Archive for ◊ September, 2011 ◊

• Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Dan Lozano, the agent for St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols, will soon begin negotiating one of the largest contracts in sports history, but not before enduring a full-court press of rivals aiming to snag his star client by any means.

Pujols, who could be playing his final weekend in a Cardinals home uniform, said Lozano, his agent since 2000, would continue to represent him, but it hasn’t stopped agents from trying to discredit Lozano in hopes of landing Pujols.

“I know there’s a target on my back,” said Lozano, who spent Thursday with Pujols in St. Louis. “I know what I signed up for, but do I like it? No. I’m tired of the lies. My players are tired of it, too.”

Said Pujols: “I’ve heard all of the dirt about Danny from agents for the last 10 years, all trying to sign me. They’re wasting their time. Danny has been an open book. To me, he’s the best agent in the business, and I trust him with my life.”

Lozano, who represents about 50 players, has drawn recent scrutiny with several high-profile players switching to his agency, including New York Yankees All-Star third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who left high-powered agent Scott Boras.

He also represents All-Stars such as Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto, Texas Rangers infielder Michael Young and San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson, all of whom were at the Beverly Hills Sports Council.

Lozano, 44, left the Beverly Hills Sports Council a year ago. He says his ascent to one of baseball’s high-profile agents has drawn scrutiny and character assassination.

“It sounds like envy and jealousy to me,” Lozano said. “Unfortunately, success breeds resentment, and it can be threatening to my rivals.”

Lozano said he has nothing to hide while acknowledging he and his old firm made mistakes.

There were allegations of sexual harassment by two former employees against Lozano and his former partners at the Beverly Hills Sports Council that were confidentially settled in 2003, according to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Says Lozano: “They were baseless, we disputed them, everything was resolved, and everyone moved on.”

He was arrested on a DUI charge about five years ago, he said, and blames himself for having too much wine with dinner. He attributes a property tax lien against him, since settled, to being short on funds in the aftermath of his split from the Beverly Hills Sports Council.

“The divorce was sad,” Lozano said. “Even though we operated as independent agents under one roof, I no longer agreed with the philosophy. I wanted an agency with my vision, philosophy and culture.”

Lozano remains a Spanish course shy of completing his degree at the University of Southern California, a class he did not complete because, he says, “I was negotiating the biggest deal in baseball history.”

Mike Piazza, Lozano’s first star client, received a seven-year, $91 million contract from the New York Mets in 1999. Lozano no longer holds that distinction but says his “players know my character.”

“I’ve heard everything about the DUI, but let me tell you,” says Rollins, with Lozano since 1998, “this guy is like a brother to me. We’ve been through a lot together. I’ll always have his back.”

That may not keep other agents from trying to lure clients with occasionally underhanded tactics.

“Unfortunately for our business, it’s typical,” San Diego-based agent Barry Axelrod said. “What guys do to take clients from other people is pretty distasteful. The tactics that are used, the mud-slinging and name-calling, it gives the profession a black mark.

“The justification is that any player has the right to change representation at any time, but from what I’ve seen, most guys aren’t dissatisfied until somebody tells them they should be dissatisfied. It’s not pretty.”

Says Lozano: “I just want to take the high road. I don’t want to sling mud. My players know my character, and that’s all that really matters to me. My focus has always been on them.”

Category: Criminal
• Friday, September 23rd, 2011

With a bleached blonde streak on the back of his mohawk, his bottom lip pierced and his chest and arms covered with tattoos, Kenny Stills is clearly the wild child for top-ranked Oklahoma.

THIS Sept. 17, 2011 file photo shows Oklahoma wide receiver Kenny Stills (4) celebrating with fans following the team’s 23-13 win over Florida States during an NCAA college football game, in Tallahassee, Fla. Stills stands out immediately as the wild child for top-ranked Oklahoma. But beyond first glance, he’s so much more.

The thoughtful, curious sophomore attacks life with an open mind and opposing defenses with his speed, size and soft hands. All together, it makes him a budding superstar for the Sooners (2-0).

Stills wasn’t always this way. He recalls writing a paper for school back in California, only to have to redo it all when his parents discovered his handwriting strayed from the lines.

“My parents, they were just really strict on things being perfect,” Stills said. “That taught me a lot, but I’m kind of on my own now. … You only live one time, and I’m not going to be the type of person to say, ‘I wish I did this’ or ‘I wish I tried that.’”

Quarterback Landry Jones says his receiver has a magnetic personality, an ability to gather crowds. His choices in music range from country to rap, from gospel to hard rock, even a little techno.

“I’m just trying to take a stand for people that are unique,” Stills said. “I’m kind of a free spirit, you know what I mean? And people tell me I won’t do stuff, and I do it. That’s how I really take it. I love having fun and enjoying myself, and that’s what I’m doing while I’m here.”

He’s also developing into a playmaker. After then-No. 5 Florida State tied Saturday night’s game at 13, bringing the Tallahassee crowd roaring back to life, it was Stills who provided the answer by stretching out to snag Jones’ 37-yard touchdown toss and put Oklahoma back ahead to stay. Stills finished with a career-high 125 yards receiving.

“The players all love him. But you know, all that, he’s competitive and likes to play and he’s tough, and he’s talented,” coach Bob Stoops said. “He’s got excellent speed, hands. He’s got all the tools. …

“He’s still very young, I think, but he’s not a freshman any more, which he showed the other night. I think he’s just going to continue to get better and better.”

Stills came to Oklahoma only after some convincing from fellow Southern Californian Brennan Clay. The two knew each other from seeing each other show up on a high-school football highlights show, then became friends after meeting at a football camp. They started hanging out on weekends, then Clay started recruiting Stills and defensive back Tony Jefferson to Oklahoma after he made an early commitment in 2009.

Clay persuaded the other two to visit Norman, and it wasn’t long until the Sooners had a California trio coming their way.

“He’s always smiling. He’s for the most part positive. He’s always laughing. Man, I love it about him,” said Clay, who is Oklahoma’s starting running back. “He’s always trying to crack a joke — even though he’s not funny.”

“I love him to death. He’s very charismatic and he keeps everyone motivated. He’s very positive on the field. He’s turning into a really big leader for this offense and for this team and I’m excited to see how his whole arsenal grows. He’s going to be a playmaker even bigger than he is right now.”

Stills gives Oklahoma a potent 1-2 punch at wide receiver. All-American Ryan Broyles does most of his dirty work in the middle of field, coming out of the slot for quick passes or hurting defenses through the Sooners’ horizontal screen game. Stills provides the vertical threat that opens all that up.

“Kenny is a big-play player. I think that he’s shown that he can change the game in a single play,” said co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach Jay Norvell, snapping his finger for emphasis.

Stills was suspended for the season opener, saying “I did my team wrong” after his arrest on a DUI complaint in January. And he brewed up some offseason controversy when he slighted Biletnikoff Award winner Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State on Twitter, then backed away from his DUI comments before the season started.

“I have nothing on him. I couldn’t even tie that guy’s shoes,” he said. “But I gave my opinion and I was wrong. I shouldn’t have even said anything.”

Stills’ stay in the doghouse hasn’t lasted long. Norvell said Stills has joined Broyles, the school’s all-time receiving leader, as players he considers tough to take off the field.

“I think Kenny’s far from done,” Stoops said. “Kenny’s going to get stronger, bigger, faster as he matures and gets older.”

And if everything works out as he hopes, Stills’ exploits on and off the field will turn his time in college into the best years of his life, no matter how others see him.

“He doesn’t really care about what people think or say about him,” Jefferson said. “He’s just doing what he does. He’s good at it. So, why not just go out there and have fun and live your life?”

Category: Criminal
• Friday, September 23rd, 2011

A Monterey woman with a history of reckless driving is now facing murder charges after she drove the wrong-way on Highway 1 near Point Lobos, hit another vehicle head-on and killed the driver, prosecutors said Thursday.Calista Garcia, 24, was high on “several” drugs when the fatal DUI collision happened at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 19, California Highway Patrol officer Robert Lehman said.Garcia’s 2005 Jeep Cherokee crossed over the double yellow lines and slammed head-on into a 1999 Oldsmobile sedan, the CHP said. The Jeep drove over the sedan and flipped across Highway 1 just south of Point Lobos in Carmel.

Calista Garcia

Calista Garcia is seen in a police mug shot.

Driver James Steinmetz, 49, of Sacramento, died at the scene. Garcia, who was high on marijuana and an illegal stimulant, had minor injuries, Lehman said.In court on Thursday, prosecutors said they increased charges from gross vehicular manslaughter to second-degree murder because of what lead up to the deadly accident.According to court records, Garcia has a history of driving while under the influence of alcohol, marijuana and methamphetamine and was convicted of DUI twice.Six months before the Point Lobos crash, a judge sentenced Garcia for another DUI crash. At the July sentencing, the judge warned Garcia that if she drove while drunk or high again and killed someone, she could be put on trial for murder.Prosecutor Doug Matheson said he plans to do just that.If convicted, Garcia faces a sentence of 15 years to life. She is scheduled to be back in court next week for a preliminary hearing.

Category: Criminal
• Friday, September 23rd, 2011

The reason illegals cannot get a license they are illegal.

It is a privilege, not a right to have a license. How would they like to live in Oklahoma, which passed a law that all driver’s license exams will be in English, and no other language. That is what California should do.

DUI checkpoints are necessary. We do not have laws that target illegals. Laws are for all people. If you are driving without a license or insurance, you are breaking the law.

Many people of all nationalities go through the DUI checkpoints. No one was arrested driving under the influence recently, but 24 people were cited for driving without a license or insurance, and had their vehicles impounded.

I believe all people who choose to live in America should learn to speak English, and become citizens or carry a green card. Is that asking too much?

Category: Criminal
• Friday, September 23rd, 2011

A Yorktown man was killed in a DUI crash in Monterey, California last weekend.

KSBW, an affiliate in California , reports that Clifton Hayes, 71, died at the scene after his red Nissan Altima slammed head-on with a white Chevrolet sport utility vehicle just before 9 a.m. Sunday on Highway 68.

Hayes’ wife, Nancy Hayes, 70, is recovering in the hospital from serious injuries, police Lt. Leslie Sonne said Monday.

Police said the Chevrolet driver, Robert Brown, 63, of Monterey, was also seriously injured.

“Witnesses at the scene reported Brown’s vehicle drifting into the oncoming traffic lane,” Sonne said.

Investigators said Brown might have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

KSBW’s sources said Brown was on his way to do community service for a prior DUI conviction when Sunday’s crash occurred.

Category: Criminal
• Friday, September 23rd, 2011

When a congressional seat opens up, it’s never too early to start on the attack.

Sen. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, took a swipe Monday at his likeliest Democratic rival for the 51st Congressional District as he called for “termed out, DUI legislators” to vacate the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.

Vargas ostensibly was concerned that six of the seven sitting board members were one-time lawmakers now earning $128,000 each year. But he used the occasion to note that former Sen. Denise Moreno Ducheny, a Democratic board member also eyeing that 2012 congressional race, was once arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

In a press release, he added the parenthetical note “Drunk-driving arrest” next to the names of former Sens. Roy Ashburn and Ducheny, who were both appointed to the board after leaving the Legislature last year.

Ashburn’s 2010 DUI case, in which he pleaded no contest, is fresh in people’s memories. But Ducheny’s DUI arrest occurred 11 years ago in Sacramento and received little coverage at the time. She pleaded down to a lesser reckless driving charge in 2000, according to court records.

Vargas said Monday he would write legislation next year to eliminate the panel that reviews unemployment and disability benefits. He also demanded that board members step down.

“It is time to stop this wasteful board from being the place where termed out, drunk-driving legislators get an easy government job and get paid $128,000 per year at taxpayers’ expense,” Vargas said in a statement.

Vargas denied later in a phone interview that his effort targeted Ducheny, who previously held his 40th Senate District seat. He said he was reacting to the Senate’s recent confirmation of Ashburn, and that “everyone” had concerns about Ashburn’s 2010 DUI.

The Senate approved Ashburn’s confirmation 31-4; Vargas abstained. He said he cited Ducheny’s arrest because he “wanted to make sure that we didn’t just attack the Republicans,” referring to Ashburn.

Ducheny dismissed Vargas’ announcement as a “disrespectful” effort to “grandstand for what is clearly political reasons.”

“It’s a shame that somebody would take on a whole system and a board that protects the due-process rights of workers just to make a personal attack for his personal gain,” she said. “It was written about me, and so he’s attacking all of my colleagues because he wants to get to me.”

Category: Criminal
• Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

The driver of a Ferrari involved in a fatal high-speed crash on Pacific Coast Highway had two convictions for driving under the influence and another DUI case pending.

Police believe that Vladimir Skvortsov, 24, of Upland was driving the Ferrari southbound on PCH at a high rate of speed — possibly as high as 90 to 100 miles per hour — early Sunday morning when the car veered off the road just north of Sunset Boulevard and hit a power pole, according to LAPD West Traffic Det. Robert DeArman.

The car split in half and fell over a 30-foot cliff to the beach. Skvortsov and his passenger, Basil Max Price III, 23, of Pomona, were ejected.

Price died at the scene and Skvortsov remained in critical but stable condition Monday.

San Bernardino County court records show Skvortsov had DUI convictions in 2007 and 2009 and another case that was pending when the crash occurred.

Skvortsov was not the registered owner of the Ferrari. DeArman said police were still trying to determine why he was driving it, but said that no one had reported the car stolen. They were also investigating whether Skvortsov had been drinking before the crash, police said.

Category: Criminal
• Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

One person is dead and three others injured after a crash in Lexington, and police suspect alcohol and speed as factors in the DUI crash.

It happened Monday night on Liberty Road near Henry Clay Boulevard. That’s where investigators say a green SUV crossed the center line and slammed into another SUV.

Paramedics brought all four people involved in this crash to UK hospital. The coroner identified the man who died in the crash as 54-year-old Richard Hendron of Lexington. Police have not released the other names, and at last check another passenger had suffered life-threatening injuries.

Neighbors along Liberty Road say they’re used to collisions happening nearby, but this one was especially bad. “Sounded like a plane hitting the ground to me,” Matthew Nichols said, “I mean, it was Bam!”

Nichols lives just a few houses down from where the green SUV crashed into a silver Ford SUV, and Nichols says it doesn’t surprise him. “The traffic that goes through here is just too much, and that’s probably why this wreck happened.”

But evidence at the scene suggests this was more than just traffic. “Alcohol is suspected,” Lexington Police Lt. Chris Van Brackel said, “We’re going to be testing that and asking more questions along those lines. I don’t know if he was just too fast for conditions or what caused him to lose control yet.”

Van Brackel says it was the driver of the Green GMC SUV who is suspected of driving under the influence. Van Brackel says that driver lost control in a curve, slid sideways, and crossed the center line colliding with the silver Ford. “There were three people inside the GMC. The front-seat female passenger was partially ejected out the driver side door. There was a backseat passenger that was thrown into the very back of the vehicle, and then the driver.”

Paramedics took the drivers of both vehicles to UK Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, but the two passengers in the green SUV were already in much more serious condition when first responders arrived to rush them to UK as well.

Police say they have been able to talk to the driver of that silver Ford, who was able to give them some information about the crash. As for the driver of green SUV, police say DUI and related charges are pending against him.

Police shut down Liberty Road for several hours between Appletree Lane and Henry Clay Boulevard, so collision reconstruction teams could investigate

Category: Criminal
• Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

About 15 minutes after he was arrested and released to a friend, a drunken-driving suspect was seen behind the wheel of his car in Washington, Pa., state police said.Robert M. Brodnick was stopped on suspicion of DUI near the corner of Jefferson Avenue and West Chestnut Street at about 1:53 a.m. Monday, police said. He was taken to the police station and given a blood-alcohol test that showed 0.195 percent, well over the legal state limit of 0.08 percent, police said.

The arresting troopers released the 58-year-old Washington man to a friend who came to pick him up, and they told him not to drive. He was instructed that his charges would be mailed to him with a court date.Police said those same troopers were in their car at a red light at West Beau Street and Jefferson Avenue just a few minutes later when they looked over and saw Brodnick driving his vehicle in the next lane.Brodnick was arrested again and taken back to the police station, where he was given a blood-alcohol test that showed 0.181 percent, still well above the legal DUI limit.District Judge Joshua Kanalis arraigned Brodnick at about 4 a.m., and Brodnick was taken to the Washington County Correctional Facility on $5,000 bond instead of being allowed to go home with a friend.

Category: Criminal
• Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

An early warning requirement for DUI checkpoints pushed by a Santa Rosa legislator has encountered stiff resistance from local police officials.

The bill, by Democratic Assemblyman Michael Allen and now before Gov. Jerry Brown, would require police to announce the exact location of DUI checkpoints two hours before they are held. It also would require 48-hour notification of a checkpoint’s general location.

Such advance notice would hamper efforts to catch drunken drivers at checkpoints, said Petaluma Police Chief Dan Fish.

“It takes away the effectiveness of the checkpoint,” Fish said. “Drunk drivers are not going to drive through the checkpoints, they’re going to drive somewhere else.”

The issue centers on the dual enforcement of both DUI and driver’s license laws that comes at checkpoints.

Allen has argued that while the purpose of the checkpoints is to reduce drinking and driving, the stops often catch more drivers who do not have licenses.

Originally, the measure, AB 1398, included language that would have ended the police practice during DUI checkpoints of impounding for 30 days vehicles driven by unlicensed drivers.

That language was dropped and recast as AB 353, with Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, as author and Allen as co-author. AB 353 also is before the governor.

The bills are aimed at providing some relief to illegal immigrants, who are disproportionately affected by the 30-impound rule because they are not allowed to obtain driver’s licenses in California.

Category: Criminal
Viagra Cialis Levitra Kamagra tretinoin cream accutane buy viagra payday loans