05 24 2016
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  • The judge concluded Officer Edward Nero played little role in the arrest and wasn't responsible for the failure by police to buckle Gray in  
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  • Bill Cosby faces a preliminary hearing Tuesday to determine if his criminal sex-assault case in suburban Philadelphia goes to trial.Prosecutors had declined to charge the comedian-actor over the 2005 complaint, but arrested him in December after his explosive deposition in the woman's lawsuit became public. In the testimony given in that deposition, Cosby is grilled about giving drugs and alcohol to women before sex; making secret payments to ex-lovers; and hosting Andrea Constand at his home. They knew each other through Temple University, where he was a trustee and she managed the women's basketball team. Bill Cosby's wife refused to answer dozens of questions during a combative deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who say the comedian branded them liars after they accused him of sexually assaulting them, according to a transcript released Friday. Camille Cosby was subjected to intense questioning by the women's lawyer, who repeatedly pressed her to say whether she believes her husband "acted with a lack of integrity" during their 52-year marriage. The lawyer also asked if her husband used his position and power "to manipulate young women." Camille Cosby didn't answer those questions and many others after her lawyer cited marital privilege, the legal protection given to communications between spouses. She repeatedly said she had "no opinion" when pressed on whether she viewed her husband's behavior as dishonest and a violation of their marriage vows. About 50 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of forcing unwanted sexual contact on them decades ago. Cosby has denied the allegations. He faces a criminal case in Pennsylvania, where prosecutors have charged him with sexually violating a former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand. He has pleaded not guilty. Camille Cosby answered questions in the deposition Feb. 22 and again April 19 after her lawyers argued unsuccessfully to stop it. A judge ruled she would have to give a deposition but said she could refuse to answer questions about private communications between her and her husband. Camille Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley, repeatedly cited that privilege and advised her not to answer many questions asked by the women's lawyer, Joseph Cammarata. The exchanges between Cammarata and Cosby became testy at times, and she admonished him: "Don't lecture me. Just keep going with the questions." Using a transcript of a deposition Bill Cosby gave in a civil lawsuit filed by Constand in 2005 and a transcript of an interview she gave to Oprah Winfrey in 2000, Cammarata asked Camille Cosby about extramarital affairs her husband had. "Were you aware of your husband setting up trusts for the benefit of women that he had a sexual relationship with?" Cammarata asked. She didn't answer after her lawyer cited marital privilege. Cammarata asked her about Shawn Thompson, a woman who said Bill Cosby fathered her daughter, Autumn Jackson, in the 1970s. Jackson was convicted in 1997 of attempting to extort money from Bill Cosby to prevent her from telling a tabloid she's his daughter. He acknowledged he had an affair with her mother and had given her money. "Was it a big deal when this came up in the 1970s that your husband had — big deal to you that your husband had an extramarital affair and potentially had a daughter from that extramarital affair?" Cammarata asked. "It was a big deal then, yes," Camille Cosby replied. She said she had "no opinion" on whether her husband's admission he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex violated their marriage vows. Her lawyer objected and instructed her not to answer when Cammarata asked her if she ever suspected she had been given any type of drug to alter her state of consciousness when she had sex with her husband. A spokesman for the Cosbys declined to comment on her deposition. The Cosbys have a home in Shelburne Falls, an hour's drive from Springfield, where the lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed. An attorney handling a separate lawsuit against Bill Cosby revealed Friday that Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner provided sworn testimony Wednesday. In the sexual battery lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Judy Huth says Cosby forced her to perform a sex act on him at the Playboy Mansion around 1974, when she was 15. Bill Cosby's former lawyers have accused Huth of attempting to extort him before filing the case and have tried unsuccessfully to have it dismissed. Huth's attorney, Gloria Allred, said Hefner's testimony will remain under seal for now. Hefner also was named as a defendant in a case filed Monday by former model Chloe Goins, who accuses Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually abusing her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008.   The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they're victims of sexual abuse, but the women accusing Cosby have come forward to tell their stories.___AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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  • Some hope killing will bring peace in Afghanistan     
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Marcus Mundy, former executive director of the Urban League of Portland

The Urban League of Portland has taken two painful blows in the last month. First came the sudden death of Rob Ingram, inspirational leader of the Urban League's Young Professionals. Now, the league has lost its president, Marcus Mundy, after a succession of audits found $44,000 in undocumented expenses.

What's next? Multnomah County has threatened to withdraw funding if the league doesn't demonstrate tightened financial control of its funds. The Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the league's fiscal management. And questions have been raised about $320,000 in City of Portland funding that supports job training and other workforce development activities.

"What they have to show is that they have fiscal controls in place and the money spent was in support of the Urban League's mission," said Dave Austin, communications specialist with the county. "If we don't see that controls are in place the funding is in jeopardy."

Austin said the county has granted the league a total of $729,000, or roughly $250,000 a year. The majority of the money supports the Urban League's senior services.  Some other contracts support health work the league has undertaken. That money is not paid to the league until after the work has been done, Austin said.

"We have a long relationship with the Urban League and we would like to see them succeed," he said.

The Urban League has a 66-year history of advocating for Portland's African American and minority communities. With Mundy at the helm, the league has arguably been more influential than at any time in its past.

In 2008, it produced the State of Black Oregon report, which sounded an alarm about deep poverty in Portland's African American community. Partnering with other communities of color and Portland State University, the league has pushed for research to expose how racial disparities are hurting African American families and children. The league has pushed state legislators to change laws and policies for the benefit of communities of color and low-income people. And it launched an urban gardening program with the African Women's Coalition.

However, both the county auditor and an independent audit by the accounting firm Gary McGee & Co. have found that Mundy's credit card expenditures were not backed up by receipts, leaving no evidence showing the money was spent on legitimate programs. About $44,000 out of the league's total budget of more than $1 million, has not been properly accounted for, according to those audits.

Lolenzo Poe, board chair of the league, says the league is working to satisfy the auditing requirements.

"We are working to assure the county that we have in place an adequate level of accountability that ensures the funds are being spent appropriately," he said. "We believe the systems and the necessary oversight are in place. And we are hopeful that the county will see that those controls and systems are in place."

Poe said nobody has suggested that the programs supported by the grant money are not properly funded and doing a good job. More than 800 seniors receive services through the league, which runs a multicultural day center, offers support to family caregivers and helps seniors stay in their homes. The league also runs a transportation center that helps more than 780 seniors a month get to medical appointments, go shopping and make other trips.

"We want the outstanding work that goes into this community and these necessary and important services to continue, that we all know are so much needed in North and Northeast Portland," Poe said.

Reporting by Willamette Week's Nigel Jacquiss said auditors first questioned the league's finances in 2009, but the problems were never resolved. And promised financial controls were not in place in 2010. Those stories also report that Mundy, whose salary at the League is $91,000 a year, has faced financial losses over real-estate investments after the housing market crash.

Charles Wilhoite, a certified public accountant, and a managing director with the financial services firm Willamette Management Associates, also serves on the Urban League's board. Wilhoite says that while the accounts were mixed up, it was because of mistakes, not malfeasance. The wrong receipts were sent to the auditors, he said, but Mundy did not use the league's credit card for his personal expenses.

"Marcus was not doing anything underhand as regards the funds, or his use of the League credit card," Wilhoite says. "We will take every step we can to get clear on the expenditures that went through."

A hair salon receipt, for example, widely reported as charged to the Urban League's credit card, for example, should never have been sent to the auditors because it was not charged to the league's credit card.

"His personal expenses always went on his personal account and never went through the league charge card. I wouldn't want anyone to think he wasn't being responsible with league funds, because that's not the case."

Wilhoite said the board has been working to clear up the confusion over the expenses, and will deliver a full accounting to the county by the end of this week. He says the discrepancies have above-board explanations.

"Clearly we want to be as transparent and responsible as we can with public funding," he said. "From my perspective it's a matter of making sure we are consistently following our own controls."

Kayse Jama, executive director of the Center for Intercultural organizing, issued a statement Monday in support of the Urban League.

"Over the past 5 years, CIO and the Urban League have collaborated on a diverse array of projects which have highlighted their enormous positive impact for our state's African-American community, immigrants & refugees, and communities of color more broadly," Jama says. "It would be hard to identify an organization of advocates and community leaders that is more tenacious, more passionate, and more effective in their work.

 "Since 2007, we have worked together to ensure that the many efforts toward health care reform in Oregon have been inclusive, equitable, and culturally competent. As partners in the city's Diversity and Civic Leadership program, CIO and the Urban League have worked together to train hundreds of grassroots leaders, and then mobilize those leaders as advocates and organizers within their communities. Most recently, we worked within a diverse coalition to create an Office of Equity and Humans Rights in the City of Portland. In every one of these efforts, the dedication and community-focused nature of the Urban League has shone through.

 "As an advocate for communities of color, the Urban League of Portland has embodied social justice values. CIO stands with the Urban League, and we look forward to the many collaborations to come, in the effort to make Oregon an inclusive place for all."

The board has appointed Quentin Strode, former U.S. Bank executive, as interim president and is starting the search for a new leader.  Strode said he expects his appointment to last a couple of weeks at most, since he is in the midst of moving to San Diego. 

"I do think there is great work being done here," he said. "It is unfortunate that some common sense things just were not followed."

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