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    A Toronto art teacher has been arrested after allegedly sexually assaulting a seven-year-old girl who was attending an art program at a studio located in Toronto’s Junction area, police say.

    According to detectives, the incident occurred in June while the victim was a part of a 10-week arts program at 4Cats Arts, located at 1615 Dupont St.

    Her 24-year-old art teacher allegedly assaulted her during the program sessions, police said.

    The art teacher was employed at the studio in Oct. 2016 and has since been relieved of his duties, according Det. Eduardo Dizon.

    Further details surrounding the incident have not been released by police to protect the victim’s privacy.

    Police say they are concerned there may be other victims.

    Jordan Pereira is charged with one count of sexual assault, investigators said Thursday.

    He is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 24.

    Detectives are asking anyone with information regarding this incident to contact police at (416) 808-2922 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at (416) 222-TIPS (8477).

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    On the day Tatyana Hargrove rode her bike to try to buy her dad a Father’s Day gift, temperatures in Bakersfield, Calif., had reached triple digits, so she stopped on the way home to take a drink of water in the shade.

    The 19-year-old turned around at the intersection where she had paused and noticed three police cars. One of the officers, she said, had already drawn his gun.

    What followed, according to both Hargrove and police, was a case of mistaken identity and an altercation in which police punched Hargrove in the mouth, unleashed a police K-9 dog on her and arrested her. Though the incident took place June 18, it gained wider attention this week after the Bakersfield chapter of the NAACP shared a video of Hargrove’s account on its Facebook page that garnered millions of views.

    On the day police stopped Hargrove, officers had been looking for a suspect — described as a 25- to 30-year-old, bald black man standing 5-foot-10 and weighing about 170 pounds — who had threatened several people with a machete at a nearby grocery store, according to a police report.

    “She appeared to be a male and matched the description of the suspect that had brandished the machete and was also within the same complex the suspect had fled to,” Christopher Moore, the arresting officer, wrote in his report.

    But Hargrove is none of those things.

    For starters, she is female. She stands 5-foot-2 and weighs 115 pounds “soaking wet,” according to her father in a widely shared video of Hargrove’s account of the incident posted on the Facebook page for the Bakersfield chapter of the NAACP.

    In the video, Hargrove stands with a pair of crutches near the intersection where she was stopped by police and described how one of the officers demanded she give him her backpack, she said.

    When she asked if they had a warrant, one of the officers gestured toward a police K-9 behind him, she said.

    “I then got scared and then I was like, here, take the backpack, just take the backpack,” Hargrove added.

    After that, she said in the video, the officer grabbed her by her wrist, then punched her and threw her onto the ground; shortly afterward, the police K-9 “came and started eating at my leg.”

    The same officer then put his knee on her back and other knee against her head, despite her protests, she said.

    “I told him ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe’ and then I started yelling out, ‘Somebody help me, somebody help me! They’re gonna kill me!’” she said. “And then finally, he let me up, he tied my hands behind my back and then he tied my feet together and he threw me in the back of the car.”

    According to the police report, Hargrove was arrested for resisting or delaying an officer and aggravated assault on an officer. Hargrove was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of her injuries, including abrasions on her face and scrapes and punctures from the police K-9’s “engagement on her right thigh,” Moore, the arresting officer, wrote in his report.

    Moore noted that “several nurses” at the hospital referred to Hargrove as a male and that “when I corrected them and advised she was a female they were surprised and apologized for the mistake.”

    After she was treated for her injuries, Hargrove was booked into jail, the report said. She was detained for nearly 16 hours there before being bailed out by her parents, according to the NAACP.

    In the police report, Moore wrote that Hargrove had “spun into” one of the officers with her left shoulder, causing him to fall backward, and then “quickly manoeuvred her body to get back on top of him” after the officer punched her.

    “At this time I was forced to quickly consider the following; (Hargrove) matched the description of the suspect that had brandished a machete, her backpack was within her arm’s reach and the main compartment was unzipped allowing her immediate access to the machete,” Moore wrote. After weighing whether he could use his Taser or baton on Hargrove, Moore wrote that he decided to unleash the police K-9, Hamer.

    In the police report, Moore wrote that after officers placed Hargrove in a police car, she continued to scream out of the window at them for about five minutes.

    “While Hargrove was in the backseat I asked what her name was and when she provided it as ‘Tatyana’ I said, ‘Don’t lie to me, that’s a girl’s name. What is your name?’ ” the police report stated. “Hargrove said, ‘I’m a girl, I just don’t dress like one.’ This was when I first discovered she was a female.”

    A search of her backpack revealed no weapons, the report stated.

    A Bakersfield police spokesperson told The Washington Post he would not comment further on the case but confirmed that the department had determined that the officers had exercised appropriate use of force on Hargrove.

    In the video on the Bakersfield NAACP’s Facebook page, Hargrove does not say anything about fighting back at the officers.

    “I read the paper, my paperwork, though, and it said that I shoved an officer and flipped him on his back,” she said in the video, adding a look of disbelief. “There were dogs and guns drawn on me. Like, I would never do anything like that.”

    A call to the Bakersfield chapter of the NAACP was not immediately returned Wednesday. The group is organizing a “Justice for Tatyana” rally Thursday, started a petition to have Hargrove’s charges dismissed and launched a crowdfunding page to raise money for her medical bills and legal fees.

    Hargrove’s parents, who were interviewed for the video but not named, said it was extremely difficult for them to believe what happened to their daughter could be justified.

    “Every day I have to change her bandages and I see her, the injuries that she has. It’s really hard for me,” Hargrove’s mother said in the video, fighting back tears.

    “Why should my daughter be charged with a crime? All she did was stop to drink some water because it was 100-something degrees. That’s ridiculous,” Hargrove’s father said in the video. “She was coming home to celebrate Father’s Day with me. It’s not right. It’s not right.”

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    It took less than one minute for nearly half of Sears Canada’s head office employees in Toronto to be let go before they were shown the door at a meeting at the downtown Metro Convention Centre on June 22.

    Peter Myers, 59, a senior director of planning at Sears Canada, was sitting in the front row. In 2014, Myers starred in an amusing commercial with his brother, comedian Mike Myers, that has logged more than 1.8 million views on You Tube in English and in French.

    In the ad, Mike peppers his older brother with questions about rumours that Sears Canada is closing. Peter reassures Mike that that’s not happening.

    “We’re not going anywhere. You of all people should know not to believe everything you read in the papers,” Peter tells Mike.

    Three years later, Peter was in a conference room with colleagues being told by a Sears official that they were being laid off because Sears was restructuring.

    That same morning in a downtown courthouse, Sears Canada obtained temporary protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA), allowing them to close 59 stores and let go 2,900 employees without paying severance, as part of an effort to keep at least part of the chain in business.

    At the same time, at a meeting at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel on Front St., hundreds of Sears Canada employees were being told they still had jobs.

    At the convention centre, following the brief announcement by a Sears spokesperson, the company’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) representative made a few consoling remarks and pointed to the exit doors, recommending that the employees take advantage of taxi chits being offered to get them home.

    “It’s a rough day,” he said.

    The employees were not told in the meeting that they would not be getting severance. They learned that when they opened information packages they were told to pick up on their way out of the room.

    All told that morning, 500 of the 1,185 people who worked at Sears Canada’s head office in Toronto were let go.

    Later they learned that Sears Canada was also planning to seek approval from the court to stop topping up a deficit in the pension plan, of which Myers is a member, and to stop paying pension benefits, including dental and health benefits.

    In court on Thursday, Sears reversed that stance, agreeing to keep paying the deficit and the benefits until the end of September in order to avoid a legal challenge from lawyers representing employees.

    The severance issue was not resolved.

    The situation, on the heels of long fights involving employees of Nortel Networks Ltd., Stelco Inc. and Vertis Communications, has caught the attention of politicians.

    Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne told reporters at Queen's Park on Thursday that at this point, the Ministry of Economic Development is “paying very close attention to what's happening,” and that “we are very concerned when a large number of people like this are at risk of losing not only their jobs, but their future security.”

    At this point in the process, there is no real role for the province in the Sears situation, Wynne said. But as the economy transforms, she added, workers are being displaced and the government needs to do what it can to support families.

    “When I hear the (Sears) stories reported and I read about them, my first thought is for those families whose jobs are on the line,” said Wynne.

    “My hope would be that the people who have given many of the good years of their life, that they are treated well in a situation like this.”

    The provincial NDP tabled a non-binding motion in May 2016 calling for better pension protection for workers at companies going through restructuring and bankruptcy, said NDP MPP Catherine Fife on Thursday.

    It was supported by the Wynne Liberals and the Progressive Conservative party under Patrick Brown.

    “Unfortunately the premier did not act on this and we have another company giving creditors priority over the employees that built the company,” said Fife, adding that the NDP will continue to raise the issue at Queen’s Park.

    “It’s time to put employees first.”

    Myers describes himself as an extremely positive person, and he can see more than his own side to the story, pointing to the suppliers who won’t be paid as a result of the CCAA filing. He understands that letting go of three people to save seven is ultimately for the greater good, but the existing legislation seems to him one-sided.

    “I have a feeling there is something legislative that has to change, but everything they are doing is legal,” said Myers.

    In a business insolvency, employees generally have to line up behind secured creditors for severance that they would ordinarily be entitled to. Someone like Myers, who would have celebrated 36 years at the company in August, would have been eligible for about two years of payments, according to labour lawyer Jon Pinkus of Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

    “Arguably we have it wrong right now. Arguably we have an equation where the most vulnerable people are those that are protected the least,” said Pinkus.

    He said Sears Canada abruptly broke off discussions with the firm’s lawyers, who had been negotiating severance settlements on behalf of employees who had been let go before the CCAA application.

    Sears named its pension obligations as one of the reasons it sought creditor protection. The pension has a deficit of $267 million, which the company has been paying down at a rate of about $3.7 million a month, payments Sears argued in its application for CCAA it could no longer afford.

    “The funding deficit has become a significant strain on the liquidity available to conduct ongoing operations,” according to documents the company filed in court on June 22.

    As of Dec. 31, there were 16,921 members in the defined benefit component of the Sears Pension Plan — 13,121 of them retired.

    The average cost of paying pension health and dental benefits and life insurance premiums is about $1.045 million a month, according to the company.

    When Target exited Canada in 2015 after a disastrous attempt to expand outside the U.S., Target Corporation set up a $90 million (U.S.) fund to pay severance to 17,600 Canadian Target workers, to ensure that all employees received 16 weeks of termination pay.

    While Sears Canada and Sears Holdings in the U.S. are separate entities, Eddie Lampert, chief executive officer of Sears Holdings, together with his ESL companies and Fairholme Capital Management, is a majority shareholder.

    While Sears Canada is broke now, it wasn’t so long ago that it was paying millions of dollars in dividends to shareholders: $509 million in a special dividend in 2013 and $102 million in dividends in 2012. In 2005, when it was still 54 per cent owned by U.S. based parent Sears Holdings Corp., Sears Canada sold its credit card business for more than $3.4 billion in cash and debt.

    A spokesperson for Sears Canada declined to comment for this article, pointing instead to the news released filed by the company on June 22.

    “Getting the federal government to move on bankruptcy and insolvency protection for employees was nearly impossible,” said Susan Rowland, a lawyer who focused her career on pensions and benefits law, and an expert in restructuring and funding pension plans who worked with provinces and the federal government on pension issues.

    “They didn’t want to in any way impede the flow of lending to companies that wanted to go into business or carry on a business.”

    The reason for the imbalance in the system, Rowland and others say, is that if a company trying to restructure had to pay employees severance and top up the pension plan, it could prove too expensive to make a restructuring possible — no one would lend to a company with so many liabilities. Instead of restructuring and possibly continuing to operate, employing thousands directly and indirectly, the company would be forced to shut down entirely.

    Setting the bar that high could also be a deterrent to new businesses, according to experts.

    While restructuring, companies typically set aside millions of dollars to continue paying top executives, as Sears has done for 43 executives, but there is a reason for that too, said Rowland.

    “The 43 people at head office, if they quit, the business is gone, all you have left is some odds and ends of inventory. You have to keep your key people back and you have to pay them to stay and not go looking for alternate employment,” said Rowland.

    The good news for Sears Canada pensioners is that if their pension fund does come up short, they may qualify for payments under Ontario’s Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund (PBGF).

    “In the event of the wind up of the Sears pension plan, the PBGF could provide financial assistance if Sears Canada is unable to fund the wind up deficit,” according to Malon Edwards, a spokesperson for the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), which administers the Pension Benefits Act and the PBGF.

    Some pensioners are taking it in stride.

    “I think the whole goal of the company is to survive and to protect the employees it still has,” said Harold Mandel, a former vice-president of real estate, who has been retired from the company for 29 years and whose pension may be affected by the CCAA filing.

    “The company is certainly important for the good of the country.”

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    A mistake in a Toronto Leisure Swim brochure sparked controversy this week in the St. Clair West neighbourhood, as residents believed an archaic dress code rule was in effect at the women’s only swim time at Joseph J. Piccininni pool.

    “Full-sized swim suit and T-shirt must be worn,” reads a note under the pool’s women-only leisure swim time listing in the Etobicoke York District leisure brochure.

    Signs are now posted in the facility at St. Clair Ave. W. and Lansdowne Ave., saying that this information is incorrect, and brochures there have been edited by hand.

    The note became the subject of controversy in the community, when Viola Dessanti, confused about the dress code restriction, asked her neighbours about it on Facebook.

    “I am interested in going swimming and I genuinely wanted to know whether I had to wear a T-shirt or not,” she said in an interview.

    She said she didn’t expect the flurry of confusion and debate that followed. Dessanti’s post had more than 100 comments and responses as of Thursday afternoon as neighbours debated the appropriateness of the dress code.

    Some community members, like Dessanti, were simply confused by the phrasing of the restriction. Others said that the rule seemed out-of-date, and unenforceable.

    Matthew Cutler, public relations manager for the city’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation department, said that the error likely arose because a staff member referenced an old version of the brochure in creation of the new one.

    The dress code rule was a relic of a community-run program for Muslim swimmers that was at least 10 years old, he said.

    “At some point in the editing process we missed this content, which has obviously caused a great deal of confusion in the local community,” Cutler said.

    He added that there are no dress code rules in any of the women-only swim programs in the city, of which there are 10.

    An unexpected result of the controversy is that some members of the St. Clair West community began to see the dress code as a good idea, one that could encourage some people who wouldn’t otherwise use the pools to try swimming.

    Dessanti is among those who think that the city should consider bringing a similar swimming time slot back.

    “I think it’s wonderful that we have a space in Toronto that accommodates or even recognizes that option,” referring to the dress code that she believed to be in effect.

    She added that she would be happy to wear a T-shirt while swimming during that time, if there was the possibility that it could make others more comfortable to use the facilities too.

    Janine Mosley, a former lifeguard who describes herself as a “water-loving parent” and is active in the neighbourhood, said that she has observed first-hand how some women are motivated to learn to swim when a safer space is made available to them through women-only swim times.

    “I think it’s such an important thing to give all people access to learn the skills that they need to be safe,” she said, pointing out that Toronto is a city with ample open water that could pose a major risk to residents even if they do know how to swim.

    Cutler said that the city is aware of the positive impact women-only swim times can have on communities.

    “The intention is to create a space that is more welcoming, that feels safer,” he said. “I certainly haven’t seen any research or evidence that setting rules about what people have to wear at the event would make people feel any more or less safe.”

    Cutler said that if the city was brought a suggestion to implement dress codes as a way of improving its women-only swim time program, the department would consider the idea.

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    Five intelligence officers and analysts with Canada’s spy service have launched a $35-million lawsuit against their employer, claiming the Canadian Security Intelligence Service is a toxic workplace with managers who openly espouse Islamophobic, racist and homophobic views and discriminate against Muslim, Black and gay employees.

    The allegations contained in a 54-page statement of claim — filed in Federal Court and obtained by the Toronto Star — provide detailed accusations from inside one of the country’s most secretive organizations.

    One of the complainants, a Toronto intelligence officer with more than a decade of service and identified in the claim by the pseudonym “Alex,” is gay and has a Muslim partner.

    According to the statement of claim, an October 2015 email sent to him by his manager “Simon” stated: “Careful your Muslim in-laws don’t behead you in your sleep for being homo.” Another boss, given the pseudonym “Joe,” allegedly wrote: “You’re just a fag hiding in your little corner sobbing.”

    None of the allegations contained in the claim, which was filed Thursday morning, has been proven in court.

    CSIS Director David Vigneault issued a statement responding to the Star’s questions about the claim. Vigneault, who was appointed as the spy agency’s director last month, said CSIS “takes any allegations of inappropriate behaviour very seriously.”

    “I would like to reinforce that, as an organization, CSIS does not tolerate harassment, discrimination or bullying under any circumstances. The Service’s values and ethics must be reflected in all of our behaviours and decision-making, and reflect the CSIS Employee Code of Conduct principles of respect for democracy, respect for people, integrity, stewardship, and professional excellence.”

    He also wrote that employees are encouraged to report “real, potential or perceived incidents of harassment, without fear of reprisal, to their supervisor or senior management.”

    Toronto lawyer John Phillips, who is representing the five employees, said in an email to the Star, “I am not in a position to provide a comment at this time.”

    The lawsuit follows three scathing reports on RCMP harassment, including the May federal auditor general report on the police force’s failure to manage the mental health needs of its employees.

    While CSIS has come under scrutiny for past intelligence operations, this lawsuit is a rare public airing of internal complaints for an organization that was recognized as one of Canada’s top 100 employers for 2017.

    Among the criteria cited by Mediacorp Canada Inc., which manages the competition, is the spy agency’s attempt to “help employees find a balance between work and their personal lives.” CSIS was given a B+ for “work atmosphere and communications,” and commended for “summer golf and softball tournaments, winter hockey tournament (with time off for players and fans) to raise money for the United Way, annual spy BBQ, summer parties across the organization, long service awards celebrations and a special Christmas party for employees’ children.”

    The five intelligence officers and analysts are identified by pseudonyms the claim states, “because they have been warned by their employer, CSIS, that they are forbidden from publicly identifying themselves, or any colleagues.” The Star does not know the identity of the complainants, nor have they been interviewed.

    Under Canada’s Security of Information Act identifying a spy can be considered an offence. All of the complainants are CSIS employees but are on medical leave due to stress and other mental and physical conditions that they claim were caused by the alleged abuse.

    Managers mentioned in the claim are also identified by fake names.

    In addition to Alex, the CSIS employees making the allegations are a Muslim analyst with more than 20 years at the agency who alleges he was told he should “complain to Allah;” a multilingual Muslim analyst who was allegedly called a “sand monkey” by his boss; a female intelligence officer, also Muslim and multilingual, who claims she faced constant suspicion after deciding to wear a hijab in 2004; and the service’s first female Black intelligence officer who claims she was told, “it’s people like you the Service likes to promote.”

    All five allege in the claim when they tried to report the abuse, their circumstances got worse and their complaints resulted in no action.

    “Bahira,” who says she was discriminated against as a Muslim woman, alleges, “CSIS has a culture of secrecy which does not accept whistle-blowing or complaints, regardless of the underlying harm.”

    A ‘gay boy who wanted to take gay selfies with VIPs’

    Alex, described in the claim as a highly decorated employee who was in an elite management program, alleges that in addition to being called a “fag” or “gay boy,” a manager reportedly joked to the service’s Toronto office during a 2014 Town Hall meeting that Alex “(took) it from behind.”

    According to the statement of claim, one email concerning Alex states: “OT for the homo is approved.”

    “Simon,” the manager who allegedly wrote some of the most offensive emails, often teased Alex about “getting fat,” and allegedly posted an unflattering photo of him in a staff elevator. When a colleague removed it and complained to her director, she was allegedly told to “mind her own business.”

    Alex also allegedly clashed with Simon when he tried to get information about an ongoing operation during a mid-afternoon Christmas party he did not attend. His attempts to reach Simon and others at the Toronto office — calls, texts and emails — were ignored, Alex claims.

    The following day, Alex alleges Simon confronted him about being friends with someone who was a terrorist. (They were connected on Facebook). The claim states the accusation was “unfounded and maliciously motivated” and when Alex mentioned that the individual in question was gay, Simon went on a tirade about “gay men always having their shirts off.”

    “Alex then used the meeting to complain that Simon had let down the team the day before by refusing to take a call on an operational matter during a party. Simon responded that Alex was just a ‘gay boy who wanted to take gay selfies with VIPs.’”

    According to the statement of claim, Alex left the meeting in tears.

    ‘All Muslims are terrorists’

    Bahira is described as an intelligence officer with more than a decade of experience. In 2004, she decided to wear a hijab, which she alleges caused “an uproar, and a stirring of suspicion so intense that it exists today.”

    She alleges her managers, “William” and “Charles,” told her to report all activities connected with the Muslim community.

    “She reported attending the mosque biweekly, and making donations randomly. Bahira was told that her security clearance could be revoked for associating with organizations or individuals in the Muslim community who could be perceived as antithetical to CSIS.”

    During a foreign posting with the service’s counterterrorism unit Bahira claims that she was treated differently due to her faith. “She was embarrassingly underworked relative to her colleagues, who were overburdened. When this circumstance became a matter of contention in her group, Bahira went to her supervisor who admitted to Bahira that he had been instructed not to give her access to any source files due to her involvement with a Muslim organization,” the claim states.

    When she complained, she alleges that rather than deal with the issue a director general asked her if she was frustrated being a second-generation Canadian Muslim. “With tears in her eyes, Bahira listened to the Director General explain that he perceived security threats emanating from second and third generation Canadian Muslims — clearly referring to her — despite the fact that she was a CSIS Intelligence Officer and subject to the same rigorous security clearances as non-Muslim officers.”

    Bahira claims she remained dedicated to CSIS, but “the loyalty was not returned,” and that she eventually became withdrawn and “began having her lunch in her office and crying in the stairwell.”

    By contrast, when Bahira was seconded to help an ally’s intelligence service she was praised for her communication skills and knowledge of Islamic and Arabic culture, according to the statement of claim. She alleges Anne McLellan, one of Canada’s former deputy prime ministers, also received thanks from the foreign government for Bahira’s service. “However, Bahira’s work was not even acknowledged by CSIS,” the statement claims.

    Ignorant and discriminating behaviour among managers was not contained to one region, according to the claim. Bahira moved to a different unit and was allegedly goaded by one manager with comments such as, “Muslim women are inferior.” The same boss allegedly “went on at length about how then-President Barack Obama was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

    “Cemal,” an analyst who has worked for CSIS for more than 20 years, is also Muslim. He claims: “The culture of CSIS is hostile to Muslims, and this is more than just an unfriendly work environment — it is deeply ingrained prejudice of distrust for Muslims which has meant that Muslims are used and managed as needed, but are not part of the team.”

    Cemal alleges a poster of the Twin Towers burning on Sept. 11, 2001, with the words “Ninety-Nine Names of Allah” once hung in the Toronto office.

    In the claim, Cemal says Alex told him that senior managers would call Cemal “Muslim Brotherhood,” “Sheikh” or “Imam,” when referring to him at social events or “drinking sessions.”

    “Through participation in these group sessions, Alex learned that anti-Muslim sentiment was pervasive within the group. There existed a deep-seated distrust and contempt for all Muslims, which manifested in conversations ranging from terrorism to human resources,” the statement of claim alleges.

    Alex’s Muslim partner accompanied him to one social event where his boss Simon allegedly declared, “all Muslims are terrorists.” Alex’s partner left the room, uncomfortable, after which Simon reportedly yelled, “All Muslims are terrorists.”

    The complainant called “Emran” in the statement of claim is a Canadian citizen who has worked as an analyst for CSIS for more than 10 years. He is fluent in five languages and worked in Canada except for a two-year international posting.

    During a training session for that overseas assignment, Emran claims a colleague would single him out as being Muslim, making comments such as “Muslims and armed weapons are a bad mix.”

    “The attacks were relentless, and clearly made some participants in the group uncomfortable, but nobody spoke out, including the trainers,” the claim states.

    ‘It’s people like you the Service likes to promote’

    Emran worked abroad for two years, but says the abuse followed. He alleges his boss “Jeff” had a problem with Arabs.

    “I want you to take care of the liaison with the ‘Sand Monkeys’ because you are one of theirs and you speak their language,” Jeff allegedly told Emran.

    When he returned to Canada in 2013, Emran says he faced a smear campaign where he was called “a sexual deviant” and “dangerous.” He alleges another rumour circulated that he was “being sought by the Arabs and they were out to get him.”

    “The threats and rumour-mongering were part of the craft of manipulation and deceit that was stock and trade of CSIS agents, and Emran recognized these techniques being used against him, to undermine his mental well-being and career.”

    In its most recent public report, CSIS, with more than 3,000 employees, is described as a “unique workplace” that is “flexible and innovative.” As of March 31, 2016, 52 per cent of the workforce was male and 15 per cent were visible minorities. Although 69 per cent spoke both French and English, only 18 per cent were fluent in another language. Those employees spoke more than 105 languages, the report states.

    In 2014, the Canadian Human Rights Commission conducted an “employment equity audit report” of CSIS. The internal report concluded that visible minorities were under-represented in management and “faced barriers to advancement.”

    Dina, who joined the service in 2001, seemed to be the exception. She was the first female black intelligence officer at CSIS, according to the claim, and rose through the ranks, becoming a “level 9 Supervisor.”

    Yet Dina claims she was often made to feel as a “token black woman (who) was promoted without merit.”

    Fed up by the discrimination, which she claims was tolerated by management, she decided in 2016 to bring a harassment complaint against one colleague directly to the Staff Relations chief, the director general and her boss, Simon.

    She claims she was given a runaround — told by Staff Relations that Simon had decided to personally investigate. A few weeks later, the director general told her that the complaint was “unfounded.” He assured her that Staff Relations had properly investigated, after she had been told they weren’t. The claim alleges she then went to her boss Simon, who told her “he wasn’t involved.”

    ‘The public would be shocked about this if they only knew’

    All five complainants allege they raised objections and made claims of harassment — formally and informally — to managers and representatives of CSIS’s employee association over the years but say “management was simply indifferent.”

    Often colleagues or managers told them to just tolerate the alleged abuse.

    “We do what’s asked of us and keep our heads down and don’t cause trouble,” wrote one colleague, according to the claim. Another email to Alex stated that if he complained, “there will be no turning back.”

    Alex claims he was “overwhelmed by a sense of betrayal,” and by 2016 could no longer stay quiet.

    Two months after he formally complained in April 2016, according to the claim, several colleagues wrote a joint email supporting him, saying the managers often yelled at him for speaking out. “None of these things are professional and this is not how (we) expect managers to act,” the email stated, adding that they can attest Alex “is NOT making any of this up.”

    Last summer, a “third-party” investigation was conducted into Alex’s allegations, and according to the statement of claim, concluded that CSIS had an “old boy’s club” culture and there is a general fear of managers’ “reprisal, retribution and punishment,” while complaints made against management are often “dismissed and disregarded.”

    “The workplace atmosphere is ‘work-hard, play-hard,’ with regular consumption of alcohol in the office and politically incorrect, off-colour jokes and teasing. It is a loose, locker-room type of environment.”

    According to the claim, one witness reportedly commented to the third-party investigator: “The public would be shocked about this if they only knew; we keep our own secrets.”

    Alex threatened legal action, at which point he was issued a letter acknowledging that he had been harassed. But the letter “failed to propose any redress or even offer an apology,” the claim states.

    Instead, Alex said the situation got worse. He was told to stop coming to weekly management meetings. “Alex was punished,” the claim states, “for exposing management to the scrutiny of an outsider — scrutiny that had never been imposed on this enclave of privileged individuals who considered themselves above the law.”

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    WASHINGTON—The defences keep changing. The goalposts keep moving. And the saga of Donald Trump and Russian election interference keeps getting both more ridiculous and more serious.

    This week’s sensational episode is a rare combination of cloak-and-dagger and Beavis and Butthead. The president’s clueless eldest son, a clueless British publicist and a Russian pop singer come together for a series of astoundingly indiscreet conversations in which the son declares, in writing, “I love it” when he’s offered incriminating information on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government . . . .

    Laugh-out-loud farcical ineptitude. And yet the Watergate scandal also began with bumbling peripheral players caught red-handed. Junior’s errors make it seem more likely that the investigations into this scandal might discover something as damning as the probes into that one did.

    Special counsel Robert Mueller, the former FBI director, has assembled a dream team of investigators with expertise in a wide range of wrongdoing, from money laundering to campaign finance violations. Until the New York Times began publishing its Donald Jr. scoops on Saturday, it was fashionable in Washington to speculate that Mueller would manage to find transgressions of some kind, just not collusion, itself.

    The focus is squarely back on collusion.

    There’s a lot we still don’t know. We do know, now, that the president’s eldest son was eager to accept covert Russian help — and that two of Trump’s other closest advisors were prepared to meet with someone who promised such help.

    If Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign chairman Paul Manafort were willing to take that bait, in what other ways were they willing to deal with the Russians?

    If Donald Trump Jr. was so unsurprised by the publicist’s assertion that Russia was making an effort to “support” Trump, what previous conversations had the campaign held with the Russians?

    And, now, as in 1973, the main question becomes: what did the president know and when did he know it?

    The timeline sure is curious.

    On June 7, Donald Trump Jr. set up the meeting for two days later. On that very same Wednesday, the senior Trump promised a bombshell speech, probably for the following Monday, about “all of the things have taken place with the Clintons.”

    The speech never happened: a terrorist attacked Pulse nightclub the day before, and Trump spoke about that. But he had sounded like a man who thought he was about to come into possession of some dirt.

    In a Wednesday interview with Reuters, Trump denied knowing that his son had held the meeting until a “couple of days ago.”

    But speaking to reporters later that day on Air Force One, he cracked open the door a little bit: “Maybe it was mentioned at some point,” he said, but he didn’t know about the offer of Clinton information.

    On this story, from these people, even the most categorical denials are no longer credible.

    Time and again, “never happened” has morphed into “it happened, but not that way” to “it happened that way, fine, but there’s nothing wrong with it.”

    And so, this week, the president’s declarative cries of “fake news” and “total hoax” have been replaced by defensive claims that such meetings are “very standard.”

    It does not currently appear as if most Republicans care about the continued unravelling. Members of Congress brushed off questions. The Fox News cheering section tiptoed as artfully as ever to stay in step with dear leader. Trump voters delivered their usual standing-by-their-man indifference to local newspapers.

    But Watergate also failed to budge Republicans for a time, and then a presidency vanished. Trump may serve eight years, for all we know now. More than ever, however, it seems that there is more to come.

    As if trying to prove that the story could get sillier, senior Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway went on Fox Wednesday and held up pieces of paper on which she crossed out the word “collusion” and pointed to the words “illusion” and “delusion.”

    “What’s the conclusion? Collusion? No. We don’t have that yet.”

    Conway was smiling.

    But after the preceding four days, the “yet” sounded ominous.

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    Until his life was on the line, Edward Sapiano believed he was invincible. Now, he knows it.

    “I like to joke, and a joke has a grain of truth, I am the next step in human evolution,” says the 54-year-old Toronto criminal defence lawyer.

    “When I’m in court, my adversaries are merely biological. I am superior.”

    For Sapiano, a two-year comeback in the making is complete.

    He’s busy rattling off his greatest hits — from the Toronto 18 terrorism trial to his courtroom showdown more than a decade ago with a Superior Court judge he argued was biased against all defendants — when Sapiano realizes he missed his exit on Highway 401 about half an hour ago.

    It’s been just over a week since finishing his work on the first-degree murder trial of Michael Davani and former NCAA basketball player Alwayne Bigby.

    Sapiano is heading to Gores Landing, Ont., normally a 1.5-hour drive east of the city, where he owns a farm and forest on his 51-hectare property.

    While Bigby was acquitted, a jury found Sapiano’s client Davani guilty of first-degree murder in the 2014 fatal shooting of Andrea White. The seven-week trial was Sapiano’s first while on 24-hour dialysis, after a break from his law practice caused by kidney failure.

    The sight of Sapiano in a courtroom may not thrill judges and cops — he says he’s made a career of “taking on power” — but no one is happier to see him than his two goats, Beatrice and Princess, as he arrives at his farm.

    “They’re very playful. They’re like children,” says Sapiano as he feeds his goats bits of Tostitos chips. “I go for walks, I can take them out of here and they’ll follow me.”

    For two years, the goats, as well as Sapiano’s eight chickens, were his main companions.

    After the diagnosis forced him off the Jennifer Pan murder trial in August 2014, Sapiano says he went through “a wonderful, hellish experience.”

    “I had to redefine myself. I had created Edward Sapiano and then suddenly I’m taken out for two years,” he says. “I think everybody should endure extreme bodily dysfunction and pain for a period of time because it teaches you so much.”

    With a beard stretching down to his chest and his robes traded for jeans, he was sitting at a bus stop along Queen St. one day when he began to violently vomit.

    “I look up. There’s a whole class of kids, about eight years old, being led by their teacher, looking at me,” he says. “There’s a homeless guy on the other side of the street looking at me curiously and I realize from the perspective of children and other people, there’s no difference between me and that homeless guy who’s been making bad decision his whole life long.”

    Having already owned his farm for a year, this seemed like the perfect time to escape.

    “I felt uncomfortable being in Toronto for that period because people would look at me and think that I drank too much, whereas my goats didn’t mind,” says Sapiano.

    Sequestered on his farm with endless free time, he took on project after project. He learned to weld, built a workshop for his tools, took up beekeeping and made honey.

    Just as he’s learned to charm juries with his energetic deliveries, Sapiano says he’s also warmed himself to nature.

    “I have a working relationship with a family of ravens,” he says, at first seemingly in jest before it becomes apparent he is serious. “I leave them chicken eggs and in return they keep the hawks away from my property, thereby protecting the chickens. It’s a symbiotic relationship.”

    He says he’s always had an affinity for the outdoors, having owned another 80-hectare forest near Peterborough for decades. As he motors through the forest on one of his ATVs, Sapiano breathes in the air, a smell he says you just can’t get in the city.

    “I used to laugh at myself these last two years because my bodily dysfunction, the pain and enduring all this, it was like a Greek tragedy,” he says. “Me lying on my forest floor violently shaking and vomiting, with my goats staring at me. And it’s a beautiful place to be, especially if you’re violently vomiting.”

    Now that he’s back in the courtroom, Sapiano still commutes to the farm most weekends from his downtown loft and plans to stay all summer preparing for his next murder trial which is set to begin in September.

    Doctors have given him two dialysis machines, one for each location, that rest on a countertop next to his bed. Every evening at 9 p.m., Sapiano slips on a face mask and plugs a small hose from the machine, roughly the size of a printer, into a hole in his abdomen, which pumps 10 litres of dialysis through him during the night.

    It leaves two litres of dialysis inside him when he wakes up at 6 a.m. and by around noon, he’ll use a manual system, which he takes with him on the go, to drain the liquid and pump a fresh batch into his body.

    This ritual is what keeps Sapiano alive until he potentially receives a kidney transplant. He’s on a waiting list to receive one from a deceased donor, but has turned down offers from friends and family because he doesn’t want to feel indebted to them for the rest of his life.

    Sapiano’s dialysis routine allowed him to return to the courtroom this past spring pain-free.

    “When everyone else is going to lunch, I go to a room in the courthouse . . . and I plug into this apparatus,” says Sapiano.

    David Wilson, his co-counsel representing Davani, said he figured he’d see a change in Sapiano since the last time the two teamed up for a murder trial in 2011.

    Wilson recalled Sapiano’s dogged work ethic and high-octane energy back then, but he wasn’t sure he’d see it this go-round. He said he was expecting Sapiano to need breaks mid-trial or at least a reduced workload.

    “But that really wasn’t the case. He was basically his normal self,” Wilson said. “That’s really who he is and how he practises. That’s generally the way he presents to juries, is as this larger than life advocate, almost like some character you’d see on television. But he’s a real lawyer. It’s not just theatre.”

    Wilson said he became concerned once early on in the trial as Sapiano cross-examined a witness. He had begun sweating and his stomach was bothering him, to the point Sapiano requested permission from the judge to sit down as he finished his questioning.

    But aside from that brief spell lasting about five minutes, Sapiano says his special circumstances were kept hidden during the trial.

    “At court it’s very important to me that this is an invisible handicap,” he says. “At no time did I tell the judge I need another hour, at no time was the court schedule affected by my handicap. At no time did the jury become aware that I’ve got this issue. I don’t want it costing the court any time.”

    Despite his client’s conviction, a verdict he called “predictable,” Sapiano says he feels the jury got it right in the murder trial, which he says was “unwinnable.”

    “It was a disappointing trial for my great return,” he admits. “I would’ve liked to have come back to a trial where I could feel self-righteous.”

    But he views the case as a learning experience, and because of this, a positive experience.

    “Life had been too easy for me,” says Sapiano. “There’s no such thing as a bad experience so long as you survive it.”

    He says his future in the legal profession depends on two factors: his health and his enjoyment. He says he could see himself practising for another decade, but wouldn’t turn down a murder trial 10 years from now if he’s still enthusiastic enough to take it on.

    While he takes his health more seriously now — he hadn’t been to a doctor in a decade before his kidney failure — he also vows he won’t interrupt a trial to receive a kidney transplant should that time come.

    But as unbelievable as it sounds, today, Sapiano says he’s grateful for his kidney failure.

    “You could stick a knife in my chest and as long as I survive it, it’s a wonderful experience because I survived it,” he says. “Every day above ground is a damn good day.”

    0 0

    A neurosurgeon who owns a Hamilton pain clinic was disciplined in Minnesota for “unprofessional and unethical conduct” that allegedly led to the death of one patient, left another a quadriplegic, and resulted in fractured vertebrae for a third patient.

    Dr. Stefan Joseph Konasiewicz practises at Universal Interventional Pain Clinic at 554 Main St. E. as well as at clinics he owns in Richmond Hill, Newmarket and Toronto.

    The 54-year-old Canadian was reprimanded by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice on Sept. 11, 2010, and the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board on June 15, 2011.

    His licence was limited for two years after Minnesota’s complaint review committee determined his practices in treating four patients “as inappropriate in such a way as to require Board action.”

    He also had conditions temporarily placed on his licence by the Texas Medical Board on Feb. 8, 2013.

    A number of malpractice suits were filed in Texas and Minnesota — some were dismissed, others closed and some are pending.

    An investigation to determine if “Dr. Konasiewicz is incompetent or reckless” was requested in 2008 by deputy medical examiner of St. Louis County at the time, Dr. Donald Kundel, in a letter to the Minnesota board published in the Duluth News Tribune.

    Kundel could not be interviewed because he died in 2012, but two former colleagues are speaking out about Konasiewicz.

    “He was a nightmare,” said Dr. David McKee, a neurologist at Northland Neurology and Myology, Pa., in Duluth, Minn. “If I hear that he’s practising I think, ‘Oh, my God, who is hurting now?’ ”

    McKee refers patients to neurosurgeons in Duluth where Konasiewicz practised at St. Luke’s Health Care System from 1997 to 2008.

    He says the first patient he referred to Konasiewicz died despite the biopsy required being “incredibly simple” and “super low risk.”

    Konasiewicz did not comment when The Spectator called both his Hamilton clinic and the main Toronto office of his business, Dr. Stefan Konasiewicz Medicine Professional Corporation.

    An Ontario patient searching Konasiewicz through official regulatory bodies would not know of his past in the United States.

    “How can that be allowed to happen?” asks Dr. William Himango, a retired Duluth neurosurgeon who used to work with Konasiewicz at St. Luke’s. “I’m appalled . . . . Why is he still practicing?”

    Konasiewicz trained at Queen’s University and the University of Toronto, winning awards as a neurosurgical resident.

    He is certified in neurosurgery by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada since August 28, 1996, and the American Board of Neurological Surgery since at least 2000.

    His profile with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) shows no practice restrictions, no notices and no past findings of the discipline or fitness to practise committee.

    He appears on the Hamilton Academy of Medicine’s “Find a Doctor” website for patients because he is in good standing with the CPSO.

    “You just trust they’re not going to send you to a person with a bad reputation,” said Brantford patient Andrea Lerner.

    She was referred by her family doctor to the Universal Interventional Pain Clinic in Hamilton which was given a pass with conditions as an out-of-hospital premises by CPSO on April 22, 2016.

    CPSO has oversight over clinics that use certain types of anesthesia or provide interventional pain management such as injections or an X-ray guided procedure called Rhizotomy.

    The fourth case examined by the Minnesota board involved alleged nerve root injury following Rhizotomy injections. It is not clear which procedures are currently being done at the clinics Konasiewicz owns.

    The Hamilton clinic was not yet open when it was inspected so the pass was conditional on the assessment team returning within six months of it becoming operational to observe procedures and review record-keeping documentation. No second inspection is yet listed on the CPSO website.

    Another clinic with the same name owned by Konasiewicz at 491 Lawrence Ave. W. in Toronto received a pass with conditions on Sept. 5, 2014, and an unconditional pass on June 23, 2015.

    “All new premises must undergo an inspection before they are permitted to open,” CPSO says in a statement. “Thereafter, premises are inspected every five years to ensure a safe environment and that the physicians performing procedures in the premises are qualified.”

    Lerner said she became suspicious when the Hamilton clinic had no waiting list after she’d been told it would likely take months to get an appointment. She says the clinic also refused to tell her the doctor’s last name.

    “I went to Google,” she said. “The more research I did, the scarier it got. As a patient, I was in shock.”

    She cancelled the appointment and was referred to another Hamilton pain clinic.

    “People have to do their research because they don’t know what they’re getting,” she said.

    If the discipline in the United States had happened today, it would be listed on his CPSO profile. But that rule only came into place as of Sept. 1, 2015.

    “Matters that occurred prior to Sept. 1, 2015, are not available on the public register,” CPSO said in the statement.

    The profile also doesn’t include Minnesota in the section requiring Ontario doctors to list other jurisdictions where they are registered to practice because Konasiewicz no longer has an active licence there.

    It expired March 31, 2009, while he was already working in Texas. He practised at the South Texas Brain and Spine Center in Corpus Christi from around 2008 to the fall of 2011.

    The centre said it was unable to comment about Konasiewicz because no one currently practicing there worked with him.

    St. Luke’s Health Care System also declined comment. A letter to the community dated Aug. 4, 2011, stated: “The law prohibits St. Luke’s from saying what, if any, peer review occurred concerning Dr. Konasiewicz.”

    Konasiewicz was reprimanded by the Minnesota Board in 2010 — 18 months after his licence expired.

    He was ordered to obtain a supervising physician specializing in neurological surgery and approved by the complaint review committee. That doctor was to observe at least five surgeries every three months for at least two years and submit quarterly reports to the board.

    Konasiewicz himself was to meet with a designated board member every three months.

    Months later, Wisconsin’s board also concluded Konasiewicz “committed unprofessional conduct” based on the same four cases as Minnesota and made his licence conditional on him complying with the Minnesota order.

    After two years, Konasiewicz petitioned the Minnesota board to take the conditions off his cancelled and inactive licence.

    The complaint review committee concluded he’d met the terms of the order and removed the conditions on Nov. 10, 2012. It does not state how he met the conditions.

    He made a similar request to the board in Wisconsin and had the conditions removed in January 2013. His licence remains active there.

    A month later, the Texas board examined two cases. An informal show compliance proceeding and settlement conference concluded he met the standard of care. It also found no evidence he falsified medical records or intended to deceive the board by answering, “No” on a renewal application to a question about whether his licence was ever limited.

    However, he was still ordered to enrol in 16 hours of continuing medical education — eight hours on medical record-keeping and eight hours on risk management.

    He completed the requirements by April 16, 2013, and his licence has had no conditions in Texas ever since.

    He created his Ontario corporation in April, 2014. He lists no hospital privileges on his CPSO profile.

    The Ministry of Health referred questions about regulation to CPSO.

    The statement by the regulatory body says it is common for neurosurgeons to provide pain management in private clinics, but first they “need to provide evidence of training and education in pain management.”

    Doctors are also required to report to CPSO that they have been disciplined by another licensing authority.

    “Generally speaking, when the CPSO receives information concerning an issue in another jurisdiction, we will monitor and/or investigate the matters,” says the statement. “There are a number possible outcomes to such an investigation including requesting or accepting the doctor’s undertaking to improve practice or to restrict practice.”

    CPSO can’t speak about individual doctors so it’s unknown whether the regulatory body knew about the reprimands or did any investigating of its own.

    It distresses Barbara Carlyon to think Ontario patients have to do their own digging to get what she considers crucial information about Konasiewicz.

    She says her 75-year-old sister Wanda McCarty died days after he performed surgery on her in Texas.

    “At that time, we didn’t know him from Adam,” she says. “We just understood that he was the doctor on duty.”

    She says if they’d known about the issues in Minnesota, “We would have consulted another doctor. We wouldn’t have used him.”

    She said she still feels “sick” about what they didn’t know.

    “Any time I’d be down or upset about something, all I’d have to do is call my sister Wanda and she’d have me laughing in five minutes,” said McCarthy. “I hope he never comes back this way. I wish he couldn’t even operate anymore.”

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    A Toronto art teacher has been arrested after allegedly sexually assaulting a seven-year-old girl who was attending an art program at a studio located in Toronto’s Junction area, police say.

    According to detectives, the incident occurred in June while the victim was a part of a 10-week arts program at 4Cats Arts, located at 1615 Dupont St.

    Her 24-year-old art teacher allegedly assaulted her during the program sessions, police said.

    The art teacher was employed at the studio in Oct. 2016 and has since been relieved of his duties, according Det. Eduardo Dizon.

    Further details surrounding the incident have not been released by police to protect the victim’s privacy.

    Police say they are concerned there may be other victims.

    Jordan Pereira is charged with one count of sexual assault, investigators said Thursday.

    He is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 24.

    Detectives are asking anyone with information regarding this incident to contact police at (416) 808-2922 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at (416) 222-TIPS (8477).

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    Ontario Lottery and Gaming says it is reducing service at OLG Slots at Woodbine Racetrack after being unable to reach a contract settlement with workers represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

    The union had said 400 workers at the facility in northwest Toronto were set to be locked out as of 12:01 a.m. if there was no contract by then.

    PSAC said a tentative agreement had been reached on July 5, but the workers voted to reject it, and that the OLG had warned of a lockout if no agreement was reached by the deadline.

    The union says its bargaining team sent a revised offer to the OLG on Wednesday but it was rejected.

    PSAC says more than 60 per cent of the workers are part-time but many work full-time hours and are refused full-time employment.

    OLG says as a result of the labour dispute, the electronic poker room at Woodbine will be closed and an on-site courtesy shuttle will be unavailable.

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    Environment Canada described the rain that accompanied last night’s thunderstorm as “light,” however, the flooding in the Beach neighbourhood was anything but that.

    A storm that swept through the area around 1 a.m. left multiple cars partially submerged, with water reaching halfway up their wheels. Photos of the scene from Hubbard Blvd. and Glen Manor Dr. show the water pooling in a low section of the street where several cars were parked.

    Flooding was also reported on the westbound lanes of Highway 401 around the same time, and two lanes were blocked for several hours.

    The Environment Canada forecast for the next few days calls for more rain, which could lead to additional flooding.

    Friday is expected to have warmer temperatures than the past couple of days, with a high of 23 C, but there’s also 40 per cent chance of showers and a risk of a thunderstorm.

    Saturday will bring a welcome respite from the gloom, Environment Canada says, with sunny skies and a high of 28 C. Sunday and Monday are expected to be cloudy days, with 60 and 40 per cent chances of rain respectively.

    0 0

    After weeks of waiting for confirmation from the mother of pop herself, Beyoncé has officially introduced the world to her newborn twins with an internet-breaking Instagram post.

    The picture was posted exactly one month after the twins’birth and the caption revealed their names to be Sir Carter and Rumi.

    Although many rumours about the names of Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s offspring had surfaced on social media before this announcement, these monikers won’t come as a surprise to eagle-eyed fans who noticed a company associated with many Beyoncé trademarks had trademarked the names Sir Carter and Rumi Carter in late June. That makes the babies’ names legally off limits on everything from fragrances to leather picture frames to baby teething rings.

    Beyoncé’s Instagram announcement about the twins follows the same esthetic as her pregnancy announcement in February: florals and flowing fabrics.

    “We are incredibly grateful that our family will be growing by two,” she said in that caption.

    Posted to her 104 million subscribers, the pregnancy shoot garnered 11 million likes. The twins’ introduction into the world has earned 4.7 million since in the five hours since the picture was posted.

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    The aftermath of a fatal split-second decision behind the wheel erupted in a bizarre altercation Thursday, between the grieving family of a dead man and the driver who says he ran him down to save another life.

    Anthony James Kiss has been charged with manslaughter in the death of Dario Humberto Romero, who was struck and killed in the early hours of June 7 in west-end Toronto.

    Kiss said Romero was chasing a woman on to the street with a knife, and that he drove into him to stop the attack.

    Romero’s family confronted Kiss in the hallway prior to his court appearance Thursday, with Romero’s girlfriend Cecilia Tofalo telling him that her husband had a 12-year-old son.

    “You left him without a father!” Tofalo yelled at Kiss.

    “You killed an innocent person!” screamed a friend of Romero’s.

    “He was about to kill someone!” Kiss shouted back.

    Kiss, who has been out on bail and was accompanied by his mother Carole, was escorted out of the courthouse by police after they broke up the argument.

    “Of course we’re going to have an emotional outburst,” one of Romero’s sisters said after the verbal confrontation.

    “My nephew is fatherless, we lost another sibling,” said Romero’s sister Paola, referring to a 1999 house fire that killed their sister Daniella. “We don’t know why (Kiss) did what he did.”

    The case was put over until Aug. 3. Kiss, 31, also faces charges of impaired operation of a motor vehicle causing death, over 80 mgs operation of a motor vehicle causing death, and failure to stop at scene of accident causing death.

    “I had to make a quick decision to use my vehicle to stop him,” Kiss told the Star last month in a phone interview. “I didn’t want death, that’s why I was trying to do this, do what I did, to prevent death.”

    Kiss was sitting in his car at a red light near Black Creek Dr. and Eglinton Ave. with his girlfriend, when he said he saw a man standing at a nearby bus stop pull a knife on a woman.

    “I look back at the light, it’s still red, I look back at them, and by then the male had pulled a knife and went for the woman like three or four times, stabbed at her,” Kiss said.

    Kiss, a father of four and Wasaga Beach resident, attributes his actions that night to his training as a security guard.

    “I’m observant, I look around, that’s how I am,” he said. “And I looked at him again then this guy just pulled out a knife, man, and just went right at her.”

    He says he hasn’t talked to the woman and doesn’t know if she knew the man or what may have sparked the alleged attack.

    “She was off to the side minding her own business with her arms crossed, just waiting for the bus,” he said.

    His girlfriend, Michelle Adams, corroborated his account in a separate interview with the Star.

    “I hear Anthony screaming like, ‘oh my God he’s stabbing her, he’s going to kill her,’ ” Adams said. “I looked over again and I realized that he was making stabbing motions towards her.”

    The woman then began to run across the street, both said. They could hear her screaming for help with the man trailing her, he said.

    “Anthony’s still freaking out in the car at that moment and then all of a sudden the car just went flying towards him,” Adams said. “So he went towards the man and obviously hit him. The woman had made it to the median in between the two lanes.”

    Romero, 37, died from the impact at the scene.

    “He was a good guy, very family oriented . . . He would give you the last dollar in his pocket if he needed it,” said his brother-in-law, who did not want to be identified due to the nature of his job with children.

    “He was a father. He was a brother. He was an uncle,” said the brother-in-law. “He was an embedded individual in our family.”

    The brother-in-law said that Romero suffered with mental illness, and was diagnosed with extreme paranoia, triggered from the trauma of losing his sister in the house fire in 1999.

    Toronto police Det. Susan Gomes, the investigating officer on the case, has said she could not comment because the case is an “active investigation and further is currently before the courts.” A police news report issued at the time of the incident said a 59-year-old woman at the scene suffered injuries unrelated to the collision.

    When reached by the Star, the woman said, “I cannot talk to you, I’m sorry.”

    Kiss said he left the scene because he was panicking.

    “I was straight shocked, I couldn’t believe what had just happened in front of my eyes,” Kiss said. “It was insane, I just witnessed some male pull out a knife and try to kill a woman right in front of me.”

    He said police stopped them shortly after on the highway as they were heading towards Barrie.

    Kiss said he and his girlfriend were coming from a CKY concert and had hung out with the metal band in their tour bus afterwards.

    He said he blew just above the legal limit.

    “I wasn’t intoxicated; I had a few beers within eight hours that was it,” Kiss told the Star in an earlier interview on Facebook.

    Kiss said he has had trouble sleeping, and that he has been crying constantly ever since the collision. He said he is now working with a mental health professional.

    His girlfriend said some people don’t understand Kiss’s decision.

    “There are a lot of people who are sending him messages saying that he was wrong and stuff,” Adams said. “But, I mean, who’s to say what they would have done, everyone would say ‘would have, could have’ until they’re in that position, right?”

    Adams expressed sympathy for Romero’s family.

    “I’m hurting for his family because they lost someone too,” she said. “I want the family of the man who know that nobody meant to kill him, never meant for his life to end.

    “I just hope that they know why it happened. And that they don’t just blame Anthony for attacking him for no reason or something.”

    A GoFundMe page was launched by a friend of Kiss last month with a goal of $30,000 to help fund Kiss’s legal and trauma counselling fees. So far it has raised $895.

    “Right now, he looks like a monster,” Adams said. “It sucks that he did something that has messed him up so bad for someone and then is taking such bad backlash for it.”

    “I want them to look at him as someone who risked his life to go to jail for a stranger.”

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    WASHINGTON—The challenge for U.S. President Donald Trump’s legal team has become, at its core, managing the unmanageable — their client.

    He won’t follow instructions. After one meeting in which they urged Trump to steer clear of a certain topic, they had not yet arrived back at their office when he had sent a tweet on that very theme.

    He won’t compartmentalize. With aides, advisers and friends breezing in and out of the Oval Office, it is not uncommon for the president to suddenly turn the conversation to Russia — the topic that perpetually gnaws at him — in a meeting about something else entirely.

    And he won’t discipline himself. Trump’s lawyers, led by New York attorney Marc Kasowitz, are laboring to underscore the potential risk to the president if he engages without a lawyer present in discussions with other people under scrutiny in the widening Russia probes, including Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser.

    Read the latest news on U.S. President Donald Trump

    Nearly two months after Trump first retained outside counsel to represent him in the investigations of alleged Russian meddling in the election, both his and Kushner’s legal teams are struggling to enforce traditional legal boundaries to protect their clients, according to a half dozen people with knowledge of the internal dynamics and ongoing interactions, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about a sensitive matter.

    Compounding the challenges have been tensions between Trump and Kushner’s legal teams in a frenzied, siege-like environment. Senior White House officials are increasingly reluctant to discuss the issue internally or publicly and worry about overhearing sensitive conversations for fear of legal exposure.

    “Stuff is moving fast and furious,” said one person familiar with the work of the legal teams. “The tensions are just the tensions that would normally exist between two groups of lawyers starting to work together and struggling with facts that we don’t all know yet.”

    A third faction could complicate the dynamic further. Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., hired his own criminal defence attorney this week amid disclosures that he met with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin whom he believed could provide incriminating information on Hillary Clinton during the campaign. Trump Jr. also is considering hiring his own outside public relations team.

    In remarks to reporters on Air Force One before his arrival in Paris on Thursday, Trump defended his son as “a good boy” who had done nothing wrong and suggested he would support Trump Jr. testifying about the case “if he wants to.”

    As in Trump’s West Wing, lawyers on the outside teams have been deeply distrustful of one another and suspicious of each other’s motivations. They also are engaged in a circular firing squad of private speculation over who might have disclosed information about Trump Jr.’s meeting with the Russian lawyer to The New York Times, according to people familiar with the situation.

    Michael Bowe, a partner at Kasowitz’s firm and a member of Trump’s legal team, said the lawyers are collaborating effectively. “The legal teams have worked together smoothly and professionally from the start,” he said.

    Another question is who will pay the growing legal fees for the president and administration officials caught up in the Russia inquiries. Some in Trump’s orbit are pushing the Republican National Committee to bear the costs, according to three people with knowledge of the situation, including one who euphemistically described the debate as a “robust discussion.”

    Though the RNC does a have a legal-defence fund, it well predates the Russia investigation and is intended to be used for assisting with legal challenges facing the Republican Party, such as a potential election recount.

    The RNC has not made a final decision, in part because the committee is still researching whether the funds could legally be used to help pay legal costs related to Russia. But many within the organization are resisting the effort, believing it would be more appropriate to create a separate legal defence fund for the case.

    RNC officials declined requests for comment. The White House has not said whether Trump, Kushner and other officials are personally paying their legal bills or if they are being covered by an outside entity.

    Those retained by the parties involved include Kasowitz, Bowe and Jay Sekulow for Trump; Jamie Gorelick and Abbe Lowell for Kushner; and Alan Futerfas for Trump Jr.

    Trump has been irritated with Kasowitz, which the Times first reported this week. The two men have known each other for decades and both are hard-charging, prideful and brash.

    But people briefed on the evolving relationship said Trump has made Kasowitz absorb his fury about the Russia probe — in keeping with how the president treats his White House staff, quick to assign blame to aides when things go awry.

    The lawyers now find themselves in the challenging position of trying to force change on Trump, 71, who throughout his life has often thrived amid freewheeling chaos. He made his name as a flamboyant Manhattan developer, trafficking in hyperbole and mistruth — or “puffery,” as one former aide put it — while exhibiting little discretion in his daily conversations. For Trump, this was a formula for success.

    “There’s no question that Donald Trump has lied flagrantly and almost pathologically his entire life,” said Timothy O’Brien, author of the Trump biography, TrumpNation, and a Bloomberg View columnist. “For good parts of his life, he’s been insulated from the consequences of doing that.”

    Read more:The complete list of all 363 false claims Donald Trump has made as president

    Trump is now the highest elected official in the nation, and with that outsized perch comes potentially outsized consequences. His legal team is trying to impress upon him and those in his orbit that there could be severe ramifications for lying to federal investigators or congressional committees.

    O’Brien said, “He is now in a completely different world, and it’s a world unlike any he’s ever existed in before — both in terms of the sophistication and honesty that’s required of him to do his job well, and most especially the Titanic legal and reputational consequences of Donald Trump continuing to be the same old Donald Trump.”

    The president, however, believes he has done nothing wrong and is the target of what he repeatedly has called “a witch hunt.” His instinct, those close to him have said, is to trust his gut and punch back.

    Barry Bennett, a former Trump campaign adviser, said Trump isn’t used to losing and “he never stops fighting. That’s what life has taught him. In Washington, politics is a full-contact sport and it’s certainly tougher than having it out with a magazine. It’s a new arena for him and he’s treating it like every arena he’s ever been in. He may be right, but it’s messy.”

    During last year’s campaign, Bennett recalled, “Do you know how many times people came to him and said, ‘That was lethal, you’re never going to survive it?’ Every time, he survived. When somebody tells him he can’t do something, he’s at a minimum circumspect.”

    When it comes to Twitter, however, the president is hardly circumspect. His political advisers have long urged him to restrain his first impulses on social media and to think twice before tweeting — and now, his lawyers are asking the same.

    Still, the president persists.

    “It’s my voice,” Trump said in a recent interview with The New York Times Magazine. “They want to take away my voice. They’re not going to take away my social media.”

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    PORT PERRY, ONT.—Police say they’re looking for a man who allegedly posed as a bank employee and persuaded an 86-year-old from Port Perry to hand over all her savings.

    Durham regional police say the man allegedly contacted the senior on Monday saying the money in her savings account needed to be inspected.

    Police say the woman went to a bank and withdrew her savings, then met with the alleged fraudster at his request.

    The man allegedly told her she had to hand the undisclosed sum of money over for inspection and promised to return it later.

    They say the woman’s daughter reported the alleged incident later in the day.

    Police are urging anyone with information on the incident to come forward.

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    WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump was captured complimenting the French president’s wife’s appearance Thursday as he toured a famous Paris landmark.

    Video footage posted on the French government’s official Facebook page showed Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and their wives chatting after their tour of the museums at Les Invalides.

    As they were saying their good-byes, Trump turned to Brigitte Macron and gestured toward her body.

    Read the latest news on U.S. President Donald Trump

    “You know, you’re in such good shape,” Trump said, before repeating the observation to her husband. “Beautiful,” he added.

    Brigitte Macron was her husband’s former high school teacher and their relationship has drawn international attention because of their significant age difference.

    But feminists and President Macron have denounced that attention as sexist, arguing that nobody would blink an eye if he were the older spouse.

    The Macrons’ age difference is identical to that of Donald and Melania Trump, who were spending two days in Paris in celebration of Bastille Day.

    Trump has drawn criticism in the past for comments some say objectify and demean women, including the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape in which he bragged about sexually assaulting women and boasted, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

    Read more:

    Trump’s latest show of creepiness leaves women cringing: Paradkar

    ‘I bet she treats you well’: Trump interrupts call to compliment Irish reporter’s ‘nice smile’

    MSNBC ‘Morning Joe’ hosts fire back at Trump’s insults: ‘We’re OK. The country’s not’


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    Families of individuals killed by police will now be entitled to publicly funded lawyers at coroner’s inquests, the province announced Friday.

    The government will also reimburse families who had to pay for lawyers at inquests going back to April 1, 2015.

    The announcement comes a week after a Star story detailed the plight of the family of Michael MacIsaac, who was shot dead by Durham police Const. Brian Taylor in Ajax in December 2013.

    The inquest into MacIsaac’s death, where the jury can make non-binding recommendations to prevent similar deaths in the future, is set to begin Monday in Toronto.

    But his family has had to raise funds for a lawyer, because until now the only provincial program that provided funding for lawyers for families at police-involved inquests included the criteria that the deceased person had to have been a victim of crime.

    As critics have pointed out, the vast majority of police shooting deaths in Ontario, including in the MacIsaac case, do not lead to criminal charges.

    On the other hand, many other parties at inquests, including the police services board and the individual officers, are funded directly by tax dollars or indirectly through police union dues.

    Some families were able to secure funding for lawyers at police shooting inquests in the past through Legal Aid Ontario if they met certain criteria. The MacIsaac family said they were denied funding through LAO.

    In a last-ditch effort to secure funds, Michael’s sister Joanne met with Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Marie-France Lalonde last week.

    “Obviously, from a financial perspective, I certainly feel relieved, and I’m happy that going forward this is going to change for any other family, that they won’t have this stress,” MacIsaac told the Star on Friday after getting a call from Lalonde.

    “As happy as I am about this, I’m hoping that it’s a fund that doesn’t have to get utilized very often, because there’s still the issue of preventing these deaths from happening in the future.”

    Funding for lawyers for families at police shooting inquests was also one of 129 recommendations from Court of Appeal Justice Michael Tulloch, whose review of the province’s police oversight bodies was made public in April.

    “I think it’s a very important recommendation that we have been looking at and exploring,” Lalonde told the Star on Friday.

    “This is in response to his recommendation and also advocacy by a family member in our community. I want to thank her for her advocacy in this.”

    The government will reimburse families regardless of their income, said Lalonde, as long as they are granted standing at the coroner’s inquest. (Families are almost always given standing when requested at a police shooting inquest.)

    The program, expected to cost $675,000, will provide up to $40,000 to cover legal expenses and another $5,000 for other expenses for inquests lasting no more than 20 days. For proceedings that go more than 20 days, families can apply for more funding, up to an additional $45,000.

    Lalonde said the government will be undertaking consultations, which could see the reimbursement period go further back than April 2015. She also said the government will look at expanding the program for funding for families at other inquests where the state is involved, such as when a child dies in care.

    The guidelines for the new funding program and application will be posted on the ministry’s website July 20.

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    To the regular readers of this column, my apologies in advance for inflicting upon you the sorry apology issued by the abomination that is Shia LaBeouf.

    If you’re like me — that is, the wrong demographic — that might be a name you’ve come across once or twice for, what was that again? Hollywood guy in trouble with the cops for drunken driving or bar fights or one of those crimes that Hollywood types are regularly in trouble for without real consequences.

    But hey, isn’t he one of the good guys, the outspoken anti-Trump man, with the 4-year long art project — a live video stream in which LaBeouf and others chant “You will not divide us.” His arrest in January happened because of a fight he got into with a man who said “Hitler did no wrong” into the camera. See? Great guy.

    Sadly, as he showed this week, the world isn’t divided into two groups: racists and anti-Trump-ites. In other words, opposing Trump doesn’t exempt you from being racist.

    On July 8, LaBeouf was arrested and charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct and obstruction in Savannah, Georgia.

    Read more: Shia LaBeouf arrested in Georgia for public drunkenness

    “You are going straight to hell, bro” he told the police officers in footage captured on video.

    “You especially, deputy,” he said. And eventually, “Cause you a Black man.”

    He then accused the deputy of being racist for being a Black man, “who arrested me for being white.”

    At another point, he jeers at one of the officers, “Hey, when you go home to your wife, what do you tell her at night? You know she watches porn… likes looking at Black d---.”

    You get the picture.

    This is one of those guys who, instead of working on the biases that exist in all of us, merely represses their expression when sober.

    An apology came — eventually — on July 13.

    “My outright disrespect for authority is problematic to say the least, and completely destructive to say the worst,” LaBeouf said. “It is a new low. A low I hope is bottom.”

    Really, LaBeouf? You thought disrespect for authority was your biggest problem there? Anything else? There’s a clue in your own apology, “I am grateful for their restraint.”

    Yeah, about that.

    You know that had you been Black or brown-skinned you would not be able to: struggle, get aggressive with police, yell profanities at them, run away when they were trying to arrest you without possibly deadly consequences. You know, further, that being openly racist to police and accusing them of being racist are actions that result in a few angry tweets, a few raised eyebrows and calls to help you, that they are textbook examples of the unearned privilege conferred upon you for the colour of your skin.

    Do you think the words racist or race or racism deserved a place in your apology? No? Well, why would you?

    In your world, being racist isn’t a crime. Only those who live with the consequences of racism are treated like criminals. Overt racism is never your fault. It’s invariably the fault of addiction or mental illness. It’s an act that cries out for compassion and forgiveness.

    The system works for people like you. It works to erase the bits that reflect badly on other people like you. Look at all the stories eager to exonerate you.

    Here’s CNN: “Body camera video released by authorities showed a surly, unco-operative LaBeouf yelling profanities at police.

    The very progressive Rolling Stone says, “the actor apologized for his language,” in a story that doesn’t mention the racist rants at all.

    The headline in Variety: Shia LaBeouf Calls Police Officer ‘Dumb F—’ in Arrest Footage

    It does list his racial tirade in another piece about the apology, but doesn’t mention that he didn’t apologize for the racism.

    Turns out that in 2017, we still live in a place where profanities offend puritanical morals. Racism, not so much.

    Shree Paradkar tackles issues of race and gender. You can follow her @shreeparadkar

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    Two Toronto officers caught mocking and laughing at a woman with Down syndrome on a dashcam video in November will appear at a tribunal to face Police Service Act charges, says a spokesperson.

    Consts. Sasa Sljivo and Matthew Saris were heard calling 29-year-old Francie Munoz a “little disfigured” as she was sitting in the back seat of her mother’s Jeep during a traffic stop.

    Her mother was being ticketed by the officers for an alleged traffic violation. The interaction on a dashcam video showed the officers calling Francie “different,” laughing again, before saying “Artistic. That’s gonna be my new code word for . . . different.”

    The two officers face a police tribunal hearing Aug. 15 to face charges under the Police Services Act, Toronto police spokesperson Meaghan Gray said Friday.

    Gray said further details on the exact charges will be released when they appear in court.

    In a letter dated Friday and sent directly to the family, Sljivo and Saris apologized for their “inexcusable remarks” and took full responsibility.

    “We regret the emotional distress we caused to you, your family and the broader community. You have our assurance that our lapse in judgment will not be repeated,” the letter read.

    The Munoz family told the Star that the tribunal wasn’t enough, and they want a public apology from the officers.

    “They insulted a whole community,” Francie’s father, Carlos Munoz said Friday morning after he had been told by the head of the Toronto police union Mike McCormack that his daughter won’t be receiving a public apology.

    “The reason we are asking for a public apology is so people can judge by themselves whether the officers are truly remorseful for their actions or if they are just upset that they came off impolite.”

    McCormack told the Star in an email that repeated attempts were made to arrange an in-person meeting with Francie and her family.

    “Mr. Munoz made a demand that he would not meet with the officers unless there was a public shaming,” McCormack said.

    He added the officers “have accepted responsibility for their comments from the beginning and have always wished to make a personal and meaningful apology.”

    “They have taken a lot of justified criticism from the public and their peers and regret their comments,” McCormack wrote.

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    Professional athletes are notorious for blowing some, if not all, of their fortunes on outrageous purchases, from over-the-top mansions and luxury yachts to tricked-out sports cars and epic sneaker collections.

    Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen once bought a Gulfstream jet, then found out it didn’t fly. Boxer Mike Tyson spent $2 million on a solid gold bathtub for his first wife. Former NFL wide receiver Andre Rison went broke after a spending spree that included $1 million on bling.

    But Kelly Olynyk is not at all interested in flashing his substantial wealth. Quite the contrary.

    The Toronto-born NBA player leases a Toyota Tundra pickup truck and uses an iPhone 5 while in Canada, though he just signed a contract worth an estimated $50 million (U.S.) with the Miami Heat.

    Wearing a plain white t-shirt and ball cap over his trademark long mane after a workout at U of T’s Goldring Centre, the 26-year-old former Boston Celtic (who spent his teen years in Kamloops, B.C.) exudes a chill vibe.

    “I don’t wear designer clothes or shoes. I don’t drive a fancy car,” the frugal player says matter-of-factly. “I’ve never taken a vacation. I wouldn’t know what a vacation is.”

    Olynyk has an accounting degree, is two semesters shy of his MBA, and even did a two-week internship two years ago at his financial advisor’s firm in San Francisco.

    But in a world where obscene wealth can tempt people to do some strange stuff, the seven-foot-tall player has some pretty simple tastes: he always opts for a nice sushi dinner over chillin’ in the clubs, capped off with a good night’s sleep in his California king-sized bed.

    We chatted with him about managing wealth and fiscal prudence in the era of multi-million-dollar pro sports contracts.

    What’s your financial background?

    I went to school at Gonzaga (University in Spokane, Wash.) and I wanted to do accounting because I thought it would be a great background to have, whether you’re going to be an accountant or not, just to know how money works. And how you can help yourself or others make it work better. If you have four years of someone explaining it to you in college, you’re going to understand it more than 15 minutes in one ear and one out the other.

    How does your financial advisor help you?

    He’s someone I work with to bounce ideas off, making sure I’m doing the right things to preserve (my money) and help out my circle, my family and friends, as much as I can.

    What was it like to do a business internship in the NBA off-season?

    I got a condensed version of what the industry is like, and how it operates, and the process you go through when you’re trying to make money and save money and multiply money. Budgets and habits, assets, depreciation, and to make whatever you have go as far as possible. It was awesome to get out there and find out how it works.

    Do people hit you up for money to invest in their businesses?

    Everyone’s got an idea or a plan for something that’s about to go big, and they want you to be a part of it. People come to you with these ideas and need money to fund them every other day, whether it’s apps or events or start-up companies they’re trying to get off the ground.

    Did you invest in one?

    I decipher which is the best way to go. You can’t do them all, obviously. One of my friends has a porous brick company that collects storm water run-off so that when it rains, there’s no overflow to the sewers and rivers and oceans. I thought it was a cool idea. But you’ve got to think about diversifying your portfolio. So you can’t be all in volatile investments, it’s got to be something sturdy depending on the market.

    Do you own a home?

    I have a townhouse in Boston. It was smarter for me to own because of how strong the Boston market is, but now that I’m not living there, I’m faced with whether I should sell it or rent it out. It’s a great place to live and raise a family.

    What do you spend your money on?

    I like to spend on good food. Being an athlete, where you’re using your body as your tool for success, you’ve got to be able to fuel yourself. I’m not going to cheat myself on food. It’s probably the single most important thing to making sure my body is in tip-top working condition.

    What don’t you spend your money on?

    I don’t wear designer clothes or shoes. I don’t drive a fancy car, I lease a Toyota Tundra, a 2016. Everybody’s different. When I first got in the NBA, my agent told me, there’s going to be stuff you don’t want to spend your money on and there’s going to be stuff you should spend a lot of money on because it’s important. He told me one to make sure you buy yourself a really good bed. You’ll appreciate it over time; it’s going to give you way more benefit. I got a California king, which is a longer version of the king. It was probably $5,000. It’s awesome. You spend just under half your life in bed, so make sure you get the best one if you have the means.

    Don’t you get a lot of freebies in professional sports?

    Definitely the richer or the more famous you are, the less you pay for things. It’s kind of a backward world in that sense.

    Do the newbies hit you up for financial advice?

    They ask what you do and how you do it. Kids just coming into the league, they want to know and they’re eager to learn, that’s when it’s going to make the most impact.

    Why don’t you treat yourself to a nice vacation at a posh resort?

    I’ve never really gone on vacation, and gone and done nothing on a tropical island. Usually in the summers I play with the national team. We usually go over to Europe. We travel, but to play basketball. I’ve seen a lot of the world through the game . . . One of these days I’ll take my family somewhere. They never go on vacation, either. Growing up we never took vacations. All our money went into sports camps or teams.

    Do your teammates razz you because you don’t partake in a flashy lifestyle?

    Yeah, sometimes they mock my wardrobe or my shoes, but it is what it is.

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