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Briefs

California officials hide millions, audit reports

– Officials at the highest levels of the California Department of Parks and Recreation helped keep millions of dollars secret for more than a decade, the California attorney general’s office said in a report released Friday.

The report said the “intentional non-disclosure” continued because employees feared the department’s budget would be cut if lawmakers found out, and that they would be embarrassed about the years of covering it up.

“Throughout this period of intentional non-disclosure, some parks employees consistently requested, without success, that their superiors address the issue,” Deputy Attorney General Thomas M. Patton wrote in the report.

Parks Director Ruth Coleman, who had been director since 2002, resigned and a senior parks official was fired last summer after $54 million was found hidden in two special funds as up to 70 parks were threatened with closure because of budget cuts.

Final inmate caught in high-rise escape

Weeks after a pair of bank robbers made a daring escape from a downtown Chicago high-rise jail, police said Friday they captured the last of the two men but didn’t notice him at first because of his disguise as an older person.

Kenneth Conley was arrested in the Chicago suburb of Palos Hills after a short foot chase. Palos Hills Deputy Chief James Boie said Conley was dressed like an old man, wearing a beret and glasses, and walking with a limp when officers approached him.

Frank voices interest in Kerry Senate seat

Newly retired Rep. Barney Frank revealed that he would like to serve as a temporary successor to Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the secretary of state nominee.

Frank told the Associated Press that he asked Gov. Deval Patrick to appoint him to serve as the state’s interim senator until a special election is held to fill Kerry’s seat.

Video in rape case inflames Ohio city

An online video has fueled social media reaction to the case of two Ohio high school football players charged with rape, but the attorney general’s office says it’s not new evidence for state investigators handling the case.

The 16-year-old boys are set for trial next month in juvenile court in Steubenville in far eastern Ohio on allegations that they raped a teenage girl last August. State prosecutors are handling the case because local authorities knew people involved with the football team in the small city.

An unverified video purportedly showing another student joking about the alleged rape victim has increased public interest in the case. The video apparently was released by hackers who say they’re upset that more people haven’t been held accountable in the case.

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