Monthly Archives: September 2006

2 Florida Priests Stand Accused of Grand Theft

Monsignor John Skehan and Rev. Francis Guinan stand accused of pilfering $8.6 million from St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in Delray Beach. One priest has already been arrested and the other is being sought by law enforcement authorities. Guinan, who is being sought, had an intimate relationship with his bookkeeper and paid her child’s school tuition as well as her American Express bill with parish funds. He also stands accused of using the parish coffers for gambling trips to Las Vegas and the Bahamas.

Two Florida Priests Accused of Pilfering

Two priests stationed at St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in Delray Beach have been accused of absconding with millions in parish funds. The church, located in the Diocese of Palm Beach, lost $8.6 million in funds earmarked for parish operations, a school, and the poor. The two priests, Monsignor John Skehan, who was pastor at St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church for four decades, was arrested Wednesday night on charges that he stole $8.6 million from the church, using the money to buy property and other assets, investigators said. The other priest, The Rev. Francis Guinan, who succeeded Skehan three years ago, has disappeared and was being sought, authorities said.

New Twist in Tobacco Cases

When federal judge Jack Weinstein ruled yesterday that he had found substantial evidence that the so-called light cigarettes were just as dangerous as regular cigarettes and the manufacturers knew it, it opened a potential flood gate of litigants. That’s why Judge Weinstein argued in favor of granting the class action status. Interestingly, the case which was first filed in 2004, does not claim that smokers suffered personal injury. Rather, the suit argues that industry defrauded consumers beginning as early as 1971, when Philip Morris began selling Marlboro Lights, the first light cigarette.

Judge Allows Class Action Status for “Light” Smokers

A federal judge has granted class action status to a group of smokers (estimated at tens of millions) who were duped by the tobacco industry by cigarette labeling that proclaimed that the cigarettes were “light” and therefore less dangerous. The judge stated that he will consider expanding the class to include smokers of “low tar” cigarettes as well as the “light cigarettes”.

Docs Told to Avoid Financial Ties to Drug Research

Physicians’ financial interests should not overtake the needs of a patient when it comes to dealing with drug and medical device manufacturers. This was the obvious conclusion arrived at by a group of bio-ethicists at a conference hosted by Cleveland Clinic and sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. The recent spate of ethical issues over doctors’ involvment with drug and device approval has raised ethical questions within the medical community.

Big Rigs and Travel Safety

The consumer safety watchdog group Public Citizen has warned against the increase of heavy trucks on local roads and interstates. Several major federal studies have shown that trucks heavier than the 80,000-pound trucks currently allowed by federal law have a greater risk of crashes, according to opponents of the heavier rigs.
Citizens and political representatives have not been told the truth about the significant safety risks, infrastructure damage and costs of allowing overweight trucks on the Interstate. And they have been misled into thinking big trucks will disappear from local roads if allowed on the full Interstate. This is untrue,” said Public Citizen president Joan Claybrook

New Auto Safety Measures to Take Effect by 2012

By 2012, new automobiles will be required to have anti-rollover technology installed in their vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to industry analysts, the new technology will save thousands of lives annually as well as reduce healthcare costs. Ford Motor Co. said earlier this week that it would put stability control on its entire lineup by the end of 2009 and General Motors Corp. is planning to have the technology on all vehicles by 2010. Several automakers have made it standard equipment on SUVs.

Big Tobacco and Big Oil Make Strange Bedfellows

As the 2006 election season heats up, two of the largest industries in the country are pouring millions of dollars into campaigns to keep their corporate profits rolling. A recent San Francisco Chronicle article on big tobacco, the author states that oil and tobacco are pouring huge sums of money into campaign coffers. Hopefully, voters will be swayed by good public policy and not the big money of these corporations.

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