Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 1:20 a.m. EST
Wayne State finalizes deal to boost, build on-campus housing
DETROIT (AP) — Wayne State University officials have finalized a 40-year agreement with a private company to finance, develop and operate the school’s student housing.
The Detroit university on Thursday announced the financial close of the deal with Corvias, and with it the securing of $307 million in private financing. That will be used to pay off existing housing debt and the continued construction of Anthony Wayne Drive Apartments, as well the demolition and renovations of other property.
East Greenwich, Rhode Island-based Corvias assumed management and maintenance of all on-campus housing on Friday.
The projects are expected to create about 840 more beds. Leasing of roughly 400 beds is expected next fall, and the remainder by fall 2019.
Officials say the deal strengthens the university’s finances while dealing with a housing shortage.
Highland Township girl critically injured during dog attack
HIGHLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 7-year-old Oakland County girl has been critically injured after an attack by two dogs her parents had taken in.
The sheriff’s office says the dogs began biting the girl Thursday afternoon after she opened the gate to their pen outside her family’s Highland Township home, northwest of Detroit.
The girl’s mother was able to get the dogs back into the pen and suffered a deep bite to one of her arms. The girl suffered wounds to her neck and was being treated at a hospital.
Sheriff’s officials say the family had received the dogs from a Humane Society in Pennsylvania. Oakland County authorities seized one of the dogs. The other escaped under the pen’s fence.
The girl’s parents signed four other dogs over to local Animal Control officials.
COUNTY COMPUTER HACK
Man pleads guilty to taking over Washtenaw County computers
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A man who was able to take over the Washtenaw County computer system with malware and other tricks has pleaded guilty in federal court.
Prosecutors say Konrads Voits got access to the county network earlier this year, including jail records, search warrant affidavits and personal information from more than 1,600 employees. He admits altering an electronic record to try to get an inmate released early.
Washtenaw County spent more than $230,000 to fix the breach.
Voits, who lives in Ypsilanti Township, pleaded guilty Friday to damaging a protected computer, a federal crime. He could face seven years or more in prison on April 5. He’s in jail without bond.
The FBI first encountered Voits in 2015 when he reported a false bomb threat.
CONGRESS-SEXUAL MISCONDUCT-CONYERS-THE LATEST
The Latest: Lawyer: Conyers’ accuser to go before Congress
DETROIT (AP) — An attorney representing one of the women alleging sexual harassment by U.S. Rep. John Conyers says her client is expected to testify before the House Ethics Committee.
Lisa Bloom tells The Associated Press Friday that she and Marion Brown hope the testimony sometime next week is done “in an open forum.”
The committee has been reviewing allegations of harassment against Conyers following a Nov. 20 BuzzFeed report that Conyers’ office paid a woman more than $27,000 under a confidential agreement to settle a complaint in 2015 that she was fired from his Washington staff because she rejected his advances. Brown has said she was propositioned for sex multiple times over more than a decade.
Conyers has denied Brown’s allegation and similar claims by two other former staff members.
SEXUAL MISCONDUCT-PRIVATE SECTOR VS POLITICS
Quick firing not an option in political sex-misconduct cases
NEW YORK (AP) — When sexual misconduct allegations surface in the private sector, a boss can say, “You’re fired” — as Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose and others can attest. In the political world, it’s never that simple.
Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Detroit has refused to step down, even after the party’s House leader urged him to do so. Minnesota Sen. Al Franken intends to stay on. And Republican Roy Moore is pressing ahead with his Senate candidacy in Alabama despite allegations he sexually assaulted two teenage girls decades ago.
While private sector employees can be cut loose quickly, Congress rarely uses its authorities to expel members.
Politicians often try to hang on and retain the support of their base.
GENERAL MOTORS-CONTAMINATION LAWSUIT
Michigan residents sue General Motors over water quality
BRIGHTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A lawsuit alleges that General Motors has contaminated water near a Michigan testing facility since the 1980s and has attempted to cover it up.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday on behalf of six Brighton Township residents who allege that the Milford Proving Grounds contaminated water with high levels of sodium and chloride. The lawsuit says the facility released thousands of tons of salt over the past 30 years. The 4,000-acre (nearly 1620-hectare) vehicle testing site uses salt for maintenance, water treatment and other vehicle testing purposes.
General Motors says the suit doesn’t have merit and that salt deposits occur in the area naturally.
The Environmental Protection Agency says prolonged exposure to high amounts of sodium and chloride can damage the liver and kidney, as well as cause hypertension and high blood pressure.
California regulators nix rules limiting carmaker liability
California regulators have nixed a plan to let self-driving car manufacturers evade liability for crashes if the vehicle hasn’t been maintained according to manufacturer specifications.
The new rules released this week delete a provision that was suggested by General Motors, according to Consumer Watchdog, a non-profit advocacy group.
John Simpson, the group’s privacy and technology director, called the change a “major victory for consumers.” He said the rules could have absolved car makers of accident responsibility if a car owner hadn’t cleaned his sensors appropriately.
California Department of Motor Vehicles spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez said the change came after a thoughtful review of comments.
The department is taking comments on the latest changes until December 15. The final regulations are expected to be enacted early next year.
LAKE SKEGEMOG SEARCH
Crews recover missing kayaker from northern Michigan lake
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say they have found the body of man in a northern Michigan lake who was last seen over the weekend.
Grand Traverse County sheriff’s officials say deputies pulled the body of 46-year-old John Murray White of Traverse City from Lake Skegemog Friday morning after three days of searching. He was reported missing on Tuesday by family.
White’s kayak and life jackets had been recovered across the lake. His family told deputies he frequently kayaked the lake off Grand Traverse Bay.
Sheriff’s officials say the investigation continues, including determining the cause and manner of White’s death. Early findings suggest the death was accidental.
US prosecutors seek 7-year prison sentence for VW manager
DETROIT (AP) — Prosecutors are seeking a seven-year prison sentence for a Volkswagen senior manager who pleaded guilty in the automaker’s U.S. diesel emissions scandal.
Oliver Schmidt will be sentenced Wednesday in Detroit federal court. In a court filing this week, federal prosecutors said the 48-year-old followed a “script of deception” while VW was using software to cheat emissions rules on nearly 600,000 vehicles.
Schmidt led VW’s engineering and environmental office in Michigan from 2012 to early 2015. Defense lawyers are recommending that his sentence not exceed 40 months in prison. He’ll get credit for the nearly one year he’s spent in custody.
Schmidt’s lawyers say he “accepts full responsibility” for his role in the scandal. But they say he’s less culpable than others. VW pleaded guilty as a corporation in March.