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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 233)

One arrested in eastern France knife attack that left 1 dead, 6 injured

A knife attack at a public transit station in eastern France Saturday has left one person dead and six others injured, according to reports.

It happened around 5 p.m. at the Laurent-Bonnevay metro station in the town of Villeurbanne, near Lyon, France Televisions reported.

Westlake Legal Group Laurent-Bonnevay-Google-Maps One arrested in eastern France knife attack that left 1 dead, 6 injured Robert Gearty fox-news/world/world-regions/france fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/crime fox news fnc/world fnc f0209e6b-facc-54d5-a829-8a4166ebeb9e article

The Laurent-Bonnevay public transit station in the town of Villeurbanne, near Lyon, in France. (Google Maps)

PENNSYLVANIA WOMAN KILLED IN DOUBLE STABBING AT BUS STOP; SUSPECT IN CUSTODY

A suspect who was carrying a knife was arrested while authorities were on the hunt for a suspected second attacker believed to be in possession of a metal spike used to roast meat, Reuters reported.

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The motive for the attack was unclear, according to the news outlet.

Westlake Legal Group Laurent-Bonnevay-Google-Maps One arrested in eastern France knife attack that left 1 dead, 6 injured Robert Gearty fox-news/world/world-regions/france fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/crime fox news fnc/world fnc f0209e6b-facc-54d5-a829-8a4166ebeb9e article   Westlake Legal Group Laurent-Bonnevay-Google-Maps One arrested in eastern France knife attack that left 1 dead, 6 injured Robert Gearty fox-news/world/world-regions/france fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/crime fox news fnc/world fnc f0209e6b-facc-54d5-a829-8a4166ebeb9e article

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In Defiance Of Ban, Hong Kong Protesters Return To Streets And Clash With Police

Westlake Legal Group ap_19243491860007_wide-f49ede48bfa4cb0b6c2e0c014ea332727069bceb-s1100-c15 In Defiance Of Ban, Hong Kong Protesters Return To Streets And Clash With Police

A protester uses a shield to cover himself as he faces police in Hong Kong on Saturday. Jae C. Hong/AP hide caption

toggle caption

Jae C. Hong/AP

Westlake Legal Group  In Defiance Of Ban, Hong Kong Protesters Return To Streets And Clash With Police

A protester uses a shield to cover himself as he faces police in Hong Kong on Saturday.

Jae C. Hong/AP

Defying a government ban, thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators returned to the streets of Hong Kong on Saturday and clashed with police in one of the most dramatic and violent days of unrest since June when the protests began.

Perhaps the most striking image from Saturday’s protests has been that of a large fire, blazing across a street in a major shopping district. Protesters created a wall of barricades and set it ablaze.

Earlier on Saturday, police fired tear gas and used water cannons in their attempts to disperse protesters throwing objects and gasoline bombs at the main government headquarters. Protesters also reportedly gathered near the Hong Kong police headquarters.

Some of the protesters called their demonstration early on Saturday a “religious rally” — what NPR correspondent Emily Feng described as an attempt to evade the police restrictions around protests (Police still considered the event an illegal gathering.).

“Throughout the afternoon, protesters alternated between chanting for democratic elections and also singing religious songs,” Feng told NPR’s Weekend Edition. They said they were praying for peace — and also for “sinners.”

Saturday’s demonstrations came on the fifth anniversary of Beijing’s decision to continue vetting all candidates for Hong Kong’s chief executive position. That decision sparked the 2014 “Umbrella Revolution,” which consisted of months of mass pro-democracy protests but ultimately failed to secure direct elections for Hong Kong.

The past three months of protests in Hong Kong were triggered by legislation that would have allowed Hong Kong’s government to extradite people to China for certain crimes — a proposal that critics feared could be used to target outspoken critics of China.

Though Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, responded to protests by suspending the bill in mid-June, protesters continued to demonstrate because the bill has yet to be formally withdrawn. The activists have since expanded their list of demands to include calls for Lam’s resignation, direct elections, an inquiry into police tactics and the unconditional release of all arrested protesters.

Lam has refused or ignored the demands. On Tuesday, Lam said the government was looking into all “legal means to stop violence and chaos” in Hong Kong. This week, China sent additional troops to Hong Kong.

In a news conference Friday, Hong Kong police commander Kwok Pak Chung said unauthorized demonstrators could face jail sentences of up to five years.

Demonstrators showed out despite that warning — because, as NPR’s Feng reported, “they’re furious at what they see as police brutality, and they’re further galvanized by a wave of arrests of prominent activists and politicians.”

On Thursday and Friday, police arrested three prominent activists — most notably, 22-year-old Joshua Wong, who leads the youth activist group Demosisto. Wong was released on bail and attended Saturday’s protests, NPR’s Feng reported. Three pro-democracy lawmakers were also arrested on Friday, according multiple media reports.

Police in Hong Kong have made over 900 arrests associated with this summer’s protests, but some see these targeted detentions as a shift in strategy. Man-kei Tam, director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, called the latest arrests and the ban on Saturday’s rally “scare tactics straight out of Beijing’s playbook.”

Though police have targeted high-profile activists and pro-democracy thinkers, the protest movement in Hong Kong remains a leaderless movement.

On Sunday, protesters plan to shut down transportation lines into the Hong Kong International Airport for the third time in three months. On Monday, a general strike is set to begin across universities and many other sectors.

“I think when the government go hard, we go hard,” said Isaac Cheng, a vice chairman of Demosisto. “We ask the government, please respond to the five demands as soon as possible. Otherwise, the people may be using some more radical ways or more hard ways to respond to the response of the government.”

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One arrested in eastern France knife attack that left 1 dead, 6 injured

A knife attack at a public transit station in eastern France Saturday has left one person dead and six others injured, according to reports.

It happened around 5 p.m. at the Laurent-Bonnevay metro station in the town of Villeurbanne, near Lyon, France Televisions reported.

Westlake Legal Group Laurent-Bonnevay-Google-Maps One arrested in eastern France knife attack that left 1 dead, 6 injured Robert Gearty fox-news/world/world-regions/france fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/crime fox news fnc/world fnc f0209e6b-facc-54d5-a829-8a4166ebeb9e article

The Laurent-Bonnevay public transit station in the town of Villeurbanne, near Lyon, in France. (Google Maps)

PENNSYLVANIA WOMAN KILLED IN DOUBLE STABBING AT BUS STOP; SUSPECT IN CUSTODY

A suspect who was carrying a knife was arrested while authorities were on the hunt for a suspected second attacker believed to be in possession of a metal spike used to roast meat, Reuters reported.

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The motive for the attack was unclear, according to the news outlet.

Westlake Legal Group Laurent-Bonnevay-Google-Maps One arrested in eastern France knife attack that left 1 dead, 6 injured Robert Gearty fox-news/world/world-regions/france fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/crime fox news fnc/world fnc f0209e6b-facc-54d5-a829-8a4166ebeb9e article   Westlake Legal Group Laurent-Bonnevay-Google-Maps One arrested in eastern France knife attack that left 1 dead, 6 injured Robert Gearty fox-news/world/world-regions/france fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/crime fox news fnc/world fnc f0209e6b-facc-54d5-a829-8a4166ebeb9e article

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Airline director fired for ‘fat shaming’ British Airways cabin crew

A director for LOT Polish Airlines is out of a job after recently “fat shaming” the cabin crew staff of a British Airways flight on social media with a series of illicitly taken photos, reportedly mocking their uniforms as “too tight” and overall appearance as “messy.”

Earlier this week, Katarzyna Richter, an operations director for LOT Polish Airlines, took a British Airways flight from London’s Gatwick Airport to Poland, Metro reports.

Richter was evidently so taken aback by the looks and grooming of the flight crew that she quickly aired her grievances on Facebook, blasting the staffers for their “unpolished” appearances.

<img src="https://a57.foxnews.com/static.foxnews.com/foxnews.com/content/uploads/2019/08/640/320/katarzyna-richter-2-Facebook.jpg?ve=1&tl=1" alt="Katarzyna Richter, pictured, was fired from her job with LOT Polish Airlines after recently "fat shaming" the cabin crew staff of a British Airways flight on social media”>

Katarzyna Richter, pictured, was fired from her job with LOT Polish Airlines after recently “fat shaming” the <a data-cke-saved-href=”https://www.foxnews.com/category/travel/general/airlines” href=”https://www.foxnews.com/category/travel/general/airlines”>cabin crew staff</a> of a British Airways flight on social media (Katarzyna Richter / Facebook)

AMERICAN AIRLINES PASSENGER SAYS CREW OVER-SERVED ALCOHOL TO MAN WHO SEXUALLY ASSAULTED HER ON FLIGHT, LAWSUIT CLAIMS

“Today, my attention was drawn to grooming and appearance of British Airways cabin crew members, unpolished shoes, holes in tights, too tight uniform, double chin, rotten and uneven teeth, messy hairstyle,” Richter allegedly complained, as per an English translation by Metro.

The woman shared photos that she secretly took of the airline employees in her post, and continued to question how effectively they were truly doing their jobs.

Richter’s industry peers, meanwhile, were outraged with the cyberbullying, and soon brought the post to LOT’s attention.

“How dare this airline executive invite the public to assess the appearance of a rival carrier’s workers. The primary job of BA staff is to keep passengers safe,” an anonymous British Airways employee told The Sun. “This woman should know more than anyone how to behave. She must be sacked for fat shaming BA crew while going about their duties.”

Westlake Legal Group British-Airways-flight Airline director fired for 'fat shaming' British Airways cabin crew Janine Puhak fox-news/travel/general/airlines fox-news/lifestyle fox news fnc/travel fnc c86e221c-2402-5228-a65c-60e7ff4b1e0d article

“Today, my attention was drawn to grooming and appearance of British Airways cabin crew members, unpolished shoes, holes in tights, too tight uniform, double chin, rotten and uneven teeth, messy hairstyle,” Richter allegedly complained on Facebook.  (iStock)

“She’s gone way, way too far. There is no excuse,” another echoed.

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In the days since, reps for LOT have confirmed that Richter’s employment with the company has been terminated in relation to the social media incident.

“We are truly sorry for this situation. The comments published by one of our employees on the private Facebook profile are contrary to the applicable standards and the value system adopted at LOT Polish Airlines,” an official told Metro. ‘Such behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by our company, therefore we decided to terminate the co-operation with Richter with immediate effect.”

Westlake Legal Group iStock-839171522 Airline director fired for 'fat shaming' British Airways cabin crew Janine Puhak fox-news/travel/general/airlines fox-news/lifestyle fox news fnc/travel fnc c86e221c-2402-5228-a65c-60e7ff4b1e0d article

In the days since, reps for LOT have confirmed that Richter’s employment with the company has been terminated in relation to the social media incident. (iStock)

“Furthermore, we ensure that this situation will never happen again by drawing even more attention to the notification of social media policy and applicable procedures to our employees,” the rep detailed, adding that the importance of the policy will be especially emphasized at employee training events in the future.

When contacted for comment, a spokesperson for British Airways told Fox News: “We are proud of our Cabin Crew and the exceptional service that they deliver to our customers every day.”

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As for Richter, she is said to have seen the error of her ways and issued a public apology, the Sun reports.

“I would like to apologize very much to the British Airways crew and to everyone affected,” she said.. “I regret my behavior — I should not judge the competence and appearance of employees of another airline.”

Westlake Legal Group katarzyna-richter-2-Facebook Airline director fired for 'fat shaming' British Airways cabin crew Janine Puhak fox-news/travel/general/airlines fox-news/lifestyle fox news fnc/travel fnc c86e221c-2402-5228-a65c-60e7ff4b1e0d article   Westlake Legal Group katarzyna-richter-2-Facebook Airline director fired for 'fat shaming' British Airways cabin crew Janine Puhak fox-news/travel/general/airlines fox-news/lifestyle fox news fnc/travel fnc c86e221c-2402-5228-a65c-60e7ff4b1e0d article

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Labor nominee Eugene Scalia touted for expertise and experience, but faces stiff Dem opposition

Westlake Legal Group Eugene-Scalia-FOX Labor nominee Eugene Scalia touted for expertise and experience, but faces stiff Dem opposition fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc e24f14fa-7109-58a1-9e58-9e8695d446da article Adam Shaw

President Trump this week formally announced his intention to nominate Eugene Scalia as Labor secretary, with the White House saying he has both legal expertise and hands-on experience at the department.

But Democrats are threatening to oppose the nomination, fearing a pick who could become a powerful deregulator.

“Eugene Scalia is the president’s pick to lead the Department of Labor because of his deep expertise and ability to defend the American worker,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere told Fox News. “He is one of the most respected labor and employment lawyers in the country, and we expect the Senate to act quickly on his nomination.”

TRUMP TO NOMINATE GENE SCALIA, SON OF LATE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA, FOR SECRETARY OF LABOR

Scalia, a son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, brings a wealth of experience to the role as a longtime labor, employment and regulatory lawyer, and a former solicitor in the Labor Department during the George W. Bush administration.

He is also a senior fellow of the Administrative Conference of the United States — an agency that recommends to Congress and the executive branch ways to improve agency procedures. Trump described Scalia as having led “a life of great success in the legal and labor field.”

But Democrats are pointing to Scalia’s record as well, claiming the nominee would turn the department in a pro-corporation direction and aggressively seek to cut regulations protecting workers.

“President Trump is missing an opportunity to nominate a fighter for workers, like a union member, to be America’s next Labor Secretary,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in July. “Instead, President Trump has again chosen someone who has proven to put corporate interests over those of worker rights. Workers and union members who believed candidate Trump when he campaigned as pro-worker should feel betrayed.”

“Eugene Scalia spent his career putting giant corporations over American workers,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said when his nomination was first announced. “This should concern anyone who believes that the Department of Labor should protect workers’ rights – not corporate interests. The Senate must reject his nomination for Secretary of Labor.”

Scalia spent much of the Obama years opposing government regulations on behalf of businesses – putting him in line with the broad philosophical brushstrokes of the Trump administration, which has sought to slash regulation across multiple cabinet departments.

During Scalia’s confirmation to the Labor Department in 2001, Democrats expressed similar concerns then, focusing on his opposition to a Clinton-era rule to protect workers from repetitive stress injuries – known as the ergonomics rule.

The Wall Street Journal reports that as a partner of the corporate law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, he spent much of his time representing the financial-services industry in challenging regulations associated with the Obama-era Dodd-Frank law – he has called the 2010 law an important statute but added that “when the government believes it’s handling a particularly important issue, there can be a tendency to overreach.”

But a source familiar with the nomination told Fox News that Scalia’s record was “pro-worker and entirely even-handed when it came to labor unions,” saying he “has never been a business lawyer out to defeat the union movement” and has shown respect for a workers’ right to unionize.

The source listed examples in which Scalia had fought for workers when he was part of the department he now seeks to lead. One notable case was settled in 2002, when the Labor Department won a $10 million settlement with a poultry factory after the company refused to pay workers for time spent putting on and taking off safety gear – a process known as “donning and doffing.”

While the Clinton administration began the action, it was settled during the Bush administration, with Scalia authorizing the litigation. A New York Times story at the time quoted Scalia as estimating that workers spent eight minutes a day dressing and undressing – approximately $500 a year in unpaid work. The settlement found that the company should pay workers for the dressing and undressing and it won affected workers $1,000 each in back pay.

The United Food and Commercial Workers union called the settlement “a step in the right direction for fair pay for some of the nation’s most underpaid workers.”

Similarly, the source pointed to Scalia’s role in ending a West Coast ports dispute the same year between the companies that owned the ports and unions. The source said Scalia gained a reputation during that fight for “not playing favorites, not coming in blaming the company, not coming in and blaming the union, but just trying to get a resolution.”

The New York Times reported that union leaders praised Scalia’s approach of proposing a contract extension “because it showed that the administration was seeking to heed union concerns and avoid invoking the Taft-Hartley Act.” President Bush did eventually invoke the act after companies rejected the extension.

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When his confirmation hearing is held in coming months, Scalia is likely to face questions from Democrats on his work as a private lawyer, particularly in undoing an Obama rule to put tougher requirements on professionals advising retirement savers and defending companies such as Boeing, SeaWorld and Wal-Mart.

However, with a firm Republican hold on the Senate and no visible GOP opposition to his nomination, Scalia’s chances for confirmation seem solid. While Democrats may fear whether Scalia will push for greater deregulation, for many Republicans that is a plus.

“Gene Scalia is an outstanding lawyer who has vigorously defended the Constitution over a long career in government and private practice,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said in a statement when the pick was announced. “I’m confident he’ll be a champion for working Americans against red tape and burdensome regulation as Labor Secretary.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Eugene-Scalia-FOX Labor nominee Eugene Scalia touted for expertise and experience, but faces stiff Dem opposition fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc e24f14fa-7109-58a1-9e58-9e8695d446da article Adam Shaw   Westlake Legal Group Eugene-Scalia-FOX Labor nominee Eugene Scalia touted for expertise and experience, but faces stiff Dem opposition fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc e24f14fa-7109-58a1-9e58-9e8695d446da article Adam Shaw

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Skip Bedell shows ‘Fox & Friends’ how to prepare for hurricane as Dorian looms

Westlake Legal Group hurricane-friends Skip Bedell shows 'Fox & Friends' how to prepare for hurricane as Dorian looms Sam Dorman fox-news/us/disasters/hurricanes-typhoons fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters/hurricane-dorian fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 7d5be284-b0f4-5522-994a-3e06ca5a1f04

Home contractor Skip Bedell showed “Fox & Friends” some helpful tools for Floridians and others to use as Hurricane Dorian approaches the United States.

Specifically, he suggested having a power generator and survival pack.

“One thing we can always count on for these events is the power going out,” Bedell said. He showed a line of power generators, including new technology that worked without gas engines.

“No exhaust fumes. So this will power up your appliances, your lights, and it runs off of battery so you can take this anywhere — you can put it in your car, you can keep it right inside your house because there’s no exhaust fumes,” he said.

Bedell also indicated that it might be better to prepare for storms by putting together a package of specific items needed rather than loading up on supplies.

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‘EXTREMELY DANGEROUS’ HURRICANE DORIAN’S PATH SHIFTS TOWARDS GEORGIA AND CAROLINAS; FLORIDA STILL IN ITS SIGHTS

“People get caught in situations — they think they’re going to ride out the storm and they load up with water and food and everything else only to have the water come through the front door and they have to get out real quick,” he said. “They can’t take all those things that they thought there were going to have.”

Bedell showed a survivor pack that contained an insert with a host of supplies and color-coded directions.

As Bedell noted, the Hurricane season was just beginning. According to the National Hurricane Center, Dorian strengthened to a category 4 storm before landfall. The group announced on Saturday that Dorian shifted its course towards Georgia and the Carolinas — although it would likely still hit Florida in some form.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis urged residents to maintain at least a week’s worth of food, water, and medicine before the storm hits the sunshine state. “It is imperative that all Floridians and their families take Hurricane Dorian seriously,” said DeSantis.

Westlake Legal Group hurricane-friends Skip Bedell shows 'Fox & Friends' how to prepare for hurricane as Dorian looms Sam Dorman fox-news/us/disasters/hurricanes-typhoons fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters/hurricane-dorian fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 7d5be284-b0f4-5522-994a-3e06ca5a1f04   Westlake Legal Group hurricane-friends Skip Bedell shows 'Fox & Friends' how to prepare for hurricane as Dorian looms Sam Dorman fox-news/us/disasters/hurricanes-typhoons fox-news/science/planet-earth/natural-disasters/hurricane-dorian fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 7d5be284-b0f4-5522-994a-3e06ca5a1f04

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Buffalo Bills release six-time Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy: reports

The Buffalo Bills have released LeSean McCoy, the team’s starting running back over the past four seasons on Saturday, according to reports.

The 31-year-old and six-time pro bowler was the workhorse for the Bills during their playoff run just two years ago. McCoy’s production dipped in 2018, though, when he ran for a career-low 514 yards. It was the first time in his 10-year career that he failed to reach 600 yards.

The move comes as somewhat of a surprise, as NFL teams must trim their rosters from 90 to 53 players by 4:00 p.m. today.

NFL FREE AGENT RYAN RUSSELL COMES OUT AS BISEXUAL, HOPES TO RETURN TO LEAGUE

Westlake Legal Group LeSean20McCoy20RT Buffalo Bills release six-time Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy: reports fox-news/sports/nfl/buffalo-bills fox-news/sports/nfl fox news fnc/sports fnc David Aaro article 2a0360b0-29f9-5288-afae-d676ef572ec0

The Buffalo Bills have released 31-year-old running back, LeSean McCoy on Saturday as NFL teams trim their rosters to 53 players. (USA TODAY Sports)

McCoy was expected to play a big role this season, however, the team signed 36-year-old Frank Gore this offseason and drafted rookie running back Devin Singletary in the third round of the draft in April. They also signed fifth-year running back T.J. Yeldon, a backup for the Jacksonville Jaguars, who has rushed for 1.872 yards in his career.

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk reports that the move “came out of left field,” and the Bills did not request he take a pay cut before deciding to cut him. Last month, Bills General Manager, Brandon Beane said of McCoy: “I think LeSean still can play. If not we would have made the decision to move on.”

JIM LANGER, CENTER FOR MIAMI DOLPHINS’ SUPER BOWL TEAMS, DIES AT 71

Twitter also reacted to the surprising cut, as the news broke today.

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McCoy is currently 25th on the NFL’s career rushing list, racking up 10,606 yards between 2009 and 2018 for both the Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills. He was scheduled to earn a base salary of $6,175,000 in 2019.

Westlake Legal Group LeSean20McCoy20RT Buffalo Bills release six-time Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy: reports fox-news/sports/nfl/buffalo-bills fox-news/sports/nfl fox news fnc/sports fnc David Aaro article 2a0360b0-29f9-5288-afae-d676ef572ec0   Westlake Legal Group LeSean20McCoy20RT Buffalo Bills release six-time Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy: reports fox-news/sports/nfl/buffalo-bills fox-news/sports/nfl fox news fnc/sports fnc David Aaro article 2a0360b0-29f9-5288-afae-d676ef572ec0

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Trump’s Latest Tariffs On Chinese Imports Likely To Hit Consumers Directly

Westlake Legal Group 5d6a9a15250000560000de97 Trump’s Latest Tariffs On Chinese Imports Likely To Hit Consumers Directly

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s latest round of tariffs on Chinese imports is likely to deliver a direct hit on many consumers, who were largely spared from higher prices in his previous rounds of import taxes.

Beginning Sunday, the U.S. government will begin collecting 15% tariffs on $112 billion in Chinese imports — items ranging from smartwatches and TVs to shoes, diapers, sporting goods and meat and dairy products. For the first time since Trump launched his trade war, American households face price increases because many U.S. companies say they’ll be forced to pass on to customers the higher prices they’ll pay on Chinese imports.

For more than a year, the world’s two largest economies have been locked in a high-stakes duel marked by Trump’s escalating import taxes on Chinese goods and Beijing’s retaliatory tariffs.

The two sides have held periodic talks that seem to have met little progress despite glimmers of potential breakthroughs. All the while, they’ve imposed tariffs on billions of each other’s products in a rift over what analysts say is Beijing’s predatory tactics in its drive to become the supreme high-tech superpower.

American consumers have so far been spared the worst of it: The Trump administration had left most everyday household items off its tariff list (valued at $250 billion in Chinese products so far) and instead targeted industrial goods.

That’s about to change. “They’re on. They’re on,” Trump said Friday about the new tariffs that are set to kick in at 12:01 a.m. Sunday. Under the new schedule, 69% of the consumer goods Americans buy from China will face his import taxes, up from 29% now.

That isn’t all. Higher tariffs are set to kick in for another batch of Chinese products — $160 billion’ worth — on Dec. 15. By then, roughly 99% of made-in-China consumer goods imported to the United States will be taxed, according to calculations by Chad Bown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Overall, Trump’s trade war will have raised the average tariff on Chinese imports from 3.1% in 2017, before the hostilities began, to 24.3%.

“The bottom line is that, for the first time, Trump’s trade war is likely to directly raise prices for a lot of household budget items like clothing, shoes, toys, and consumer electronics,” Bown wrote in an report.

For months, Trump — who famously declared that trade wars are “easy to win” — falsely claimed that China itself paid the tariffs and that they left Americans unscathed. In fact, U.S. importers pay the tariffs. They must make a high-risk decision: Whether to absorb the higher costs themselves and accept lower profits. Or pass on their higher costs to their customers and risk losing business.

This has become an ever-more-difficult decision. After years of ultra-low inflation, consumers have grown more resistant to price hikes, especially when they can easily compare prices online for household products and choose the lowest-price options. For that reason, many retailers may choose not to impose the cost of Trump’s higher tariffs on their customers.

And the higher costs U.S. importers face could be offset somewhat by the declining value of China’s currency, which has the effect of making its products somewhat less expensive in the United States.

Still, the prices of certain goods will cost Americans more. Trump tacitly acknowledged this a few weeks ago by announcing a delay in his higher tariffs on $160 billion in imports until Dec. 15 — to keep them from squeezing holiday shoppers.

Even before the December tariffs, though, 52% of shoes and 87% of textiles and clothing imported from China were to be hit by Trump’s tariffs, according to Peterson’s Bown. And not even counting the increase — from 10% to 15% — that Trump announced for his new tariffs a week ago, J.P. Morgan had estimated that his import taxes would cost the average household roughly $1,000 a year.

“The story that holiday goods (were) given a reprieve is fake news,” said Stephen Lamar of the American Apparel and Footwear Association. Overall, the 15% September and December tariffs will force Americans to pay an extra $4 billion a year for shoes and boots, according to a footwear trade group.

Retailers, engaged for a battle for survival with Amazon and other e-commerce rivals, are bracing for the worst. Macy’s raised an alarm when it reported earnings in August: In May, Trump had raised separate tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods from 10% to 25%. In response, Macy’s tried to raise prices of some items on the hit list — luggage, housewares, furniture. But according to CEO Jeff Gennette, customers just said no.

Some retailers are trying to force their suppliers to eat the higher costs so they won’t have to raise prices for shoppers. Target confirmed to The Associated Press that it warned suppliers that it won’t accept cost increases arising from the China tariffs. Some small retailers are even more vulnerable.

“Any cost increase puts us in a tough place,” said Jennifer Lee, whose family owns the Footprint shoe store in San Francisco. “It makes it tough for business owners because we will have to take a hit on our margins, but it will also be difficult for us to pass it on to our shoppers.”

Albert Chow, who owns Great Wall Hardware in San Francisco, said he’s already raised prices on some Chinese-made products because an earlier round of tariffs led his suppliers to raise prices 10% to 20%.

“I will try to keep the prices down for as long as I can,” Chow said. “But at some point, when the tariffs are just too much, we have to eventually raise the prices, and then it goes down to the end user — the customer.”

What’s frustrating for retailers is that consumers might otherwise be in an exuberant mood this holiday season: For most Americans, their jobs are safe and their wages are rising. Unemployment is near a half-century low.

Yet the economy itself looks increasingly fragile. Growth is slowing as the global economy weakens. And Trump’s mercurial approach to trade policy — imposing, delaying, re-imposing import taxes via tweet — makes it nearly impossible for companies to decide on suppliers, factory sites and new markets. So they delay investments, further straining the economy.

“We worry about the average family in this country paying $500, $600, even $1,000 more annually because of the impact of tariffs,” said Myron Brilliant, head of international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We worry about what it means for business confidence, business certainty and investment.”

D’Innocenzio reported from New York. AP Video Journalist Terry Chea contributed from San Francisco.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

How a Trump Tax Break to Help Poor Communities Became a Windfall for the Rich

NEW ORLEANS — President Trump has portrayed America’s cities as wastelands, ravaged by crime and homelessness, infested by rats.

But the Trump administration’s signature plan to lift them — a multibillion-dollar tax break that is supposed to help low-income areas — has fueled a wave of developments financed by and built for the wealthiest Americans.

Among the early beneficiaries of the tax incentive are billionaire financiers like Leon Cooperman and business magnates like Sidney Kohl — and Mr. Trump’s family members and advisers.

Former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey; Richard LeFrak, a New York real estate titan who is close to the president; Anthony Scaramucci, a former White House aide who recently had a falling out with Mr. Trump; and the family of Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, all are looking to profit from what is shaping up to be a once-in-a-generation bonanza for elite investors.

The stated goal of the tax benefit — tucked into the Republicans’ 2017 tax-cut legislation — was to coax investors to pump cash into poor neighborhoods, known as opportunity zones, leading to new housing, businesses and jobs.

The initiative allows people to sell stocks or other investments and delay capital gains taxes for years — as long as they plow the proceeds into projects in federally certified opportunity zones. Any profits from those projects can avoid federal taxes altogether.

“Opportunity zones, hottest thing going, providing massive new incentives for investment and job creation in distressed communities,” Mr. Trump declared at a recent rally in Cincinnati.

Instead, billions of untaxed investment profits are beginning to pour into high-end apartment buildings and hotels, storage facilities that employ only a handful of workers, and student housing in bustling college towns, among other projects.

Many of the projects that will enjoy special tax status were underway long before the opportunity-zone provision was enacted. Financial institutions are boasting about the tax savings that await those who invest in real estate in affluent neighborhoods.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 31ozbonanza8-articleLarge How a Trump Tax Break to Help Poor Communities Became a Windfall for the Rich Trump, Donald J Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017) Scaramucci, Anthony Parker, Sean (1979- ) opportunity zones New Orleans (La) Miami (Fla) Lefrak, Richard S Kushner, Jared Kushner Cos Federal Taxes (US) Christie, Christopher J Capital Gains Tax

Among those raising money for opportunity-zone investments are Anthony Scaramucci, center, the founder of SkyBridge Capital, and Chris Christie, right, the former governor of New Jersey.CreditBridget Bennett for The New York Times

Mr. Scaramucci’s development in New Orleans offers a portrait of how the tax break works. His investment company, SkyBridge Capital, is using the so-called opportunity zone initiative to help build a hotel, outfitted with an opulent restaurant and a rooftop pool, in the city’s trendy Warehouse District.

The tax benefit also is helping finance the construction of a 46-story, glass-wrapped apartment tower — amenities include a yoga lawn and a pool surrounded by cabanas and daybeds — in a Houston neighborhood already brimming with new projects aimed at the wealthy.

And in Miami’s hot Design District, where commercial real estate prices have nearly tripled in the last decade, the tax break is set to be used for a ritzy new office tower with a landscaped roof terrace.

Some proponents of opportunity zones note that money is already flowing into downtrodden communities like Birmingham, Ala., and Erie, Pa. They argue that more funds will follow. And they note that because no data exists on where investments are being made, it is impossible to quantify the benefits going to the wealthy versus the poor.

“The early wave, that’s not what you judge,” said John Lettieri, president of the Economic Innovation Group, an organization that lobbied for the establishment of opportunity zones.

But leaders of groups that work in cities and rural areas to combat poverty say they are disappointed with how it is playing out so far.

“Capital is going to flow to the lowest-risk, highest-return environment,” said Aaron T. Seybert, the social investment officer at the Kresge Foundation, a community-development group in Troy, Mich., that supported the opportunity-zone effort.

“Perhaps 95 percent of this is doing no good for people we care about.”

Mr. Scaramucci, left, shaking hands with John F. Kelly, the former White House chief of staff. Mr. Scaramucci is using opportunity-zone advantages to help build a hotel in a trendy section of New Orleans.CreditBridget Bennett for The New York Times

The opportunity-zone tax break was targeted at the trillions of dollars of capital gains held by rich Americans and their companies: profits from investments in the stock market, real estate and other businesses, even short-term trades by hedge funds. When investors sell those assets, they can incur tax bills of up to 41 percent.

Sean Parker, an early backer of Facebook, helped come up with the idea of pairing a capital-gains tax break with an incentive to invest in distressed neighborhoods. “When you are a founder of Facebook, and you own a lot of stock,” Mr. Parker said at a recent opportunity-zone conference, “you spend a lot of time thinking about capital gains.”

Starting in 2013, Mr. Parker bankrolled a Capitol Hill lobbying effort to pitch the idea to members of Congress. That effort was run through his Economic Innovation Group. In addition to Mr. Parker, the group’s backers included Dan Gilbert, the billionaire founder of Quicken Loans, and Ted Ullyot, the former general counsel of Facebook.

The plan won the support of Senators Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, and Tim Scott, Republican of South Carolina. When Congress, at Mr. Trump’s urging, began discussing major changes to the federal tax code in 2017, Mr. Parker’s idea had a chance to become reality.

Mr. Scott, who sponsored a version of the opportunity-zone legislation that was later incorporated into the broader tax cut package, said it was “for American people stuck, sometimes trapped, in a place where it seems like the lights grow dimmer, and the future does, too.”

“Let’s turn those lights on and make the future bright,” he added.

Confined to six pages in the 185-page tax bill, the provision can significantly increase the profits investors reap on real estate and other transactions.

It allows investors to defer for up to seven years any capital gains taxes on the money they invest in opportunity zones. (That deferral is valuable because it allows people to invest a larger sum upfront, potentially generating more profits over time.) After 10 years, the investor can cash out — by selling the opportunity-zone real estate, for example — and not owe any taxes on the profits.

Over a decade, those dual incentives could increase an investor’s returns by 70 percent, according to an analysis by Novogradac, an accounting firm.

“We are very, very excited about the potential,” the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump said last year at an event celebrating Mr. Parker’s role in creating opportunity zones. “The whole White House obviously is behind the effort. The whole administration.”

The opportunity zones, focused on low-income census tracts, were drawn by officials in each state, as well as in Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Last year, the Treasury Department approved roughly 8,800 such zones. (The White House and Treasury declined to make senior officials available to discuss the program.)

Nearly a third of the 31 million people who live in the zones are considered poor — almost double the national poverty rate. Yet there are plenty of affluent areas inside those poor census tracts. And, as investors would soon realize, some of the zones were not low income at all.

The Preston is financed by the investors in Cresset, a multibillion-dollar asset management firm.CreditBrandon Thibodeaux for The New York Times

The Harvard Club of New York City, in Midtown Manhattan, is the embodiment of America’s old-money elite. Crimson-jacketed waiters serve members who are watched over by oil portraits of elite alumni.

One recent morning, financial advisers representing several dozen of America’s richest dynasties — advisers to the Pritzker and Soros families were listed as attendees — crowded into a drab meeting room on the club’s third floor.

The advisers were there to see Daniel Kowalski, a top aide to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the Trump administration’s point person for the opportunity-zone rules. Mr. Kowalski is barnstorming the country, bouncing from one conference to the next, explaining to real estate investors and developers how to take advantage of the new rules.

Mr. Kowalski was an aide to the Trump campaign, where he worked for the White House policy adviser Stephen Miller. Before that, he was an aide to Jeff Sessions when Mr. Sessions was on the Senate Budget Committee.

[The Trump associates benefiting from a tax break for poor communities.]

At the Harvard Club, he dived into an explanation of how opportunity zones work — and for whom they work. “The audience for opportunity zones is inherently fairly small because it’s limited to capital-gains income, which is why I wanted to come and talk to this group,” he told the room of advisers.

That audience is small indeed: Only 7 percent of Americans report taxable capital gains, and nearly two-thirds of that income was reported by people with a total annual income of $1 million or more, according to I.R.S. data.

Yet this is a vital constituency, since the success of the opportunity-zone program will hinge largely on how much money investors kick in. That is why the Trump administration — and Mr. Kowalski in particular — is promoting the tax break on Wall Street.

“I have served a little bit as a middle man between the business community and the I.R.S.,” he said at another conference a few weeks later.

More than 200 opportunity-zone funds have been established by banks like Goldman Sachs and major real estate companies, including CIM Group of Los Angeles, which has previously been a partner with the Trump and Kushner families on projects. Those funds have said their goal was to raise a total of nearly $57 billion.

The law does not require public disclosure of who are taking advantage of the initiative or how they are deploying their funds. Among those who have invested money or said they intend to are Mr. Kohl, a founder of the department store chain that bears his name; Steve Case, co-founder of AOL; Alexander Bhathal, part owner of the Sacramento Kings basketball team; and Richard Forman, the former owner of the Forman Mills chain of clothing stores, according to interviews and other public statements.

Daniel Kowalski, the Trump administration’s point person for opportunity-zone rules, speaking at a Washington forum about them in June.CreditMelissa Lyttle for The New York Times

Many others are lesser-known business executives who recently sold small companies or real estate and are looking for ways to avoid large tax bills.

Paul DeMoret, for example, recently sold his auto-industry software company in Oregon. He said he was using some of those capital gains to help finance a Courtyard by Marriott in Winston-Salem, N.C., and an apartment building in Tempe, Ariz., among other projects in opportunity zones. He is making the investments through a private equity firm, Virtua Partners.

The tax break is largely benefiting the real estate industry — where Mr. Trump made his fortune and still has extensive business interests — and it is luring people with personal or professional connections to the president.

Mr. Christie, a onetime adviser to Mr. Trump, has raised money for opportunity-zone investments including an apartment building in Hackensack, N.J., and a self-storage center in Connecticut.

Cadre, an investment company co-founded by Mr. Kushner and his brother, Joshua, is raising hundreds of millions of dollars that it hopes to use on opportunity-zone projects. The company is eyeing neighborhoods in Savannah, Ga., Dallas, Los Angeles and Nashville that are expected to grow larger and wealthier in coming years. Jared Kushner has a stake in Cadre worth up to $50 million, according to his most recent financial disclosure.

Mr. LeFrak, a longtime confidant of Mr. Trump’s and a major campaign donor, is building a luxury residential community in the middle of an opportunity zone in Miami. (It is unclear how much of the development’s funding will end up being tax advantaged.)

Not far away in the Design District, Daniel Lebensohn is planning to build his high-end office tower. Mr. Lebensohn previously joined the Trump Organization to sell luxury condominiums at the Trump Hollywood complex north of Miami.

And Mr. Kushner’s family company directly owns or is in the process of buying at least a dozen properties in New York, New Jersey and Florida that are in opportunity zones. They include a pair in Miami, where Kushner Companies plans to build a 393-apartment luxury high rise with sweeping views of Biscayne Bay, according to a company presentation for potential investors.

A representative for the Kushner family confirmed that it was considering opportunity-zone funding for some developments, but said it would probably not use the funding for the Miami projects.

Backers of the opportunity-zone program say luxury projects are the easiest to finance, which is why those have been happening first. Over the long run, they say, those deals will be eclipsed by ones that produce social benefits in low-income areas.

At least some struggling neighborhoods are already starting to receive investments.

In Birmingham, for example, a developer is using opportunity-zone funds to convert a building, vacant for decades, into 140 apartments primarily aimed at the local work force.

“We are seeing projects that are being announced here in Alabama that would not have happened otherwise,” said Alex Flachsbart, founder of Opportunity Alabama, which is trying to steer investors to economically struggling neighborhoods.

Similar projects are getting underway in Erie, Cleveland and Charlottesville, Va. Goldman Sachs is using some of its capital gains — profits on the company’s own investments — in opportunity zones, including $364 million for mixed-income housing developments in Salt Lake City, Baltimore and other cities.

Mr. Case, the AOL co-founder, and Derrick Morgan, a former professional football player, are among those who have announced that they will invest in opportunity-zone projects that are designed to address clear social and economic problems.

As he announced his retirement from the Tennessee Titans in July, Mr. Morgan wrote on Instagram that his goal would be to “create more opportunities for those who are underserved and overlooked” in communities like Coatesville, Pa., where he went to high school.

Emanuel J. Friedman, a hedge fund manager, is using some of his capital gains and money he has raised from others to build 11 warehouses in rural Jasper County, S.C., near the Savannah seaport. The warehouses won’t employ many people, but he said the jobs would offer higher wages than hotel housekeeping positions at the nearby Hilton Head resort, where many area residents now work.

“Of course it will make a difference,” Mr. Friedman said. “It is mind-boggling. It is the best thing I have ever done.”

The developers of the Sole Mia project in North Miami, Fla., urged a local official to nominate the area as an opportunity zone and are now considering ways to take advantage of the status.CreditScott McIntyre for The New York Times

But even supporters of the initiative agree that the bulk of the opportunity-zone money is going to places that do not need the help, while many poorer communities are so far empty-handed.

Some opportunity zones that were classified as low income based on census data from several years ago have since gentrified. Others that remain poor over all have large numbers of wealthy households.

Number of Opportunity Zones by Median Household Income

More than 7 percent of opportunity zones had household incomes above the median census tract in 2017. Investors are focusing on projects in these neighborhoods.

Westlake Legal Group oz-distribution-335 How a Trump Tax Break to Help Poor Communities Became a Windfall for the Rich Trump, Donald J Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017) Scaramucci, Anthony Parker, Sean (1979- ) opportunity zones New Orleans (La) Miami (Fla) Lefrak, Richard S Kushner, Jared Kushner Cos Federal Taxes (US) Christie, Christopher J Capital Gains Tax

$54,408

Median

U.S. tract

$77,692

Fishtown,

Philadelphia

$137,147

Long Island City,

Queens

$98,508

Market Square,

Houston

Westlake Legal Group oz-distribution-600 How a Trump Tax Break to Help Poor Communities Became a Windfall for the Rich Trump, Donald J Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017) Scaramucci, Anthony Parker, Sean (1979- ) opportunity zones New Orleans (La) Miami (Fla) Lefrak, Richard S Kushner, Jared Kushner Cos Federal Taxes (US) Christie, Christopher J Capital Gains Tax

$54,408

Median

U.S. tract

$77,692

Fishtown,

Philadelphia

$91,397

Gowanus,

Brooklyn

$98,508

Market Square,

Houston

$137,147

Long Island City,

Queens

Westlake Legal Group oz-distribution-900 How a Trump Tax Break to Help Poor Communities Became a Windfall for the Rich Trump, Donald J Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017) Scaramucci, Anthony Parker, Sean (1979- ) opportunity zones New Orleans (La) Miami (Fla) Lefrak, Richard S Kushner, Jared Kushner Cos Federal Taxes (US) Christie, Christopher J Capital Gains Tax

$54,408

Median

U.S. tract

$91,397

Gowanus,

Brooklyn

$77,692

Fishtown,

Philadelphia

$98,508

Market Square,

Houston

$137,147

Long Island City,

Queens

Source: American Community Survey

By Blacki Migliozzi and Juliette Love

And nearly 200 of the 8,800 federally designated opportunity zones are adjacent to poor areas but are not themselves considered low income.

Under the law, up to 5 percent of the zones did not need to be poor. The idea was to enable governors to draw opportunity zones in ways that would include projects or businesses just outside poor census tracts, potentially creating jobs for low-income people. In addition, states could designate whole sections of cities or rural areas that would be targeted for investment, including some higher-income census tracts.

In some cases, developers have lobbied state officials to include specific plots of land inside opportunity zones.

In Miami, for example, Mr. LeFrak — who donated nearly $500,000 to Mr. Trump’s campaign and inauguration and is personally close to the president — is working with a Florida partner on a 183-acre project that is set to include 12 residential towers and eight football fields’ worth of retail and commercial space.

In spring 2018, as they planned the so-called Sole Mia project, Mr. LeFrak’s executives encouraged city officials in North Miami to nominate the area around the site as an opportunity zone, according to Larry M. Spring, the city manager. They did so, and the Treasury Department made the designation official.

The Far West Side of Manhattan is part of an opportunity zone — even as high-end towers have been replacing run-down apartment buildings and more than 15 percent of households reported income of $200,000 or more in 2017, according to an analysis by Webster Pacific, a consulting firm. This is the new home of Pershing Square Capital Management, the prominent hedge fund run by the billionaire Bill Ackman.

Mr. Ackman is trying to find tenants for 80,000 square feet of unused office space in his fund’s building, which has a Jaguar dealership on the ground floor. He said he was using its location inside an opportunity zone as a lure.

That is because investors can use their capital gains to invest not only in real estate but also in businesses inside opportunity zones. A company that sets up shop inside Mr. Ackman’s building therefore would be eligible to accept tax-advantaged opportunity-zone money.

One of the Sole Mia partners is Richard LeFrak, who donated nearly $500,000 to President Trump’s campaign and inauguration.CreditScott McIntyre for The New York Times

Financial institutions are not even trying to make it look as if their opportunity-zone investments were intended to benefit needy communities.

CBRE, one of the country’s largest real estate companies, is seeking opportunity-zone funding for an apartment building in Alexandria, Va., which CBRE is pitching to prospective investors as “one of the region’s most affluent locations.”

JPMorgan Chase is raising money to build housing targeting students in College Park, Md., near the University of Maryland. (Because many students do not have jobs, census data often wrongly suggests that college towns are poor neighborhoods.)

In marketing materials, JPMorgan noted that while College Park “qualifies as low income due to the student population, the area around it is affluent.” The bank added, “The tax benefits can be remarkable.”

The Swiss bank UBS is raising funds from its “ultra high net worth” clients — requiring in some cases that they have at least $50 million in investable assets — for developments in New York and Connecticut. The projects include a 23-story retail and office building in Downtown Brooklyn and an upscale apartment building in New Rochelle, N.Y., with a yoga studio and 24-hour valet parking. There is even a spa — for residents’ pets.

Other companies have set up subscription databases showing which zones have the highest incomes and fastest-growing populations to help investors steer their money to the most lucrative and least risky destinations.

“The current system is clearly driving capital to places that are known to be winners,” said Christopher A. Coes, vice president at Smart Growth America, a nonprofit group that encourages investments in American cities.

This street in New Orleans became part of an opportunity zone after a hotel in the Virgin chain had already been planned there.CreditAkasha Rabut for The New York Times

The Warehouse District of New Orleans is one of the city’s trendiest neighborhoods. Some of the area’s hottest restaurants — as well as a new one dishing out shrimp tempura tacos — are here. So are hipster barbershops. Boutique hotels spill well-heeled tourists onto the red brick sidewalks. High-end coffee shops are packed with young people buried in their MacBooks.

And it is getting hotter. The sounds of heavy-duty equipment heaving steel or pouring cement are audible across the neighborhood.

In other words, in a city grappling with acute poverty, this is not a neighborhood that especially needs a generous new tax break to lure luxury lodging. Yet state officials have established an opportunity zone here.

That decision benefited businesses already operating or planned for the district. One of those is a 225-room hotel, part of Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels chain, whose plans were unveiled a year before Mr. Trump signed the tax law. Its location inside an opportunity zone meant investors could earn greater profits than they otherwise would have, by financing the project with tax-advantaged money.

Changing Incomes in New Orleans

Early opportunity zone development is often happening in neighborhoods where income was already rising, not in struggling areas.

Westlake Legal Group la-map-Artboard_1 How a Trump Tax Break to Help Poor Communities Became a Windfall for the Rich Trump, Donald J Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017) Scaramucci, Anthony Parker, Sean (1979- ) opportunity zones New Orleans (La) Miami (Fla) Lefrak, Richard S Kushner, Jared Kushner Cos Federal Taxes (US) Christie, Christopher J Capital Gains Tax

Median household

income 2012-17

Opportunity

zones

French

Quarter

Virgin Hotel

(under construction)

Hoffman Triangle

Warehouse District

NEW ORLEANS

Garden

District

Mississippi River

Westlake Legal Group la-map-Artboard_1_copy How a Trump Tax Break to Help Poor Communities Became a Windfall for the Rich Trump, Donald J Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017) Scaramucci, Anthony Parker, Sean (1979- ) opportunity zones New Orleans (La) Miami (Fla) Lefrak, Richard S Kushner, Jared Kushner Cos Federal Taxes (US) Christie, Christopher J Capital Gains Tax

Median household income 2012-17

Opportunity

zones

French

Quarter

Virgin Hotel

Hoffman

Triangle

Warehouse

District

NEW ORLEANS

Mississippi River

Sources: American Community Survey; OpenStreetMap | By Weiyi Cai and Blacki Migliozzi

Those investors include Mr. Scaramucci, who briefly served as White House communications director in 2017 and has claimed credit for helping to create the opportunity-zone plan. “We got to get into this business because this will be transformative to the United States,” he said recently.

Mr. Scaramucci’s investment firm, SkyBridge Capital, has raised more than $50 million in capital gains from outside investors, and most of it is being used to finance the hotel, according to Brett S. Messing, the company’s president. He said the hotel was likely to be the first of numerous opportunity-zone projects financed by SkyBridge.

The Virgin Hotels construction site in New Orleans. Because of the zone, the 225-room hotel can be financed with tax-advantaged money.CreditAkasha Rabut for The New York Times

Less than two miles away is the poorest opportunity zone in Louisiana — and one of the poorest nationwide. The zone includes the Hoffman Triangle neighborhood, where the average household earns less than $15,000 per year. Block after block, streets are lined with dilapidated, narrow homes, many of them boarded up. On a recent afternoon, one of them was serving as a work site for prostitutes.

City officials, including the head of economic development for New Orleans, said they were not aware of any opportunity-zone projects in this neighborhood.

Terrance Ross, a construction worker who has lived in the area for 20 years, is familiar with the building boom underway in the Warehouse District.

“Why is the federal government putting money where money is already accumulating?” he asked, lighting a cigarette and standing across the street from an abandoned house. “This neighborhood just needs some tender loving care.”

Similar scenes are playing out in opportunity zones across the United States: The federal government is subsidizing luxury developments — often within walking distance of economically distressed communities — that were in the works before Mr. Trump was even elected president.

In Houston, construction recently started on the Preston, with 373 “luxury for rent” apartments as well as a “skydeck” and a resort-style swimming pool. The development is being financed by the investors in Cresset, a multibillion-dollar asset management firm, including one of its founders, Avy Stein.

Changing Incomes in Houston

Early opportunity zone investment is coming to Market Square, already a site of high-end developments and major income growth.

Westlake Legal Group houston-map-Artboard_1 How a Trump Tax Break to Help Poor Communities Became a Windfall for the Rich Trump, Donald J Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017) Scaramucci, Anthony Parker, Sean (1979- ) opportunity zones New Orleans (La) Miami (Fla) Lefrak, Richard S Kushner, Jared Kushner Cos Federal Taxes (US) Christie, Christopher J Capital Gains Tax

Median household

income 2012-17

Market Square is home to three recent luxury developments.

Greater

Fifth Ward

Downtown

Houston

Fourth Ward

Opportunity zones

South

Central Houston

University

of Houston

Rice

University

Houston

Zoo

Westlake Legal Group houston-map-Artboard_1_copy How a Trump Tax Break to Help Poor Communities Became a Windfall for the Rich Trump, Donald J Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017) Scaramucci, Anthony Parker, Sean (1979- ) opportunity zones New Orleans (La) Miami (Fla) Lefrak, Richard S Kushner, Jared Kushner Cos Federal Taxes (US) Christie, Christopher J Capital Gains Tax

Median household income 2012-17

Market Square is home to three recent luxury developments.

Downtown

Houston

Fourth Ward

South

Central Houston

University

of Houston

Houston

Zoo

Opportunity zones

Sources: American Community Survey; OpenStreetMap | By Weiyi Cai and Blacki Migliozzi

And in downtown Portland, Ore., the developers of a 35-story tower with a hotel, condos and office space are hoping to raise up to $150 million in opportunity-zone money to pay for the project. Condos will go for as much as $7.5 million each. The hotel is a Ritz-Carlton.

Exhibits at Mr. Scaramucci’s investment conference in Las Vegas, where opportunity zones were discussed as the next big thing.CreditBridget Bennett for The New York Times

Club music blared from speakers as millionaires and billionaires — and the money managers, lawyers, accountants and other professionals looking to make money off all this wealth — milled around a pool and private cabanas at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas.

They were at an annual investment conference to talk about the next big thing. This year, that thing was opportunity zones, which were the focus of five panel discussions.

The Las Vegas event was hosted by Mr. Scaramucci. Among the attendees was Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. At one point he posed and smiled for a photo with Mr. Scaramucci and his wife.

“OZ are super hot right now,” Mr. Cuban said in an email after the event, adding that he had recently bought a property in an opportunity zone, but had not decided yet if he would use the tax break. “Every major investor I know has been pitched a property or fund within an OZ.”

The feeding frenzy is not confined to rich individuals. Lawyers, accountants, wealth managers and consultants are enjoying a gusher of new work — and raking in fees — helping clients structure deals with the maximum tax savings.

Real estate lawyers like Brad A. Molotsky are billing hundreds of extra hours as they field calls from eager investors. One day in June, Mr. Molotsky juggled clients who wanted to invest in $500 million worth of opportunity-zone projects.

“I am just one guy, and that was from just two meetings,” said Mr. Molotsky, who works in New Jersey for the law firm Duane Morris. He has completed more than 20 opportunity-zone deals, he said, and has dozens more in the pipeline.

The night after Mr. Scaramucci’s pool party, more festivities were underway on the other end of the Las Vegas Strip — part of a separate event also focused on opportunity zones. One party was at the Soviet-themed Red Square restaurant. Inside, an investor handed out postcards with photographs of buildings he wanted to buy in opportunity zones.

At another open-bar soiree, a man in a navy suit and a cowboy hat wandered the crowd, drink in hand. Attached to the top of his hat was a large sign. It beckoned: “Looking for OZ Funds.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Delta pilot charged with attempting to fly while intoxicated

A Delta Air Lines pilot has been formally charged with attempting to operate an aircraft under the influence of alcohol last month.

On Friday, Gabriel Schroeder was hit with two charges in relation to the incident – one count of attempting to operate an aircraft under the influence of alcohol, and another count of attempting to fly with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 percent of more, KARE 11 reports.

On July 30, the 37-year-old man was arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on suspicion of being intoxicated ahead of a flight he was piloting to San Diego.

Westlake Legal Group AP19242714265812 Delta pilot charged with attempting to fly while intoxicated Janine Puhak fox-news/travel/general/airlines fox-news/lifestyle fox news fnc/travel fnc article 90c8812f-1a7c-5d4b-a16d-61def2cfb22b

Delta Air Lines pilot Gabriel Schroeder, shown, has been charged with attempting to operate an aircraft under the influence of alcohol. (AP Photo/Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport Police)

AMERICAN AIRLINES PASSENGER SAYS CREW OVER-SERVED ALCOHOL TO MAN WHO SEXUALLY ASSAULTED HER ON FLIGHT, LAWSUIT CLAIMS

Shortly before takeoff, police removed Schroeder from the fully-boarded plane after Transportation Security Administration agents reportedly found an empty bottle of alcohol and smelled alcohol on his breath.

In the weeks since, a toxicology report has revealed that the Rosemont, Minn. man had a blood alcohol level between 0.04 percent and 0.08 percent upon his arrest.

Minnesota has a 0.04 percent legal limit for pilots and the FAA prohibits pilots from flying within eight hours of drinking, The Star Tribune reports.

Furthermore, Schroeder has since admitted to law enforcement officials that he’d had one beer and three vodka drinks the night before the flight to California.

Westlake Legal Group iStock-540383328 Delta pilot charged with attempting to fly while intoxicated Janine Puhak fox-news/travel/general/airlines fox-news/lifestyle fox news fnc/travel fnc article 90c8812f-1a7c-5d4b-a16d-61def2cfb22b

Shortly before takeoff, police removed Schroeder from the fully-boarded plane after Transportation Security Administration agents reportedly found an empty bottle of alcohol and smelled alcohol on his breath. (iStock)

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The aviation professional also admitted discarding an unopened vodka bottle that authorities found in an airport bathroom after he saw that security screening for crews had been stepped up.

Schroder has since been removed from flying with Delta following his arrest, with a court date set for Nov. 27.

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Reps for the carrier did not immediately return Fox News’ request for comment on the news.

Fox News’ Brie Stimson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP19242714265812 Delta pilot charged with attempting to fly while intoxicated Janine Puhak fox-news/travel/general/airlines fox-news/lifestyle fox news fnc/travel fnc article 90c8812f-1a7c-5d4b-a16d-61def2cfb22b   Westlake Legal Group AP19242714265812 Delta pilot charged with attempting to fly while intoxicated Janine Puhak fox-news/travel/general/airlines fox-news/lifestyle fox news fnc/travel fnc article 90c8812f-1a7c-5d4b-a16d-61def2cfb22b

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