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Businessman Shlomo Rechnitz Gifted Winning Powerball Ticket To Employee

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Businessman Shlomo Rechnitz Gifted Winning Powerball Ticket To Employee

Shlomo Rechnitz improved the odds, but not my much.

On Tuesday, he purchased nearly 18,000 Powerball tickets for every employee and resident of his California nursing home empire, jumping the odds from one in 292 million to 18,000 in 292 million (about six thousandths of one percent)

That marginal statistical improvement, though, may have paid off big time for a senior registered nurse at the Rechnitz-owned Park Avenue Healthcare & Wellness Center in Pomona.

The apparent winner, who has not yet been publically identified, is one of three winners of the record $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot, according to Rechnitz spokesman Joshua Nass. The manager of the nursing facility was not immediately available for comment. Rechnitz has not yet responded to a phone call or text message from the Journal. The California Lottery, meanwhile, hasn’t yet confirmed that the nurse’s ticket is the winning ticket.

ABC 7 reported that the nursing homes director confirmed that his employee is the Powerball winner, but does not know whether her winning ticket is the one bought by Rechnitz, or perhaps bought on her own.

“Our understanding is what I’ve conveyed to you,” Nass said, when asked whether he knows for sure that the nurse’s winning ticket was one purchased by Rechnitz.

Earlier this week, Nass said, Rechnitz bought just under 18,000 Powerball tickets (at $2 each), giving one to each of his employees and residents. He said that the winner was at the facility on Wednesday evening when her son texted her a picture of the winning ticket, which was purchased at a 7-Eleven in nearby Chino Hills. Nass then said that the nurse and her fellow employees broke out into joyful dancing.

“There were two nurses at the facility who witnessed her reaction,” Nass said. “Her kids proceeded to come by and pick her up to take her home.”

Each of the three winning Powerball tickets is worth $528.8 million before taxes. Florida and Tennessee don’t have state income taxes, and California exempts lottery winnings from what would be a 12.3 percent state income tax.

How much the Chino Hills winner receives depends on whether she elects to receive one lump-sum payment ($187.2 million after taxes), or a 30-year annuity, which would provide significant tax savings because the lottery winnings Powerball invests isn’t taxed, while that same lump-sum after-tax money is taxed when invested by the winner.

Nass said that with each ticket came a note written by Rechnitz that read, “We’ll provide the ticket. You provide the dream.”

Rechnitz, 44, is a renowned philanthropist, particularly, but not solely, for Orthodox Jewish causes. He has donated millions of dollars, including $5 million to the indebted Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem in Nov. 2011, $2.35 million to purchase a creditor’s note on the Chabad of California’s Westwood headquarters one month later, and $1 million to rebuild Orthodox Jewish schools damaged by Hurricane Sandy and to help the families whose children were at those schools. In April 2013 he bought the embattled Doheny Glatt Kosher Meats after its former owner, Mike Engelman, was videotaped bringing unidentified products into the store when the mashgiach (rabbinic kosher supervisor) was absent. The Rabbinic Council of California (RCC), which revoked Doheny Glatt’s kosher certification, approached Rechnitz about a possible purchase, amidst concerns that Doheny’s closure could significant impact the price of local kosher meat.

“The Rabbinical Council of California approached me and said, ‘Shlomo, could this be one of your charity things?’ “ Rechnitz recalled in an interview at the time with the Journal.

He writes $10,000 checks to families of police officers in Southern California who were shot on duty and, in November, during a layover at an airport in Shannon, Ireland, came across 400 U.S. soldiers and decided to give each one $50 so that they could purchase a good meal at the airport. A YouTube video of Rechnitz speaking to the uniformed soldiers went viral, so far accumulating nearly 650,000 views.

Rechnitz is also California’s largest nursing-home owner, with about 75 facilities ranging from as far south as San Diego to as far north as Eureka. Rechnitz got his start in the medical field in the late ‘90s, co-founding TwinMed—a medical supplies wholesaler—with his twin brother, Steve. Instead of selling nursing homes supplies by the item, he offered them a set daily rate for all supplies for each patient.

Rechnitz has since moved into the business of acquiring and managing dozens of nursing homes, but not without controversy. In 2014, Long Beach attorney Stephen Garcia filed a class-action lawsuit against one of Rechnitz’s company’s, Brius Management, which at the time owned 57 nursing homes in California, accusing the company of misrepresenting its quality of care, committing fraud and routinely violating industry regulations. Rechnitz’s attorney, Patricia Glaser, dismissed the lawsuit as baseless and said Garcia filed the lawsuit after Rechnitz denied him a consulting contract.

Also in 2014, the Sacramento Bee published an investigative series on nursing homes in California, particularly focusing on Rechnitz and ranking 35 of his nursing homes “below state averages” for quality of care, and marking them for performing worse than average in terms of nurse turnover, ratio of nurse aids, ratio of licensed vocational nurses, and ratio of registered nurses. The Bee determined that the nursing homes Rechnitz owned for all of 2014 had nearly triple as many “serious deficiencies” per 1,000 beds as the California average in 2014, according to data from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

And in the same year, the California Attorney General Kamala Harris attempted to block Rechnitz’s purchase of 19 nursing homes, only to drop that injunction.

Last October, meanwhile, the FBI searched one of Rechnitz’s nursing homes in Riverside, the Alta Vista Healthcare & Wellness Centre. Laura Eimiller, a FBI spokeswoman, told the Journal in October that agents “were seeking evidence in an ongoing criminal investigation,” but not to remove any patients. Eimiller has not yet responded to a phone call or email to establish whether that investigation is ongoing.

And in August, two former senior employees of the Mesa Verde Post Acute Care Center were charged with four misdemeanor counts of inflicting injury on an elder, and failing to report elder abuse. That same month Harris filed involuntary manslaughter charges against Verdugo Valley Skilled Nursing & Wellness Centre in Pasadena, criminally charging two nurses at the facility who they accused of “dependent-adult abuse” after an unstable 57-year-old resident walked unsupervised to a gas station, purchased a gallon of gasoline, and then lit herself on fire, dying at a local hospital the next day. A spokeswoman for Harris has not yet responded to a request for comment on the status of that case.

At the Mesa Verde nursing home, Rechnitz recently created and sponsors a wish-granting program for patients, providing, for example as recently described in a Los Angeles Times piece, a limousine ride and dinner for an elderly patient and his family.

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Three Disney World Employees Among 17 Arrested in Florida Child Sex Sting

Three Disney World employees were among the 17 people arrested in a child sex sting operation in Florida, law enforcement officials announced on Wednesday.

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Three Disney World Employees Among 17 Arrested in Florida Child Sex Sting

Three Disney World employees were among the 17 people arrested in a child sex sting operation in Florida, law enforcement officials announced on Wednesday.

In the operation, dubbed “Operation Child Protector,” undercover officers posed as 13- and 14-year-old children on social media and online dating apps between July 27 and Aug. 1.

The undercovers made contact with each of the suspects before proposing they meet at a location in Polk County, where they were busted.

In total, the arrests led to 49 felony and two misdemeanor charges. Those arrested were aged 26 to 47. All were from Central Florida except for one 33-year-old man from California.

“What you see on this board … are deviants. Incredible deviants,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a press conference on Tuesday, motioning to photos of the alleged pervs. “They travel from as far away as Clewiston, Florida. One even came from Los Angeles.”

“Much to their chagrin, instead of meeting with young children, they were met by law enforcement officers who were online undercover posing as children.”

Kenneth Javier Aquino, 26, a lifeguard at Animal Kingdom Lodge at Disney World, was arrested while still wearing his Disney polo shirt and swimsuit, according to the sheriff’s office.

Aquino engaged in an online conversation on social media with an officer, posing as a 13-year-old girl, authorities said. He then asked the “girl” to send photos, and sent her an explicit video of himself, police said.

Aquino told officers he is a Navy veteran and has a pregnant girlfriend.

Jonathan McGrew, a 34-year-old custodian at Disney World, was nabbed by an undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old girl.

disney-world

McGrew allegedly told the “girl” that he wanted her to come over and have sex with him and his girlfriend, 29-year-old Savannah Lawrence, who also works as a custodian at tourist mecca.

McGrew sent her explicit videos of him and Lawrence performing sexual acts on each other, authorities said.

A rep for Disney World didn’t immediately return a message.

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China Reports First Human Death from Monkey B Virus

China has reported the first human infection and death in the country caused by a rare infectious disease found in primates known as the Monkey B virus.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said a 53-year-old veterinary surgeon who worked in a research institute specializing in nonhuman primate breeding in Beijing dissected two monkeys in March and became ill about a month later.

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China Reports First Human Death from Monkey B Virus

China has reported the first human infection and death in the country caused by a rare infectious disease found in primates known as the Monkey B virus.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said a 53-year-old veterinary surgeon who worked in a research institute specializing in nonhuman primate breeding in Beijing dissected two monkeys in March and became ill about a month later.

He began experiencing nausea, vomiting, fever and neurological issues, and died in May.

Blood and saliva samples were tested and researchers in April found evidence of the Monkey B virus, also known as the herpes B virus.

Researchers said a male doctor and female nurse who were in close contact with the victim tested negative for the virus.

The Monkey B virus is prevalent among macaque monkeys but infection among humans is extremely rare. Since the virus was identified in 1932, just 50 cases have been reported, with the majority of those in North America. Untreated B virus infections in humans are serious, however, with a fatality rate of about 80 percent.

Symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, and progress to more serious complications such as swelling of the brain and spinal cord.

Laboratory workers and veterinarians in close contact with the animals are most at risk as people typically get infected with the virus if they are bitten or scratched by an infected macaque, or have contact with the monkey’s eyes, nose or mouth.

But the virus is unlikely to mutate in a way that poses a problem to the general population. Just one case of human-to-human transmission of the virus has ever been documented.

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U.S. Remembers 9/11 Terrorist Attacks as The Pandemic Changes Tribute Traditions

Americans are commemorating 9/11 with tributes that have been altered by coronavirus precautions and woven into the presidential campaign, drawing both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden to pay respects at the same memorial without crossing paths.

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U.S. Remembers 9/11 Terrorist Attacks as The Pandemic Changes Tribute Traditions

Americans are commemorating 9/11 with tributes that have been altered by coronavirus precautions and woven into the presidential campaign, drawing both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden to pay respects at the same memorial without crossing paths.

In New York, a dispute over coronavirus-safety precautions is leading to split-screen remembrances Friday, one at the Sept. 11 memorial plaza at the World Trade Center and another on a nearby corner. The Pentagon’s observance will be so restricted that not even victims’ families can attend, though small groups can visit the memorial there later in the day.

Trump and Biden are both headed — at different times — to the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Trump is speaking at the morning ceremony, the White House said. Biden plans to pay respects there in the afternoon after attending the observance at the 9/11 memorial in New York.

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence is also due at ground zero — and then at the alternate ceremony a few blocks away.

In short, the anniversary of 9/11 is a complicated occasion in a maelstrom of a year, as the U.S. grapples with a health crisis, searches its soul over racial injustice and prepares to choose a leader to chart a path forward.

Still, 9/11 families say it’s important for the nation to pause and remember the hijacked-plane attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people at the trade center, at the Pentagon and near Shanksville on Sept. 11, 2001, shaping American policy, perceptions of safety and daily life in places from airports to office buildings.

“I know that the heart of America beats on 9/11 and, of course, thinks about that tragic day. I don’t think that people forget,” says Anthoula Katsimatides, who lost her brother John and is now on the board of the National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum.

Friday will mark Trump’s second time observing the 9/11 anniversary at the Flight 93 memorial, where he made remarks in 2018. Biden spoke at the memorial’s dedication in 2011, when he was vice president.

The ground zero ceremony in New York has a longstanding custom of not allowing politicians to speak, though they can attend. Biden did so as vice president in 2010, and Trump as a candidate in 2016.

Though the candidates will be focused on the commemorations, the political significance of their focus on Shanksville is hard to ignore: Pennsylvania is a must-win state for both. Trump won it by less than a percentage point in 2016.

Around the country, some communities have canceled 9/11 commemorations because of the pandemic, while others are going ahead, sometimes with modifications.

The New York memorial is changing one of its ceremony’s central traditions: having relatives read the names of the dead, often adding poignant tributes.

Thousands of family members are still invited. But they’ll hear a recording of the names from speakers spread around the vast plaza, a plan that memorial leaders felt would avoid close contact at a stage but still allow families to remember their loved ones at the place where they died.

But some victims’ relatives felt the change robbed the observance of its emotional impact. A different 9/11-related group, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, set up its own, simultaneous ceremony a few blocks away, saying there’s no reason that people can’t recite names while keeping a safe distance.

The two organizations also tussled over the Tribute in Light, a pair of powerful beams that shine into the night sky near the trade center and evoke its fallen twin towers. The 9/11 memorial initially canceled the display, citing virus-safety concerns for the installation crew. After the Tunnel to Towers Foundation vowed to put up the lights instead, the memorial changed course with help from its chairman, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Tunnel to Towers, meanwhile, arranged to display single beams for the first time at the Shanksville memorial and the Pentagon.

Over the years, the anniversary also has become a day for volunteering. Because of the pandemic, the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance organization is encouraging people this year to make donations or take other actions that can be accomplished at home.

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