Doug Guetzloe, one of central Florida’s most prominent political operatives (and a subject of investigations by the Florida Elections Commission and a highway agency in Orlando), had long eluded criminal charges by denying any knowledge of unethical activities that prosecutors were sure involved him. But late last year, Guetzloe missed a payment on his rental storage locker and 50 boxes of his personal and professional records were seized and auctioned for $10 to a curious citizen, who then gave them to Orlando’s WKMG-TV, which had several earlier investigations of Guetzloe still pending. Based on early readings of the storage-locker papers, Guetzloe was indicted for felony perjury in March.
PEOPLE WITH ISSUES
A federal appeals court in March turned down Ruth Parks’ challenge to her re-election loss in 2001 as the recorder-treasurer of Horseshoe Bend, Ark., which she blamed on a conspiracy by the mayor and police chief. The court concluded that voters, not a conspiracy, had defeated her, perhaps because of the prominence of her belief in UFOs and the conflicting views of her and her husband as to whether she personally had ever been abducted by aliens: She said she hadn’t, but her husband said she had, many times, and that the aliens had left scars.
Di Yerbury, the retiring vice chancellor of Australia’s Macquarie University, is embroiled in a dispute with her successor over her spending habits, leading the successor to seize 1,000 pieces of art that Yerbury tried to take with her as she left. She has asserted that many of the works she had on display are her personal property, including a painting of a woman’s derriere she said she posed for 31 years earlier, and she offered in February to have the then-wife of the painter testify that the posterior in the painting is indeed Yerbury’s.
In January, a news crew for the Milwaukee station WDJT-TV, which was reporting a story on the danger of thin ice covering Big Muskego Lake, watched as their high-tech van’s driver mistakenly drove onto the lake and broke through the ice, ruining the expensive vehicle. And at a fancy, catered-food affair for the World Social Forum meeting at the five-star Windsor Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, in January (where participants munched between discussion sessions on, among other topics, world hunger), street kids who normally beg for food money downtown raided the facility and picked the tables clean.
ARE WE SAFE?
The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general revealed in March that, 52 teams are at work tracking down foreigners who remain in the country even after being ordered out, but the agency still has a backlog of 620,000 fugitive aliens. Of course, the inspector general also admitted that there are not enough cells to detain that many fugitives, anyway.
LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS
Two Bulgarian nationals were arrested in San Marcos, Texas, in January after being caught allegedly robbing coin-change machines at an apartment complex. Police subsequently found apartment guides for several cities in their van, along with a half-ton of quarters ($18,700). And Kevin Russell, 21, was arrested in Hobart, Ind., in February when he went to a Chase Bank and tried to cash a Bank One check for $50,000. The check was signed, “King Savior, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Servant.” MTW