The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 26, 1998 · Page 123
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 123

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Thursday, March 26, 1998
Page 123
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Health officials planning to take over Pahokee hospital LOCAL NEWS, IB Remembering the young JFK IN ACCENT Your guide to lie boat show INSIDE SPORTS HEAT 105 7jj CELTICS 91 WEATHER: Mostly sunny with pleasant conditions today. High 78, low 68. 2A SPORTS, 1C A- 1 he Jr aim Joeacn ro z-a4 WEST FINAL THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 1998 11 - S Top West Palm official could lose job over bonus ' . n nffAniT lYlOtTrtt fTWOffl TT1 fin tin 1QQI rpnnrt flraham said she is "most a ctrnnor mavnr ixovprnment in 1993. report, Graham said she is "most day afternoon. Wright as her top aide four years 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 " " "r n 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 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 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 ago, said she II accept tne reiunu uui 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 WRIGHT: Graham's top aide said he was unaware that state law banned getting extra pay without the city commission's approval. ' Please see WRIGHT64 glOQlS Fm""m ".g'-',MI"""""""'' I 'Uasi I , ' ? r"- . - - f - ... ' J--,... f ' ,V' . ' 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. raoncupa TODDD g "4 4 JUVENILE - , v. .s f. s INTAKE ' I' ' . V :' t sst -ji'- 'ujr - O ? V4 I'm just a victim, 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 py 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- a.- f ' -i ...i r i 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 By Rick Bragg the New York l imes Chiles pushes for tougher gun laws The governor wants to close what he calls a loophole that allows unregulated sales at gun ShOWS. STORY, 16A Teacher gave her life to save sixth-grader Shannon Wright acted instinctively, jumping in front of 12-year-old Emma Pittman. STORY, 11A Blame availability of firearms If guns weren't easy to get, this may not have happened, editorial, 20A By David W. Chen 'the Sew 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 were killed Tuesday by two boys who opened fire on a middle school 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 Walpole, JONESBORO, Ark. The two boys used to tease 12-year-old Erica Swindle about her glasses. She thought they were mean. On Wednes 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 watched classmates fall into bloody heaps on a neat, white sidewalk, k unveiled a meanness that she, like others in this little fanning town, had not even imagined. "They made fun of me all the Mease see SCHOOL SH00T1NGO4 Mitchell Johnson, 13 day, those same boys, one 1 1 and one 13, were being held in juvenile detention at the jail in Craighead County, Ark., facing cap 11faseseelClMS10A Hease see BUTLERZ4 Inside Four bald eagles electrocuted atop pover poles in Martin 2A 2k IX 20 4C 19C 2C lOHERY PEOPLE SCOPES STOCKS TMEA'EPS TV LISTINGS TV SP&PTS A'.N & BSY 2 BUSINESS ID CIASSIC'EDS If COV'CS 20C DEATHS 15A.4 EDIT0P;LS 20 HOP0SCOcE 2 CPCSSAODS SCnOW,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 yeid important information about the anatomy of dinosaurs. STORY, 2A , PUMBCACH Wpaf'x'. I ATTRACTIVE news. w?s fern HOWE DCIIVTRY SCFVICE S20-4663 1 80051231 M . J pelican, were found near another pole across the St. Iaicie Canal, less than a quarter-mile away. David said. FPL spokesman Bill Swank blamed the deaths on a "tragic set of circumstances." He speculated that recent rain and winds may have played a part. "We don't know what led them to perch there, whether there was a change in weather, a need for new territory, or finding a good place to fish on the St. lucie C anal." prase ue EACLS77Ii By Sally D. Swart Poim tieack Post Slafi Writer Four bald eagles, possibly wet from diving for fish in a nearby canal, have been electrocuted since November while' rx-rching atop power poles in western Martin County. "ITiree cf the dead birds were found at the bae of a Florida Power & light Co. pole at the northern edge of the Iuliis Reserve, which straddles Martin and Paim Beach counties, said Pete David, the reserves acling manager. Hie fourth, as well ay: dead brown CooorifM 1 hi .... - i 1' TRAGIC DEATHS: Eagles thrive in the DuPuis Reserve. FPL covered pals of its power poles with wood aer four eag es ti 'i on power poles near the reserve. and es

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