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© St. Petersburg Times, published April 28, 2001

Ex-Miami manager admits defrauding charity

Ex-Miami manager admits defrauding charity

MIAMI -- The city administrator credited with stewarding this city through financial crisis pleaded guilty Friday to defrauding a charity out of nearly $70,000, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Former City Manager and police Chief Donald Warshaw agreed to reimburse the Do the Right Thing charity and will serve less than a year in prison if U.S. District Judge Federico A. Moreno agrees with the terms of the plea deal, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

"I blame no one else for any of my actions involving Do the Right Thing," Warshaw said Friday. "I accept full responsibility for them, and I am going to move on from there."

Warshaw was promoted to city manager in 1998 in the midst of a financial crisis and supervised city operations until he was fired by Mayor Joe Carollo last April for refusing to dismiss the police chief over the federal raid at the home of Elian Gonzalez's Miami relatives.

Between 1991 and 2000, Warshaw served as a director of Do the Right Thing of Miami Inc., a not-for-profit charity established to reward Miami youths for contributions to the community.

Warshaw admitted he spent $69,788 of the charity's money, either by withdrawing funds in charity accounts or charging items to the charity's American Express card, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The plea deal recommends Warshaw serve six months in prison, followed by six months of house arrest, and two years' probation, said Alicia Valle, an assistant U.S. Attorney.

He will also have to reimburse the charity $51,156.

Texas, California top Florida in boating accident deaths

GAINESVILLE -- Florida is no longer the state with the most deaths resulting from recreational boating accidents -- the first time in a decade that the state dropped from the lead, records show.

Forty-six people died in Florida last year because of recreational boating accidents, ranking the state third behind Texas (52) and California (51), according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Boating Safety Section statistics.

The number of accidents in 2000, 1,194, also dropped to its lowest level since 1994, records showed. A total of 382 reported personal watercraft crashes was at a seven-year low, and the 10 alcohol- or drug-related deaths noted were down 20 percent from 1999.

Florida had a record 840,684 registered recreational vessels last year. Thirteen percent were personal watercraft, which were involved in 32 percent of all accidents and nearly 46 percent of boating injuries, according to the statistics.

Youth coach to do time for breaking player's arms

JACKSONVILLE -- A Boys and Girls Club coach accused of breaking the arms of a 10-year-old football player who muffed a catch pleaded guilty to felony battery.

Ronald Ray Gibson, 35, appeared Thursday before Circuit Judge Peter Dearing. His plea agreement calls for him to spend four months in the Duval County Jail, followed by two years of probation.

He also must pay restitution and take anger control classes.

Gibson picked up the player and threw him down after the child failed to catch a ball in a coed football game in September.

Had Gibson been convicted at trial, he could have faced up to five years in prison for the third-degree felony.

Jogger shoots attacking dog, costing it a leg

PORT ST. LUCIE -- A jogger toting a .40-caliber handgun during his morning run shot a Rottweiler in the leg after the dog "almost took my hand off," he told police.

Shane Powers, 33, told officers the dog ran across a street to attack him.

Powers pulled out the Glock semiautomatic and fired three shots, one of which hit the dog in the right leg, police said.

Port St. Lucie police spokesman Chuck Johnson said Powers has a concealed-weapon permit. Assistant State Attorney Bruce Harrison said Friday it's too early to say if he will face charges.

June Kniskern, the owner of the 7-year-old Rottweiler, said Sasha was friendly and lovable. The dog was in stable condition at an animal hospital after her leg had to be amputated because of multiple fractures.

Kniskern was cited for allowing the dog to run loose.

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