Channel: NBC Connecticut
Browsing All 57608 Browse Latest View Live
Mark channel Not-Safe-For-Work? cancel confirm NSFW Votes: (0 votes)
Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel.

Non-Profit Discovering Millions in Lost Pension Benefits


A club is on a mission to connect people with thousands of dollars in pension money they aren’t aware they are entitled to.

Pension money from the former Connecticut Bank and Trust (CBT) has been long forgotten, however, there are many more companies involved.

Former Connecticut Bank and Trust branch manager Don Wilson thought when CBT’s parent company, the Bank of New England, failed in 1991, his pension went up in smoke.

But in 2015 at the CBT Alumni Club Christmas party, when co-workers asked if the former Hartford branch manager was receiving his pension, Wilson said “no”. It wasn’t too long after that Wilson got a back pension payment of $8,000 and now gets a monthly check for $700 the rest of his life.

Noreen Cullen sits on the board of the CBT Alumni Club and says in the past decade the club has found $3 million in pensions for well over 600 former employees, or their surviving family members, “Some people call me crying to tell me that, they have this, they're sitting with a check for forty thousand dollars.”

Cullen, a geneologist, has undertaken the difficult task of reconnecting former co-workers with long-lost pensions. She estimates there are hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of people still out there without their pension money, potentially millions of dollars that remain unclaimed.

Cullen explains people lost track of their pensions because of company mergers and acquisitions, the bank failure itself, subsequent lawsuits and lost or missing records.

The money was found at:

• Aetna

• Fidelity

• New York Life

• John Hancock

• Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, or PBGC, which is the federal agency that holds pension monies left behind by larger, often failed companies.

The PBGC said when CBT’s parent company failed, it had pension funds in the tens of millions of dollars-- more than enough to pay everyone. The PBGC said it now has hundreds of thousands of dollars in pension monies owed to 790 employees of CBT and its parent company. It tries to contact people at their last known address, phone number and email.

The NBC Troubleshooters reached out to the financial companies. Aetna, New York Life and John Hancock said a majority of the people due to receive pensions from their respective companies have been located and they make efforts to contact the people still owed CBT pensions. Fidelity said it also reaches out to people still owed CBT pensions as they near retirement age, but they cannot confirm if it currently has any unclaimed pensions.

Cullen does not want to focus on what happened with the CBT pensions; she just wants to get them back to people like former CBT branch manager Wilson.

Cullen said it’s important to not that anyone who has worked at a defunct Connecticut company, including Caldor or Ames, can go to the PBGC website, for information about pensions owed to employees. People can search the website by with their name.

The CBT Alumni Club also wants to help. The club has set up a special number for questions about pension money (860)788-5900 or you can reach the club on their website. T

he club wants to help anyone who worked for CBT, or Bank of New England. The club is also willing to guide people from any Connecticut company who are trying to use the PBGC website.

Below are the full statements on the CBT pensions from the PBGC and the financial institutions involved:

New York Life
 “New York Life is committed to meeting the promises we make, which includes paying pension obligations to more than 1,000 former employees of Bank of New England and Connecticut Bank and Trust. Any former employee who has questions about their payments may call New York Life at (800) 695-0462.” -Jason Weinzimer, VP & Head of External Communications

“Aetna has supported the “CBT/BNE” pension plan (Plan) for nearly 30 years. Through the Plan, Aetna currently manages the pensions of more than 1,200 people. At this point, we have fewer than 50 people in the Plan that have not started receiving their pension. The vast majority of this group of 50 people have not reached the age where we begin our outreach to members in the Plan (three months before their 65th birthday – the age at which they would be eligible for benefits). There are only 6 people who have attained the eligibility age but have not started their benefit, and we have made multiple attempts to reach out to these individuals. When a member reaches that age, we automatically send them a letter (including Aetna contact information) informing them of the benefits available to them. If we do not hear back, we make multiple additional attempts through various means to contact the individual. The Aetna team makes a concerted effort to reach members in the Plan who may be entitled to benefits. Even if our sustained outreach is not initially successful, the benefits remain available to the member. If at a later time we successfully make contact with a member or their family, we honor our commitment and provide them the benefits to which they are entitled. Over the years, we have also received many requests from CBT/BNE individuals who are not associated with the Aetna Plan. In these situations, we make every effort to direct them to several different resources to try to identify where their pension may be located.” -Ethan Slavin, Aetna Communications

Fidelity Investments
“We send notifications to pensioners as they are nearing retirement to ensure they are taking their benefits in a timely manner. We comply with all regulations governing pension administration and all pensioners have access to their pension through our on line tools as well as our call center.” - Stephen Austin, Spokesman

John Hancock
“We’ve looked into this matter and believe we have one contract in-force that may be related to your query. That contract had a few hundred participants at the time of sale with the majority already receiving their retirement benefits and a small group in a deferred status awaiting to attain normal retirement age to begin receiving retirement benefits. Deferred status refers to someone not yet in pay status. They could be in deferred status as (i) they have not yet reached the eligible age to commence benefits, (ii) they may be able to delay commencement of benefits based on their plan requirements and the group annuity contract, (iii) they have not responded to requests for information to process their benefit, (iv) they are being located, or (v) they were not located and their benefit is being tracked for escheatment purposes. Currently, there is only one participant in a deferred status under that contract. John Hancock utilizes several resources to get up-to-date information and locate deferred participants. John Hancock’s process involves sending a series of letters to notify deferred participants of their benefit options. We also utilize a third-party vendor to locate deferred participants. Based on a quick review of our information, fewer than 20 individuals under a group annuity contract that may be related to former BNE employees eligible to receive retirement benefit payments from John Hancock have not been located.”-Melissa Berczuk, John Hancock Corporate Communications

Facts on the Bank of New England Pension Distribution
“There were approximately 16,000 participants covered by the Bank of New England Plans. The Bank of New England, which was in FDIC receivership, terminated the plans with sufficient assets to pay all the benefits that were due, and certified that all participants owed a benefit were paid. Pension benefits were distributed either by the purchase of annuities from private insurers or through direct distributions to participants. In addition to plan benefits, an additional $38 million in excess plan assets were distributed to plan participants. At the time of distribution, the benefits of about 1,100 people who could not be located were sent to PBGC. These funds are not necessarily the result of litigation. The Bank of New England transferred 1,100 missing participants to PBGC who were owed $1.38 million in benefits. PBGC’s Missing Participant Program still has benefits for 790 participants under the Bank of New England. In addition, 203 missing participants from the “New Bank of New England” (successor to Bank of New England run by FDIC for six months in 1991…) were transferred to PBGC and were owed $159,000 in benefits. PBGC continually engages in outreach efforts to find all missing participants.” -Marc Hopkins, PBGC Spokesman

'Flare Sighting' Launches Search in Connecticut River


Apparent flare sightings have launched search efforts in the Connecticut River, the U.S.Coast Guard for the Long Island Sound said. 

Reports of a flare signting came in at 8:55 p.m., the Coast Guard said. 

A search is being conducted in the North Cove and Hamberg Cove area along the Connecticut River. 

DEEP, Essex Fire, Old Saybrook Fire, Coast Guard's New London station and Westbook Fire are all on the scene conducting a search. 

There have been no reports of any distress boaters or missing person reports, the Coast Guard said. 

79-Year-Old Ledyard Man Found Safe

CT Casino Workers Rally in Support of East Windsor Casino


Connecticut casino workers rallied in support of building a third casino in Connecticut, a move they say will protect jobs.

Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods have said that a new MGM facility opening in Springfield, Mass. could threaten around 9,000 Connecticut jobs.

"Our jobs are important to us, our families and our communities. We’re not just a number. We’re people behind those numbers," Anne Sanders, a Mogegan Sun employee, said.

East Windsor has already approved plans for a third casino to be built by MMCT Venture - a joint venture by the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes. The site would be at the abandoned Showcase Cinema property along Interstate 91. Tribal leaders said the facility would bring more than 1,700 jobs and $8.5 million annually to the town of East Windsor and the state would receive 25 percent of the revenues from slots and table games.

The final decision is up to lawmakersOne proposal being considered would allow the state’s third casino to be run by the tribes, off tribal lands. 

But there are also two proposals that would open the bidding process to the competition, allowing other tribes or commercial casinos to make an officer.

The tribes want to start building as quickly as possible, because the MGM in Springfield is scheduled to open next year.

“We would like to focus on the New York market and we would like to have the Connecticut license to build an integrated resort that would do that,” Uri Clinton of MGM Entertainment said. 

The rally took place outside the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

The Coalition Against Casino Expansion in CT also plans to visit the capitol Wednesday and speak out against a third casino in the state. Executive Director Michele Mudrick said they were disappointed in how the decision in East Windsor was made and they will continue to fight against the plans.

"We have talked to (hundreds) of East Windsor residents that do not want this casino in their town. They do not want the increased traffic, increased crime, increased drunk driving, more people becoming addicted to gambling, the decrease in their property values. The local business people do not want the casino either because they know their businesses will suffer because people will spend money at the casino and not in the local economy. Casinos are like a vacuum, they suck the money right out of the local economy," Mudrick said in an email to NBC Connecticut.

Photo Credit: Tecton Architects

Helping Hartford a Priority for Malloy During Budget Talks


The City of Hartford’s proposed budget depends greatly on the state helping to balance it.

Included in the spending plan was a $49 million hole which Mayor Luke Bronin has said would need to be filled by virtue of a partnership with the state, corporations based in Hartford, and possibly even non-profit organizations.

Gov. Dannel Malloy, during and event in Hartford’s North End neighborhood, stopped short of guaranteeing such money would be sent to Hartford, much less available given current shortfalls, but said the state has to use the budget negotiations as an opportunity to find ways to help cities like Hartford.

“We made a bad deal as a state and we made a bad deal as a nation in supporting urban environments,” Malloy said. “I’m seeking to address that and I anticipate that we will address it.”

Bronin has provided multiple avenues the state can take to address Hartford’s budget woes, which have only grown in the past few years. He’s said if the state fully allocated funds for cities with high volumes of untaxable land and property then city could be made whole.

Bronin also said the city is tapped out when it comes to raising taxes.

“The problem is you can’t tax your way out of a hole this big and you can’t cut your way out of a gap this big if you want to have a successful, strong, and healthy city,” Bronin said.

The governor met with Republican and Democrat legislative leaders Tuesday in the first round of budget talks. He said he expects to be the one to bring up the possibility of coming up with new ways to help major cities.

Connecticut, he said, can’t merely provide the best support to suburbs of places like Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford, and Waterbury.

Malloy said, “We need to find a better balance than you live in a big city, you’re going to pay higher taxes, your crime is going to be higher and your schools aren’t going to be as good.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

8-Year-Old Rescued From Tree in Woodbridge


An 8-year-old boy was rescued from a tree in Woodbridge thanks to the town's fire department. 

The boy was about 50 feet high, nearly 4 feet away from the top of the tree on Richard Sweet Road, the fire department said. 

It took about 25 minutes to get the boy safely out of the tree, fire officials said. 

After being checked by paramedics, he was released to his parents. 

Woodbridge Volunteer Fire Department said they used a new 100-foot tower truck that was purchased through donations. The truck was put into service this week. 

They said without the new fire truck, they would have had to call surrounding towns for assistance. 

Photo Credit: Woodbridge Fire Department

Meriden Man Arrested for Shooting at Restaurant


Police have arrested the man who shot another person at a Meriden bar in March. 

Vincequan Harold Wright, 38, of Meriden, is charged with assault, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a pistol and carrying without a permit.

On Mar. 18, 29-year-old man as seriously hurt when he was shot at the 105 Colony Street Restaurant and Lounge, police said.

Officers in the area were approached around 1:45 a.m. by several people who reported a shooting inside the bar. Police said the victim had already been taken to Midstate Medical Center by private vehicle.

According to police, the victim was shot once in the neck and was transported from Midstate to an area trauma center. His injuries are listed as serious but non-life threatening. He was not publicly identified.

Wright's bond was set at $500,000. 

Photo Credit: Meriden Police

How to Keep Ticks Off Your Lawn


A mild winter means a bad tick season is ahead for Connecticut, and some businesses have been extra busy trying to fend them off of lawns. 

TurfMasters in South Windsor said their phones have been ringing off the hook.

“We’ve fielded an awful lot of phone calls on ticks specifically being such a mild winter," Gary Donovan, owner of TurfMasters, said.

The business has received phone calls from residents like Kmila Briton, who just moved into her South Windsor home and has already found ticks on her children.

“The ticks are just crawling all over them we’ve actually found a few in bed and ones in their hair and like on their stomachs," said Briton.

In order to prevent that from continuing to happen Justin Donovan, service manager with TurfMasters, is spraying her yard to fight against ticks.

Donovan said ticks aren’t very mobile. They have to jump on a host, like a mouse, to get from point A to point B to get into the yard.

Ticks typically live in shady places where there’s moisture such as a wooded brush, under pine straw or in tall grasses.

TurfMasters uses an insecticide that is a synthetic pyrethroid.

“Basically it attacks the nervous system of the insect. And it’s derived from the chrysanthemum. It’s a natural defense mechanism that the chrysanthemum flower has to prevent insects from eating it that they found does a great job killing insects," he said.

Donovan said the spray works for the most part, unless someone or a pet bring ticks onto a property.

“The ticks aren’t extremely mobile – but pets certainly can be and kids can be so if the dog runs off and goes into a neighbor’s yard he could absolutely end up with ticks and this application isn’t going to do anything to stop that.”

He recommends anyone coming back from an untreated area, like a park, should make sure to check themselves and any pets.

If someone finds any ticks, remove them in a different location instead of on their home lawn to prevent ticks from coming back in.

NBC Connecticut spoke with Dr. Kirby Stafford, the chief scientist and state entomologist for the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.

Stafford, along with other researchers at CAES have done studies on insecticides, including the synthetic pyrethroid that the company, TurfMasters, uses.

He confirmed the pyrethroid is extremely effective in controlling ticks and is probably the most effective option. After the spray dries on the lawn, it does not move. Stafford said it stays on for a long period.

Man Living With 20 Cats in SUV Surrenders Pets to Shelter


One by one, cat after cat came out of its carrier with a vet standing by to examine and hand out much-needed vaccines.

The rush of activity at Meriden Humane Society (MHS) took place after the owner of the cats called Wednesday afternoon to surrender the animals.

"It was shocking, I mean, to see 20 carriers stacked up in the back of a car," MHS Vice President Alysia Robinson said.

Robinson said the man who came with an SUV full of carriers said he'd recently become homeless in Bristol and was living out of his car with 20 cats, his father, his aunt and a dog.

"He could barely speak. He's had some of these cats for ten years. This is not - this wasn't, 'I collected all these animals and now I'm dumping them.' It was genuine. It was heart-wrenching for them," said Robinson.

Robinson said they took in seven male and 13 female felines, many of them appeared to be related to one another.

The MHS vice president said emotions ran even higher when she begged the family to also surrender their pitbull mix named Lala.

"It got to the point of where I was crying because all I was thinking is that we have a cold snap coming and this family is staying in their vehicle with their dog because it was just too much to think about letting their dog go," said Robinson.

Robinson said the owner rescued Lala from an abuse situation and she promised to help and foster the dog until the family could get back on their feet. She said Lala has possible skin issues, overgrown nails and what appears to be a tumor on her head.

As for the cats, many received a much needed bath Wednesday night. A vet said they're very thin and some have medical issues like upper respiratory infections and skin conditions. Workers said when they gave the cats food, the animals scarfed it down.

Getting each animal fixed, vaccinated, and microchipped will cost around $120, Robinson said. The shelter asked for help via social media and said in two hours they managed to raise about $650. She said they still need more monetary donations as well as donations of canned cat food. She said they're also looking for people who can help foster.

As the shelter looks for help handling the influx of animals, they hope the work they're doing helps the family who had to let them go.

"We're hoping this gives them the opportunity to get into a shelter, and hopefully the shelter is able to help them stabilize and get them in a house and somewhere to live," said Robinson. "We've all been in situations where we've needed help."

MHS said they hope to be able to give some of the cats to other rescues and are looking to put the cats up for adoption within the next couple of weeks.

Information on how to donate can be found here

Photo Credit: Meriden Humane Society

Britain's Prince Philip to Retire From Royal Duties: Palace


Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, won't carry out public engagements starting this fall, NBC News reported.

"His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh has decided that he will no longer carry out public engagements from the autumn of this year. In taking this decision, the duke has the full support of the queen," Buckingham Palace said in a statement.

The 95-year-old Philip will still attend previously scheduled events between now and August, including an event at St. James' Palace on Thursday morning.

Before the announcement, the palace had called Queen Elizabeth II's closest aides and other royal officials into an unusual last-minute meeting early in the morning. But officials had said there was "no cause for concern."

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Dunham, file

Alternating Lanes Getting By on Route 10 in Farmington


A stretch of more than two and a half miles of Route 10 was closed in Farmington because a tree and wires are down and a traffic light is not working, but alternating lanes are now getting by.

Route 10, or Waterville Road, was closed between Route 4 and Talcott Notch. The traffic light at Route 10 and Route 4 was malfunctioning this morning.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Minor Injuries from Incident at West Hartford Moving Company


A man suffered a minor cut to the face when a truck struck him on Reed Avenue in West Hartford, according to West Hartford police. 

The man, an employee of Woodland Moving, was trying to fix a truck Thursday morning and walked in front of the vehicle while it was in gear and the truck hit him and knocked him aside, according to police. 

Police said another employee jumped into the truck and stopped it from rolling further.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Warren Wonders If Trump Will Turn US Off Male Presidents


Amid speculation that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren could run for president, she told a women's group Wednesday night there will soon be a woman in the White House, NBC News reported.

"We're going to shatter the glass ceiling into so many pieces that the Donald Trumps and Mitch McConnells of the world will never be able to put it back together again!" Warren said, at the annual fundraising gala for Emily's List, which works to elect female Democrats.

"The way things are going, if the next 3 years and 261 days are like Donald's first 100 days — I wonder if America will ever be ready for a male president again," she continued at the event Hillary Clinton keynoted in early 2015, weeks before she announced her presidential campaign.

Warren hasn't spoken about her own presidential ambitions, dodging the question on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Wednesday. But in the speech she borrowed a line from Clinton and took a shot at Bill O'Reilly, the former Fox News host who was recently parted ways with the network over sexual harassment allegations.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

'Workations' and Beyond: CEOs Taking Job Perks to the Max


Some companies are going far beyond casual Fridays to keep employees happy, NBC News reported.

There are three-day weekends every week, tropical "workations" and bonus money set aside only for vacations. And these perks are being offered by more than just cushy start-ups — PR firms, ad agencies, even cosmetics and e-commerce businesses are getting in on it. 

"I wanted to create a company culture I actually wanted to, and could, work in," Media Minefield CEO Kristi Piehl said. "I was a TV reporter when both my boys were born so [bringing my kids to the office] wasn't an option, but in the kind of environment we have at Media Minefield, it would work. So we gave it a try and so far, so good." 

Such perks may sound extravagant, but industry experts say that the more CEOs invest in their employees, the more likely they are to hold onto them for the long haul.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Food Truck Selected for Fairfield Metro Station


A food truck will be feeding hungry commuters at the Fairfield Metro Station in Fairfield, beginning Monday.

The state selected Best Food Fast LLC to operate a food and beverage truck at the Fairfield Metro Station in Fairfield on weekdays, from 4:30 to 8:30 a.m., according to the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

Aaron Hagel and Richard Hewitt, both of Fairfield, will operate the Best Food Fast service, which will sell coffee, juice, breakfast sandwiches, wraps, yogurt, fruit and more.

“This service will be a great amenity for the hundreds of commuters catching trains at Fairfield Metro every morning and I am delighted that we have been successful in bringing it to fruition,” CT DOT Commissioner James Redeker said in a statement. “Best Food Fast is well known and popular around Fairfield and I’m confident our commuters will keep them busy.”

The food truck will be in the parking lot on the eastbound side of the station and there is a walkway for commuters heading westbound toward New York City to use it as well. 

DOT said Best Food Fast LLC was selected in a competitive procurement process and the department in pursuing similar services at other rail stations in Connecticut.

Best Food Fast customers can call ahead or text orders to 203 871-8016.

'Do You Still Throw Spears?' Philip's Most Memorable Quips


Britain’s Prince Philip is known for his sometimes-offensive comments, including telling a British student in China they'd "go home with slitty eyes" if they stayed in the country much longer, NBC News reported.

Prince Philip, who's been married to Queen Elizabeth II for 70 years, announced his retirement Thursday, leading many to recall some of his infamous quips throughout the years. "You look like you’re ready for bed," he told Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003 — he was wearing the national dress.

In 2002, he asked Australian aboriginal leader William Brin, "Do you still throw spears at each other?"

The prince, now 95, even once suggested halting tourism in London to curb the city's problems with congestion. 

Photo Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images, File

TSA Issues Warning Over Terrorist Truck Ramming Attacks


Truck owners and truck rental agencies are being warned to remain "vigilant" about an uptick in "ramming attacks" by terrorists who use vehicles to kill, NBC News reported.

An unclassified Transportation Security Administration report obtained by NBC News warns owners, operators and rental agencies to protect themselves from theft. Areas where large numbers of people congregate, such as parades or entertainment venues, are particularly vulnerable locations, according to a study of the attacks.

The report says that in the past three years, at least 173 people have been killed and more than 700 wounded in 17 ramming attacks worldwide. Thirteen of those attacks resulted in fatalities.

Vehicle owners are urged to report theft or other suspicious activities, such as attempts to reinforce the front of the vehicle with metal plates, immediately, the report says.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File

Rifle in Shooting of Chicago Cops Could Penetrate Body Armor: Police


Two Chicago policemen wounded in the Back of the Yards neighborhood Tuesday night were shot with a rifle powerful enough to penetrate the officers’ body armor, police say.

Chicago police were working around the clock, saturating the streets of the city's South Side as the manhunt for those responsible for shooting the plain-clothes officers intensified Wednesday night. 

“We’re all family, we’re all brothers and sisters and what you see in that greater presence is what you’d see if anyone else was hurt,” Cpt. Warren Richards said.

A rifle was one of the weapons recovered from the scene, police said.

"The use of rifles has increased the lethality in these gang conflicts, where in the past, it was fist fights or fights with objects," said Cmdr. Stephen Chung, of the 9th District. "Now it's the guns, then more recently the rifles have been introduced into our neighborhoods."

Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms officials say 70 semi-automatic rifles were recovered in Chicago so far this year.

The officers were conducting a follow-up investigation to a previous incident, when two vehicles pulled up alongside them and opened fire Tuesday evening in the high-crime Back of the Yards neighborhood. One officer was shot in the arm and hip and the other in the back, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.

The officers were wearing civilian clothes with vests bearing police badges and their vehicle was unmarked. Police are investigating if the shootings were targeted or if the officers were randomly attacked.

“The fact that they shot specifically at officers is outrageous,” Ald. Ray Lopez said earlier Wednesday.

Three people of interest were being questioned but they are not suspects, police say.

ATF Special Agent in Charge Celinez Nunez says law enforcement is facing a "different criminal element" with regards to gang activity, "one that has a total disregard for human life and a total disregard for law enforcement."

[[421221663, C]]

Both of the wounded officers are back home with their families after being released from Stroger Hospital Wednesday. Kevin Graham, the president of the local Lodge 7 police union, spoke with both officers and said one of the officers is in "a lot of pain."

Graham said he will press state legislators for laws to keep active officers safe.

"We are there to help people and we are here to protect people," Graham said. "But we are not going to be targets."

Lopez repeated his support for such legislation. Investigators say a high powered assault rifle recovered from a seized vehicle at the scene was used in the attack.  

"We have to get serious about doing what it takes to keep guns out of the hands of repeat offenders," he said. "The government has to start banning assault weapons once more."

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

Family Kicked Off Delta Flight Over Kid's Seat


A confrontation caught on camera shows a Southern California family being booted off a Los Angeles-bound Delta Air Lines flight after they refused to give up a seat that was occupied by their infant son.

Brian Schear of Huntington Beach was headed home with his wife and two infants from Maui to Los Angeles International Airport on April 23 when they were kicked off the plane. 

In a video posted online, Brian Schear tells airline employees he purchased a ticket for his older son Mason. Mason ended up taking an earlier flight, so the family decided the younger son would instead occupy his place in a car seat instead of having the child sit on the wife's lap.

"He won't sleep unless he's in his car seat," the father explains to the employees.

The staff tells Brian Schear his younger son can't sit on the seat because Mason's name is on it, not the infant's.

When the airline asked the family to give up the seat, at first, Brian Schear refused to abide. He claimed the airline ordered his family to do this because Delta overbooked the flight.

In the video, an employee tells him refusing to get off the plane was a federal offense and he could be jailed.

"What blew me away was when they said, if you don't give the seat up, you're going to jail, your wife is going to jail, and they're gonna take your kids away," he told NBC4 Wednesday.

The eight-minute-long video was filmed by his wife and posted on YouTube.

"When you're a mother, and they say they're gonna take the kids, it made my heart drop," said Brittany Schear. "I was shaking the rest of the time."

In the video, a flight attendant argues that it is Federal Aviation Administration policy to put children under the age of 2 on an adult's lap and not in a plane seat.

"He cannot be in a seat at all," the flight attendant tells Brian Schear.

Both Delta and the FAA state on their websites that children under the age of two could travel in a seat, so as long they are sitting in an approved child safety seat. In fact, the method of travel is highly recommended by both the airline and the FAA.

"What are we supposed to do?" Brian Schear asks an employee in the video. "I got two infants and my wife, I've got no where to stay, there's no more flights. What are we supposed to do? Sleep in the airport?"

At the end of what the family said was an hour-long exchange, the Schears left the plane. They said they were forced to find a taxi in the middle of the night, pay for a hotel room and buy tickets for a new flight. The family was never contacted or reimbursed, the Schears claimed.

Delta Air Lines issued this statement Wednesday to NBC4:

"We're sorry for what this family experienced. Our team has reached out and will be talking with them to better understand what happened and come to a resolution."

But the Schear family says there is nothing the airline can do to make up for their ruined vacation and frustrating traveling experience.

"They need to change the way they treat us," Brian Schear said. "They treat us like cattle. It's unbelievable. It's not fair to treat people this way. We're the customers, we're supposed to be treated with respect."

Photo Credit: Brian Schear via YouTube

Coast Guard Barque Eagle Returns to New London


The Coast Guard Barque Eagle is arriving in New London this morning and will be open for free public tours

It will be open today, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Friday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. It will be closed Saturday.

The Eagle, known as "America's Tall Ship," is a U.S. Coast Guard Training vessel. 

It is the largest tall ship flying the Stars and Stripes and the only active square-rigger in U.S. government service, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. 

The Eagle will leave New London on May 6 and head to Bermuda.

Photo Credit: US Coast Guard
Browsing All 57608 Browse Latest View Live