BUSINESS / B4

NATION & WORLD / B1

LABOR DEPARTMENT SAYS UNEMPLOYMENT RATES WENT UP IN MORE THAN HALF OF STATES IN JUNE

DEBT TALKS BETWEEN OBAMA AND BOEHNER BREAK DOWN AFTER HOUSE SPEAKER REFUSES TO PARTICIPATE

OUR 156TH YEAR

Terror in Norway

S A T U R D A Y, J U L Y 2 3 , 2 0 1 1

75¢

THOMAS KELSEY / NEWS-PRESS FILE

Hundreds lined up for the recent opening of the H&M store on State Street. The discount retailer was expected to give a bump to the city’s workforce numbers.

Joblessness jumps almost 1 percent in county
By STEVE SINOVIC
NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER

ASSOCIATED PRESS

In the deadliest day of terror in Western Europe since the 2004 Madrid train bombings, at least 80 people were killed at a Norwegian youth camp Friday after a bomb blast in downtown Oslo killed seven. A Norwegian man has been arrested and authorities say he apparently acted alone and isn’t connected with international terrorism. An official said the attack “is probably more Norway’s Oklahoma City than it is Norway’s World Trade Center.” Above, victims receive emergency treatment outside government buildings after the bomb blast. For full coverage, see B1.

Santa Barbara County’s unemployment rate spiked to 8.9 percent in June, up from a revised 8.0 percent in May. It was the biggest single-month jump in the county since January 2009, according to labor statistics compiled by the state Employment Development Department. The rate was unchanged from a year ago. Trying to make sense of the trends and offer some clarity — especially to job seekers — economists had various takes on the news, ranging from somewhat alarmed to don’t read too much into a single-month’s data in an economy that has defied the recovery patterns of previous recessions. “Whoa!” said economist Bill Watkins of California Lutheran University, a notable South Coast analyst “That was a little worse than we are expecting,” he said of the nearly 1 percent rise. Most aggravating was news of the loss of 700 positions in 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.

Military service by employees costly for county, city
By MICHAL ELSETH
NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER

Asking the minister to backdate a marriage license
Sixth in a series By PETER LANCE
SPECIAL TO THE NEWS-PRESS

Please see UNEMPLOYMENT on A10

War comes at a cost, and with our troops nearing a decade in the Middle East, the nation’s budget inevitably reflects the expense of fighting two wars. But those costs also hit much closer to home. With 43 county employees called up on active duty with their reserve units since 2001, many of them serving two or three tours, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost Santa Barbara County nearly $1 million. Employees called up on active duty often receive military differential pay from their employers, making up the difference between their salaries and their military pay. Employees receiving this differential pay also continue to receive retirement benefits. The county has paid $727,336 in military supplemental leave pay on a combined total of 77 military absences since 2001. Retirement contributions have cost another estimated $206,373 over the past 10 years, said Toni McDonald, payroll division chief for the county. She added that those numbers

Please see COST on A6

Five years before she won an award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving as the top DUI arresting officer in Santa Barbara County, Kasi Beutel was a bride-to-be planning an elaborate Renaissance-style wedding. One of the principal planners for the nuptials to take place on a Los Angeles ranch with the wedding party in period costume was Pamela Kay James, the seamstress wife of the man 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’s costumes, over a span of about six months.” The Jameses had met Kasi Beutel, then an accountant, and her fiancé Todd, a CPA, just after moving back to Ventura from Washington State in September 1996. The ceremony with the wedding party dressed like members of a royal court was meticulously planned 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 storybook festivities took an unusual turn. “Before the day of the ceremony,” said the Rev. James, “we were notified by the Beutels that there was a ‘problem’ and that the couple could not go through with a legally binding wedding.” So, with 100 assembled guests, musicians, a caterer and Kasi’s own father due to arrive dressed as King Henry VIII, the Rev. James performed the wedding stopping short of the legally binding words, “I now pronounce you husband and wife.” The significance of that act wouldn’t be

apparent to the Jameses until just this past weekend, after they read the first five parts of the News-Press investigative series on Kasi Beutel, which suggests that between 2009 and 2010 she inflated the number of her DUI arrests, lied in police reports, withheld potentially exculpatory evidence from suspects and witnessed a series of blood test waivers that a nationally ranked handwriting expert has concluded were forgeries. But for the Jameses, the revelations in the series about Kasi Beutel’s troubled financial history underscored the real significance of that unconsummated 1997 wedding ceremony. “We didn’t realize at the time,” said Pam James, “but that last-minute change in the ceremony might have had something to do with the BKs that Todd and Kasi later filed.” As documented in Part Four of the series, the Beutels filed back-to-back Chapter Seven bankruptcy petitions in federal court over a 22-month period between 1998 and 2000. In those serial filings, the two accountants wiped out almost $200,000 in unsecured

credit card debt with 24 cards between them and deftly held onto two separate properties under the homestead exemption, which they later flipped post-bankruptcy for hundreds of thousands of dollars profit. The question of whether either Beutel committed bankruptcy fraud lies in the legal date of their marriage. “If they had been legally bound on May 31, 1997 as they’d planned in this Renaissance ceremony,” says a certified public accountant who examined the evidence uncovered in this series, “Todd couldn’t have filed as an individual in 1998 as he did. So two days after Todd’s BK was discharged in January of 1999, the Beutels called up Rev.

Philip Myers in Georgia jail
Faces extradition to, charges in SB County
By SCOTT STEEPLETON
NEWS-PRESS CITY EDITOR

Please see DUI on A5

O

Behind the Series

PETER LANCE PHOTO

Pictured are the Rev. Thomas D. James and his wife, Pamela Kay James.

n the morning of New Year’s Day, Office Kasi Beutel of the Santa Barbara Police Department arrested investigative journalist Peter Lance on suspicion of driving under the influence. The case is pending. After finding a number of misstatements of fact in the report of the incident, Mr. Lance started looking into other arrests involving the officer. The investigation, including interviews with others, resulted in this series, which began with five original installments June 22-26 and continues today through Monday. For daily updates and links to documents used in the research for this series, see newspress.com. For more on Mr. Lance, go to peterlance.com.

A former attorney accused of bilking an elderly local woman out of money in an alleged phony investment scheme, is being held in a Georgia detention facility as a fugitive from justice and faces extradition to Santa Barbara County. Philip Eric Myers, 59, was booked into Gwinnett County Jail at 12:40 a.m. Friday, according to jail personnel. The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Department arrested him as a fugitive from justice. He will remain in Georgia until authorities here bring him back. Mr. Myers, a onetime Santa Barbara resident and principal in Typhoon Security Technology Inc., is the subject of investigations into possible phony investment schemes involving what some former associates say are really shell firms that Mr. Myers props up for a time with money from Philip Eric Myers unsuspecting investors — or pilfered trust funds — before filing for bankruptcy and then starting the whole process over again. Mr. Myers has maintained his innocence.

Please see MYERS on A6

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