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Apartment manager faces up to 10 years in prison for accepting bribes from Section 8 applicants

By Valerie D. Lockhart
     Residents of the Colony Arms apartments in Detroit are resting peacefully thanks to the building undergoing a major renovation, which also included the removal of a corrupt building manager.
     Lucresha Frank, former manager, recently admitted to taking cash bribes from prospective tenants on a waiting list to move them up in line to receive an apartment funded by the Housing and Urban Development’s Section 8 program. The 41-year-old Pontiac resident faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, when she is sentenced on Dec. 6. 
     “Bribery by those entrusted to provide federally-funded housing to the economically disadvantaged is an atrocity that cannot stand. It is not only a breach of the public trust, it takes advantage of those who are at their financial low point and who are desperate for shelter for themselves and their families,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider. “As such, this criminal conduct will be uncovered and prosecuted to the fullest extent allowed by federal law.” 
     Among Frank’s victims was a homeless mother of two, who was living in a shelter in 2013.
     “Lucresha Frank’s illegal actions, motivated by her own greed, devastated families experiencing financial distress and prevented those in desperate need from being able to access low cost housing,” said Timothy R. Slater, Special Agent in Charge, Detroit Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners remain fully committed to investigating and prosecuting anyone who seeks to take advantage of those in our communities through such devious criminal schemes.” 
     The 161-unit apartment, now known as the River Crest Apartments, has a new look and manager. Features include a mail room, wash room, new appliances, paint, carpets, central air conditioning, security cameras and secure parking. Its lobbies have paneled walls, tile floors and new gas fireplaces.
    In the past, Detroit police received over 600 calls a year for incidents occurring in the building located at 9303 E. Jefferson Ave.
  The case was investigated by HUD and the FBI. 

Licensed to Kill
part two
By Valerie D. Lockhart
     Grief-stricken family members mourn the loss of loved ones who died at the hands of those taking a Hippocratic Oath promising, “I will do no harm or injustice to them.”
     Yet, over 250,000 people die each year, not at the hands of criminals or reckless drivers, but by doctors breaking that promise. Patient safety experts with Johns Hopkins say medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States.
     Skilled medical professionals at the Detroit Medical Center are among those accused of inflicting harm on patients. Despite of families being awarded millions of dollars in malpractice claims against the DMC, its business as usual.
     “Doctors are allowed to literally get away with murder,” says Denise Rogers, whose mother died last Sept. in Harper Hospital. “No one accepts responsibility for their wrong-doing. The right hand blames the left for poor performance. If you file a complaint with the hospital or state, everyone defends the doctors and nurses involved. You have to get an attorney from out of state to sue them. Even then, there’s cap and a statue of limitation on filing a suit.” 
     Medical malpractice lawsuits must be filed within two years of the negligent act, according to Michigan law. A notice of intent to file a claim is required under the law. 
     There are also limits on the amount of monetary damages that can be awarded to the victim or their family.
     “In a claim for damages alleging medical malpractice by or against a person or party, the total amount of damages for noneconomic loss recoverable by all plaintiffs, resulting from the negligence of all defendants, shall not exceed $280,000.00 unless, as the result of the negligence of 1 or more of the defendants, 1 or more exceptions apply as determined by the court pursuant to section 6304, in which case damages for noneconomic loss shall not exceed $500,000.00,” states Act No. 78 of 1993.  
     Medical professionals are also protected under Michigan’s Apology Law, which excuses doctors from guilt when they admit the error and apologize to the patient.
     Profits supersede healthcare, permitting doctors to bill insurance companies and individuals exorbitant amounts that are unequal to the quality of healthcare services rendered.  
     "We've trusted a lot of our health care to for-profit businesses and it's their job, frankly, to make profit," said Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal, a medical journalist who formerly practiced as a medical doctor. "You can't expect them to act like Mother Teresas.”
    Sharon DuMas, who suffered from a life-changing injury caused by medical errors at the DMC in 2011, says the staff who cared for her was just the opposite of Mother Teresa and were “devils wearing white jackets and nurse’s uniforms.”
     “I went into the hospital to have surgery on my T10 and T11 thoracic vertebra. The doctor who was head of the Neurology Department operated on T11 and T12 vertebras,” explained DuMas. “The interns admitted they made a mistake, because they couldn’t see in the operating room. The doctor came into my room and admitted the wrong area was operated on. He scheduled me for a second surgery the next day. He also said, “There’s nothing you can sue me for but the costs of medication.’ Then, the nurses tried to release me the next day to go home alone, when I couldn’t even walk. I refused to leave.”
     Seven years later, DuMas continues to suffer from the same ailments she initially had treated at the DMC. She now uses a walker and wheelchair to get around.
     “Everything that happened before the surgery is intensified today,” she says. “My legs are numb, I have arthritis, and my back aches.”
    Faith DeGrand, 17-year-old Wyandotte girl, also suffered from injuries incurred during a procedure at the DMC seven years ago. She was recently awarded $135 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
     “(The treatment) left her with permanent weakness in her arms and legs and loss of bowel and bladder control,” said Geoffrey Fieger, who represented Faith. "The hero jury awarded appropriate damages for these horrific, life-destroying injuries."
      Although judgments have been rendered against medical professionals at the DMC, complaints filed with the State of Michigan and hospital officials about medical errors and unfair treatment continue. 
     “One nurse told me that the doctor, who treated me, acts like he’s God and will not fess up when he mess up,” added DuMas. “It’s going to take more than a physical renovation of the facility to get me to come back. I don’t go to Harper Hospital for anything. I’ve heard plenty of horror stories, since my incident. Nothing’s changed.”
     Next month, the Detroit Native Sun will discuss ways to protect yourself from medical errors and what procedures patients should undergo when admitted into any hospital to help our readers to avoid becoming a victim of those “licensed to kill”.

Fallen American soldiers of the 
Korean War come home
    “Today, they are known but to God. But soon we will know their names, and we will tell their stories of courage.” 
Vice President Mike Pence
   Sixty-five years ago last week, an armistice brought the Korean War to its close. Nearly 2 million American soldiers had taken up the fight, committing to defend South Korea and stop Communism’s advance through the free world.
     Many of our soldiers returned home—some to their families, and some to eternal rest. But more than 8,000 American troops were simply listed as “missing” and did not come back at all. Ever since, our Nation has worked tirelessly to bring these soldiers home and keep our promise to leave no man behind.
     Until recently, recovery efforts had been suspended for more than a decade because of North Korea’s escalating nuclear threats. This week marked a new season of hope for the surviving families of these fallen soldiers.
     In Hawaii, the remains of 55 U.S. Service Members were returned to American soil. Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Honolulu for a moving tribute to their sacrifice: the Honorable Carry Ceremony.
     “Some have called the Korean War the ‘forgotten war,’” he said. “But today, we prove these heroes were never forgotten. Today, our boys are coming home.”
     This final return comes after President Trump’s historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Singapore on June 12. As the President worked to secure a commitment for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, he also insisted on a promise from Chairman Kim to return the remains of fallen U.S. Service Members lost in North Korea.
     The President thanked Chairman Kim for honoring his word.
  “Incredibly beautiful ceremony as U.S. Korean War remains are returned to American soil,” President Trump tweeted. “Thank you to Honolulu and all of our great Military participants on a job well done.”
     To the families of the rest of our fallen soldiers, Vice President Pence offered a solemn pledge: “We will never stop striving until every hero lost in the Korean War is home.”