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Week in Review

By Eric Lanter

Developer Aby Rosen to Pay $7 Million in Unpaid Taxes on Art

Aby Rosen, a prominent Manhattan real estate developer and art collector, settled with the New York Attorney General's Office for failing to pay taxes on $80 million in artwork that Mr. Rosen bought or commissioned since 2002. While Mr. Rosen claimed that the works were for sale and therefore he did not need to pay sales or use taxes, he was treating the pieces as his personal possessions The attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, commented that, "Law-abiding New Yorkers should not be stuck footing the bill for those who fail to pay their fair share."


Egypt's Interior Ministry Accidentally Releases Memos on Restricting News Media

Egypt's leader President Abel Fattah el-Sisi, who is already facing scrutiny at home and abroad, has a new crisis to address. On Tuesday, Egypt's Interior Ministry leaked confidential guidelines that are designed to counter news media criticism. One document proposed a rule stopping all coverage of Giulio Regeni, an Italian graduate student who was killed in Cairo in February, which has put Egypt's relations with Italy into crisis. The Interior Ministry blames a technical malfunction for the leak.


Lincoln Center President's Departure Prompted by Relationship

After just 27 months serving as president of Lincoln Center, Jed Bernstein announced his departure. Lincoln Center has now acknowledged that he had been in a relationship with a staff member. Mr. Bernstein's contract was set to expire in December 2016, and as negotiations were beginning, some complained of his management style, but then an anonymous individual reported the sexual relationship between Mr. Bernstein and a female employee whom he had promoted to a senior position. The relationship violated Lincoln Center's employment policies. (After an internal investigation, it was reported that the woman deserved her promotion based on merit, and that she was also promoted under the previous president.)


UEFA's Recognition of Kosovo Angers Serbs

Europe's governing soccer body voted Tuesday to recognize the Kosovo Football Federation as its 55th member. Serbia, angered by this recognition, vows that to work to overturn the decision. Kosovo will also be submitting its application for membership to FIFA, with a vote to approve that application taking place at FIFA's annual Congress next week in Mexico.


United States Supreme Court Could Have a Say in Redskins Trademark Case

Two recent petitions were filed with the Supreme Court, asking it to sort out whether the Washington Redskins and an Asian-American dance-rock band called "The Slants" are entitled to the protections of federal trademark law. This comes at a time when the Patent and Trademark Office rejected trademarks for some words, such as "Heeb," "Dago," "Injun," and "Squaw." While it would be rare for the Supreme Court to hear both cases together, it would clarify the extent of free speech in trademark matters.


Judge Requires Sumner Redstone to Testify

Sumner Redstone, the former head of Viacom and CBS, is set to undergo a 30-minute deposition. This comes as part of his mental competency court battle in California, which has been contentious. Previously, the judge declined requests for the deposition, stating that the deposition would be fruitless, as Mr. Redstone apparently suffers from a severe speech impediment.


Hulk Hogan Sues Gawker

Hulk Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, filed another lawsuit against Gawker. This comes after Hulk Hogan received a $140 million verdict against Gawker in March, after Gawker published a sex tape of him and a friend's wife. Mr. Bollea's new suit, however, accuses Gawker of intentionally inflicting emotional distress and leaking a video transcript in which Mr. Bollea used racial slurs.


Court Appoints Bank to Oversee Prince's Estate

The first hearing was held regarding Prince's estate in Carver County, Minnesota. All but one of his siblings signed an agreement to have Bremer Trust oversee the estate, as it appears that Prince died without a will. While the full extent of his assets are not known, his property alone is thought to be worth $31.3 million, with his music recordings worth at least tens of millions of dollars more.


An Intervention Came Too Late

Prince, leading up to his death, appeared to have been addicted to painkillers, much to the surprise of those who knew him. Those around him had always known him to not indulge in alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs; however, it appears that he had been in touch with an addiction doctor prior to his death. Those closest to him had hoped to have Prince sent to California for a period of time to rid himself of his painkiller addiction.


High School Basketball Player Who Said He Was 17 May Be Closer to 30

A South Sudan immigrant, Jonathan Nicola, who purported to be a basketball player at a Catholic high school in Canada, was arrested after it was revealed he was not 17, but closer to 29. He obtained a visa to study in Canada, fleeing the violence and turmoil of his home country. However, in that process, he misrepresented his birth date, and when authorities compared it to an American visitor visa and noted the discrepancy, they arrested Mr. Nicola.


Dee Gordon of the Miami Marlins Suspended 80 Games for Doping

Dee Gordon, star second baseman for the Miami Marlins, was suspended for 80 games after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. This suspension comes as the baseball season is beginning, which is a follow-up to Mr. Gordon's previous season leading the league in stolen bases and hits while winning a Gold Glove. Mr. Gordon dropped his appeal of this suspension.


Photo of Paris Attacks Victim Sets Off Press Freedom Case

As the terrorist attacks in Paris were occurring on November 13, 2015, Maya Vidon-White, a French war photographer, was taking photographs. One picture of a man, Cedric Gomet, who had been shot and would later die, was published in a weekly magazine, VSD. This dramatic photograph would lead to Ms. Vidon-White being charged by the Paris prosecutor's office for violating a French law designed to protect the dignity and privacy of terrorism victims. Ms. Vidon-White said that she was simply doing her job, and documenting the reality of the attacks; however, the French law is quite clear that victims of violent attacks cannot have their photographs published without their permission.


'Zappa Plays Zappa' Pits Zappa v. Zappa

Rock star Frank Zappa's son, Dweezil Zappa, has been touring under the name Zappa Plays Zappa, as he performs Frank Zappa's famous music. However, the name must change. Dweezil Zappa is being forced to tour under the name "Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa." Frank Zappa's Family Trust, which owns the rights to his music, informed Dweezil that the trust owns the trademark, and in addition, that he risked copyright infringement each time he played a song without permission. While the once tight-knit Zappa family is now seeing itself fray, Dweezil insists he simply wants to perform his father's music faithfully and will comply with the name change.


In China, An iPhone May Not Be a Phone

A Chinese man, Xintong Tiandi, has won a victory in China against the tech giant Apple. The Beijing Higher People's Court has ruled that Mr. Tiandi's trademark of "iPhone" is protected to mark leather goods, none of which are actually Apple's iPhone products. This comes despite Apple applying for the trademark in 2002 and Mr. Tiandi applying for the trademark in 2007. This is not the first instance of this happening, however, as Michael Jordan lost the rights to his name in China, and New Balance paid $16 million in damages for what a Chinese court said was the illegal use of the Chinese name for the company, which a person had already registered.


The Federal Government Warns North Carolina That Transgender Bill Violates Civil Rights Laws

The U.S. Department of Justice warned the State of North Carolina that its new law limiting bathroom access violates transgender people's civil rights, which will ultimately result in the State losing federal funds. In an already contentious debate, this adds pressure to North Carolina officials to reverse course, after just passing the bill, known as HB2, in March.


Gucci Fighting Cardboard Shoe Replicas in China

At specialty shops around Hong Kong, customers can buy a variety of goods that are meant to be burned as offerings for deceased relatives. These goods range from Italian sports cars, to smartphones, to cigarettes, to Gucci handbags and shoes, all of which are paper replicas. Kering, Gucci's parent company, sent letters to six such stores, instructing them to stop selling the replicas, as they violated Gucci's trademark. While this practice occurs in places like Beijing, Bangkok, and even New York, Gucci chose to make its stand in Hong Kong. Some shopkeepers have already complied with the demand, however, one notes that the offerings have nothing to do with the luxury products that Gucci seeks to protect, emphasizing the futility in Gucci's actions. Gucci did not demand payment for the uses.


Paterno Was Told of Sandusky Abuse Claim in 1976

Jerry Sandusky, former assistant coach for the Pennsylvania State University football team, is serving 30 to 60 years in state prison on a 45-count conviction of child sexual abuse charges. In 2011, Joe Paterno, the former coach of the team, testified that he did not know of any instances of sexual abuse. However, a judge in Philadelphia said that in 1976, a boy told Mr. Paterno that Mr. Sandusky had molested him. This comes as Mr. Sandusky is appealing his conviction and has a hearing set for May 20th, where his lawyers can show that the prosecutors lied or withheld evidence, with the hope being to dismiss the charges or be granted a new trial.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 6, 2016 10:14 AM.

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