NEW YORK (AP) — Convicted pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli was freed Wednesday from prison after serving much of a seven-year prison sentence for lying to hedge fund investors and cheating investors in a drug company.

His attorney, Ben Brafman, said Shkreli, 39, was released early from a prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania. The move was confirmed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

“I am pleased to report that Martin Shkreli has been released from Allenwood prison and transferred to a BOP halfway house after completing all programs that allowed for his prison sentence to be shortened,” Brafman said.

Shkreli was moved to a halfway house overseen by the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ New York Residential Reentry Management Office, the bureau said in a statement.

The Bureau of Prisons said Shkreli’s projected release date from federal custody was Sept. 14.

Brafman said he has encouraged Shkreli to make no statements, and the lawyer planned no comments beyond confirming Wednesday’s moves.

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Shkreli was sentenced to the seven-year term after a 2017 conviction for lying to investors about the performance of two hedge funds he ran, skimming money for himself from those funds, and defrauding investors in a drug company, Retrophin, by hiding his ownership of some of its stock. He was also ordered to forfeit $7.3 million.

Shkreli was originally due to be released from prison in September 2023.

Dubbed “Pharma Bro,” Shkreli gained fame and notoriety after buying rights to Daraprim, a drug used to treat an infection that occurs in some AIDS, malaria and cancer patients and raising its price from $13.50 to $750 per pill.

Shkreli defended the decision as capitalism at work, saying insurance and other programs ensured that people who need Daraprim would ultimately get it.

During the campaign for the presidency in 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton called it price-gouging and future President Donald Trump, a Republican, called Shkreli “a spoiled brat.”

Shkreli resigned as chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals — later Vyera — in 2015, a day after he was arrested on securities fraud charges.

Earlier this year, he was ordered by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote to return $64.6 million in profits he and his former company gained by raising the price of the drug. She also barred him from the pharmaceutical industry for life.

He also once regularly attacked critics on social media and once offered a bounty to anyone who could give him one of Hillary Clinton’s hairs. He also was known for owning a rare, one-of-a-kind album by the Wu-Tang Clan which was sold to satisfy some of his court debts.

Associated Press writer Tom Hays contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

This week’s round up of national appointments includes the Institute of Directors, Sydney Mitchell LLP and Vita Group. Read on to find out more.

Emma Gray, Marta Konieczna, Charlotte Jones, Emma-Louise Hewitt, Shilpa Unarkat, Claire Cooper and Shelley Collingbourne: Sydney Mitchell LLP

Sydney Mitchell LLP has announced seven senior promotions. Emma Gray is a family law solicitor who trained with the firm and is a “compassionate and highly skilled solicitor” in her field.

Marta Konieczna is a conveyancing solicitor who has built up a loyal following of clients and referrers such that the firm have recently expanded the conveyancing team at their Shirley office again.

Charlotte Jones, senior solicitor, took a very different path to becoming a solicitor, using the EMA route. She has excelled at every stage and her clients value her skills as a private client specialist.

Emma-Louise Hewitt heads the employment team and joined the firm in 2018. She has doubled the turnover in that team since she arrived and has been recognised as a rising star in the Legal 500.

Shilpa Unarkat has rebuilt the commercial property department in Shirley and
developed her own network of clients and is now working on developing and
expanding the team further.

Claire Cooper has picked up the reins in the Birmingham office from Fahmida Ismail who has now retired from the firm. Claire will be continuing to build the commercial property team in the City.

And finally, Shelley Collingbourne leads the private client team at the Sheldon office. She has steadily grown through the ranks, having trained at Sydney Mitchell straight from school and has reached the ultimate goal with her promotion to partner.

Debbie Black, Alyson Chadwick and Richard Webster: The Institute of Directors

The Institute of Directors has further bolstered its Manchester team with the appointment of three “leading business figures”. Debbie Black, Alyson Chadwick and Richard Webster join the branch leadership team as ambassadors.

Debbie Black set up DGB Solicitors to specialise in advising directors and shareholders in private companies. As well as being a company director for more than 17 years in the legal sector, Debbie has 30 years’ experience as a litigator, with a focus on good governance, infrastructure and practical policies.

Alyson Chadwick is the co-founder of Hedgehog, which provides consulting, business advisory and coaching services. She has more than 25 years’ experience of leading strategy, planning and transformation delivery. Following spells with LEK Consulting and Co-op Bank, Alyson became group strategy director for Co-op Group.

Richard Webster is a chartered civil engineer and chartered director, with 30 years’ experience in the insurance and support services sectors. Following senior leadership roles with Euler Hermes, Morgan Sindall and AIG, he now works as a non-executive director and advisor.

Debbie Francis OBE, chair of IoD Manchester, added: “I am delighted to welcome Debbie, Alyson and Richard to our fast-growing and vastly experienced Manchester team. By sharing best practice and knowledge, we will ensure that Manchester’s directors can navigate the challenges that lie ahead and prosper.”

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A nearly $1 billion tentative settlement has been reached in a class-action lawsuit brought by families of victims and survivors of last June’s condominium collapse in Surfside, Florida, an attorney said Wednesday.

Harley S. Tropin announced the $997 million settlement during a hearing before Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Michael Hanzman. Still pending final approval, the settlement involves developers of an adjacent building, insurance companies and other defendants.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Hanzman said, reacting to the update from attorneys. “This is a recovery that is far in excess of what I had anticipated.”

Earlier this year, Hanzman had approved an $83 million settlement to compensate people who suffered economic losses such as condominium units and personal property. A key question from the beginning has been how to allocate money from the property’s sale, insurance proceeds and damages from lawsuits among wrongful death cases and property claims.

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The 12-story Champlain Towers South condominium partially collapsed in the early-morning hours of June 24, almost instantly destroying dozens of individual condo units and burying victims under tons of rubble. Rescuers spent weeks carefully digging through mountains of concrete, first to find survivors and later to recover the remains of those who died. Ten days after the initial collapse, demolition crews used explosives to bring down the remaining portion of the building to give searchers access to additional areas where survivors might have been located. A total of 98 people were killed.

The tragedy in the town of Surfside, just north of Miami Beach, triggered lawsuits from victims, families and condo owners, and prompted state and federal investigations. In October, a coalition of engineers and architects said the state of Florida should consider requiring high-rise buildings near the coast to undergo safety inspections every 20 years. And in December, a Florida grand jury issued a lengthy list of recommendations aimed at preventing another condominium collapse, including earlier and more frequent inspections and better waterproofing.

At the time of the collapse, Miami-Dade and Broward were the only two of the state’s 67 counties that had condominium recertification programs.

The main lawsuit, filed on behalf of Champlain Towers South victims and family members, contends that work on the adjacent Eighty Seven Park tower damaged and destabilized the Champlain Towers building, which was in need of major structural repair. Champlain Towers was in the midst of its 40-year structural review when it partially crumbled to the ground.

Video released by a team of federal investigators showed evidence of extensive corrosion and overcrowded concrete reinforcement in the building.

Seven months after the collapse, temporary structural supports were added to areas in the underground garage of Champlain Towers South’s sister tower, Champlain Towers North, in what the building’s condo board called “an abundance of caution.” The condo was built in 1981 and has a nearly identical design as the Champlain Towers South.

The little-known enclave of Surfside comprises a mix of older

Fifteen years ago, LaShan Dixon’s friends challenged her to enter a pageant. The experience, and others that followed, helped her hone in on skills she was lacking.

And now, Dixon is reaping the rewards of her former college dare, walking in a path with a purpose, while supporting others.

Along the way, she discovered that pageants are about more than crowns, pizazz and prizes.

Multiple pageant titles gifted Dixon prize money that helped her pay for college. But it also showed her the pageant world is much broader than a beauty contest.

“I realized how much impact these young girls and women impact the community,” said Dixon, who spends her days (and some nights) as Rutherford County’s public health director. She’s also a Middle Tennessee State University alumna.

“(People) don’t see the long hours and hard work and number of community service hours.”

Her biggest feat so far occurred last month. Dixon was crowned Mrs. United States of America.

Rutherford County Health Department Director LaShan Mathews Dixon was crowned as United States of America Mrs. 2022.

Rutherford County Health Department Director LaShan Mathews Dixon was crowned as United States of America Mrs. 2022.

Through pageantry, she found a love for serving others. Eventually Dixon, her husband, Lamar, and their daughter, Londyn, created HOPE, which stands for “Helping Other People Excel.”

The organization is a platform that honors the memory of the couple’s siblings, who are both deceased. Since its inception six years ago, HOPE has given more than $7,000 in scholarships to Middle Tennessee high school students.

Rutherford County Health Department Director LaShan Mathews Dixon was crowned as United States of America Mrs. 2022 in Las Vegas.

Rutherford County Health Department Director LaShan Mathews Dixon was crowned as United States of America Mrs. 2022 in Las Vegas.

“We wanted to do something to keep their memories alive, to keep their spirits going, because they were both always so loving,” Dixon said.

Prize money from her Mrs. United States of America will also be used to fund more scholarships through HOPE.

“We wanted to do something to help improve the quality of life of current generations,” Dixon said. “I had a lot of people in my life that helped me overcome obstacles and barriers as a young girl.

“I just want to build a legacy.”

In addition to competing in pageants, Dixon has coordinated and participated in numerous fashion shows and exclusive events. She is the CEO of LaShan Dixon, LLC, through which she empowers individuals to feel confident on and off the runway.

“I’m just very grateful to be able to serve. Now I look forward to all the amazing things we as a family are able to do to help young girls and women,” Dixon said, “so they can see their true value.”

MTSU to county health department

Dixon began her career at the Rutherford County Health Department in the Fall of 2008, serving as a TENNderCare Outreach Representative. It marked an opportunity to advocate for underserved residents and communities. Three years later, she was named a public health educator.

By 2017, Dixon was promoted to assistant public health director.

She served as interim director after Dana Garrett’s death and in March 2021, as

It’s Wednesday, welcome to Overnight Defense, your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

Frustration and finger pointing are mounting over attempts to evacuate Americans and Afghans from Mazar-i-Sharif using charter flights and other stalled efforts to get more people out now that the Kabul airlift is finished.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration is moving to clean house when it comes to Trump appointees on military academy advisory boards.

For The Hill, we’re Ellen Mitchell and Rebecca Kheel. Write to us with tips: [email protected] and [email protected]

Let’s get to it.

Frustration mounting over charter flights 

The days-long war of words over charter flights stuck in Mazar-i-Sharif continued Wednesday as Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on the Taliban to allow the flights to leave.

Speaking at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, Blinken said other countries and the United Nations were working on resuming commercial flights to the Afghan capital of Kabul. 

But in the meantime, Blinken said the Taliban can “demonstrate its willingness to respect freedom of movement …  by allowing the departure of charter flights with properly documented passengers.”

Earlier: Over the weekend, Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulOvernight Defense & National Security — Blinken heads to the hot seat Congress fumes over latest Afghanistan chaos Blinken to appear at House hearing on Afghanistan next week MORE (Texas), the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, leveled the charge in a Fox News interview that the Taliban were essentially holding Americans and Afghans hostage by not allowing the flights to leave.

On Tuesday, Blinken said he was “not aware of anyone being held on an aircraft or any hostage-like situation” and that anyone with “valid” travel documents is being allowed to leave. But he also acknowledged some flights have stalled.

But Blinken’s comments only further frustrated lawmakers in both parties, as The Hill’s Laura Kelly reported.

ID fight: A particular flashpoint was Blinken saying the administration could not verify the identities of passengers on the planes. The remark that drew swift pushback from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee whose office is vouching for at least two planes full of American citizens, at-risk Afghan allies and their families, including small children.

“The information we provided the State Department is above and beyond what is usually required for travel in Afghanistan,” Maria McElwain, a spokesperson for Blumenthal, wrote in an email to The Hill in response to the secretary’s remarks in Qatar.

McElwain said the senator’s office provided the State Department with the planes’ manifests as early as Aug. 30, with continual updates through Monday, and that Blinken was “not correct” in saying passenger identities cannot be verified.

She further called it “clearly problematic” for the State Department to rely on the Taliban to individually verify “extremely vulnerable Afghans on these flights.”

AIDES FRUSTRATED, TOO

Congressional aides are also fretting that the administration appears to have lost its

During the mid-1990s I traveled between Dayton, Ohio, and Washington, D.C., twice a month during the school year as half of a commuting couple. I could leave Dayton by 5:15 p.m., drive nearly 80 miles to the Columbus airport during rush hour, park my car in the economy lot, and still get to my gate in plenty of time for a 7:30 p.m. departure.

The terrorist attacks brought swift and lasting changes to the air travel experience in the United States. And after 20 years of ever-more-elaborate airport security protocols, many air travelers have no knowledge of – or only vague memories of – what air travel was like before 9/11.

On the other hand, it’s been jarring to watch how abruptly the sprawling Transportation Security Agency system was created – and how quickly American air travelers came to accept those security measures as both normal and seemingly permanent features of all U.S. airports.

Security Kabuki

In the early decades of air travel, airport security – beyond basic policing – was essentially nonexistent. Getting on a plane was no different from getting on a bus or train.

But in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was a wave of hijackings, terrorist attacks and extortion attempts – the most infamous being that of the man known as D.B. Cooper, who commandeered a Boeing 727, demanded US$200,000 and, upon securing the case, dramatically parachuted from the plane, never to be found. Attacks on U.S. flights usually prompted another new security measure, whether it was the formation of the air marshal program, which placed armed federal agents on U.S. commercial aircraft; the development of a hijacker profile, aimed at identifying people deemed likely to threaten an aircraft; or the screening of all passengers.

Political Cartoons

By 1973, under the new protocols, air travelers had to pass through a metal detector and have any bags X-rayed to check for weapons or suspicious objects.

Above all, airlines didn’t want to inconvenience passengers, and airports were reluctant to lose the extra revenue from family and friends who might frequent airport restaurants, bars and shops when dropping off or picking up those passengers.

In addition, these security measures, though called for by the Federal Aviation Administration, were the responsibility of not the federal government, but the airlines. And to keep costs down, the airlines tended to contract private companies to conduct security screenings that used minimally trained low-paid employees.

The clampdown

All that changed with the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Once the airlines returned to the skies on Sept. 14, 2001, it was immediately apparent that flying was going to be different. Passengers arriving at airports were greeted by armed military personnel, as governors throughout the country had mobilized the National Guard to protect the nation’s airports. They remained on patrol for several months.

Security measures only increased in December 2001, when Richard Reid, the so-called “Shoe Bomber,” attempted to set off explosives in his shoes on an international flight from Paris

MADISON- On September 23, Landon Lee will turn 10 years of age. The fourth grade student-athlete is already making a name for himself among the world of youth baseball as he was selected to represent Alabama in the 10U National All-State Select Championships scheduled for Nov. 20-22 in Marietta, Ga.

The son of Brandon and Melissa Lee and a student at Lindsay Lane Christian Academy, Landon has played for the Knights South travel team and has skipped around the Southeast playing games throughout Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee as a pitcher and first baseman. Playing in the upcoming prestigious tournament is full of excitement and high expectations.

“I feel good about being named to the team and I was a little surprised as I knew there were other good players that could be chosen,” said Landon.

The 5-foot-2 youngster was invited to participate in the 2021 Perfect Game Alabama All-Star Games in Hoover where the three-day event featured skills competition on the first day with games being played the remaining two days. His fastball was clocked at 55 miles per hour and his hitting and fielding talents were assessed by Perfect Game coaches. Three weeks later, his official invitation arrived inviting him to the elite event in the Peach State on a 14-player squad.

“I have fun playing baseball and like the competitive part of game,” said Landon. “On pitcher’s mound I concentrate on my mechanics so I can pitch well. I have a good fastball and a changeup and I’m working on a cutter. At first base, I concentrate on catching the ball and use my height to stretch my body to catch the ball. At the plate, I have base hits and some homeruns while batting fourth in the lineup.”

Landon checked into baseball at age four and soon was named an All-Star in the 6U division as part of the Madison Baseball Association at Palmer Park. He transferred to travel ball a season later and currently hangs his cleats among the 10U Knights South, which includes five players from Madison among its roster. Landon is regarded as possibly the best player on the team.

“My goal is one day play in Major League Baseball for my favorite team the Atlanta Braves,” said Landon. “I practice a lot along with taking hitting and pitching lessons. I sometimes bring a friend over to my house for pitching practice as I have a pitcher’s mound in the backyard.”

Travels for sports is also part of the Lee family in a secondary way as Landon’s eight-year old sister also plays travel softball.

A straight A student in the classroom, Landon is also a strong student of the game. He watches Major League games on television and he and his parents have attended numerous Trash Pandas games at Toyota Field. Studying the game and listening to coaching has made him a solid hitter, a consistent fielder in the field and an accurate pitcher. All of those athletic skills have led him to be

The lawsuits accuse online booking companies of chronically underpaying taxes ranging from 10.5% to 13.38%, calculated as a percentage of gross rental receipts.

Both court filings used an example of an online travel company obtaining a room from a hotel for $150 and selling it online to a customer for $200, then paying the state tax based on the lower wholesale price of $150.

“This business model deprives Nevada taxing authorities including Clark County of taxes due them on the full value of the transaction,” the county lawsuit said.

The amount in dispute includes more than $100 million in unpaid taxes, plus perhaps another $100 million in damages and penalties, Cristalli said.

The revenue would benefit tourism, school, transportation and local government general fund accounts, according to the county lawsuit filed May 14 in Clark County District Court.

Attorneys representing at least 16 named defendants moved the case in July from state to federal court, where a judge now is being asked whether to send it back to state court.

In state court, a hearing is scheduled Sept. 2 before a judge in Las Vegas who decided in May not to throw out the unusual “qui tam” civil lawsuit filed in April 2020 by Fierro and Rogich.

The filing lets private citizen whistleblowers be rewarded for successful outcomes where they act and the government recovers money lost to false claims or other kinds of fraud.

Despite the strongest jobs report in months, Illinois’ unemployment rate remains high as the U.S. rate continues to drop.

Illinois added 35,400 jobs in July, the strongest performance since February, but overall the state’s unemployment rate is holding steady as the rest of the nation’s economy is bouncing back.

New data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows while Illinois added 35,400 jobs from mid-June to mid-July, that did little to help the unemployment situation. Illinois’ unemployment rate remained virtually unchanged, coming in at 7.1% – where it has been stuck since March.

The industry adding the most jobs in July was leisure and hospitality. It added 14,200 positions, yet remains the farthest off pre-pandemic job levels.  Educational and health services added 7,100 jobs; professional and business services payrolls grew by 4,200; construction increased employment by 3,700; trade, transportation and utilities added 3,100 jobs; manufacturing expanded by 2,200 jobs; other services grew by 2,100 positions; information added 700 jobs; mining grew payrolls by 100; and federal government employment increased by 300 jobs.

Some industries did shed jobs during the month. The state of Illinois and local governments cut 600 jobs, while financial activities shed 1,700 positions.

The state’s unemployment rate of 7.1% is far higher than the national rate of 5.4%. While the national unemployment rate has continued to decline in recent months, Illinois’ unemployment rate has remained at 7.1% since March.

Illinois’ unemployment rate is the 8th highest in the nation, far higher than any other neighboring or Midwestern state.

Illinois’ weak labor market performance has not been felt equally, however. Black Illinoisans – who face an unemployment rate of 15.9% – are more than three times as likely to be out of work than white Illinoisans, whose unemployment rate is 5%. Hispanic Illinoisans, facing an unemployment rate of 6.4%, also fare drastically better than Black Illinoisans.

Not only are Black job seekers suffering disparate outcomes in their job searches, but their employment outcomes have also actually gotten worse compared to last year. While white and Hispanic Illinoisans have essentially seen their unemployment rates cut in half from July 2020 to July 2021, the unemployment rate for Black Illinoisans has increased. While there have been increases in the number of Illinoisans looking for work in the past year, the data provides further evidence to suggest Black Illinoisans are being left out of the labor market recovery.

The disparate effects of the COVID-19 economic downturn across industries and demographic groups have persisted during the state’s labor market recovery. Making matters worse for those Illinoisans still out of work, Illinois lawmakers passed a $42.3 billion budget that was unbalanced for the 21st year in a row and imposed $655 million in tax hikes that specifically strike at job creation. Those taxes will hinder Illinois’ economy as it attempts to recover.

Ignoring how public policy, and specifically taxation, impacts a fragile recovery will only lengthen and deepen Illinois’ struggles. But it appears Illinois’ minority workers will struggle the most, with state

Ally Lothman


KENNESAW, Ga.
(Jul 27, 2021)
— Driven by her free spirit and love of adventure, Kennesaw State student Ally Lothman
embarked on the journey of a lifetime at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic when
she packed up a renovated work van and traveled the desolate roads, documenting her
remarkable journey along the way.

Lothman, a senior majoring in journalism and emerging media who will graduate this month, was inspired by the Academy Award-winning film Nomadland, which follows the journey of a woman who travels the country as a van-dwelling nomad.
She decided to create her own version of the film and renovate the van owned by her
parents, and it earned her national recognition for her creativity.

“My boyfriend and I decided on a whim to go and travel when the pandemic hit, and
I wanted to live the van life that I saw on Instagram all the time,” the 28-year-old
Kennesaw native said. “It was amazing and was definitely one of the best trips that
I’ve ever taken.”

Ally LothmanLothman and her boyfriend explored different towns, settling in campgrounds and parking
lots and biking through nearly deserted cities in Maine, Wisconsin, Michigan, Louisiana
and Florida before heading back to Georgia. Lothman worked on her summer classes online
using a hotspot from her phone throughout the trip. Her documentation of her unique
journey through the pandemic reignited her love of photography and video production,
she said.

Combining her travel footage into a video titled “This Old Van,” she documented her
two-month journey and entered it into the Adobe Creative Jam, a national competition
that serves as an outlet for undergraduate college students to share their creative
projects. Lothman’s specific session, presented by Adobe Systems and Home Box Office
(HBO), tasked participants to share a unique project that got them through the pandemic
in a 60- to 90-second video.

Creative JamThe top 10 projects from across the country were awarded best overall, and an additional
five, including Lothman’s video, earned an honorable mention. Another KSU student,
Lamont Hall, also earned an honorable mention for his project titled “The Enigma Diary.”

David Cassilo, assistant professor of communication in KSU’s School of Communication and Media, had encouraged Lothman to submit a project for the contest.

“I’ve had Ally for three courses at KSU, and she has been a terrific student in each,”
Cassilo said. “She is a curious learner who works very hard, and she also leads great
conversations within the classroom. I know that she will succeed in whatever she chooses
to do beyond graduation, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.”

Lothman has been no stranger to travel. After beginning her freshman year at KSU in
2012, she put her academic career on hold and taught English in Spain for over a year.
She returned to KSU and settled into a corporate job in the magazine industry but
found the perfect opportunity to rediscover her love of adventure after she was let
go from her