Police arrest drunken man driving in wrong direction caused wreck near Harbor Bridge

Correction: The driver of the silver 2013 Nissan Titan was not cited for not having insurance. An earlier version of this article misreported his citations. The story has been updated.

A 35-year-old man was arrested after driving on the wrong side of road on the 2500 block of U.S. Hwy. 181 early Monday morning.

Corpus Christi Police responded to the crash about 1:30 a.m. after the two vehicles collided on a causeway near the Harbor Bridge.

The 35-year-old man was driving a silver 2013 Nissan Titan the wrong way in the middle lane of the southbound lanes and crashed into a black 2002 Ford F-150, Public Information Officer Travis Pace said.

Pace said the 27-year-old woman who was driving the black pickup couldn’t avoid the collision. A 35-year-old man also was riding in her vehicle.

The man driving the silver pickup, who had a 33-year-old woman as a passenger, was found to be driving while intoxicated.

Ericka Andrews, the driver of the black pickup, said she is grateful to be alive after the crash.

“I truly am blessed to walk away from a crash like that with minor injuries. It was so intense there’s no explanation on how we are alive! God is good,” Andrews wrote in a Facebook message to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

Pace said the man was cited for driving on the wrong side of the road and arrested for driving while intoxicated. He left the Nueces County Jail on Monday after he posted his bail, which was set at $2,500.


The first department store bankruptcy since the Great Recession could be coming soon

Department stores have been particularly hard hit by changes in consumer behavior over the past few years. However, one of the curious things about the so-called “retail apocalypse” is that not a single department store chain has filed for bankruptcy since the Great Recession. Even the weakest chains have managed to stay alive, thanks to a combination of cost cuts, store closures, and asset sales.

However, that could be about to change. Regional department store operator Bon-Ton Stores is on the ropes following yet another terrible quarterly earnings report. Bon-Ton’s dire struggles could spell opportunity for larger rivals like Macy’s and JC Penney.

Bon-Ton misses again

Bon-Ton Stores entered 2017 in a weak position, and its hopes of recovery dwindled over the course of the year. It started off on the wrong foot, with a dreadful 8.8% comp sales decline in the first quarter. Comp sales then declined 6.1% in the second quarter.

Last quarter, Bon-Ton took another step backward, posting a 6.6% comp sales decline. Meanwhile, gross margin declined by about 2% year over year. As a result, the company’s net loss widened by more than 40%, reaching $44.9 million (or $2.19 per share).

Bad results — even for a department store

In 2016, Bon-Ton posted a meager operating profit of $2.6 million, or $19.6 million excluding impairment charges. This put its adjusted operating margin at less than 1%. Taking interest expenses into account, Bon-Ton ended up deep in the red.

Starting from this weak foundation, Bon-Ton’s results have gone sharply downhill in 2017, even in comparison to other department stores. Through the first nine months of the fiscal year, Bon-Ton has posted a comp sales decline of more than 7%, while its gross margin has fallen to 35.8% from 37% a year earlier.

By contrast, Macy’s has posted a 3.6% comp sales decline year to date, with gross margin down slightly from 39.9% to 39.4%. As for J.C. Penney, its comp sales declined just 1% year to date, although gross margin has eroded to 35.1% from 36.9% in the same period of 2016.

Comeback in the works?

Bon-Ton currently expects to post a full-year loss of $2.86-$3.35 per share, and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of $100 million-$110 million on a 4.5%-5.5% comp sales decline.

However, this forecast actually assumes that there will be a huge improvement in the business this quarter. Just to hit the low end of its guidance, Bon-Ton would need flattish comp sales and a double-digit increase in adjusted EBITDA. The high end of its guidance range implies solid comp sales growth and a 20% increase in adjusted EBITDA for the quarter.

To support this forecast, management noted that comp sales increased at a high-single-digit rate in the first two and a half weeks of the current quarter. That’s good news, but it probably reflects the impact of pent-up demand now that cold weather has arrived in Bon-Ton’s markets. The company also cited better execution on a recent promotion.

That said, the bulk of sales for the fourth quarter come in the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. The strong start to the quarter won’t help that much if Bon-Ton returns to its prior sales trend during the peak holiday shopping season. (Incidentally, the third quarter also started off better than the previous quarter, but the sales momentum fizzled out.)

Macy’s and JC Penney are positioned to profit

Bon-Ton Stores plans to close at least 40 locations in 2018, which would be more than 15% of its fleet. Yet even that drastic action may not be enough to save the company. Vendors are already becoming worried, and Bon-Ton doesn’t have many options for dealing with its onerous debt load, other than bankruptcy. The company is working with restructuring advisors to craft a survival strategy.

Even in a downsizing scenario, Macy’s and JC Penney would be likely to pick up some sales at Bon-Ton’s expense. JC Penney has very high store overlap with Bon-Ton, while Macy’s has somewhat less geographic overlap but sells many of the same brands as Bon-Ton’s nameplates.

However, Bon-Ton’s chances of surviving more than a year or two are slim unless the recent improvement in its sales trend sticks. The company has already cut spending to the bone, and it still has an EBITDA margin of less than 5%, compared to roughly 8% for JC Penney and 12% for Macy’s.

In short, Bon-Ton’s secured creditors won’t have much reason to keep the company in business if its performance continues to deteriorate. Barring a miracle turnaround at Bon-Ton Stores, rival department stores could be feasting on its remains before long.

Read the original article on The Motley Fool. Copyright 2017. Follow The Motley Fool on Twitter.

Bankruptcy trustee: Topeka police find five undocumented vehicles in Lindemuth building

Five vehicles recovered from a South Topeka storage facility — including two high-performance cars from 1967 and 1973 — “likely” are the property of Topeka businessman Kent Lindemuth, the bankruptcy trustee of Lindemuth’s estate has said in a court filing.

Lindemuth faces 117 criminal charges in two trials in U.S. District Court,the first of which starts on Wednesday, and is in a multimillion-dollar bankruptcy case in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Lindemuth, 65, is charged with 107 counts of bankruptcy fraud; six counts of money laundering; one count each of perjury and receipt of ammunition; and two counts of receipt of firearms. Three of the counts will be tried in a second trial shortly after the first ends.

A total of 2,166 other firearms owned by Lindemuth, which are valued at $1.4 million, earlier were recovered from a south Topeka storage site. Lindemuth is charged with 103 counts of bankruptcy fraud in the purchase of 103 of the 2,166 guns, which weren’t disclosed as part of his bankruptcy estate, according to court records.

Bruce E. Strauss, the chapter 11 trustee of Lindemuth’s estate, has filed a motion for the turnover of the five vehicles: a yellow 1973 Plymouth Barracuda, a red 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, a silver Ford F150 Super Duty Cabela’s pickup truck, a black and orange 2008 Ford F250 Harley-Davidson pickup, and a red GMC 2500 pickup.

The five vehicles surfaced three months ago when Topeka police officers were called on Aug. 10 to investigate a break-in in South Topeka.

During that call, police noticed that another location also appeared to have been illegally entered, according to court records, and police contacted Lindemuth who is listed as the owner of the building, court records said.

Lindemuth met the police and granted them permission to enter the building, where the pickups and two cars were located.

“None of the vehicles are registered in the name of Kent Lindemuth nor are there license plates on the vehicles,” court records said. Each vehicle appears to have an “open title,” meaning the vehicles were previously sold by their owners, “but the transfer has never been documented with the titling authorities,” the court record said.

Strauss spoke to an Overland Park police officer, “who reports that he sold one of the vehicles six or more years ago for a significant sum of money,” the court record said.

Strauss contacted William Skepnek and Kevin Babbit, Lindemuth’s attorneys in his criminal case.

“The records available to the trustee do not reflect a tenant for the unit in which the vehicles were found,” court records said.

In an Aug. 14 email, Strauss asked the lawyers to contact Lindemuth, then provide Strauss with the name, address, phone number of the owner or owners of the vehicles and any information about insurance coverage on the vehicles. Strauss sought answer to the questions within 48 hours.

Strauss asked that if the lawyers couldn’t provide the information, they explain why not, warning them the vehicles shouldn’t be moved, court records said.

“Given that the vehicles appear to have no registered owner and were in the possession of Mr. Lindemuth and given Mr. Lindemuth’s counsels’ failure to respond to the trustee with the identity of the owners of the vehicles, the trustee believes it likely they are Mr. Lindemuth’s property either acquired prior to the confirmation of his (bankruptcy) plan and never disclosed to this (bankruptcy) court or creditors, or acquired subsequent to the confirmation of Mr. Lindemuth’s plan,” court records said.

Strauss wrote he thinks the vehicles “are likely the property of Kent Lindemuth’s bankruptcy estate,” court records said.

Strauss conferred with federal federal law authorities who investigated ownership of the vehicles “and concur with the trustee’s conclusion,” court records said.

“Given that the vehicles are movable, unregistered, untitled, and apparently uninsured, the trustee thinks it quite likely that they will go missing or be damaged should he not take immediate action to secure them,” Strauss wrote.

Strauss asked the bankruptcy judge to issue an order directing that the vehicles “be turned over to the trustee immediately,” Strauss wrote.

As of Saturday, an order to turn over the vehicles to the trustee hadn’t been issued, according to court records.

Contact reporter Steve Fry at (785) 295-1206 or @TCJCourtsNCrime on Twitter.


Unpaid laborers who slipped pleas for help into Zara clothes ‘have not received their back wages’

Many of workers who slipped pleas for help into the pockets of Zara clothes they made have reportedly still not been paid despite an international outcry.

Some 140 Turkish workers at the Bravo Tekstil factory claimed they had not received three months worth of back wages and severance after the factory shut suddenly in the summer of 2016 earlier this month.

It is understood the owner of the company, which made clothes for high street brands such as Zara, Mango and Next, has disappeared.

Their plight came to light when the Clean Clothes Campaign, an activist group trying to improve conditions in the garment industry, teamed up with the workers to slip notes into the pockets of clothing in stores across Istanbul begging for help.

The notes, in Turkish, said: “I made the item you are going to buy, but I haven’t been able to get my money!”

The group said they targeted Zara in particular because 75 per cent of the work they did was for that country.

The news prompted outrage around the world, with 293,000 million people signing a petition directed to Inditex, Zara’s parent company, demanding they pay the lost wages.

In response Inditex, along with Mango and Next, said they had already set up a hardship fund for the workers which would be overseen by the global trade union for garment workers, IndustriALL.

But the garment workers said many of them had been excluded from the fund because it was reportedly only designed to compensate the 77 workers IndustriALL deemed “blue collar”, CBC News reported.

They classified 63 workers as “white collar” – meaning they had some seniority or did not work on the factory floor – and said this meant they were not entitled to compensation.

Bahar Ugur, who worked as a secretary for the company, said she was owed around 20,000 lira (£3,800) for three months wages and six years’ severance pay, but she is unlikely to see a penny.

The 26-year-old said: “We felt like we won.

“There are people who couldn’t pay their rent, people who had newborns”.

She said they had originally felt “safe” at the company because it made them feel like they were part of a “family” and it was “a big deal to work for them”.

The Clean Clothes Campaign’s representative in Turkey, Bego Demir, said the distinction between white and blue collars is arbitrary and illegal.

“They already signed an agreement and said we’re accepting our responsibility for all of our supply chain”, he said.

Inditex has previously been vocal about the need to improve labour conditions in the garment industry.

Last month it sent out a press release about a meeting between its CEO, Pablo Isla, and the Director-General of the International Labour Organisation, Guy Ryder, in Geneva, Switzerland to “explore the progress made to date” on initiatives to improve conditions in “China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey and Cambodia”.

During the meeting, Mr Isla stressed “Inditex’s firm commitment to the ILO conventions, on which our Code of Conduct for Manufacturers and Suppliers is based, and to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, especially those related to decent working conditions”.

Their Code of Conduct states: “Manufacturers and suppliers shall also ensure that wages and any other allowances or benefits are paid on time and are rendered in full compliance with all applicable laws and specifically, that payments are made in the manner that best suits the workers.”

A spokeswoman for Inditex told The Independent: “Inditex has paid all its contractual obligations to Bravo Tekstil but the factory’s owner has disappeared fraudulently.

“Inditex has developed a proposal with IndustriALL Global Union (the International Federation of Unions which represents more than 50 million workers globally), together with the brands Mango and Next to establish a hardship fund for the workers affected.

“This hardship fund would cover unpaid wages, notice indemnity, unused vacation and severance payments of workers that were employed at the time of the sudden shutdown of their factory in July 2016.

“At this point in time, IndustriALL with the support of Inditex is still negotiating with its affiliate union in Turkey to try to reach an agreement. We are committed to finding a swift solution for all of those impacted.”

The Independent has contacted Mango, Next and IndustriALL for comment.

Toys ‘R’ Us Files For Bankruptcy, But Will Keep Stores Open

Suffering from slumping sales and mountains of debt, Toys ‘R’ Us has filed for bankruptcy.

The 69-year old Toys ‘R’ Us was once the mecca of kids’ gifts. But it was eventually overtaken by Walmart and ultimately Amazon.

In its fight to stay relevant, Toys ‘R’ Us amassed $5 billion in debt. That came from slashing prices, signing major, exclusive licensing deals with toymakers and buying up other toy giants FAO Schwartz and KB Toys over the past decade.

At one point, Toys ‘R’ Us showed signs of a turnaround. After being taken private in 2005, Toys ‘R’ Us filed for an initial public stock offering in 2010. It ultimately withdrew its filing, citing “unfavorable market conditions.”

Late Monday, Toys ‘R’ Us announced that it scrounged up $3 billion in bankruptcy financing, which it plans to use to restructure the company, alleviate its debt burden and revamp its stores.

The bankruptcy filing comes just ahead of the holiday season, the busiest time for the year for Toys ‘R’ Us. The company said it plans on keeping its 1,600 Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us stores open across the world, though the Wall Street Journal reported that the company will eventually close some of its underperforming locations as part of the bankruptcy process.

Toys ‘R’ Us noted in a press release that “the vast majority” of its stores are profitable. But the trend line is pointing in the wrong direction. The company reported that same-store sales fell by more than 4% last quarter, losing $164 million.

CEO Dave Brandon on Monday called the retail landscape “increasingly challenging and rapidly changing” but said he was confident that the Toys ‘R’ Us brand will “live on for many generations.”

“Today marks the dawn of a new era at Toys ‘R’ Us where we expect that the financial constraints that have held us back will be addressed in a lasting and effective way,” said Brandon in a prepared statement.

Related: Toys ‘R’ Us bankruptcy fears hit Mattel and Hasbro

Toys ‘R’ Us joins a list of hundreds of companies that have succumbed to the online threat and filed for bankruptcy protection this year. That includes the children’s clothing store Gymboree, teen outlet Rue21 and Payless Shoe Source.

It closed its gigantic store in New York’s Times Square at the end of 2015. It recently opened a temporary, smaller store for the holidays in another part of the popular Manhattan tourist spot though.

The troubles facing Toys ‘R’ Us aren’t just about competition from Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) and Walmart (WMT). A lackluster summer at the box office might be hurting the entire toy industry, which depends on hit movies to drive sales of licensed toys.

Toy companies also have to deal with the fact that many kids are increasingly playing games on consoles, phones and tablets and not with old-school action figures, dolls and other toys.

Even Lego has been struggling lately. Investors are worried that Mattel and Hasbro could be in trouble, too.

Mattel(MAT), acknowledging the threat from tech, recently hired a new CEO who used to be an executive at Google. Its stock dropped 6% on Monday, to its lowest level since 2009, and Hasbro (HAS) fell 1%. Each company relied on Toys ‘R’ Us for more than 10% of its sales in the most recent fiscal year.

– Paul R. La Monica contributed to this report

Motorcyclist fatally crashes near downtown Houston

HOUSTON – A motorcyclist lost control of his bike and died in a crash early Sunday morning near downtown Houston, authorities say.

According to the Houston Police Department, a man was traveling westbound on Navigation around 12:55 a.m. when he went into a curve and lost control. He slid 150 yards off the roadway.

Police say he wasn’t wearing a helmet and suffered head trauma. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The investigation is ongoing.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


Motorcyclist dies in vehicle accident

PREMONT – A two vehicle fatal accident is being investigated by the Texas Department of Public Safety. On Saturday, Nov. 18, at approximately 1:17 p.m. on Highway 281, approximately 12 miles north of Premont two vehicles collided and caused the death of a 70-year-old man from San Antonio. Please remember that the motorcycle accident attorneys in Corpus Christi, Texas are available anytime to help you.

Preliminary investigation revealed the driver of a 2001 Ford F-250 pick-up truck was traveling south on Highway 281 as Norman Collins’ 2005 Harley Davidson motorcycle was stopped on the improved shoulder facing south.

According to Sgt. Nathan Brandley, Collins failed to yield the right of way and attempted to cross both south bound lanes of the highway and was struck by the Ford F-250.

Collins was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. The driver of the Ford F-250 was not injured.


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