Women decieved by the church awarded by jury
SALT LAKE CITY — A jury awarded $290,000 to two women who said they were deceived by a fundamentalist church whose leaders promised to produce Jesus Christ in the flesh.
The True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of the Saints of the Last Days was ordered Monday to pay $270,000 to Kaziah Hancock and more than $20,000 to Cindy Stewart for fraud, breach of contract and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
As a condition of church membership, Hancock gave 67 acres of her farm and shares of water rights to the church for redistribution among members. Stewart contributed money from her retirement plan, attorney Don Redd said.
In return, church founder Jim Harmston promised payments on other property, membership in heaven’s elite and the chance to meet Christ on earth, Redd said.
The eight-member jury threw out complaints of racketeering and unjust enrichment against the church and Harmston.
Harmston refused to comment and referred questions to his attorney, Mark Middlemas. Middlemas did not return calls Tuesday.
Harmston’s wife, Elaine, told The Salt Lake Tribune that she was disappointed with the verdict, adding: “God’s people have always been persecuted and right now is no different.”
EBENSBURG, Pa. — A man who brought laxative-laced brownies to work to get back at co-workers who were eating his bagged lunches is being sued by one of the men who ate them.
John R. Anthony Sr. is seeking unspecified damages from Raymond Jastrzab for the pain and embarrassment he suffered when he ate the brownies.
Jastrzab was fired from OMG Americas in Johnstown following the Jan. 27, 2000, incident and has been denied unemployment compensation after the Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg ruled that he was guilty of willful misconduct and “evil design.”
Jastrzab admitted to baking the brownies because co-workers had been eating his lunches, the company said.
Anthony ate the brownies only after they had been left on a table in the plant’s dining room, said his attorney, Terry Graffius. It was an unwritten rule of the plant that food left on the table was available to anyone, he said.
Jastrzab stood by and watched Anthony eat them, Graffius said.
Anthony suffered nausea, diarrhea, cramps and dehydration which required medical attention after eating the brownies.
Jastrzab has an unlisted number and could not be reached for comment.
SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Adam Zaretsky knows what it’s like to live in a fish bowl: He’s on exhibit at the zoo.
Zaretsky’s known as “Zed, species Homo sapiens,” in the “Workhorse Zoo” exhibit. His home is an 8-by-8-foot glass room he shares with albino frogs, families of mice, microscopic worms and yeast.
Zaretsky, a 33-year-old San Francisco conceptual artist, says the display is a combination of art and science. He hopes it will get people thinking about their relationships with other living things.
“I’m actually trying to blur the boundary between what is human culture and what is reality,” Zaretsky said, while stretched out on an ambulance gurney that he uses for a bed.
Julia Reodica, who was Zaretsky’s teaching assistant while he served as a visiting professor at San Francisco State University, is the zookeeper.
“As a serious researcher, I am finding Zed temperamental and unpredictable,” observed Reodica, clad in a Boy Scout uniform with long, zip-up black go-go boots. “When agitated, he throws rubbish against the windows.”
Zaretsky received a $20,000 grant to stage his weeklong exhibit.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Less than 24 hours after their home-state teams advanced to the Super Bowl, chief executives of Missouri and Massachusetts engaged in what has become a gubernatorial tradition — a little good-natured trash talking.
Acting Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift kicked off the round on Monday, warning St. Louis that her state’s New England Patriots shouldn’t be overlooked by the Rams, already 14 1/2-point favorites for Sunday’s title game in New Orleans.
“Being an underdog has suited the Patriots just fine this year,” Swift said. “The Rams are going to find out very soon that these underdogs have a very painful bite.”
Missouri Gov. Bob Holden took the high road, calling Swift an acquaintance and “very nice lady.”
“We’ll let the players on the field do the talking,” Holden said. “The Rams are gonna win.”