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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 126)

Disney apologizes to guests after Skyliner ‘nightmare;’ no indication on reopening

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Disney apologizes to guests after Skyliner 'nightmare;' no indication on reopening

Some Walt Disney World park-goers were stranded in the air for several hours on the Florida resort’s newly launched aerial cable car system. USA TODAY

Walt Disney World Resort has yet to set a reopening date for its new aerial cable car system, the Skyliner, after it stranded passengers for hours on Saturday night

Riders were stuck when one of the Skyliner cars became stuck in the air, the company said. Disney’s website still says the service is “temporarily closed.” 

“We have a team diligently looking into the cause of Saturday’s malfunction on the Epcot line of the Disney Skyliner,” Disney told USA TODAY in a statement. “We have been in contact with the guests, many of whom were on the Skyliner for more than three hours until we were able to restart the system. We express our sincere apologies for the inconvenience and continue to work with each guest individually.”

It was not immediately clear how many riders were stuck. Photos on Twitter showed a few yellow cars jumbled together along a platform.

Chris Edenfield told the Orlando Sentinel that he and his disabled mother were stuck on the ride for hours.

“We’ve cracked open the emergency kit awhile ago for water; it’s just a nightmare right now,” he said.

The company said no injuries were reported and that it was working with each guest “regarding impacts to their visit with us.”

The Skyliner system opened a week ago to much fanfare; Disney announced it would be ready in fall 2019 in November of last year. The company describes the Skyliner on its website as a “grand, state-of-the-art gondola system” that connects Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot to four Disney hotels.

Glitches aren’t an anomaly for newly opened attractions, according to amusement park safety expert Bill Avery of Avery Safety Consulting Inc.

“Glitches are rarely catastrophic and more often than not associated with minor malfunctions where a little extra ‘tweaking’ may be necessary,” Avery tells USA TODAY. Assuming Disney followed typical safety precautions for new attractions, they would have operated it for some time testing safety features — first unloaded, then with load testing. Next, in-house personnel would ride it before guests ever got on.

“Sky rides malfunction for various reasons,” he adds. “Many times it is a part of the safety system that shuts it down. Preparing and practicing for an evacuation such as occurred in this instance is very important for operators of sky rides. Failures happen, and the operator must be prepared. Operators must be prepared to respond quickly and effectively.”

Brian Avery, an events, tourism and attractions operational safety expert, told USA TODAY that three hours is too long for people be stuck in the cabin on any attraction.

“Measures should have been in place for the possibility of a ride or device failure that required an expedited rescue and/or the delivery of water, food, medicine, portable toilets,” Brian Avery told USA TODAY.

Passengers — and Disney — lucked out that the weather wasn’t threatening. “In this instance for example, if a violent thunderstorm had popped up and/or high winds were present, this could have been a serious event,” Bill Avery added.

“You can never anticipate all the things that can go wrong,” he said. “I would imagine they learned a lot handling a real shut down and will incorporate what they learned into their procedures for the next time.”

Dennis Speigel, president of industry consultant International Theme Park Services Inc., told USA TODAY that Disney will likely look at all of the systems, including braking, pulley and wind systems as a means of testing. He says it shouldn’t take more than a couple of days to figure out what happened before putting it back in service and that the public shouldn’t be concerned.

Speigel recalled another sky attraction incident: In the early 1980s at Kings Island theme park in Ohio, a sky ride stranded people for six hours. After getting everyone down safely, the attraction shut down for a week and went through testing. Once it reopened, lines were longer than the previous few years.

“People’s memories are short,” Speigel noted.

Contributing: John Bacon

Opening fanfare: Disney World officially opens its Skyliner service to the public: Here’s what guests think

Then the chaos: Disney World’s new Skyliner cable-car system strands passengers: ‘It’s just a nightmare’

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A Pioneering Ohio Courtroom Helps Trafficking Victims Find Hope

Westlake Legal Group catch-9725db3685f0ce0921360fdfd74888f32a2bd35c-s1100-c15 A Pioneering Ohio Courtroom Helps Trafficking Victims Find Hope

At the CATCH graduation ceremony, Melissa Callaway hugs her sister after giving a speech about getting out of human trafficking. Now the diversion program is a nationwide model. Paige Pfleger/WOSU hide caption

toggle caption

Paige Pfleger/WOSU

Westlake Legal Group  A Pioneering Ohio Courtroom Helps Trafficking Victims Find Hope

At the CATCH graduation ceremony, Melissa Callaway hugs her sister after giving a speech about getting out of human trafficking. Now the diversion program is a nationwide model.

Paige Pfleger/WOSU

A diversion program for victims of human trafficking is spreading to cities around the country. The model has roots in Columbus, Ohio, where a judge decided to direct women toward rehabilitation instead of jail.

Ten years ago, Judge Paul Herbert was sitting in a courtroom when he noticed a trend. He was seeing lots of women who were abused and forced into sex work, but they were being treated like criminals.

“The sheriff brings the next defendant out on the wall chained up,” Herbert says, “and it’s a woman and she’s all beat up, she’s looking exactly like one of these victims of domestic violence except she’s in handcuffs and a jail suit. I look down at the file and it says prostitute.”

Herbert realized the law didn’t recognize these women as victims of human trafficking. So he pitched the idea of a courtroom dedicated to recovery, not punishment. It’s called CATCH Court, which stands for Changing Actions To Change Habits.

“We didn’t have the vocabulary that we do, even the vocabulary, let alone the way society looked at these women,” Herbert says. “So it was pretty much, we were kind of a laughingstock.”

At the start, CATCH was one of only a few such programs in the country.

There are now seven of these specialized courts in Ohio alone. There are similar programs in Texas, Illinois, Tennessee and Louisiana, and Herbert has helped cities get the courts up and running.

Westlake Legal Group catch-2-240469720caa1b3495289a9461518bf9f7d54e0c-s1100-c15 A Pioneering Ohio Courtroom Helps Trafficking Victims Find Hope

A decade ago, Judge Paul Herbert came up with the idea of a diversion program for human trafficking victims. Paige Pfleger/WOSU hide caption

toggle caption

Paige Pfleger/WOSU

Westlake Legal Group  A Pioneering Ohio Courtroom Helps Trafficking Victims Find Hope

A decade ago, Judge Paul Herbert came up with the idea of a diversion program for human trafficking victims.

Paige Pfleger/WOSU

Here’s how it works: The program takes care of housing and food — things the women would normally need from their trafficker. Participants get treatment for trauma and addiction, and they are eligible to get their records expunged.

In exchange, they’re subject to drug testing and must show up in court every week for two years.

While it costs $200,000 a year to run CATCH Court, Herbert says that’s a bargain.

“If you want to do nothing, you’re going to keep spending $5.4 million a year to arrest and jail these women and have no improvement in the circumstance,” Herbert says.

But this program is intense. Less than 1 in 4 of the women enrolled make it to graduation.

“We had a person who left our house and she was a CATCH Court dropout. I can tell you I’ve had about maybe 15 this year,” says Esther Flores. She runs a safe house for women in sex work and says CATCH is great for those who graduate but doesn’t do enough for the women who don’t.

Some women drop out because they get jobs and don’t need the assistance, but Flores says she has seen others end up back on the street.

“I became addicted to drugs and then the trafficker found me,” says Vanessa Perkins. She’s one of CATCH’s first successful graduates.

Perkins was sexually abused as a young girl and started drinking and doing drugs when she was only 12.

“He preyed on my vulnerabilities on purpose, knew what he was doing,” she says. “From drug addiction, to love, to family, to loyalty. He preyed on all of that stuff I was missing.”

Westlake Legal Group catch-3-d61b7f477f36d605e9da9f4395fd9eba58ca04d7-s1100-c15 A Pioneering Ohio Courtroom Helps Trafficking Victims Find Hope

Vanessa Perkins was a CATCH Court graduate. Now she’s the court’s bailiff. Paige Pfleger/WOSU hide caption

toggle caption

Paige Pfleger/WOSU

Westlake Legal Group  A Pioneering Ohio Courtroom Helps Trafficking Victims Find Hope

Vanessa Perkins was a CATCH Court graduate. Now she’s the court’s bailiff.

Paige Pfleger/WOSU

In a twist Perkins says she never could have imagined, years after completing the program, Herbert asked her to be the bailiff in his court — the very court that helped her recover. Now she helps other women who are going through what she did years ago.

“They’re like, if you can do it, I can do it. Especially if I happened to be out there with them,” she says. “Cause there’s people that come in that we was on the streets together.”

CATCH has found success keeping women out of the system, regardless of if they cross the graduation stage — the recidivism rate for women in prostitution nationwide is 80%. That number drops by half for women enrolled in CATCH for any amount of time, and even further to 20% for the women who make it to graduation.

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

Nissan’s Crisis Goes Much Deeper Than Carlos Ghosn

TOKYO — An outside law firm investigating problems at Nissan, the troubled Japanese automaker, this summer discovered some potentially explosive information.

Hari Nada, a powerful Nissan insider who was behind the ouster last year of Nissan’s chairman, Carlos Ghosn, over compensation issues, had been improperly overpaid himself, the firm found. A second insider involved in the corporate coup was responsible, the firm said, and had briefed Mr. Nada on what he had done.

A senior Nissan compliance officer planned to share the findings with the company’s board of directors, according to people familiar with the situation.

But the full board never heard the details of the findings, according to people who attended the board’s last meeting on Sept. 9. Moments after the meeting ended, Nissan issued a statement that cleared an unnamed group of executives of misconduct.

In the weeks after the law firm delivered its findings, Nissan sidelined two senior in-house lawyers who had handled issues of misconduct at the company, including the one who hired the outside law firm, according to people briefed on the moves. Both had warned Nissan executives that Mr. Nada had continued influencing inquiries into the company’s problems, these people said, even after recusing himself to avoid conflicts of interest.

The series of events, most of which have not been previously disclosed, paint a picture of a major global automaker hobbled by distrust and deep conflicts of interest among top executives. Nearly one year after Mr. Ghosn was arrested by the Japanese authorities, shaking the global auto industry, Nissan remains riven by corporate intrigue that has left members of its own board and Renault of France, which owns a 43 percent stake in the Japanese company, in the dark. The automaker has also reported a deep plunge in profits as sales have plummeted and announced plans to lay off as many as 12,500 employees worldwide.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_155271687_4202e399-38bd-4e9c-9555-e4ea3c44ad8e-articleLarge Nissan’s Crisis Goes Much Deeper Than Carlos Ghosn Securities and Commodities Violations Saikawa, Hiroto Renault SA Nissan Motor Co Nada, Hari Kelly, Greg (Nissan Executive) Japan Ghosn, Carlos Frauds and Swindling Falsification of Data Executive Compensation Boards of Directors Automobiles

Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s former chairman, center, arrives at Tokyo District Court for a hearing in May. Nearly a year after his arrest, the automaker remains riven by corporate intrigue.CreditRen Onuma/Kyodo News, via Associated Press

The findings from the outside law firm, which were reviewed by The New York Times, could also raise questions about the credibility of crucial witnesses against Mr. Ghosn, who has been charged with trying to conceal his pay level from regulators, among other charges, and Greg Kelly, a former senior Nissan executive charged with helping him. Both men say they are innocent.

Nissan said that the executives whose pay issues came to light after Mr. Ghosn’s ouster were “unaware that improper methods were used” to increase their compensation and that there was “no reason to suspect” that they broke the law. A Nissan spokeswoman said the company possessed a more recent version of the findings from the outside law firm, but Nissan declined to make that version available.

Christina Murray, then the head of Nissan’s internal audit and compliance offices, hired the law firm, Anderson Mori and Tomotsune, this past summer. Ms. Murray had been leading an examination into misconduct at the company since last year. In late August, the firm delivered a report on its findings addressed to Ms. Murray.

Hari Nada, the head of Nissan’s legal department and security office. An outside law firm found that he had been improperly overpaid.CreditNissan Motor Co.

Mr. Nada, the head of Nissan’s legal department and security office, had in 2017 received about $280,000 in “unjust enrichment,” the firm found.

The Nissan spokeswoman said that the more recent version of the law firm’s findings had included a different, lower amount for Mr. Nada’s overpayment. Nissan declined to release further details or to explain the discrepancy. “As the investigation progressed, updates were made,” it said.

Toshiaki Onuma, a senior Nissan administrator, changed the payout dates for stock-based compensation, the firm found, improperly increasing pay for Mr. Nada and others. The firm did not say why Mr. Onuma changed the dates.

Both Mr. Nada and Mr. Onuma were deeply involved in Mr. Ghosn’s fall and are widely expected to be central witnesses in his trial. The two have struck cooperation agreements with Japanese prosecutors, according to Mr. Ghosn’s lawyers and Nissan documents reviewed by the Times. Japanese prosecutors have not made details of the agreements public.

It is not clear what happened to the law firm’s findings after it delivered its report. But shortly after, Motoo Nagai, a Nissan director who heads the company’s audit committee, told Ms. Murray that she could no longer participate in any investigations involving Mr. Nada, according to an email reviewed by the Times. She subsequently resigned. Her last day in the office was Aug. 30, and she officially left the company on Sept. 9. She had planned to present the results of her yearlong investigation to the full board that day, said the people familiar with the plans.

Mr. Nagai has told reporters that Ms. Murray had been contemplating resigning since July and that the timing was coincidental. The company has said she resigned for personal reasons.

The board’s meeting on Sept. 9 focused on Hiroto Saikawa, Mr. Ghosn’s successor as chief executive. The board unanimously asked for his resignation, and he resigned that day. He had admitted earlier that month that he received about $440,000 in improper share-based compensation. Mr. Saikawa said he had not realized that the overpayment was “against the rules” and vowed to return the money.

But some directors at the meeting demanded more information about the compensation of other executives and were growing frustrated with a lack of it, said people who were there. Days before, Bloomberg News reported that Mr. Nada had received overpayments, without specifying the amount or how. Jean-Dominique Senard, the chairman of Nissan’s French partner, Renault, and other board members asked why they were learning about top executives’ pay issues from media reports.

In its statement, Nissan said the law firm’s findings had been “reflected” in a broader report shared with the board after the meeting. But that broader report named only directors, not executives, who received improper compensation, according to people aware of its contents. It did not identify the executives, like Mr. Nada, who received that compensation nor say how much they received or how they received it, the people said. Some members of the board were not aware that the firm had been hired, they said.

Hiroto Saikawa, the chief executive of Nissan, at a news conference in September announcing his resignation. He had admitted earlier that he received about $440,000 in improper share-based compensation.CreditKimimasa Mayama/EPA, via Shutterstock Members of Nissan’s board, from left, Keiko Ihara, Yasushi Kimura, Masakazu Toyoda and Motoo Nagai at a news conference after their meeting on Sept. 9. The board voted unanimously that day to accept Mr. Saikawa’s resignation.CreditKyodo, via Associated Press Images

When the board meeting ended, Nissan released a statement that said that in addition to Mr. Saikawa six other directors and executives, whom it did not identify, had received extra compensation. Nissan added that they had been unaware of the “improper methods used” to increase their pay.

The findings by Anderson Mori and Tomotsune said five executives and directors, including Mr. Nada, were overpaid. It is not clear whether the six cited by Nissan overlapped with the five named by the law firm. Nissan declined to discuss their identities, citing privacy issues.

Mr. Onuma told the firm’s investigators that he had “explicitly explained” to Mr. Nada that he had changed the date for stock-based compensation to increase Mr. Nada’s pay, according to the law firm’s report. Investigators also cited an email to Mr. Nada that they said showed Mr. Onuma explaining the change.

The law firm said it was unable to verify what Mr. Onuma said because Mr. Nada refused to be interviewed.

Mr. Nada refused to talk to the law firm unless Mr. Nagai was present and given full authority over the interview, as well as its results. The law firm called Mr. Nada’s demands “unusual and inappropriate” and left the question of how to proceed with Mr. Nagai.

In a statement, Nissan said that “all subjects of the investigation were interviewed appropriately” by Anderson Mori and Tomotsune. It declined to provide further details.

The firm also found that Mr. Onuma had adjusted the compensation of Itaru Koeda, a former Nissan director, by about $93,000, and the compensation of Arun Bajaj, a former executive in Nissan’s human resources department, by $46,000. The men said they were unaware of Mr. Onuma’s actions, the firm said.

The law firm wrote that overpayments to two other executives, including Asako Hoshino, Nissan’s most senior female executive, were “relatively innocent” and resulted from what appeared to be miscommunication.

Asako Hoshino, an executive vice president at Nissan, is the company’s most senior female executive.  CreditChristopher Jue/European Pressphoto Agency

As investigators inside and outside Nissan have explored the problems with how the company is run, people within both the Japanese company and Renault have begun to focus on Mr. Nada’s role within the company. He has remained the head of Nissan’s legal department despite his cooperation agreement with prosecutors and his role as a potential witness in Mr. Ghosn’s trial. Some within Nissan and its board see this as a troubling conflict of interest, say people familiar with the concerns.

Mr. Nada recused himself in April from matters involving investigations at the top, according to people familiar with the situation. But, they said, Mr. Nada has continued to use his position and a team of loyal employees to influence those matters directly and indirectly.

Ms. Murray, the former compliance chief, repeatedly expressed concerns over what she described as Mr. Nada’s continued influence over the investigations and related legal matters, according to people she spoke with and emails reviewed by the Times.

Nissan’s internal and outside legal advisers have also questioned Mr. Nada’s role within the company.

During the Sept. 9 board meeting, six of the board’s seven independent directors — everyone except Mr. Nagai — were given a letter written by a senior Nissan lawyer, Ravinder Passi, with a legal memo attached, that outlined potential conflicts of interest within Nissan’s top ranks. Mr. Passi’s letter was previously reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The memo, which was reviewed by the Times, had been commissioned by Mr. Passi and written by two outside law firms, Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen and Hamilton, based in New York, and a Japanese firm, Mori Hamada and Matsumoto. It said executives involved in Mr. Ghosn’s alleged wrongdoing “should not be involved in decision making” related to those accusations. It also cited deals struck by Mr. Nada and Mr. Onuma with prosecutors to cooperate in their case against Mr. Ghosn in exchange for immunity from criminal liability.

The memo was dated July 23. In his Sept. 9 letter to the six outside directors, Mr. Passi said he had shared the memo on July 25 with Mr. Nagai, the chairman of the board’s audit committee. Mr. Passi wrote he had not been able to find out whether board members had seen the memo but felt “duty bound” to bring it to their attention.

Since July, Mr. Passi said in his letter, the problem of conflicts of interest within the company’s top ranks had “become more acute.”

Shortly after the board meeting, Mr. Nada wrote in an email to the company’s legal department that Mr. Passi would no longer handle any legal matters related to the Ghosn investigation. Instead, Kathryn Carlile, one of Mr. Nada’s former assistants, would take over, said the email, which was reviewed by the Times.

That surprised some board members and Nissan employees who saw Ms. Carlile as loyal to Mr. Nada, said people familiar with their thinking. In its statement, Nissan said Mr. Passi had been removed from those matters because of potential conflicts of interest. It did not specify the conflicts.

In his email, Mr. Nada said the legal team should make arrangements to brief Ms. Carlile on related issues “as soon as possible.” The email ended, “Best regards, Hari.”

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Bear cubs stuck in van freed after honking horn

They weren’t smarter than the average bear, but it seemed that way.

A pair of cubs that got stuck in a van in Gatlinburg, Tenn., were freed after they started honking the vehicle’s horn.

TESLAS WILL SOON MAKE FART AND ANIMAL SOUNDS, MUSK TWEETS

Home security technician Jeff Stokely said he was at a customer’s house when he heard a horn blaring outside and realized it was coming from his company van.

Westlake Legal Group bear-12 Bear cubs stuck in van freed after honking horn Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fox news fnc/auto fnc article af33fb97-7219-5ae5-8abd-4ad062b09a6b

(JEFF STOKELY)

When he approached it, he saw the cubs climbing around inside the front cabin and leaning on the horn. He’s not exactly sure how they got trapped, but the noise sure got his attention.

WATCH: DELICATE AND BRUTAL BEAR SKILLFULLY OPENS CAR DOOR

After making sure mamma bear wasn’t around, Stokely opened the rear door and the cubs ran off into the nearby woods safe and (without any) sound.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Westlake Legal Group bear-12 Bear cubs stuck in van freed after honking horn Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fox news fnc/auto fnc article af33fb97-7219-5ae5-8abd-4ad062b09a6b   Westlake Legal Group bear-12 Bear cubs stuck in van freed after honking horn Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fox news fnc/auto fnc article af33fb97-7219-5ae5-8abd-4ad062b09a6b

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Alessia Cara Imitates 7 Pop Stars Singing ‘Bad Guy’ And It’s Awesome

Westlake Legal Group 5d9b5ff221000059033302b0 Alessia Cara Imitates 7 Pop Stars Singing ‘Bad Guy’ And It’s Awesome

Talk about making good impressions.

Watch Cara work through Lorde, Alanis Morissette, Shakira, Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande, Cardi B and Eilish.

The “Stay” singer, who had previously mastered Fallon’s “Wheel of Musical Impressions,” could be the Rich Little of recording artists if she wanted to.

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Trump threatens to ‘obliterate’ Turkish economy after criticism over his green light to invade Syria

Westlake Legal Group bJNJ0QaSsjmrCEfeMuxV3gntb5NnJcuz4g__zct7MlU Trump threatens to 'obliterate' Turkish economy after criticism over his green light to invade Syria r/politics

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Trump Threatens To ‘Totally Destroy’ Turkey’s Economy Should It Act Inappropriately

Westlake Legal Group 5d9b6475200000d0024ebf3a Trump Threatens To ‘Totally Destroy’ Turkey’s Economy Should It Act Inappropriately

President Donald Trump said on Twitter Monday he will “totally destroy and obliterate” Turkey’s economy if it takes any action that he considers “off limits” after announcing U.S. forces will withdraw from Syria.

Trump’s threat followed the White House announcing on Sunday that Turkey will invade Northern Syria in a campaign against the self-declared Islamic State. 

The White House’s decision has been criticized as jeopardizing the lives of U.S.-allied Kurdish forces by leaving them to fend for themselves. This comes after they helped the U.S. defeat the Islamic State in Syria.

The Kurds are considered to be a terrorist organization by the Turkish government. Withdrawing U.S. troops, therefore, places them at even greater risk, the Kurds’ Syrian Democratic Forces warned in a statement that accused the U.S. of abandoning its responsibilities “in the war on terror.”

The U.S. withdrawal “will have a serious impact in the fight against terrorism and will have deep impact on the political situation and international efforts to end the crisis and resolve it politically,” the SDA said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

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Nissan’s Crisis Goes Much Deeper Than Carlos Ghosn

TOKYO — An outside law firm investigating problems at Nissan, the troubled Japanese automaker, this summer discovered some potentially explosive information.

Hari Nada, a powerful Nissan insider who was behind the ouster last year of Nissan’s chairman, Carlos Ghosn, over compensation issues, had been improperly overpaid himself, the firm found. A second insider involved in the corporate coup was responsible, the firm said, and had briefed Mr. Nada on what he had done.

A senior Nissan compliance officer planned to share the findings with the company’s board of directors, according to people familiar with the situation.

But the full board never heard the details of the findings, according to people who attended the board’s last meeting on Sept. 9. Moments after the meeting ended, Nissan issued a statement that cleared an unnamed group of executives of misconduct.

In the weeks after the law firm delivered its findings, Nissan sidelined two senior in-house lawyers who had handled issues of misconduct at the company, including the one who hired the outside law firm, according to people briefed on the moves. Both had warned Nissan executives that Mr. Nada had continued influencing inquiries into the company’s problems, these people said, even after recusing himself to avoid conflicts of interest.

The series of events, most of which have not been previously disclosed, paint a picture of a major global automaker hobbled by distrust and deep conflicts of interest among top executives. Nearly one year after Mr. Ghosn was arrested by the Japanese authorities, shaking the global auto industry, Nissan remains riven by corporate intrigue that has left members of its own board and Renault of France, which owns a 43 percent stake in the Japanese company, in the dark. The automaker has also reported a deep plunge in profits as sales have plummeted and announced plans to lay off as many as 12,500 employees worldwide.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_155271687_4202e399-38bd-4e9c-9555-e4ea3c44ad8e-articleLarge Nissan’s Crisis Goes Much Deeper Than Carlos Ghosn Securities and Commodities Violations Saikawa, Hiroto Renault SA Nissan Motor Co Nada, Hari Kelly, Greg (Nissan Executive) Japan Ghosn, Carlos Frauds and Swindling Falsification of Data Executive Compensation Boards of Directors Automobiles

Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s former chairman, center, arrives at Tokyo District Court for a hearing in May. Nearly a year after his arrest, the automaker remains riven by corporate intrigue.CreditRen Onuma/Kyodo News, via Associated Press

The findings from the outside law firm, which were reviewed by The New York Times, could also raise questions about the credibility of crucial witnesses against Mr. Ghosn, who has been charged with trying to conceal his pay level from regulators, among other charges, and Greg Kelly, a former senior Nissan executive charged with helping him. Both men say they are innocent.

Nissan said that the executives whose pay issues came to light after Mr. Ghosn’s ouster were “unaware that improper methods were used” to increase their compensation and that there was “no reason to suspect” that they broke the law. A Nissan spokeswoman said the company possessed a more recent version of the findings from the outside law firm, but Nissan declined to make that version available.

Christina Murray, then the head of Nissan’s internal audit and compliance offices, hired the law firm, Anderson Mori and Tomotsune, this past summer. Ms. Murray had been leading an examination into misconduct at the company since last year. In late August, the firm delivered a report on its findings addressed to Ms. Murray.

Hari Nada, the head of Nissan’s legal department and security office. An outside law firm found that he had been improperly overpaid.CreditNissan Motor Co.

Mr. Nada, the head of Nissan’s legal department and security office, had in 2017 received about $280,000 in “unjust enrichment,” the firm found.

The Nissan spokeswoman said that the more recent version of the law firm’s findings had included a different, lower amount for Mr. Nada’s overpayment. Nissan declined to release further details or to explain the discrepancy. “As the investigation progressed, updates were made,” it said.

Toshiaki Onuma, a senior Nissan administrator, changed the payout dates for stock-based compensation, the firm found, improperly increasing pay for Mr. Nada and others. The firm did not say why Mr. Onuma changed the dates.

Both Mr. Nada and Mr. Onuma were deeply involved in Mr. Ghosn’s fall and are widely expected to be central witnesses in his trial. The two have struck cooperation agreements with Japanese prosecutors, according to Mr. Ghosn’s lawyers and Nissan documents reviewed by the Times. Japanese prosecutors have not made details of the agreements public.

It is not clear what happened to the law firm’s findings after it delivered its report. But shortly after, Motoo Nagai, a Nissan director who heads the company’s audit committee, told Ms. Murray that she could no longer participate in any investigations involving Mr. Nada, according to an email reviewed by the Times. She subsequently resigned. Her last day in the office was Aug. 30, and she officially left the company on Sept. 9. She had planned to present the results of her yearlong investigation to the full board that day, said the people familiar with the plans.

Mr. Nagai has told reporters that Ms. Murray had been contemplating resigning since July and that the timing was coincidental. The company has said she resigned for personal reasons.

The board’s meeting on Sept. 9 focused on Hiroto Saikawa, Mr. Ghosn’s successor as chief executive. The board unanimously asked for his resignation, and he resigned that day. He had admitted earlier that month that he received about $440,000 in improper share-based compensation. Mr. Saikawa said he had not realized that the overpayment was “against the rules” and vowed to return the money.

But some directors at the meeting demanded more information about the compensation of other executives and were growing frustrated with a lack of it, said people who were there. Days before, Bloomberg News reported that Mr. Nada had received overpayments, without specifying the amount or how. Jean-Dominique Senard, the chairman of Nissan’s French partner, Renault, and other board members asked why they were learning about top executives’ pay issues from media reports.

In its statement, Nissan said the law firm’s findings had been “reflected” in a broader report shared with the board after the meeting. But that broader report named only directors, not executives, who received improper compensation, according to people aware of its contents. It did not identify the executives, like Mr. Nada, who received that compensation nor say how much they received or how they received it, the people said. Some members of the board were not aware that the firm had been hired, they said.

Hiroto Saikawa, the chief executive of Nissan, at a news conference in September announcing his resignation. He had admitted earlier that he received about $440,000 in improper share-based compensation.CreditKimimasa Mayama/EPA, via Shutterstock Members of Nissan’s board, from left, Keiko Ihara, Yasushi Kimura, Masakazu Toyoda and Motoo Nagai at a news conference after their meeting on Sept. 9. The board voted unanimously that day to accept Mr. Saikawa’s resignation.CreditKyodo, via Associated Press Images

When the board meeting ended, Nissan released a statement that said that in addition to Mr. Saikawa six other directors and executives, whom it did not identify, had received extra compensation. Nissan added that they had been unaware of the “improper methods used” to increase their pay.

The findings by Anderson Mori and Tomotsune said five executives and directors, including Mr. Nada, were overpaid. It is not clear whether the six cited by Nissan overlapped with the five named by the law firm. Nissan declined to discuss their identities, citing privacy issues.

Mr. Onuma told the firm’s investigators that he had “explicitly explained” to Mr. Nada that he had changed the date for stock-based compensation to increase Mr. Nada’s pay, according to the law firm’s report. Investigators also cited an email to Mr. Nada that they said showed Mr. Onuma explaining the change.

The law firm said it was unable to verify what Mr. Onuma said because Mr. Nada refused to be interviewed.

Mr. Nada refused to talk to the law firm unless Mr. Nagai was present and given full authority over the interview, as well as its results. The law firm called Mr. Nada’s demands “unusual and inappropriate” and left the question of how to proceed with Mr. Nagai.

In a statement, Nissan said that “all subjects of the investigation were interviewed appropriately” by Anderson Mori and Tomotsune. It declined to provide further details.

The firm also found that Mr. Onuma had adjusted the compensation of Itaru Koeda, a former Nissan director, by about $93,000, and the compensation of Arun Bajaj, a former executive in Nissan’s human resources department, by $46,000. The men said they were unaware of Mr. Onuma’s actions, the firm said.

The law firm wrote that overpayments to two other executives, including Asako Hoshino, Nissan’s most senior female executive, were “relatively innocent” and resulted from what appeared to be miscommunication.

Asako Hoshino, an executive vice president at Nissan, is the company’s most senior female executive.  CreditChristopher Jue/European Pressphoto Agency

As investigators inside and outside Nissan have explored the problems with how the company is run, people within both the Japanese company and Renault have begun to focus on Mr. Nada’s role within the company. He has remained the head of Nissan’s legal department despite his cooperation agreement with prosecutors and his role as a potential witness in Mr. Ghosn’s trial. Some within Nissan and its board see this as a troubling conflict of interest, say people familiar with the concerns.

Mr. Nada recused himself in April from matters involving investigations at the top, according to people familiar with the situation. But, they said, Mr. Nada has continued to use his position and a team of loyal employees to influence those matters directly and indirectly.

Ms. Murray, the former compliance chief, repeatedly expressed concerns over what she described as Mr. Nada’s continued influence over the investigations and related legal matters, according to people she spoke with and emails reviewed by the Times.

Nissan’s internal and outside legal advisers have also questioned Mr. Nada’s role within the company.

During the Sept. 9 board meeting, six of the board’s seven independent directors — everyone except Mr. Nagai — were given a letter written by a senior Nissan lawyer, Ravinder Passi, with a legal memo attached, that outlined potential conflicts of interest within Nissan’s top ranks. Mr. Passi’s letter was previously reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The memo, which was reviewed by the Times, had been commissioned by Mr. Passi and written by two outside law firms, Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen and Hamilton, based in New York, and a Japanese firm, Mori Hamada and Matsumoto. It said executives involved in Mr. Ghosn’s alleged wrongdoing “should not be involved in decision making” related to those accusations. It also cited deals struck by Mr. Nada and Mr. Onuma with prosecutors to cooperate in their case against Mr. Ghosn in exchange for immunity from criminal liability.

The memo was dated July 23. In his Sept. 9 letter to the six outside directors, Mr. Passi said he had shared the memo on July 25 with Mr. Nagai, the chairman of the board’s audit committee. Mr. Passi wrote he had not been able to find out whether board members had seen the memo but felt “duty bound” to bring it to their attention.

Since July, Mr. Passi said in his letter, the problem of conflicts of interest within the company’s top ranks had “become more acute.”

Shortly after the board meeting, Mr. Nada wrote in an email to the company’s legal department that Mr. Passi would no longer handle any legal matters related to the Ghosn investigation. Instead, Kathryn Carlile, one of Mr. Nada’s former assistants, would take over, said the email, which was reviewed by the Times.

That surprised some board members and Nissan employees who saw Ms. Carlile as loyal to Mr. Nada, said people familiar with their thinking. In its statement, Nissan said Mr. Passi had been removed from those matters because of potential conflicts of interest. It did not specify the conflicts.

In his email, Mr. Nada said the legal team should make arrangements to brief Ms. Carlile on related issues “as soon as possible.” The email ended, “Best regards, Hari.”

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The “What happened in your state last week?” Megathread, Week 40

Welcome to the ‘What happened in your state last week’ thread, where you can post any local political news stories that you find important in the comments. This is a weekly thread posted every Monday, in order to facilitate more discussion on local issues on /r/politics. Since this is intended to be a thread about local politics, top-level comments that are exclusively about national issues will not be allowed. When commenting, please include the state you’re living in, and don’t forget to link sources. Also, please actually describe what happened. “I live in X, you know what happened” isn’t helpful to users and will be removed.

If someone from your state made a news round-up that you think is insufficient, feel free to comment to that round-up with further news stories. Enjoy discussion, and review our civility guidelines before engaging with others.


Hi there, /r/politics. Before we start, I’d like to restate the intention of this thread, which is to highlight local news. Therefore, any stories that made national news like the impeachment inquiry, other stories about national politicians like the President and US Senators, and stories about people running for the office of President, are considered off topic for this thread. Thank you, and enjoy your day.

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A Pioneering Columbus Courtroom Helps Trafficking Victims Find Hope

Westlake Legal Group catch-cde25219b05a9157151fb958d7907cd6da57a344-s1100-c15 A Pioneering Columbus Courtroom Helps Trafficking Victims Find Hope

At the CATCH court graduation ceremony, Melissa Callaway hugs her sister after giving a speech about getting out of human trafficking. Paige Pfleger/WOSU hide caption

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Paige Pfleger/WOSU

Westlake Legal Group  A Pioneering Columbus Courtroom Helps Trafficking Victims Find Hope

At the CATCH court graduation ceremony, Melissa Callaway hugs her sister after giving a speech about getting out of human trafficking.

Paige Pfleger/WOSU

A diversion program for victims of human trafficking is spreading to cities across the country. The model has its roots in Columbus, Ohio, where a judge decided to direct women towards rehabilitation instead of jail.

Ten years ago, Judge Paul Herbert was sitting in a Columbus courtroom when he noticed a trend. He was seeing lots of women who were abused and forced into sex work, but they were being treated like criminals.

“The sheriff brings the next defendant out on the wall chained up,” Herbert says, “And it’s a woman and she’s all beat up, she’s looking exactly like one of these victims of domestic violence except she’s in handcuffs and a jail suit. I look down at the file and it says prostitute.”

Herbert realized the law didn’t recognize these women as victims of human trafficking. So he pitched the idea of a courtroom dedicated to recovery, not punishment. It’s called CATCH Court, which stands for Changing Actions to Change Habits.

“We didn’t have the vocabulary that we do, even the vocabulary, let alone the way society looked at these women,” Herbert says. “So it was pretty much, we were kind of a laughing stock.”

At the start, CATCH was one of only a few such programs in the country.

There are now seven of these specialized courts in Ohio alone. There are similar programs in Texas, Illinois, Tennessee and Louisiana, and Herbert has helped cities get the courts up and running.

Westlake Legal Group catch-2-af3f4b6613dcfc37a37076b11dd835aaa4560940-s1100-c15 A Pioneering Columbus Courtroom Helps Trafficking Victims Find Hope

A decade ago, Judge Paul Herbert came up with the idea for a diversion program for human trafficking victims. Paige Pfleger/WOSU hide caption

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Paige Pfleger/WOSU

Westlake Legal Group  A Pioneering Columbus Courtroom Helps Trafficking Victims Find Hope

A decade ago, Judge Paul Herbert came up with the idea for a diversion program for human trafficking victims.

Paige Pfleger/WOSU

Here’s how it works: The program takes care of housing and food – things the women would normally rely on their trafficker for. Participants get treatment for trauma and addiction, and are eligible to get their records expunged.

In exchange, they’re subject to drug testing, and must show up in court every week for two years.

While it costs 200 thousand dollars a year to run CATCH Court, Judge Herbert says that’s a bargain.

“If you want to do nothing, you’re going to keep spending 5.4 million dollars a year to arrest and jail these women and have no improvement in the circumstance,” Herbert says.

But this program is intense. Fewer than 1 in 4 of the women enrolled make it to graduation.

“We had a person who left our house and she was a catch court dropout, I can tell you I’ve had about maybe 15 this year,” says Esther Flores. She runs a safe house for women in sex work, and says CATCH is great for those who graduate, but doesn’t do enough the women who don’t.

Some women drop out because they get jobs and don’t need the assistance, but Flores says she has seen others end up back on the street.

“I became addicted to drugs and then the trafficker found me,” says Vanessa Perkins. She’s one of CATCH’s first successful graduates.

Perkins was sexually abused as a young girl, and started drinking and doing drugs when she was only 12.

“He preyed on my vulnerabilities on purpose, knew what he was doing,” she says. “From drug addiction to love, to family, to loyalty. He preyed on all of that stuff I was missing.”

Westlake Legal Group catch-3-d61b7f477f36d605e9da9f4395fd9eba58ca04d7-s1100-c15 A Pioneering Columbus Courtroom Helps Trafficking Victims Find Hope

Vanessa Perkins was a CATCH Court graduate. Now she’s the court’s bailiff. Paige Pfleger/WOSU hide caption

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Paige Pfleger/WOSU

Westlake Legal Group  A Pioneering Columbus Courtroom Helps Trafficking Victims Find Hope

Vanessa Perkins was a CATCH Court graduate. Now she’s the court’s bailiff.

Paige Pfleger/WOSU

In a twist Perkins says she never could have imagined, years after completing the program, Judge Herbert asked her to be the bailiff in his court — the very court that helped her recover. Now she helps other women who are going through what she did, years ago.

“They’re like, if you can do it, I can do it. Especially if I happened to be out there with them,” she says. “Cause there’s people that come in that we was on the streets together.”

CATCH has found success keeping women out of the system, regardless of if they cross the graduation stage – the recidivism rate for women in prostitution nationwide is 80 percent. That number drops by half for women enrolled in CATCH for any amount of time, and even further to 20% for the women who make it to graduation.

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