. High 78, low 68. 2A INSIDE SPORTS CELTICS 91 SPORTS, 1C ID, IDs ost le.Jraim-jDeacn THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 1998 FINAL EDITION 78 PAGES 50 CENTS Top st Palm official could lose job over bonus report, Graham said she is "most disappointed" about the bonus. She said she wished Wright had kept "a closer eye" on internal controls, like monitoring expenditures on meals, alcohol and entertainment, and on recommending policies to the city commission dealing with severance and travel. All were criticized in the audit. Wright calls himself "bottom-line driven. Process people spend a Please see WRIGHT6L4 a strong mayor government in 1993, Wright has run day-to-day affairs while Graham implemented a vision for revitalization and the birth of the $375 million downtown CityPlace project. The mayor praises Wright for saving the city from bankruptcy and building its reserves. But the two have had four or five "very serious conversations" since the audit panned the bonus, Graham said. Of the 33 findings in the audit day afternoon. Graham signed the bonus check Aug. 15 to reward Wright for proposing a plan to reap a $27 million windfall for the city by closing a pension plan. Though she still believes Wright deserves the bonus, she has been furious that he made a mistake by failing to do the research that would have revealed the city commission's approval was required. As the first city administrator since West Palm Beach switched to Wright as her top aide four years ago, said she'll accept the refund but will probably reject his resignation. Wright phoned Graham with his news late Wednesday, the mayor said. She said his decision was based on criticism stemming from a draft investigative audit released two weeks ago, which disclosed that his bonus was prohibited under state law. "I'm basically an honest, pragmatic person, and I will do the pragmatic thing," Wright said Wednes The mayor blames him for not researching the legality of the bonus. By Marcia Gelbart Palm Beach Post Staff Writer , WEST PALM BEACH City Administrator Michael Wright will offer his resignation to Mayor Nancy Graham today and return a $7,500 bonus she gave him in August, Graham said. Graham, who handpicked WRIGHT; Graham's top aide said he was unaware that state law banned getting extra pay without the city commission's approval. I'm just a victim, TRAINED TO SHOOT: Andrew Golden, the 11-year-old suspect in the Arkansas school shooting, is shown holding a pistol in this undated image from a home video. av y 1 warn g JUUEILI ..... INTAKE ji X 'J o V Vi c : . f ' ' i ??' ' . i X . J . . V Lr Butler tells jury After deliberating nearly seven hours, the jury in the campaign bribery case calls it a day. By Christine Stapleton Palm Beach Post Staff Writer WEST PALM BEACH Phil Butler, failed state attorney candidate charged with accepting illegal campaign contributions from a businessman facing prison, told jurors Wednesday he was the victim of an ambush. "How can you defend yourself against a trial by ambush?" Butler asked the jury. Butler did not testify at his weeklong trial but argued his defense during his closing statements on Wednesday. The jury deliberated nearly seven hours before stopping for the night about 9 p.m. Butler faces a felony count of bribery and misdemeanor charges of conspiracy and accepting excessive campaign contributions. Florida's sentencing guidelines recommend a maximum sentence of one year in jail. But Cass Castillo, a special prosecutor from Bartow assigned to the Case, said if Butler is convicted he plans to ask the judge to exceed the guidelines because the charges damage the public's faith in politicians. Butler, 52, began his closing remarks by apologizing to the jury for the profanities he used when describing his feelings toward his political rival, State Attorney Barry Krischer, in a taped statement Butler gave investigators in March 1997. Butler then argued that it was impossible to prove the bribery charge, the oniy felony he faces, because the prosecutor had not shown that James Baber knew that Butler would have the ability to dispose of his DUI-manslaughter charge with no jail time if Butler had been elected. The key is wrongful intent," Butler argued. "And you can't look into someone else's mind." '. But the heart of Butler's defense focused on what he described as the state's failure to provide him with details of the crimes he allegedly committed. Butler showed the jury an enlarged copy of a document called a "bill of particulars" the charging document that de- Ilease see BmiW7A """"" PHOTOS BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Jackie and Doug Golden, Andrew Golden's grandparents, leave a hearing Wednesday. Golden said the boy admitted stealing his guns and pulling the fire alarm. Girls were 'good kids' who loved 'Titanic Prosecutors grapple with lenient sentencing rules Chiles: Toughen laws He wants to close what he calls a loophole that allows unregulated sales at gun shows. STORY, 16A Suspect made threats He'd been angry because a classmate had told him she wasn't looking for a boyfriend. STORY, 9A Teacher died saving girl Shannon Wright acted instinctively, jumping in front of 12-year-old Emma Pittman. story, 1U Blame gun availability If guns weren't easy to get, this may not have happened. EDITORIAL, 20 By Rick Bragg Ihefcew York limes JONESBORO, Ark. The two boys used to tease 12-year-old Erica Swindle about her glasses. She thought they were mean. On Wednes By David W. Chen IMe New York Times "Sweet." "Polite." "Loved Titanic" Those were the words that friends, relatives and neighbors used constantly Wednesday as they recalled the lives of the four girls who we're killed Tuesday by two boys who opened fire on a middle schdol in Jonesboro, Ark. Individually, the girls had different sets of friends, different family histories, different reactions, presumably, to the little things in life that seem so big to people so young. But as a group, their deaths pierced a town in which everyone seemed to suffer a personal loss. They were always good kids, coming in to say 'hi' with their friends and family," said Marty Walpolc, Please see WCmSlOA ital murder charges after bullets fired outside a middle school on Tuesday killed four girls and one teacher, wounded 11 other people and plunged a little town into despair. For Erica, who stood unhurt as bullets flew around her and w atched classmates fall into bloody heaps on a neat, white sidewalk, it unveiled a meanness that she, like others in this little farming town, had not even imagined. They made fun of me all the llease see SCHOOL SHOOTlNG7ft4 Mitchell Johnson, 13 day, those same boys, one 1 1 and one 13, were being held in juvenile detention at thejail in Craighead County, Ark., facing cap Inside Four bald eagles electrocuted atop power poles in Martin 2A 2A 13C 20 LOTTERY PEOPLE SCORES STOCKS THEATERS ANN & ABBY 2E BUSINESS 10 CLASSIFIEDS If COMICS 20 DEATHS X5A.48 EDITORIALS 20A HOROSCOPE 21 CROSSWORDS TV LISTINGS 19E TV SPORTS 2C SECTIONS E.F ' f Fossil gives glimpse of dinosaur organs Scientists have unearthed one of the best preserved dinosaurs ever found, complete with internal organs and muscles. The young theropod may yield important information about the anatomy of dinosaurs. STORY, 2A - - PALM BEACH Weather. V WTERACTTVE news. sw?s irat Oni'Hl am and views pelican, were found near another pole across the St. Incie Canal, less than a quarter-mile away, David said. YVL spokesman lyjl Swank blamed the deaths on a "tragic set of ciaaim-stanoes." He six-culated that recent rains and winds may have played a part. "Ve don't know what led them to perch then, whether there was a change in wrather. a ne-ed for new territory, or finding a gd place to fish on the M. liicie Canal." FOR HOME DCirVOrf SERVICE 204663 1-SOO-6S4-1231 By Salty D. Swartz Palm liraek Post Staf H nter Four bald eagles, possibly wet from diving for fish in a nearby canal, have been electrocuted since November while perching atop power poles in western Martin County. Three of the dead birds wore found at the base of a Florida Power & Unfit Co. jvle at the northern edge of the DuPuis Reserve, which straddles Martin and Palm Ik ach counties, slid IYto David, the reserve s acting manager. The fourth, as well as dead brown FakiBeadi Vrf.MN.3 'TRAGIC DEATHS: Eagles thrive in the DuPuis Reserve. FPL covered parts of its power poles with wood after four eagles diedxn power poles near the reserve. LftGLEJ'ijLt

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