Terror in Norway
In the deadliest day of terror in Western Europe since the 2004 Madrid train bombings, at least 80 people were killed at a Norwegianyouth camp Friday after a bomb blast in downtown Oslo killed seven. A Norwegian man has been arrested and authorities say heapparently acted alone and isn’t connected with international terrorism. An official said the attack “is probably more Norway’sOklahoma City than it is Norway’s World Trade Center.”
Above, victims receive emergency treatment outside government buildingsafter the bomb blast. For full coverage, see B1.
Philip Eric Myers
Philip Myersin Georgia jail
By SCOTT STEEPLETON
NEWS-PRESS CITY EDITOR
A former attorney accused of bilking an elderly localwoman out of money in an alleged phony investmentscheme, is being held in a Georgia detention facility as afugitive from justice and faces extradition to SantaBarbara County.Philip Eric Myers, 59, was booked into GwinnettCounty Jail at 12:40 a.m. Friday, according to jailpersonnel.The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Department arrestedhim as a fugitive from justice. Hewill remain in Georgia untilauthorities here bring him back.Mr. Myers, a onetime SantaBarbara resident and principal inTyphoon Security Technology Inc.,is the subject of investigations intopossible phony investmentschemes involving what someformer associates say are reallyshell firms that Mr. Myers props upfor a time with money fromunsuspecting investors — or pil-fered trust funds — before filing for bankruptcy and thenstarting the whole process over again.Mr. Myers has maintained his innocence.
Faces extradition to,charges in SB County
Joblessness jumps almost1 percent incounty
/ NEWS-PRESS FILE
Hundreds lined up for the recent opening of theH&M store on State Street. The discount retailerwas expected to give a bump to the city’sworkforce numbers.
By STEVE SINOVIC
NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER
Santa Barbara County’s unemployment rate spiked to8.9 percent in June, up from a revised 8.0 percent in May.It was the biggest single-month jump in the countysince January 2009, according to labor statistics compiledby the state Employment Development Department.The rate was unchanged from a year ago.Trying to make sense of the trends and offer someclarity — especially to job seekers — economists hadvarious takes on the news, ranging from somewhatalarmed to don’t read too much into a single-month’s datain an economy that has defied the recovery patterns of previous recessions.“Whoa!” said economist Bill Watkins of CaliforniaLutheran University, a notable South Coast analyst“That was a little worse than we are expecting,” he saidof the nearly 1 percent rise.Most aggravating was news of the loss of 700 positionsin the government sector.“Certainly, state and local governments are shrinking.Unfortunately, these tend to be some of the better-paying jobs in the Santa Barbara economy,” Mr. Watkins said.
Asking the minister to backdate a marriage license
Sixth in a series
By PETER LANCE
SPECIAL TO THE NEWS-PRESS
Five years before she won an award fromMothers Against Drunk Driving as the topDUI arresting officer in Santa BarbaraCounty, Kasi Beutel was a bride-to-be plan-ning an elaborate Renaissance-style wed-ding. Oneof the principal planners for the nuptials totake place on a Los Angeles ranch with thewedding party in period costume was Pam-ela Kay James, the seamstress wife of theman who would officiate, the Rev. Thomas D. James.“I made all the groomsmen’s costumes,”said Mrs. James, “the bridesmaids’ costumes,the flower girl’s and mother of the bride’scostumes, over a span of about six months.”The Jameses had met Kasi Beutel, then anaccountant, and her fiancé Todd, a CPA, justafter moving back to Ventura from Wash-ington State in September 1996. The cere-mony with the wedding party dressed likemembers of a royal court was meticulouslyplanned by Kasi and attended by upwards of 100 guests on a hot afternoon at the end of May 1997. But just before the event, the sto-rybook festivities took an unusual turn.“Before the day of the ceremony,” said theRev. James, “we were notified by the Beutelsthat there was a ‘problem’ and that the couplecould not go through with a legally bindingwedding.”So, with 100 assembled guests, musicians,a caterer and Kasi’s own father due to arrivedressed as King Henry VIII, the Rev. Jamesperformed the wedding stopping short of thelegally binding words, “I now pronounce youhusband and wife.”The significance of that act wouldn’t beapparent to the Jameses until just this pastweekend, after they read the first five parts of the News-Press investigative series on KasiBeutel, which suggests that between 2009 and2010 she inflated the number of her DUIarrests, lied in police reports, withheldpotentially exculpatory evidence from sus-pects and witnessed a series of blood testwaivers that a nationally ranked handwritingexpert has concluded were forgeries.But for the Jameses, the revelations in theseries about Kasi Beutel’s troubled financialhistory underscored the real significance of that unconsummated 1997 weddingceremony.“We didn’t realize at the time,” said Pam James, “but that last-minute change in theceremony might have had something to dowith the BKs that Todd and Kasi later filed.” As documented in Part Four of the series,the Beutels filed back-to-back Chapter Sevenbankruptcy petitions in federal court over a22-month period between 1998 and 2000. Inthose serial filings, the two accountantswiped out almost $200,000 in unsecuredcredit card debt with 24 cards between themand deftly held onto two separate propertiesunder the homestead exemption, which theylater flipped post-bankruptcy for hundredsof thousands of dollars profit.The question of whether either Beutelcommitted bankruptcy fraud lies in the legaldate of their marriage. “If they had beenlegally bound on May 31, 1997 as they’dplanned in this Renaissance ceremony,”says a certified public accountant whoexamined the evidence uncovered in thisseries, “Todd couldn’t have filed as an indi-vidual in 1998 as he did.So two days after Todd’s BK was dischargedin January of 1999, the Beutels called up Rev.
PETER LANCE PHOTO
Pictured are the Rev. Thomas D. Jamesand his wife, Pamela Kay James.
n the morning of New Year’sDay, Office Kasi Beutel of theSanta Barbara PoliceDepartment arrested inves-tigative journalist PeterLance on suspicion of driving under theinfluence. The case is pending. Afterfinding a number of misstatements of factin the report of the incident, Mr. Lancestarted looking into other arrests involv-ing the officer. The investigation,including interviews with others,resulted in this series, which began withfive original installments June 22-26 andcontinues today through Monday.For daily updates and links to docu-ments used in the research for this series,see newspress.com. For more on Mr.Lance, go to peterlance.com.
Behind the Series
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LABOR DEPARTMENT SAYSUNEMPLOYMENT RATES WENTUP IN MORE THAN HALF OFSTATES IN JUNE
Military serviceby employeescostly forcounty, city
By MICHAL ELSETH
NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER
War comes at a cost, and with ourtroops nearing a decade in theMiddle East, the nation’s budgetinevitably reflects the expense of fighting two wars.But those costs also hit muchcloser to home. With 43 countyemployees called up on active dutywith their reserve units since 2001,many of them serving two or threetours, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost Santa Bar-bara County nearly $1 million.Employees called up on activeduty often receive military differ-ential pay from their employers,making up the difference betweentheir salaries and their militarypay. Employees receiving this dif-ferential pay also continue toreceive retirement benefits.The county has paid $727,336 inmilitary supplemental leave payon a combined total of 77 militaryabsences since 2001.Retirement contributions havecost another estimated $206,373over the past 10 years, said ToniMcDonald, payroll division chief for the county.She added that those numbers