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Kentucky leader pleads guilty in kickbacks scheme

•  Headline News     updated  2014/08/28 11:39


Circular saws squealed and construction workers hammered away on buildings, part of this Appalachian area's painstaking recovery from a deadly 2012 tornado.

About 60 miles away, inside in a federal courtroom Tuesday in Lexington, the elected official who led the reconstruction in Morgan County sobbed as he pleaded guilty to a fraud charge stemming from a kickback scheme.

Judge-Executive Tim Conley, the county's top official, received $120,000 to $200,000 to steer work to a contractor in a scheme that started three years before the tornado and continued while the town struggled to rebuild, prosecutors said. Conley could spend years in prison.

His supporters had a hard time believing the three-term Republican had gone astray.

"Everybody respected Tim Conley," said Morgan County resident Steve Gullett. "I just didn't think that he'd be caught up in something like this. It's heartbreaking."

The recovery has been slow in West Liberty, the county seat ravaged by a tornado on March 2, 2012. The new judicial center has opened, and a few businesses have sprung up downtown. A bank that anchored downtown is being rebuilt, but construction is in its early phases, leaving a massive gap in the tiny downtown.


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Washington high court to hear charter school case

•  Headline News     updated  2014/08/19 14:52

The Washington Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether the state's voter-approved charter school law violates the state constitution.

Oral arguments concerning the lawsuit brought by charter school opponents have been scheduled for the afternoon of Oct. 28.

A King County Superior Court judge found in December that parts of the new law are unconstitutional. Judge Jean Rietschel's decision focused on whether certain taxpayer dollars can be used to pay for the operation of charter schools.

Both sides asked the Supreme Court to skip the appeals court process and directly review the case.

Attorney Paul Lawrence says the briefs to the court and the oral arguments will focus on that part of the lawsuit.

The state's charter school system was approved by voters in 2012.

Ala court upholds generic drug decision

•  Law Firm News     updated  2014/08/19 14:51

The Alabama Supreme Court is standing by a decision that business sees as a defeat.

The court on Friday issued an opinion that mostly parallels its ruling last year in a generic drug case.

A divided court says the original decision isn't as broad as some are claiming. But a majority stuck by a 2013 decision saying a brand-name drugmaker can be held responsible by someone who took a generic medication made by a different company.

The Business Council of Alabama says it's disappointed. So is Wyeth, the drug manufacturer sued by Danny and Vicki Weeks over the man's use of a generic form of the brand-name medicine Reglan.

The Weeks filed suit in federal court, and a judge asked the Supreme Court to clarify state law.

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