Olive Garden’s parent Darden accused of discrimination over tipping policies

Olive Garden’s parent company, Darden Restaurants, Inc., has been accused of violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with its tipping policies, according to recent reports.

On Tuesday, nonprofit group One Fair Wage filed a federal complaint against Darden, saying that since its tipped workers are paid less than minimum wage, they are subject to sexual harassment, bias and ultimately pay discrimination, The Washington Post reported.

Darden — one of the largest restaurant companies in the country — told FOX Business in a statement that the “allegations are baseless.”

“Darden is a values-based company built on a culture of integrity and fairness, respect and caring, and a longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion,” the statement said.

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Though One Fair Wage filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint against one specific company, the organization hopes to end sub-minimum wage for all tipped workers, not just at Darden restaurants.

One Fair Wage has filed an EEOC complaint against Olive Garden’s parent company Darden Restaurants, Inc. (iStock)

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Currently, the federal government allows tipped employees to be paid less than minimum wage — in some places, tipped workers are paid as little as $2.13 an hour, according to One Fair Wage.

According to the organization, allowing a sub-minimum wage means that women — particularly women of color — end up being paid less because of bias.

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One Fair Wage reportedly decided to file the EEOC complaint against  Darden because it, along with the National Restaurant Association, have “actively lobbied to maintain the sub-minimum wage,” The Post reported.

“I am not saying that Darden is much worse than the rest of the industry,” One Fair Wage President Saru Jayaraman told The Post. “I’m saying they’re emblematic, and they’re a leader in maintaining these standards. I think what we’re filing today is very, frankly, symptomatic of the whole industry. It’s just that Darden is a particularly clear example of what this industry has not just tolerated, but perpetuated for too long.”

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Darden spokesperson Rich Jeffers told FOX Business that the company has “one of the lowest turnover rates in the industry” and that its tipped employees earn more than $20 per hour on average.

“We have an industry-leading team member experience,” he said in a statement.

According to The Post, if the EEOC finds that the complaint “has merit,” One Fair Wage will be allowed to sue Darden in state or federal court.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
DRI DARDEN RESTAURANTS INC. 100.74 -0.06 -0.06%

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Barr accused of ‘working hand in glove’ with Team Trump, White House

Donald Trump appeared certain that, at long last, he had evidence of a nefarious election scheme. As the president told the public, a handful of ballots in a Republican-friendly county in Pennsylvania had been thrown in the trash, when they should’ve been counted for the GOP ticket. The claims were soon elevated by the White House, the Trump campaign, the Justice Department, and conservative media.

It wasn’t long, however, before the story faded — because it wasn’t quite true. There was an administrative error in Luzerne County, Pa., but there was no evidence of a local conspiracy to rig the election for Joe Biden. Those looking for proof to substantiate the president’s conspiracy theories would have to look elsewhere.

But the story did raise an entirely different set of questions, not about election officials in a midsize county in northeastern Pennsylvania, but about Attorney General Bill Barr.

Why did the Republican lawyer brief Trump directly on the unimportant case? Why did Barr’s Justice Department ignore its own guidelines and issue a statement about an incomplete investigation? Why did the DOJ statement include factual errors?

There’s no reason to be coy. The attorney general has made little effort to hide his efforts to politicize his office and federal law enforcement, and the Luzerne County incident appeared to be part of Barr’s election-season tactics.

Making matters worse, of course, is the scope of these tactics. Politico connected the dots this way:

The prosecution of Michael Flynn. A Senate investigation into the provenance of the Steele Dossier. The nascent federal probe of discarded absentee ballots in Pennsylvania. In recent days, the Justice Department has declassified or disclosed sensitive materials related to each of these proceedings that, on the surface, have little to do with each other. Yet within hours, President Donald Trump had weaponized each to boost his reelection campaign.

Last week, James D. Herbert, a current federal prosecutor, wrote in the Boston Globe about “the unprecedented politicization of the office of the attorney general,” adding that Barr “acts as though his job is to serve only the political interests of Donald J. Trump. This is a dangerous abuse of power…. For 30 years I have been proud to say I work for the Department of Justice, but the current attorney general has brought shame on the department he purports to lead.”

He’s hardly alone. Gene Rossi, a former federal prosecutor from Virginia, told Politico, “The attorney general is working hand in glove with the White House and the Trump re-election campaign.”

The handling of the Luzerne County matter was especially egregious, though it might be easier to overlook if it were an isolated incident. It’s not. Vox had a related report along these lines:

Most notably, a US attorney made a vague, partially inaccurate statement Thursday about problems with a handful of military ballots in one Pennsylvania county…. Also Thursday, Barr released some information that he suggested cast further doubt on a major source for the Steele dossier, sending it in

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Boston Police arrest man accused of attempted rape in Public Garden

A man accused of trying to rape a woman in the Public Garden early Monday morning has been arrested, Boston Police announced on Tuesday.



a pole that has a sign on the side of a road: BOSTON, MA - MAY 23-SATURDAY: A sign urging social distancing is posted on the Arlington Street entrance to the Public Gardens May 23, 2020, in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Connors/Media News Group/Boston Herald)


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BOSTON, MA – MAY 23-SATURDAY: A sign urging social distancing is posted on the Arlington Street entrance to the Public Gardens May 23, 2020, in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Connors/Media News Group/Boston Herald)

Luan Maxwell, 30, of Boston, has been arrested and charged with assault with intent to rape.

Boston Police had reached out to the public for help in identifying a suspect who allegedly tried to rape a woman in the Public Garden at around 6 a.m. Monday.

Officers from the department’s Sexual Assault Unit responded at that time to a call for an assault with intent to rape.

The victim told detectives that she was walking in the park when a man approached her and placed his hand over her mouth. The man made sexually explicit threats and tried to remove a piece of the woman’s clothing, she told police.

She was able to free herself from the man and get to safety.

Then on Tuesday at around 9:45 a.m., officers and detectives assigned to the Sexual Assault Unit arrested the suspect, Maxwell.

While on patrol, officers received information regarding his location and saw him walking on Boylston Street toward Washington Street. Upon seeing officers, Maxwell tried to flee but was apprehended by the captain of District A-1 on Harrison Avenue.

Maxwell is expected to be arraigned in Boston Municipal Court.

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2 alleged ISIS supporters in U.S. accused of plotting attacks on White House, Trump Tower

Two men faces charges in connection with an alleged plot to bomb or shoot at high-profile sites in the U.S., including the White House and Trump Tower in New York City, a federal complaint shows.

Jaylyn Christopher Molina, of Texas, and Kristopher Sean Matthews, of South Carolina, face charges of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

An email and phone call to Molina’s attorney seeking comment did not receive an immediate response. Court records do not list an attorney for Matthews.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the federal court for the Western District of Texas, Molina and Matthews used an online chat group in 2019 to discuss attacking U.S. targets on behalf of ISIS. The pair also allegedly discussed traveling to Syria to fight with the Islamic State group.

They were allegedly studying how to build car bombs, suicide belts and other explosives and discussed plans for attacks with others on an encrypted messaging application.

Matthews told Molina that they needed four recruits to carry out multisite attacks “that could be Netflix worthy,” the complaint said.

On Saturday, FBI agents arrested Matthews in Cleveland City, Tennessee, and Molina in Gonzales, Texas, a city about 75 miles east of San Antonio, according to special agent Michelle Lee. She declined to comment further on the case.

Nicole Acevedo contributed.

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2 alleged ISIS supporters accused of plot to attack White House, Trump Tower

Two men faces charges in connection with an alleged plot to bomb or shoot at high-profile sites in the U.S., including the White House and Trump Tower in New York City, a federal complaint shows.



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Jaylyn Christopher Molina, of Texas, and Kristopher Sean Matthews, of South Carolina, face charges of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

An email and phone call to Molina’s attorney seeking comment did not receive an immediate response. Court records do not list an attorney for Matthews.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the federal court for the Western District of Texas, Molina and Matthews used an online chat group in 2019 to discuss attacking U.S. targets on behalf of ISIS. The pair also allegedly discussed traveling to Syria to fight with the Islamic State group.

They were allegedly studying how to build car bombs, suicide belts and other explosives and discussed plans for attacks with others on an encrypted messaging application.

Matthews told Molina that they needed four recruits to carry out multisite attacks “that could be Netflix worthy,” the complaint said.

On Saturday, FBI agents arrested Matthews in Cleveland City, Tennessee, and Molina in Gonzales, Texas, a city about 75 miles east of San Antonio, according to special agent Michelle Lee. She declined to comment further on the case.

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N.J. man accused of ‘house-of-cards-style’ scheme that embezzled hundreds of thousands

A Burlington County man allegedly duped people into paying him hundreds of thousands of dollars by jumping from a fraudulent foreign currency trading scheme to a fraudulent car lease scheme, in a “house-of-cards-style” operation, authorities said.

On Friday, authorities arrested Michael Salerno, 51, of Mount Laurel and charged him with 23 counts of wire fraud and six counts of mail fraud in an indictment, Philadelphia U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said in a statement. Through multiple fraud schemes, Salerno allegedly stole thousands from people by tricking them into paying him for a foreign currency trading business and then by getting to them to pay for car leases, the statement said.

Between September 2016 and November 2018, Salerno ran multiple businesses that each were supposedly trading foreign currencies, the statement said. By lying to clients, Salerno had victims pay advance fees that were usually more than $1,000 to hire him, he said.

Salerno allegedly told victims that if one of his companies were hired, he would give them access to $10 million to use on the foreign currency market. To instill confidence in him and his businesses, Salerno posed as a “sophisticated and successful” businessman, despite having a history of bankruptcy and federal tax charges, according to the statement.

Through his network of fraudulent foreign currency trading businesses, Salerno embezzled more than $300,000 from victims, the statement said.

In 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s office started a criminal investigation into Salerno and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed an injunction against him, the statement said. But Salerno simply moved to the next scheme, the statement said, shifting his efforts to a car lease and loan scheme.

Between May 2018 and December 2019, Salerno ran AccuOne Financial, Inc., a company that claimed to help clients get ride of “unwanted automobile leases,” the statement said. At the same time, the company also claimed to offer automobile leases to people with credit that prevented them from getting a lease.

In order to scam both sets of clients, Salerno would take the cars from the first set of clients, barely making any lease payments, and then gave the cars to the second set of clients, who paid him monthly fees, the statement said.

The clients who wanted to get out of their leases would ultimately end up continuing to make payments, while the other clients would sometimes have cars repossessed, the statement said. In this scheme, Salerno stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from victims, the statement said.

“When Salerno’s foreign currency trading scheme came crashing down around him, he very quickly moved on to an alternative way of swindling people out of their money with car leases and loans,” Williams said in the statement. “The damage done by such corrupt financial schemes can be catastrophic to innocent people’s credit and financial security. We will continue to hold those who commit crimes like the ones alleged here accountable for their misdeeds.”

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Parents chase down and bloody up repeat sex offender accused of peeking under bathroom stall

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A man accused of peering under a bathroom stall at a 15-year-girl was chased down and tackled by angry parents at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in South Carolina.

Duncan police Chief Carl Long told local media that police have arrested Douglas Lane, 53, from neighboring North Carolina, after the girl allegedly spotted him looking underneath into her stall, according to WYFF.

Parents who were in Duncan for a girls softball tournament chased Lane down and tackled him, leaving his face battered and bloodied. The parents then held him until police arrived, Long said.

Long said Lane was charged with voyeurism, simple possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.

One witness told the local news outlet that he was in the Cracker Barrel when he heard a disturbance that he believed may have been a fight. At one point, he told WYFF, he heard someone say, “Get him, he’s getting away!”

The witness said he and his son were near the doorway when they saw a man run by bleeding heavily from the nose.

He added that he watched as someone else tackled Lane in the parking lot a few short moments later, then watched with his son as other people struck the suspect.

At that, the witness passed his son off to his wife and then ventured outside to take a video of the confrontation. Police arrived on the scene shortly afterward, he said.

The witness said his son asked many questions about what had taken place and he responded by telling the boy “there was a bad guy and a lot of good guys took down the bad guy.”

On Monday during a court hearing, Lane told authorities he did not realize he was in a woman’s bathroom until after he sat down. But, according to court records, the victim said when she entered her stall and sat down, she saw Lane’s face as he peered up at her.

Following testimony, the court ruled that Lane will be required to remain in South Carolina awaiting further appearances. He was ordered to remain confined to quarters and to wear a GPS monitoring device ahead of a scheduled November court date.

Lane is a registered sex offender in North Carolina, according to the state Bureau of Investigations, which indicated that he has been registered since 2008. Prior to that, he was convicted in 2004 of secretly peering into an occupied room in Mecklenburg County, N.C., according to records which said the victims in that incident were just eight- and nine-year-old children.

Also, records from 2008 indicate Lane was convicted of peering into an occupied room in the same county, though the victim in that case was 18 years old or older.

Meanwhile, the South Carolina sex offender registry shows that Lane was convicted in two earlier instances of peeping, voyeurism, or aggravated voyeurism — once in 1997 and again in 1999 for

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White House political staff is accused of wrongly intervening to block John Bolton book

White House officials were accused on Wednesday of improperly trying to block former national security adviser John Bolton from releasing his best-selling memoir by falsely claiming it contained classified information.

The accusation was made in a letter filed with a federal court in Washington by a lawyer for former National Security Council (NSC) official Ellen Knight, a career official who oversaw the prepublication review of Bolton’s “The Room Where It Happened.”

Knight had by late April cleared the memoir for its planned June 23 publication, only to then see the process “commandeered by political appointees seemingly for a political purpose,” leading to a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit to block publication, her lawyer Kenneth Wainstein said in the letter.

Wainstein also wrote that most, if not all, of the government lawyers Knight dealt with on the matter were “not entirely comfortable” with the strategy they were directed to implement toward the Bolton book.

This allegedly included having Michael Ellis, a politically appointed NSC lawyer and former aide to U.S. Representative Devin Nunes, an ally of President Donald Trump, conduct his own prepublication review of Bolton’s book despite lacking relevant training, and declare it still contained classified information.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Wednesday’s filing follows published reports that the Department of Justice had opened a criminal probe into whether Bolton illegally disclosed classified information, and that a grand jury had subpoenaed his publisher, Simon & Schuster, and his literary agent.

While the White House was unable to block the release of Bolton’s book, it is still suing to collect royalties and other payments Bolton receives from the book.

Bolton has denied wrongdoing. His lawyer Charles Cooper said in a statement he was assessing how Wainstein’s letter might affect the lawsuit.

“We did not solicit the letter in any way; it came as a complete surprise,” Cooper said.

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Parents restrain sex offender accused of peeping at teen in bathroom

A group of parents held a registered sex offender accused of peeping under a bathroom stall at a South Carolina restaurant until cops arrived to arrest him, police said.

Douglas Lee Lane, 53, of Charlotte, North Carolina, was prevented from leaving a Cracker Barrel in Duncan, South Carolina, by parents at the restaurant after a teenage girl said she saw him peering at her from a neighboring stall in the women’s bathroom on Sunday, The State reports.

The 15-year-old girl said she noticed something moving near her feet inside the bathroom when she spotted a man’s head coming from the stall beside her, Duncan Police Chief Carl Long told WSPA.

The girl told her father what happened after leaving the bathroom, prompting him to ask a female employee to get Lane out of the restroom. The girl’s father then confronted him inside the restaurant, Long said.

A witness then saw Lane try to leave the restaurant by “sprinting out the front door” with a bloodied nose, but he was stopped in the parking lot by other parents who restrained him until cops arrived, Long said. It is unclear what happened to his nose.

The group of parents were in town for a softball tournament, Long told WYFF.

A viewer sent the station a photo of a bloodied Lane sitting on grass outside the Cracker Barrel.

“Get him, he’s getting away,” a witness told the station he overheard someone say inside the restaurant before Lane ran outside.

Douglas Lee Lane
Douglas Lee LaneSpartanburg County Sheriff’s of

Lane, who was charged with voyeurism, simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, has four similar peeping convictions in North Carolina and South Carolina dating back to 1996. He has been ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, records show.

He had also been charged with peeping at least eight times prior to Sunday’s incident, WSPA reports.

A court official said during Lane’s bond hearing Monday that he told authorities he didn’t realize he was in a women’s bathroom until he sat down, WYFF reports.

A judge ordered him held on $2,000 surety bond and to wear a GPS monitor ahead of his next court date on Nov. 12, WSPA reports.

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Man Accused Of Arson In Deadly Hell’s Kitchen Fire

HELL’S KITCHEN, NY — A 28-year-old man has been arrested and charged with arson for allegedly starting a fire that killed another man inside his Hell’s Kitchen apartment earlier this month, police said Wednesday.

The fire was reported around 9:49 a.m. on Sept. 4, inside a third-floor apartment at 855 9th Avenue.

After crews extinguished the fire, they found 37-year-old Michael Hannant, who lived in the apartment, unconscious and unresponsive, suffering from smoke inhalation. Paramedics brought Hannant to Weill Cornell Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead five days later.

One firefighter suffered a minor injury, multiple outlets reported at the time.

Just over an hour after the fire was reported, police arrested Sadam Assana, 28, who lived about five blocks south of Hannant on 9th Avenue.

In court filings, police allege that Assana, Hannant and Hannant’s roommate had been having a conversation in the apartment until around 5:30 a.m., and that the roommate fell asleep later that morning. The roommate awoke to find her room on fire but managed to escape, police said.

The filings allege that Assana told an FDNY lieutenant that he used a lighter to start the fire, and that the lieutenant found the lighter in Assana’s pocket.

Assana was charged with arson and attempted arson, and Hannant’s death was deemed a homicide, police said.

Assana was arraigned Sept. 5 and is next due in court Oct. 6.

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