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Documents Shed Light on ESCU Student's Murder


Newly released court papers are shedding light into the hours leading up to the murder of college student Alyssiah Wiley.

Wiley went missing April 20. Her body was found in Trumbull nearly a month later. Her boyfriend, Jermaine Richards, has been charged with her murder.

The tumultuous four-year relationship between Jermaine Richards and Wiley is described in the 12-page affidavit.

Wiley was last seen when Richards dropped her off at a Dairy Queen in Willimantic. Phone records confirm that Wiley texted friends saying, " I had to get out of that car," referring to Richards' vehicle.

Wiley also texted friends that night asking to get drinks but was not heard from again. A search started after the Eastern Connecticut State University student never showed up for a sorority meeting or class days later.

According to the documents, Wiley tried to break up with Richards over Facebook in early April. Richards allegedly did not like this idea and told a friend, "She doesn't know who she's messing with... Man, I'm going to get rid of her. "

When the friend asked him how, Richards replied, "Trust me, I'm a nurse."

Police also say it was Richards' cell phone that led them to the body. Police were able to ping Richards' phone in the wooded area in Trumbull where Wiley's body was discovered.

Richards is due back in Bridgeport Superior Court on Wednesday.


Photo Credit: Facebook

Man Tried to Avoid Ignition Interlock Device: Police


A Westbrook man was arrested Monday after police said he asked several people to breathe into a device that would allow his vehicle to start.

Kenneth Palifka, 67, and a friend were at the Clinton Town Marina, trying to pull Palifka's boat out of the water by hand, witnesses told police. He asked several people at the marina to provide an alcohol-free breath sample for his Ignition Interlock Device, police said. The device had been placed in his vehicle by court order after numerous prior DUI arrests, according to police.

When officers arrived, they determined Palifka and his friend had returned from boating on Long Island Sound and had been drinking throughout the day. The pair couldn't start Palifka's truck to put the boat on a trailer and pull it from the water, police said.

Palifka was charged with avoidance of an ignition interlock device. He was released on $500 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on July 1.

Photo Credit: Clinton Police

Man Pleads Guilty to $200,000 Fraud Scheme


A Connecticut man pleaded guilty today to a $200,000 investment fraud scheme, the U.S. State Attorney's office said.

Jonathon Garcia, 24, formerly of Middletown, was arrested and charged with wire fraud after falsely telling friends and acquaintances he was developing a website and iPhone app. He asked for investments and loans to supposedly help jump start the venture, the State Attorney's office said.

As part of the scam, Garcia created fake documents including checks, bank accounts statements and a letter on what looked like the letterhead of a prominent Connecticut hedge fund management company, according to the State Attorney's office.

Garcia has been held since his arrest on March 18 and is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 10.


Photo Credit: Getty Images

San Jose Sues MLB Over A's Move


The City of San Jose has filed a lawsuit against Major League Baseball Tuesday regarding the Oakland A's move to San Jose.

San Jose claims MLB is unjustly standing in the way of the A's move, which owner Lew Wolff has been attempting to do since 2004.

The lawsuit names MLB Commissioner Bud Selig specifically.

According to the lawsuit, MLB has stalled any progress in getting the MLB owners to vote on whether the A's can move to San Jose. Click to view lawsuit (PDF).

San Jose has been in the mix as a possible location for the team since at least 2009. The city has a stadium site, a sponsor and artist renderings of the field (photos to the right).

But any potential move by the A's to San Jose would need MLB approval. That's because the San Francisco Giants claim they have the exclusive rights to Santa Clara County under the MLB Constitution.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and city leaders held a news conference to announce the suit Tuesday.

VIDEO: Fans React to San Jose Suing MLB to Move A's

City Councilman Sam Liccardo noted a recent incident at coliseum that left players without the use of the locker room showers as proof the team needs a new stadium.

"Nothing says do you know the way to San Jose like backed up sewage in locker rooms," Liccardo said. On Sunday, backed up pipes from a big crowd had raw sewage spewing into the clubhouse. Liccardo said San Jose can do better. "Hopefully, MLB still knows that tune."

Reed noted that the city has made an "exhaustive" four-year effort to work with Major League Baseball to resolve any concerns about our city’s capacity to host a major league ballclub. 

“During that time, it has become abundantly clear that Major League Baseball prefers to use territorial restrictions as an excuse to restrict commerce and prevent the Athletics from relocating to San Jose. This restriction is costing San Jose residents millions of dollars in new annual tax revenues that could go towards funding more police officers, firefighters, libraries, gang prevention efforts, road repairs and other critical city services," Reed said.

The lawsuit claims it comes after "the blatant conspiracy by Major League Baseball (“MLB”) to prevent the Athletics Baseball Club from moving to San Jose. For years, MLB has unlawfully conspired to control the location and relocation of major league men’s professional baseball clubs under the guise of an “antitrust exemption” applied to the business of baseball."

"I have no details," A's owner Lew Wolff told NBC Bay Area. "However, I am not in favor of legal action or legal threats to solve business issues."

“This is an economic rape and pillage. It’s all about greed. This is not only a legal case, this is a moral outrage," Joe Cotchett, the attorney representing San Jose, told NBC Bay Area. “[It's] the tenth largest city in the nation… being subjected to a cold shoulder by Bud Selig.”

Regarding fan support in Oakland and the possibility of taking the team away from there, Cotchett said, “The fans of the A’s are going to continue to be the fans of the A’s, and they’re going to drive a few more miles. But you know what they’re going to have? They’re going to have a beautiful new stadium. It’s going to be competitive. They can go to the bathrooms without a sewer problem, and they can eat some good food and they will be delighted with a brand new stadium.”

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said she is still hoping the A's will stay in Oakland. 

"Instead of lawsuits, Oakland is focused on building a new stadium for the A’s here in their hometown. We’ve offered two sites: Howard Terminal is a beautiful waterfront location facing the Bay, and Coliseum City is one of the great development projects of our time. Both would make fantastic sites for a new stadium," Quan said.

San Jose hired high-powered lawyer Joe Cotchett to represent San Jose.

The San Francisco law firm of Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy explained the suit this way:

The City of San Jose, individually and as successor agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Jose, and the San Jose Diridon Development Authority, sued Major League Baseball and Major League Baseball Commissioner Huber “Bud” Selig. The Complaint alleges that Major League Baseball interfered with San Jose’s prospective economic advantage and conspired to prevent the Athletics Baseball Club from relocating to San Jose, California, in violation of Federal and California antitrust laws.

The firm has handled some of the largest antitrust cases in the nation and represented the NFL in similar litigation.

In order to override the Giants' territorial claim, Wolff would have to convince at least 75 percent of MLB team owners and Selig to favor moving the A's to San Jose. So far, the owners have not even called for a vote on the issue.

For now, the A's continue to play in the aging O.co Coliseum in Oakland.

San Jose officials cited an independent economic analysis report that showed the ballpark would generate the following benefits:

  •   $5 million per year in new tax revenues to the City and other local governments
  •   $130 million per year in total net new economic output
  •   Nearly 1000 new full and part-time jobs.

 Major League Baseball representatives said the league will have no comment on the suit.

Photo Credit: Gensler Architecture

Blagojevich Lawyer Wants More Time to File Appeal


It looks like the world is going to have to wait a bit longer for Rod Blagojevich's version of why he deserves a new trial.

The former Illinois governor was convicted in 2011 of 17 counts of corruption — including trying to sell President Barack Obama's former Senate seat — and is now serving a 14-year prison sentence.

His appeal was due next Monday, but his legal team has quietly filed a motion asking for nine extra days, "through and including July 3, 2013."

"This motion is necessitated, not by lack of diligence, but because of the length of the trial record," wrote attorney Leonard Goodman, who also cited the complexity of the issues, and the work he is doing on other cases.

Goodman wrote that he and co-counsel Lauren Kaesberg have analyzed more than 10,000 pages of trial transcript and "dozens of tape recorded conversations."

"Additional time is required to finish researching the law and writing the argument sections of the brief," Goodman writes. "Counsel has discussed the need for an extension of time with Mr. Blagojevich, who understands and accepts the need for this request."

Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison. He is serving his sentence at the federal prison in Englewood, Colo. Even with time off for good behavior, his earliest release date would come in 2024.

Photo Credit: AP

Cousteau's Grandson Plans 31-Day Florida Underwater Exploration


Filmmaker and oceanographic explorer Fabien Cousteau will spend 31 days underwater in Florida exploring the ocean.

Starting Sept. 30, Cousteau will lead Mission 31, where he and his team will live underwater and conduct research experiments, according to his website.

Cousteau's base will be at the underwater lab called Aquarius, which is owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and managed by Florida International University.  The laboratory is located about 60 feet under sea level in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

This mission will be the longest that Aquarius ever hosted, his website said. Scientists' missions at Aquarius usually last about 10 days, according to NOAA.

The team will research the underwater effects climate change has on corals, sponges and sea life. They will also do experiments to determine how long humans can live without the sun, the effects of long-term high pressure and long-term saturation diving, according to Cousteau's website.

Mission 31 also coincides with the 50th anniversary of his grandfather's greatest legacy. Cousteau's grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau led the first attempt at living and working underwater on Conshelf Two.

"When my grandfather's Conshelf Two mission was complete he produced an Academy Award-winning documentary film (World Without Sun), but still received criticism rooted in disbelief of how he captured the mind-boggling underwater scenes," Cousteau said in a statement. "Using the latest camera technology, we will be able to show the world every second of Mission 31 in unedited, real-time and I believe it's going to shock people. We have explored less than five percent of our ocean realms; there's so much more to be discovered."

The Weather Channel partnered with Cousteau to show ongoing coverage, including live reports, the website said.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Facebook Outage Sparks Online Frenzy


Facebook crashed on Tuesday and people took to Twitter to lob complaints, laugh and joke about the outage. Website monitoring site DownRightNow noted that the social network went down at around 9:10 p.m. ET.

Those who tried logging on saw this error message:

As of 11:00 p.m. ET, the site is back up. It is unclear what sparked the outage and how widespread the problem was, NBC News reported.

Were you affected by the outage? Tell us what you did to pass time in the comments section below.

Photo Credit: AP

Yahoo: 13,000 Data Requests From Law Enforcement in Six Months


Do you Yahoo? The government does.

Yahoo says that U.S. law enforcement agencies filed "between 12,000 and 13,000" requests for data from Jan. 1, 2013 to May 31 of this year, according to Reuters.

Yahoo made the announcement in a blog on its Tumblr page. Police most-often request information pertaining not to national security, but in cases concerning "fraud, homicides, kidnappings" and similar cases, according to the news wire.

Some data requests, however, were made under the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, the bit of American security policy brought into mainstream focus by the recent NSA leak.

The NSA, according to documents provided by former employee Edward Snowden, has been "acquiring customer data from" major US tech firms like Yahoo "for years," Reuters reported.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Starbucks to Post Calorie Counts Nationwide


Coffee drinkers might soon reconsider splurging on 460-calorie Java Chip Frappuccino at Starbucks.

Beginning next week, the coffee giant will post calorie counts on their menu boards, getting ahead of the federal menu-labeling requirements that will go into effect later this year.

The company’s decision follows its recent smoking ban within 25 feet of stores. These moves demonstrate Starbucks commitment to becoming a health-conscious leader in the food and beverage industry.

It seems as if the change will be a win-win for customers, according to two departments. The Stanford Graduate School of Business found that when calorie information was posted, consumers ordered items with 6 percent fewer calories.

“We are encouraged by the findings highlighted in the Stanford study that show posting calories can have a positive impact on an individual's daily caloric intake,” Starbucks spokeswoman Linda Mills said.

Additionally, market research firm NPD Group found that consumers spent 20 cents less on average per purchase.

So, what does this mean? Restaurants with calorie counts posted on their menu boards may be selling healthier choices to their customers, but may also be losing money in lieu of the change.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Man Smuggles 7 Snakes in His Jacket


A Tyler snake expert pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to smuggling seven Peruvian snakes into the United States by concealing them underneath his jacket.

William Lamar, 63, was caught with the snakes in August at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. He had purchased the snakes at a market in Lima, Peru, and flew with them in his jacket to Miami and then to DFW, where a Transportation Security Administration officer found them while Lamar was trying to board a commuter flight to Tyler.

Lamar is a partial owner of Colorado-based ecotourism company Green Tracks, according to a representative who answered the phone at the company's listed phone number Tuesday. His biography on the company website states that Lamar also conducts research on reptiles and amphibians for the University of Texas at Tyler.

A university spokesperson confirmed Tuesday that Lamar has been an adjunct professor there but was not able to confirm his current status with the school.

Lamar is the author of at least three books on snakes and reptiles and has been a speaker at an event for the Austin Herpetological Society, among other events in that field.

According to several articles posted online, Lamar has spent decades doing research in the Amazon and leading tours in the region.

According to U.S. Attorney John M. Bales, Lamar stated in an Eastern District of Texas courtroom that he knew he was violating the law by transporting the snakes in his jacket without proper authorization.

Lamar was not available for comment Tuesday.

He could face up to five years in prison at sentencing, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock and Green Tracks

Ex-USC Prof. Wanted by FBI Arrested in Mexico


A former USC professor on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted fugitives list for alleged child-sex crimes has been arrested in the resort city of Playa del Carmen in Mexico, authorities said Tuesday - just a day after he was added to the list.

Walter Lee Williams, 65, is wanted on charges of sexual exploitation of children and traveling abroad for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with children. Prosecutor Gaspar Armando Garcia Torres told the Associated Press that Williams was captured late Tuesday while drinking coffee near a park in the Caribbean beach town.

FBI officials confirmed the arrest Tuesday night. Bill Lewis, the assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office, planned to answer media questions about Williams at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Williams was added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list Monday after being indicted on charges of producing child pornography and engaging in sexual acts with minors.

Walter Lee Williams, 64, was the 500th person added to the list since its creation in 1950, the agency announced.

Williams is accused of traveling from Los Angeles to the Philippines in January 2011 to engage in sex acts with two 14-year-old boys and taking sexually explicit pictures of one of them. He allegedly met the two boys online in 2010 and had Internet webcam sessions with them.

Williams was a tenured professor of anthropology, history and gender studies at USC. According to a profile that has since been removed from the USC website, Williams was a founding editor of the International Gay & Lesbian Review and also taught at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the 1980s.

The FBI said Williams preyed upon boys between ages 14 and 17, many of whom live in economically underdeveloped countries.

“Because of his status, he has the means and access to children, and that’s what makes him dangerous,” said FBI Special Agent Jeff Yesensky in a video released by the agency. “He preys on the most vulnerable children.”

Williams was charged in Los Angeles on April 30 with one count of producing child pornography, one count of traveling for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and two counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading directly to Williams’ arrest.

He is a former Palm Springs resident who has an extensive history of travel through Southeast Asia -- specifically the Philippines -- and may travel to Mexico and Peru, the FBI said. He is also affiliated with the Buddhist Universal Association in Los Angeles.


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Photo Credit: FBI

Chicago Hospital Allows Visiting Hours for Pets


Sometimes the most effective comfort comes from man's best friend.

Rush University Medical Center took that to heart, adopting a formal policy that allows pets to visit certain patients in their rooms. The hospital became the first facility in the area to officially set such rules in December.

Rush began researching requests for animal visitors in 2010, and in the end, officials decided the reward was worth the risk.

The hospital issued a 21-point list of rules outlining animal visits. Dogs and cats are the only pets allowed, for example, and any messes must be cleaned and sanitized by the handler. Before pets are allowed through the door, the doctor and of course patient must consent to the visit.

Pets must have proof of rabies vaccination and must be groomed and bathed before visiting. They aren't allowed to visit any rooms other than that of the pre-approved patient.

Bernadette Slesinski-Evans and her dachshund Sadie became the first patient to take advantage of the rules.

Darien Schools Delayed After Search for Man With Gun


Darien police warned residents to stay indoors and schools were delayed as officers searched for a man with a gun along Tokeneke Road Wednesday morning.

The man walked into a restroom at the service area on the northbound side of Interstate 95 this morning and displayed a handgun, according to police. The man, who was wearing camouflage shorts, then ran off, heading along the railroad tracks toward Norwalk.

Darien school administrators were notified of the search and decided to put Darien High School and Middlesex Middle school on lockout as a precaution, according to a statement on the Darien Public Schools website.  All elementary schools were also put on a 90-minute delay.

Just past 8 a.m., school administrators were told the situation was all clear and that the lockout could be lifted.


Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

2nd Round of Potential Juror Questions in Zimmerman Trial


The second round of questioning of potential jurors in the George Zimmerman trial began Wednesday morning.

A pool of 40 potential jurors were in the Seminole County courtroom, which was reconfigured to accommodate them. Those potential jurors went through the initial round of questioning, which began last week and was focused solely on pretrial publicity.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the February 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. He has pleaded not guilty, saying he acted in self-defense.

The parents of both Zimmerman and Martin were inside the courtroom Wednesday, as was Zimmerman's wife and sister. In an emailed statement, Zimmerman's brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr., said they were there for support.

"Despite safety considerations, the time was right to do what they could to visibly advocate for George's innocence," Robert Zimmerman Jr. said. "Our parents have avoided showing their face on-camera because of numerous death threats directed at our entire family."

He added that the family is caring for his ailing grandmother, which could prevent some family members from attending the court sessions.

"Going forward, security and other concerns are paramount and our periodic absence from court should not be misinterpreted as a withdrawal of support," he wrote. "Our position as a family has been clear & consistent since the night George was attacked: We are all sympathetic to the tragic reality of outliving a son or daughter, however... George acted in self-defense, self-defense should not be criminalized & we stand by George because he told the truth."

Circuit Judge Debra Nelson began by instructing the potential jurors not to talk or communicate with anyone about the case, before she read the formal charge against Zimmerman to them.

"Please understand that this questioning is not for the purpose of prying into your affairs for personal reasons but is only for the purpose of obtaining an impartial jury," Judge Nelson said.

Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda was the first to question potential jurors Wednesday.

"We are here to seek justice," de la Rionda said, before reiterating that the case should be tried inside the courtroom.

"Whatever you read or saw outside this courtroom cannot, I want to stress that again, cannot factor in any way in your decision," de la Rionda said. "What you saw on TV or on the Internet or read by virtue of what the media said is completely irrelevant."

The jury that will eventually be selected to hear the case will be sequestered for the duration of the trial, Judge Nelson said last week.

Man Arrested in Connection With UTA Threat


The campus at the University of Texas at Arlington was closed and classes were canceled Wednesday morning due to reports of an armed man headed toward the school.

Dallas police said the incident began when a former UTA student threatened to harm himself with a semi-automatic gun. UTA spokeswoman Kristin Sullivan says the student was last enrolled in 2008 with an undeclared major.

DPD officials said the man barricaded himself in an apartment. While officers searched for the man, police notified UTA officials about the search. Based on that report, UTA took security actions.

"UT Arlington takes these kind of threats very seriously which is why we closed the campus this morning and canceled classes until further notification," Sullivan said.

A UTA emergency alert shortly before 4:30 a.m. Wednesday indicated the campus was closed. Classes and other events were canceled as well.

"There is no imminent threat, however, as a precaution, we're going to make sure the campus is absolutely secure and safe. That's the most important thing," Sullivan said.

At 7:30 a.m., a message posted to the MavAlert Emergency Notifications page on the UTA web site stated the following:

"The UT Arlington campus is closed, and classes, events and summer camps are canceled until further notice as police continue to investigate a report of a man traveling to campus with a gun. Anyone on campus should remain inside. No one should travel to campus."

An alert sent on the MavAlert Emergency Notifications page on the UTA web site stated the campus was reopened around 9:29 a.m. and scheduled events, including classes, would resume at noon.

Additionally, the school has asked for all employees to report to campus as soon as possible.

Sullivan said several thousand people typically would be on campus for summer classes, camps and other activities. UTA's spring enrollment was nearly 34,000 students.

Early Confusion on Threat Details

The alert began as text posted to the school's web site at 4:28 a.m., which stated the following:

"Unconfirmed report Dallas PD informed UTA PD subj. w/ gun may be en-route to UTA campus. If on campus stay indoors/ off campus stay away until further notice."

UTA police said that Dallas police located the individual they believed was possibly headed to the campus. UTA police said that individual was inside an apartment in Dallas but was refusing to come out.

NBC 5 contacted the Dallas Police Department to confirm this information, but dispatch officers said they were unaware of any barricaded subject. The police department later confirmed the information about a man barricaded inside an apartment during a press conference around 11 a.m.

Previously, the university told NBC 5 they planned to release an "all clear" alert. However, an update at 6:17 a.m. stated the following:

"Police continue to investigate unconfirmed reports of a man suspected of traveling to campus with a gun. Stay away from campus or remain indoors until further notified."

NBC 5 's Keaton Fox and Jeff Smith contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5

Volunteers Sought to Monitor Police Surveillance


One Southern California city is looking for volunteers -- to monitor a new surveillance camera system.

With Banning, Calif., becoming the latest city in Inland Empire to add a surveillance system, Police Chief Leonard Purvis is hoping members of the senior community will apply at the department to join the watch.

The 12 cameras are located at the intersection of Ramsey Street and San Gorgonio Avenue, as well as Repplier and Roosevelt Williams Parks.

The cameras record 24 hours a day and keep up to 30 days of video. Some of the cameras can pan and zoom into areas hundreds of yards away with high-quality resolution.

There are speakers above the cameras so the person monitoring the system can warn the public.

Neighboring Redlands has been using a similar system.

"The chief calls it effective policing," said Liza Kester, a technician with the Banning Police Department.

The idea of installing the cameras came up about two years ago when a 13-year-old girl was raped during daylight hours on a playground set at Roosevelt Williams Park.

Severe budget cuts also played a role, with the department downsizing from 41 officers to 27.

"Burglaries on the rise, thefts on the rise, we wanted to do our part and think outside the box," Purvis said.

Still, some critics don't like the idea of police recording the public 24 hours a day.

"I don't appreciate someone looking over me all the time. I think it goes against what this country stands for," said Matt Buckmaster, who works in Banning.

Kids Learn How to "Smoke" Alcohol


Doctors are growing concerned over a new, potentially dangerous way young people are consuming alcohol: smoking it. Chris Glorioso reports.

Celebrities Compete on Pro-Am Day at Travelers


Celebrity Pro-Am day at the Travelers Championship kicked off this morning at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell with celebrity mini golf, a charity tournament hosted by actor Alec Baldwin.

Participants competed to win $2,500 donated to the charity of their choice. One-hundred percent of tournament proceeds go toward charity.

Baldwin is representing the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a summer camp for children battling chronic diseases and debilitating conditions, and has been playing alongside one of its campers.

The mini golf tournament teed off in two waves at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Teams of three included celebrities and members of the local and national media.

Anchor Brad Drazen and reporters Amy Parmenter and Monica Buchanan won the tournament for NBC Connecticut, donating its winnings to the Urban League of Greater Hartford.

The Pro-Am tournament began at 6:50 this morning and will continue until 2 p.m. Noteworthy participants include:

  • UConn basketball coaches Geno Auriemma (teeing off at 1:10 p.m.), Kevin Ollie (who teed off at 7:30 this morning) and Chris Dailey (12:40 p.m.)
  • Former Red Sox player Tim Wakefield (1:00 p.m.)
  • Celebrity chef Ming Tsai (1:20 p.m.)
  • ESPN’s Chris Berman (12:50 p.m.)
  • Former NFL star Andre Tippett (12:50 p.m.)
  • “The Voice” season one winner Javier Colon (1:20 p.m.)

WWE legend Sgt. Slaughter and Olympic gold medalist and NBC commentator Tim Daggett are also attending.


Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Ousted Men's Wearhouse Exec Had Board Disputes


In a surprise move, the Men's Wearhouse board of directors on Wednesday ousted George Zimmer - a national icon known for personally guaranteeing the inexpensive suits and prom tuxedos his company has sold for decades - from his position as executive chairman without stating why.

The board said it “expects to discuss with Mr. Zimmer the extent, if any, and terms of his ongoing relationship with the Company.”

Zimmer declined to speak to an NBC Bay Area reporter when he arrived Wednesday at the executive's East Bay home.
Instead, a Zimmer representative issued a statement: "Over the last 40 years, I have built MW into a multi-billion dollar company with amazing employees and loyal customers who value the products and service they receive at MW. Over the past several months I have expressed my concerns to the Board about the direction the company is currently heading. Instead of fostering the kind of dialogue in the Boardroom that has in part contributed to our success, they Board has inappropriately chosen to silence my concerns through termination as an executive officer."
Zimmer isn't just any clothier. He is the founder and the face of the Fremont, Calif.-based company, known for his folksy, no frills commercials, and his slogan, "“You’re going to like the way you look. I guarantee it."

Many of his loyal customers quickly jumped on social media, supporting the man they have seen on their television sets for years. "The board is going to hate the way this all turns out. I guarantee it," posted Jack Bagley to the bottom of this story.

The Men's Wearhouse was founded in 1973 and is one of North America's largest specialty retailers of men's apparel, with 1,143 stores.

When Zimmer wasn't selling suits, he was a political activist. Campaign expenditure reports show Zimmer donating more than $150,000 to Prop. 19, an unsuccessful California measure to legalize marijuana in 2010, and $260,000 to a similar failed measure in 1996. He donated to anti-tobacco measures and early childhood programs.

He also was a major philanthropist to charities he believed in. One was the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, which honored him with an honorary doctor of philosophy in humane letters at a ceremony in San Francisco.

Under his leadership, the Men's Warehouse has been long listted on Fortune's "The 100 Best Companies to Work For" since 1999.

The abrupt departure comes a week after Men's Wearhouse reported that its fiscal first-quarter profit increased 23 percent, helped by stronger margins and an earlier prom season.

In 1971, fresh out of college, Zimmer made his first foray into the clothing industry, working in Hong Kong for six months as a salesman for his father's coat manufacturing business, according to the company website. He was CEO from 1991 to 2011, when he became executive chairman.

In 1973, he and his college roommate opened the first Men's Wearhouse store, which sold $10 slacks and $25 polyester sport coats, in Houston. His personal car was a van with the company logo on the side and clothing racks in the back.

The Men's Wearhouse kept expanding, focusing on large markets where business was sluggish to take advantage of lower real estate costs. It also expanded beyond sports coats and trousers to casual sportswear in the 1980s and then went into the tuxedo rental business in 2000.

Zimmer owned 1.8 million shares of Men's Wearhouse as of the company's May 9 proxy filing, a 3.5 percent stake in the company.

Shares of Men's Wearhouse fell more than 2 percent, or 80 cents, to $36.67 in morning trading. The stock has traded between $25.97 and $38.59 in the past 52 weeks, and ended Tuesday up about 20 percent since the start of the year.

In light of Zimmer's termination, the Men's Wearhouse also announced that it is postponing its annual meeting of shareholders, which had originally been scheduled for Thursday. The purpose of the delay, the board said, is to re-nominate the existing slate of directors without him.

The Associated Press' Anne D'Innocenzio contributed to this report.


Photo Credit: AP

Miami Heat Fans Left Game 6 Early, Missed Amazing Overtime Win


Dozens of Heat fans streamed out of AmericanAirlines Arena Tuesday night in the final minute of the game, missing the incredible comeback by Miami in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

With San Antonio ahead by five points with just 28 second to play, several Heat fans though it was curtains for the 2013 season and started heading to the exits so they wouldn't have to watch the Spurs celebrate on their home court.

"It wasn't our year," said one fan, who was part of the crowd that left the arena before the final buzzer sounded.

"I can't believe they lost, that's the only thing I'm thinking right now," said another fan. "They were oh-so close."

Heat Game 7 Tickets On Sale Wednesday

But when the Heat tied the game with 5.1 second left, several fans tried to make their way back inside, only to be told they wouldn't be let back in due to the policy that prohibits anyone from re-entering the arena.

Fans had to watch the Heat pull out the 103-100 win in overtime on TVs from outside. Miami fans already get a bad rap from the rest of the country, and Tuesday's exodus will only cement their reputation as casual front-runners around the country.

Even though Miami has one of the best attendance records in the NBA since the Big Three came to town three years ago, many regular season home games begin with swaths of empty seats in the lower bowl of the arena thanks to late arrivers.

But that "crime" is nothing compared to missing one of the most amazing finishes in NBA Finals history. Just as people will talk about Ray Allen's gutsy game-tying three-pointer for years to come, so to will they remember the Heat fans who missed it because they wanted to get a jump start on post-game traffic.

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Tuesday's mini-exodus sparked outcry from Miami natives and national observers. "Gotta beat traffic, you know?" tweeted Miami Herald columnist Dan LeBatard. "So many people have left that I’m honestly embarrassed for this city."

"I think we can agree that leaving an NBA Finals game before its completion is kind of a bad look," said Dan Devine of Yahoo! Sports.

But at least Tuesday's episode was not as bad as the last Game 6 that took place in Miami. During the 2011 NBA Finals, scores of blue-clad Dallas Mavericks fans bought up tickets behind the Dallas bench on the secondary market. This gave the Mavs a bit of a hometown feel as they beat the Heat and clinched their first NBA title.

Game 7 will take place Thursday night. With another championship on the line and Game 6 fresh in their minds, perhaps the Heat fans who left early on Tuesday won't be so foolish to count out their team until the final buzzer has sounded.

But if Heat center Chris Bosh had his way, the early exiters would not be around for Game 7. On Wednesday, he said after the Heat's practice, "For all those guys who left, don't come back for Game 7."

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Photo Credit: NBC6.com
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