South Jersey's News Talk Leader!           Radio You Can Depend On!          
ABC Business
Subscribe To This Feed

Yuma County Detention Center(YUMA, Ariz.) -- Police in Arizona thought they were busting an ordinary case of a fraudulent return this week until some digging revealed that the same 23-year-old man has perpetrated the scheme at thousands of Walmart stores across the country.

Police in Yuma, Arizona, said they responded to a case of a fraudulent return on Wednesday afternoon in which a person bringing a computer back to Walmart had allegedly removed parts of the computer before putting it back in the box and taking it back to the store.

Upon investigation, the Yuma Police Department found that the same man had pulled the same scheme at a different Walmart earlier in the day.

Thomas Frudaker, 23, was arrested and booked into Yuma County Adult Detention Facility.

Yuma police said Frudaker pulled similar schemes at more than 1,000 Walmart stores across the country over the past 18 months and caused a monetary loss of approximately $1.3 million to Walmart.

Frudaker was charged with six felonies, including two counts of theft, two counts of fraudulent schemes and artifices, and two counts of criminal damage.

He is due in court on Monday.

Frudaker is being held at Yuma County Detention Center on $40,000 bond.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- From its humble beginning as a small newspaper to what is now a full-fledged sports media company, Barstool Sports is one of the most popular brands for men, but it’s a woman who’s calling the shots.

Erika Nardini, the first CEO of Barstool Sports and only the second female employee in the company’s at-times tumultuous history, has taken the controversial site to new heights.

“I was the last candidate I think to come along,” she told ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis in an interview on “Nightline.” “Over 70 were men -- But I think there was something that clicked with me and Barstool.”

ABC News

The booming satirical sports site was getting as big as it was polarizing before Nardini took the job and she said her decision brought “mixed” reactions within her own personal circle.

“I had friends who were huge fans of Barstool and were excited and really behind it. I had colleagues who thought this was career suicide. I had other colleagues who were like go for it take a risk take a leap,” the CEO of almost two years said. “So it is very mixed, very polarizing. Barstool’s very polarizing.”

Ultimately her decision came down to her vision for the company’s potential growth. “I saw what Barstool could do which I think most people couldn't see, which is just how big this brand has the potential to be and just how powerful its audience is,” Nardini said.

Barstool attracts 12 million followers across social media platforms who call themselves “stoolies” and are drawn to the big personalities who are an essential part of Barstool’s DNA.

Dave Portnoy, known to Stoolies and staffers alike as “El Presidente,” founded the sports and pop culture blog in 2004 after a trip to Las Vegas.

“I hated my job, so I knew I wanted to try something that was my own,” Portnoy said. “I was a gambler -- I wanted to find something that I enjoyed doing. So I flew out to Vegas [and] met with offshore sports books, casinos."

"They said -- if I founded a newspaper, a gambling pamphlet, they’d advertise in it. So that was kind of the genesis of it," he added.

Portnoy said the early content when he started as a small newspaper in 2004 was 95 percent “fantasy football, poker and gambling.” Now almost 15 years later the company churns out hundreds of pieces of content a day.

“Barstool Sports is always growing and it moved away from the gambling roots to more of a lifestyle magazine/newspaper, whatever you want to call it, in which we talk about anything a guy may be interested [in]: girls, entertainment, pop culture, sports,” El Pres explained.

Barstool has seen meteoric growth since Nardini joined the company. She has achieved over 8 times revenue growth, 700 percent growth in brand advertising and 300 percent growth in commerce. The company also relocated to New York City and Nardini expanded Barstool Sports’ digital footprint through new partnerships with Facebook, Snapchat, Comedy Central and SiriusXM.

“I brought to Barstool what I knew how to do which is to scale, to monetize, to create a platform to build systems, to think about the brand and brands that we could build underneath Barstool,” she said.

For Nardini the sky is the limit for this company, well actually she said it’s more like “the moon.”

“I think this is a defining brand for young men. I think it's a company that understands its audience -- I think the most elusive consumer that anyone has is a 19-year-old,” she explained.

“They're not watching television. They are not buying the things that they used to. They're not going to retail stores. They are different and we are a company that understands them,” Nardini said.

The company’s target demographic, men ages 18 to 34, spends an average of 45 million minutes per month consuming Barstool Sports content, according to the company.

Allen Adamson, the author of "Shift Ahead: How the Best Companies Stay Relevant in a Fast-Changing World" and the co-founder of Metaforce, said that particular group of young men crave authenticity when it comes to the brand they connect with.

“You have a lot of guys that are adulting, they're learning how to be adults. They don't have adult commitments yet they have disposable income so they can buy lots of toys,” Adamson said. “This group is attracted to authenticity. They grew up being bombarded by ads and sitcoms and plastic entertainment. And when they smell and see something that's textured and rich and authentic they love it.”

Portnoy, 41, said he’s received positive feedback from a sweeping range of age groups.

“I’ve been doing this now since I’ve been about 25 – so people have grown up with me and we have people from different facets of life, but we have college kids now, we have kids in middle school, and now we have 50-year-olds that will come up be like ‘I read it.’ So it’s really everyone,” he explained.

Although the “stoolies” are major fans of the site, others have taken issue with some of the content and personalities.

ESPN canceled a partnership with Barstool for a new show in 2017, when it came to light that Portnoy and a colleague had made derogatory remarks about female ESPN anchor, Sam Ponder, in 2014. ESPN and ABC News are owned by the Walt Disney Company.

Former ESPN president John Skipper released a statement at the time saying, “While we had approval on the content of the show, I erred in assuming we could distance our efforts from the Barstool site and its content.”

Portnoy responded directly in an “emergency press conference” which was an eight-minute video posted on Twitter. “The reason you needed us, is because we’re Barstool. That’s why this audience exists … And it’s not going anywhere. And all this does is just reinforce the very reason we’re the fastest growing media company in the world. Because we don’t care about this.”

Nardini told ABC News, “It also was a good learning for me about building for yourself not building for someone else... And the difference in opinion of what a great creative product is.”

Adamson said “people are tired of boring safe content,” which bodes well for the burgeoning Barstool demo, but could pose a problem for revenue partners and advertisers.

“All of a sudden they're going to need bigger brands to fuel that engine. And the bigger the brand the harder it is to be edgy,” he explained.

Portnoy said the company has “a massive audience” and he believes humor is the driving force behind those numbers.

“We try to be funny. A few times, in the span of 15 years, a very few times -- something that maybe rubs people the wrong way, I would argue it is always trying to be funny and not everything lands,” he said. “Controversies generally strengthen our core. Our crowd knows who we are.”

And Nardini’s commitment to that mindset is perfectly aligned with Portnoy. “Barstool knows who it is and what it is and what's funny. We're consistent. We're constant. It's very relatable and it's a brand that doesn't take itself too seriously it's a brand without an agenda,” she said. “It's a brand that's unafraid and it's a brand that's very loyal to its audience and in return its audiences very loyal to it.”

The CEO continued, “I don't think that maintaining a brand in this day and age is difficult. What I do find is that the walls are closing in and the definition of what's OK and not OK is polarizing. I ultimately think that's very good for Barstool sports because Barstool is Barstool and we know who we are and we know what we do and we stand by that.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- JetBlue has returned to its full flight schedule to Puerto Rico, nearly nine months after Hurricane Maria, the airline announced Friday.

The return to full capacity comes six months ahead of schedule, totaling 48 daily flights between the United States and the Caribbean island, the airline said.

JetBlue, which is the island’s largest carrier, hired an additional 50 staffers for San Juan.

“Our return to our pre-hurricane flight count is a testament to the incredible resilience of Puerto Rico and our crewmembers who kept flights operating during a very difficult period,” said Dave Clark, JetBlue’s vice president sales and revenue management, said in a statement.

The Puerto Rican government says that commercial flights to the island are back to normal daily capacity. The island, which depends greatly on tourism, was devastated after Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20, 2017.

About 15 percent of hotels are still not operating, according to the Puerto Rican Tourism Company.

“The fact that JetBlue has been able to match seat capacity levels to pre-hurricane figures six months earlier than expected shows that demand has increased and that we are on track for a historic recovery," said Carla G. Campos, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. "Likewise, the creation of 50 new jobs as a result of the increase in operations is a testament to the trust and commitment that JetBlue has with Puerto Rico.”

There are still 6,224 customers are without power in Puerto Rico, according to the island’s electric power authority. The agency’s new chief told the Associated Press in early June that it would take up to two months to restore power to the entire island.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

Toronto Police(TORONTO) -- An original print by the famous graffiti artist Banksy was stolen from a Toronto art exhibit over the weekend, with the theft caught on camera.

Police said the print, valued at $45,000, was stolen around 5 a.m. Sunday. Security footage of the crime was released on Thursday.

In the video, a man enters the exhibit, picks up the print and goes out the door clutching the art piece.

Police have not identified any possible suspects at this time.

Toronto authorities said the stolen piece, titled Trolley Hunters, shows a group of indigenous people seemingly hunting shopping carts in a grassland.

The art exhibit has been touted as the largest collection of Banksy's work ever displayed. It includes around 80 pieces valued at about $35 million and is scheduled to run through July 11, authorities said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

American Greetings(ROCKWALL, Texas) -- When Takeisha Saunders went shopping for a Father's Day card for her husband at a Target store in Rockwall, Texas, she said the only one featuring an African-American couple read "Baby Daddy."

Saunders, who is black, told ABC News on Thursday that there were plenty of other cards she found less offensive, but they all featured white couples.

"There was no other option," said Saunders. "My disappointment was that it was the only card that featured a black couple. There wasn't any other black husband cards or anything like that. There were white husband cards with a couple on the front. There were 'My dad's my hero' cards with characters on the front, but there wasn't anything else."

She snapped a photo of the card and posted it on her personal website, a neighborhood group website and her Facebook page, writing, "You CANNOT be serious Target!!! Really!!!? This was the only Father’s Day card that featured a black couple!!!!!"

Her posts struck a chord and triggered numerous complaints to Target, which yanked the card from the shelves of about 900 of its 1,800 stores nationwide that had stocked it.

"We want all guests to feel welcomed and respected when they shop at Target. We were made aware of some concerns about this card last week and are working with our vendor to have it removed from Target stores," Joshua Thomas, a spokesman for the chain, said in a statement to ABC News. "We appreciate the feedback and apologize. It's never our intent to offend any of our guests with the products we sell."

Patrice Molnar, a spokeswoman for American Greetings, which created the card and supplied it Target, told ABC News that the card was sold at about 5,300 drug stores, supermarkets and big-box chains, including Target.

"In this instance, this particular card was created for, and addressed to, a loving husband —- which the inside copy makes clear," Molnar told ABC News. "However, we now see that the front page, taken out of context, can communicate an unintentional meaning that we are strongly against perpetuating and is not consistent with our company purpose and values. We should do better in the future, and we will.

"We have notified our store merchandisers to remove the card from all retailer shelves and apologize for any offense we’ve caused," she added.

Molnar supplied ABC News with photos of the card, which inside reads, "You're a wonderful husband and father -- and I'm so grateful to have you as my partner, my friend and my baby daddy! Happy Father's Day."

Saunders said she followed up her online posts with phone calls to both Target and American Greetings to point out why the card was offensive to her.

"For me personally, in growing up, a baby daddy or a baby momma was not something that you wanted to be or wanted. It was someone who wasn't involved in the child's life ... I don't see my husband in that way," she said.

"I didn't go ranting to boycott Target and not buy cards or anything like that," she said. "I was just like, 'Hey, where are the other options?'"

Still, she said representatives of both Target and American Greetings took her complaints seriously.

"And they replied, 'Hey, yeah we can see that. So we missed the mark on this one. We're going to pull it,'" Saunders said.

She said she can't accept all the credit for sparking the groundswell of anger that got the attention of two major companies.

"I think the reason they're removing the card is because there were more people than just me who complained," she said. "A company doesn't make an action like this based on the opinion of just one person. So obviously I'm not the only one who took issue with it."

She said she plans to celebrate Father's Day on Sunday with her husband and their toddler, who is almost 2 years old.

"He'll get a nice present," she said, "but no card yet."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for Guess(NEW YORK) -- Guess co-founder Paul Marciano has resigned from the company after being accused of sexual misconduct, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing by the company on Tuesday.

The company filed an 8-K form with the SEC, a requirement to announce major news to shareholders. The form not only confirmed that Marciano stepped down, but also detailed the allegations against him. The company had announced in February it would be conducting an investigation into multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, including "inappropriate texts and comments, and unwanted advances including kissing and groping."

He will leave the company next year, according to the SEC document.

The investigation was presented to the company's board on June 7 and 11, and Marciano announced his resignation to the board on Monday.

Among those who accused Marciano of improper conduct was supermodel Kate Upton, who told "Good Morning America" in February that she came forward because she "wanted to prevent that from happening to other girls." Upton also reiterated allegations to "GMA" that Marciano fondled her breasts during her first photo shoot for the brand in 2010 when she was 18 and continued to behave inappropriately toward her in professional settings for a few months after.

Marciano has denied all the allegations and has not admitted any wrongdoing, saying in a statement after Upton's allegations that they were "preposterous."

"I have never been alone with Kate Upton," he said. "I have never touched her inappropriately."

Marciano said he would cooperate with the investigation, which the company said on Tuesday "interviewed more than 40 people and reviewed approximately 1.5 million pages of documents, including emails, human resources and legal department files, social media messages, video and audio recordings, photographs, travel itineraries, calendar entries, agreements, invoices and financial records."

According to the filing, "many of the allegations could not be corroborated" or no conclusion could be reached because accusers did not want to be interviewed or both sides provided credible evidence. However, the investigation did find evidence of impropriety by Marciano.

"The investigation found that on certain occasions Mr. Marciano exercised poor judgment in his communications with models and photographers, and in placing himself in situations in which plausible allegations of improper conduct could, and did, arise," the filing says.

The filing says Marciano and Guess "entered a nonconfidential settlement" to avoid lawsuits.

"To avoid the cost of litigation and without admitting liability or fault, the company and Mr. Paul Marciano entered into nonconfidential settlement agreements resolving claims of five individuals arising out of allegations of inappropriate conduct by Mr. Paul Marciano for an aggregate total amount of $500,000," according to the filing.

Guess Inc. was founded in 1981 by brothers Paul Marciano, Georges Marciano and Maurice Marciano. The brand's jeans exploded in popularity in the 1980s, and its ads featured big-time supermodels such as Claudia Schiffer and Eva Herzigova.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The organizer of the infamous Fyre Festival, a failed concert in the Bahamas in 2017 that went viral for its lack of success, has been charged with duping customers again.

William McFarland, who is still awaiting sentencing for the failed festival, has now been charged by the Southern District of New York with selling tickets that did not exist to marquee sports and music events. McFarland ran the company NYC VIP Access, which advertised tickets to events such as the Met Gala, Burning Man, Coachella, the 2018 Grammy Awards and Super Bowl LII, despite not actually having any tickets to the events, according to the complaint unsealed on Tuesday.

McFarland was trying to sell the tickets in March, the same month he pleaded guilty to defrauding investors for the Fyre Festival, prosecutors allege.

He has been charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. Both carry sentences of up to 20 years in prison.

"In March of 2018, William McFarland pled guilty to defrauding investors and vendors of the Fyre Festival, but it is apparent that he did not stop there," FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney Jr. said in a statement. "McFarland allegedly went on to sell fraudulent tickets to many grand events, totaling almost $100,000."

According to the filing, McFarland tried to cover up his involvement in NYC VIP Access by using a then-employee's email account instead of his own, according to the filing. He tricked at least 15 people into buying the nonexistent tickets.

The Fyre Festival garnered national headlines in April 2017 after being advertised as an idyllic getaway to the Bahamas, complete with gourmet food, luxury accommodations and performances by Ja Rule and Blink-182. The event was advertised on social media by Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and other high-profile social media influencers. Tickets for the event cost thousands of dollars, but when attendees arrived, they found poorly built tents, a lack of food and clean water, and an insufficient number of public toilets.

McFarland pleaded guilty in connection to the Fyre Festival fiasco on March 6 to one count of wire fraud after defrauding more than 80 investors out of $24 million, and another count of wire fraud for lying to the company selling tickets, which took over $2 million in losses, according to the Southern District of New York. He faces up to 10 years in prison on those counts.

Hulu announced in April that it was producing a documentary series about the Fyre Festival.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

Thurswell Law Firm PLLC(NEW YORK) -- Days after a Michigan woman claimed her Nissan Maxima was set on fire when one of her two Samsung cell phones "exploded," she said the tech giant sent her a prefab kit to return the charred evidence.

According to the woman, in the kit was a pre-stamped manifest for ground transport, a pair of blue gloves, a static-sensitive bag and illustrated step-by-step instructions on how to mail back the remnants of the phone.

"Samsung asked her to use rubber gloves to take all the pieces from the car that look like part of the phone and put them in a pre-stamped box," Gerald Thurswell, the attorney for the cell phone owner, told ABC News. "I hear this and it's like 'What the ----?' Is this a regular course of business? How often is this occurring to get a whole set of procedures down?"

A Samsung spokesperson defended the practice in a statement to ABC News as strictly following federal guidelines put in place to protect the public with handling and shipping potentially dangerous or hazardous materials.

In a written statement to ABC News, Samsung urged caution on jumping to conclusions regarding the precise reason for the blaze.

"We stand behind the quality and safety of the millions of Samsung phones in the United States," the company said. "We are eager to conduct a full investigation of this matter and until we are able to examine all of the evidence, it is impossible to determine the true cause of any incident. We go to great lengths to obtain all pertinent information in order to do a thorough analysis."

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told Detroit ABC affiliate WXYZ she was driving down Evergreen Road near Fargo Street in Detroit at around 10 p.m. on May 21 with her Samsung Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S8 phones both placed in the car's cupholder, "and in the corner of my eyes I see a spark."

"I thought I was going to die when I saw the sparks and the fire," she told WXYZ, as she quickly pulled over and hopped out of the burning vehicle. "It happened quickly. It just went up in flames. People were telling me to get away from the car. What if I was on the highway stuck in traffic and couldn't get out?"

The woman claimed her mobile phone "exploded with flames and she dropped the phone onto some papers that were in the front seat," according to a preliminary Detroit Fire Department incident report.

Chuck Simms, second deputy commissioner of the Detroit Fire Department, connfirmed to ABC News that an engine was there within five minutes, and an investigation into the incident was opened. Arson was ruled out.

"It is not considered to be something suspicious," Simms said, adding that the investigation is ongoing.

The woman said after she made her claim to Samsung, the company offered to replace the phone and sent her a kit with a small, cardboard box, a larger "recovery box" and other materials, including the gloves.

The instructions show a phone that reads "SAMSUNG Note7" -- the model that last year was recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission amid widespread reports a battery defect caused several of those models to explode or catch fire.

Last year, a separate recall was issued by the same agency for certain refurbished AT&T Samsung Galaxy 4 models sent through FedEx that were powered by batteries and found to overheat.

Thurswell said that instead of sending back the remains of the woman's phones, he told Samsung they could analyze the devices at his law office.

"They came here with an engineer and spent two hours examining the pieces and they tell me, 'We'll get back to you,'" Thurswell recalled. "I told them, 'Please get these phones recalled. Do something. You're the experts!'"

He said he hasn't filed a lawsuit, but he wants to hear back from the company after the investigators visited last week.

Samsung told ABC News the company has attempted to reach the woman.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Jared Kushner and wife Ivanka Trump made at least $80 million in outside income last year while working as White House advisers to President Donald Trump, according to newly-released financial disclosure forms.

The president’s son-in-law and daughter together reported personal assets of between $240 million and $780 million by the end of 2017. Trump held more than $55 million of that, and Kushner, at least $180 million.

Kushner and Trump received the majority of their outside income from real estate matters. Other income came from capital gains, Ms. Trump's businesses, the Trump Hotel in Washington D.C. and from the Trump Corporation salary and severance.

While this is an increase from the total value of assets between $206 and $760 million the two reported in the last disclosure form, it's difficult to make a direct comparison because the latest filing covers a shorter period of time, between January 2017 through December 2017, whereas the last report covers January 2016 through April 2017. The two reports also have an overlapping period between January and April 2017.

Ivanka Trump reported a stake in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., valued between $5 million and $25 million.

Quickly becoming one of the most popular get-together spot for Republicans and Trump supporters across the world, the luxury hotel on the historic Old Post Office site, which opened September 2016, has brought in nearly $4 million for the president's daughter in 2017, up from the $2.4 million reported in the 2016 statement.

A spokesperson for the two said that their net worth has not changed much and stressed that they have complied with government ethics restrictions.

“Since joining the administration, Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump have complied with the rules and restrictions as set out by the Office of Government Ethics," Peter Mirijanian, spokesperson for Abbe Lowell, Jared Kushner's attorney and the couple's ethics counsel told ABC News in a statement.

"As to the current filing which OGE also reviews, their net worth remains largely the same, with changes reflecting more the way the form requires disclosure than any substantial difference in assets or liabilities.”

According to President Trump's own annual financial disclosure form released last month, his Washington, D.C., hotel had a banner year, raking in over $40 million in income between January and December 2017. Trump has come under scrutiny from ethics watchdogs who have accused the president of using his office to promote his properties.

The hotel has been the target of lawsuits that allege it's a violation of the Constitution for Trump to received what amount to illegal gifts from foreign governments in the form of payments to his hotel.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

WABC(NEW YORK) -- A same-sex couple has accused an Uber driver in New York City of discriminating against them after he allegedly kicked them out of the car for kissing in the backseat.

Alex Iovine and her girlfriend, Emma Pichl, ordered an Uber Saturday to take them from the Gowanus neighborhood in Brooklyn to the East Village in Manhattan, they told ABC New York station WABC-TV.

Iovine said she and Pichl leaned over to give each other a "peck kiss" while crossing the Manhattan Bridge, which they say caused the driver to "abruptly" pull over a couple of minutes later.

The couple then pulled out their cellphones and began recording the driver after he began "aggressively" approaching them, Pichl told WABC.

The recording began as one of the women asked the driver, who had exited the car, what the issue was.

"I said the first time, don't do it," the driver responded.

The women then responded by stating that kissing isn't illegal.

"Yeah, it's illegal," the driver said. "... Don't do that here in the car."

The women then told the driver they were filming him and asked why they were "not allowed to kiss in an Uber."

"It's disrespectful," the driver said.

When one of the women asked whether kissing was against Uber policy, the driver replied, "I don't want to argue with you. Just get out of my car," which they eventually did.

Iovine said her reaction to the ordeal quickly went from shock to anger.

"I think, for both us, it was just a shock, not really knowing what to say," Pichl said.

The driver then told the women he didn’t care when they threatened to report him.

In a statement to ABC News, an Uber spokeswoman said, "Uber does not tolerate any form of discrimination, and we have been in touch with the rider regarding her experience. We are investigating and will take appropriate action."

The spokeswoman, who did not identify the driver, said the accusation is troubling and that Uber takes such reports seriously. The riders and the driver reported the incident to Uber, she said.

In a statement, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) described the driver’s alleged behavior as "blatantly discriminatory" and "repugnant," WABC reported.

The TLC did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Iovine and Pichl were refunded the $22 for the ride, they told ABC News, but they are now apprehensive about using the ride-hailing service.

"I think we are going to steer clear of Uber for a bit," Pichl said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Uber has submitted a patent to add a feature to its app that will help identify drunken riders so drivers could better assist them.

The new feature, at least in theory, would allow the popular ride-sharing service to measure a potential rider's walking speed, data input speed and accuracy, and the angle at which one's device is being held.

Drivers may receive a notification that the person requesting the ride could be intoxicated, which also could result in more experienced drivers being routed to help riders who could present a problem for someone less experienced.

Uber has partnered with organizations including Mothers Against Drunk Driving to encourage more people to call the service than to get behind the wheel after drinking too much.

In 2014, a survey conducted by Benenson Strategy Group found that 78 percent of people said that since Uber launched in their city, their friends are less likely to drive after drinking.

It's still too early to tell how this new feature would be implemented, or the eventuality of adding it to its current services, an Uber spokesperson told ABC News.

"We are always exploring ways that our technology can help improve the Uber experience for riders and drivers," the spokesperson said. "We file patent applications on many ideas, but not all of them actually become products or features."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

IHOP(NEW YORK) -- The International House of Pancakes is flipping the "p" to a "b" for burgers and the internet is flipping out.

IHOP officially announced the limited-time name change Monday morning after teasing it on social media asking users to guess what they thought the name would "b"-come.

Predictions poured in with everything from the obvious like breakfast and bacon to bananas and bellinis, but ultimately the brand revealed it stands for burgers.

"The change, in fact, celebrates the debut of the brand’s new Ultimate Steakburgers," the company said in a press release about the seven new all-natural burger varieties.

A flagship IHOb restaurant in Hollywood, California, has been rebranded and will host a "VIB launch party" Monday evening, the company said in a press release. All other locations will serve up the full slate of new burgers. The name is not a permanent change and, yes, they will still serve pancakes.

"We knew we that if we wanted to shift perceptions that IHOP can do more than a great breakfast, we had to be bold with the campaign -- the tongue-in-cheek name change shows that we’re just as serious about our burgers as we are about our pancakes," IHOP brand spokeswoman Stephanie Peterson told ABC News. "It’s unexpected, it’s fun, and it’s quirky."

"Everyone knows that IHOP makes world-famous pancakes, so we felt like the best way to convince them that we are as serious about our new line of Ultimate Steakburgers as we are about our pancakes was to change our name to IHOb," said Brad Haley, Chief Marketing Officer for IHOb restaurants. "We’ve pancaked pancakes for 60 years now, so it’s the perfect time to start burgerin’ burgers."

This is not the first big name chain restaurant to try a cheeky marketing campaign to drive new business.

The internet lit up when a redditor revealed KFC follows exactly 11 users as a tribute to their iconic fried chicken recipe with 11 herbs and spices.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

William Ganz(NEW YORK) -- William Ganz knew it was a big investment, but with “The Donald” involved, he felt certain he would strike gold.
It was May 23, 2007, and the 28-year-old Baltimore-based entrepreneur was preparing to invest his life savings in Trump Farallon Estates at Cap Cana, a luxury development being planned by local developers in the Dominican Republic and championed by his famously gilded business idol, Donald J. Trump.

Ganz had read every one of the real estate mogul’s books and even auditioned for a spot on “The Apprentice,” so when Trump called the project a “fantastic opportunity,” Ganz believed him. The Trump brand, he said, brought the project “instant credibility.”

The same day buildable lots in the cliff-top resort went on sale, Ganz and dozens of other buyers bought out 95 percent of the development, snapping up more than $350 million in property. As Trump described it in videos and in person, there would be a condominium-hotel, a beach club, private villas, and a world class golf course.

But the development never took root, a failure some blamed on the 2008 financial crash. After investing years of work -- his savings gone and his spirit broken -- Ganz left his island dream behind.

“The air was out of the balloon,” he said.

For Ganz and the scores of others who lost millions on the Trump Farallon development, that should have been the end of the story. But shortly after Trump took the White House, Trump’s son was back in Cap Cana. The developer issued a surprise announcement in February 2017, releasing a smiling photo of Eric Trump on the bluffs of the Dominican coast, emerald waters at his back.

“This relationship remains incredibly strong, especially with Eric, who has led the project since its inception,” the developer announced.

News of what the Trump Organization was describing as a “new phase” of Trump Farallon never reached the project’s original buyers, according to those interviewed by ABC News.

Using records made public in court documents, ABC News located 48 of the original property owners from the Trump-branded Cap Cana resort. A quarter of those agreed to talk about their experience, though most spoke only on the condition they not be identified. Many who did speak said they still felt stung by the failed investment. Like Mariano Gonzalez, a Puerto Rican doctor who had pooled a big chunk of his life savings along with two friends to invest $3 million in land atop the scenic cliffs overlooking the turquoise Caribbean waters.

“We were betrayed,” Gonzalez told ABC News. “Nothing was done and everything was lost. My main message is, ‘Give me back my money.’”

One reason Gonzalez and others were so surprised to hear of Eric Trump’s return to Cap Cana was because it seemed like it had all ended so badly.

In a blistering lawsuit filed in 2012, the Trump Organization accused the developer of having “grossly underreported” the project’s sales figures to avoid having to pay the Trump company its share of the proceeds. “This was textbook fraud on a wide scale, involving millions of dollars,” the Trump lawsuit alleged.

The developer of the Cap Cana resort, Ricardo Hazoury, never mounted a public response, beyond arguing the suit belonged in the Dominican Republic, not the U.S. The case settled a year later in secret. The Hazoury family declined through a New York attorney to be interviewed or answer written questions for this story. The Trump Organization also did not respond to requests for comment, other than to say that the project’s revival in 2017 was not unexpected to them.

“The project has multiple components or phases to be built over time,” said Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organization. “That’s how it was structured from day one.”

Unlike many of the original buyers – many of whom saw their land lost to foreclosure – the Trumps made money. According to the court records, the Trump Organization received some $12 million in licensing fees. They resolved their legal claim in an undisclosed settlement, the records show.

Concerns about potential conflicts

More than a year after Eric Trump’s return to Cap Cana, the plans for a new Trump-branded Dominican development have remained shrouded in secrecy. But the potential revival has raised a host of thorny questions, not only for the dozens of original buyers who lost money in the planned Caribbean resort, but for both ethics groups and the president’s congressional critics.

The Dominican project, they argued, offers a fresh example of the issues raised in U.S. District Court on Thursday. Lawyers representing nearly 200 Democrats in Congress argued in a lawsuit that President Trump is violating the Constitution by accepting potentially profitable favors and business opportunities abroad.

“The problem is clear, and the implications for U.S. national security are serious,” said Sen. Benjamin Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland, who is a plaintiff in the suit and a leading member of the Foreign Relations Committee. “In country after country, it is a major problem when the Trump Organization conducts business because that business financially benefits President Trump, just like here in the Dominican Republic.”

For Cardin and other members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the chief concern has stemmed from allegations of favorable foreign treatment to Trump businesses. Trump has pledged that his family’s company would avoid any new foreign enterprise, but without adhering to that pledge, Cardin told ABC News, “the American people are left questioning whether the President’s decisions abroad are made only in the U.S. national security interest or with regard to his business interests.”

The Trump administration and the President’s family company have repeatedly rejected any suggestion that a conflict could emerge in countries where the Trumps are in business. During a Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded to a question about the potential for U.S. foreign policy to conflict with Trump ventures abroad “bizarre.”

“I've been incredibly involved in this administration's foreign policy now for some sixteen months and I have seen literally no evidence of what you are scurrilously suggesting,” Pompeo said.

Watchdogs in both the Dominican Republic, and the United States however, aren’t so sure.

Bernardo Vega, a leading Dominican news columnist who once served as the country’s ambassador to the U.S., told ABC News he wants to know if the developers who are working with the Trump Organization are receiving special treatment as they have sought to acquire permission to build 20-story hotel towers in a part of the island where building heights are severely restricted. Vega wrote a newspaper column alleging special treatment, but the tourism officials denied that to ABC News.

Vega has continued, though to voice his concerns to reporters, telling the U.S. publication Fast Company in February: “Here in the palace, the president’s thoughts are that this U.S. president is angry and we better not get in his way. We don’t want to cross him.”

The former U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Wally Brewster, told ABC News he wants to know if any of the president’s broad range of powers have become tools of leverage in the company’s dealings with the powerful Dominican family that is developing Cap Cana. Brewster, who was an Obama appointee, noted that Dominican business executives treasure their visas. Even if the topic is never mentioned, he said, just the fear they could lose their U.S. travel visas could give the Trump Organization an upper hand in any negotiation.

Brewster said he does not know if visas were ever invoked in discussions over the Trump development. But he said “the threat of potentially having your visa pulled can be just as powerful as having it pulled,” he said.

Brewster also questioned whether the U.S. government is still aggressively pursuing a slow-moving legal case it brought against the project’s developer for more than $12 million in U.S. loan guarantees issued by the Export-Import Bank of the United States but never repaid. The loans, bank officials told ABC News, were meant to help the Cap Cana developer to import U.S. products. But Dominican court records show efforts to recover the U.S. taxpayer funds have stalled. There has been no action on the case since August 2016.

Eryn Schornick, a lawyer with the watchdog group Global Witness told ABC News these are concerns inherent with having a U.S. President whose family is doing extensive business overseas.

“The primary concern I see with the potential of Mr. Trump’s family returning to the Dominican Republic is abuse of power,” said Schornick, who has done legal work in the Dominican. “The fact is, the Dominican Republic is a very small country. They’re in a place where doing business with [the family of] the President of the United States could influence the way in which any negotiations in foreign policy may happen.”

In Cap Cana, snakes and high grass

Fausto Peyrani, an Italian businessman, gave ABC News a tour of the lot he purchased at the lavish sales event a decade ago.

He drove slowly up the road to the 68 cliff-top lots that had sold in 2007 for between $3 million and $12 million, past the helipads where sales teams offered buyers helicopter tours of the building site, and the tropical restaurant with koi ponds where Trump and his children, Eric and Ivanka, greeted buyers amidst an endless spread of gourmet food and champagne. The glass windows and doors were shattered, and overgrowth had begun swallowing the walls and over-running the Koi ponds. A snake could be seen slithering behind the bar.

On his property, a steel tower once erected to provide a view-scape of the bluffs below had rusted and started to buckle.

“Ten years ago, I like many others were absolutely certain that this place would develop rapidly,” he said.

Now, he does not hold hope for living long enough to see the mansion he imagined building on the property. “I think my great, great, great, grand grandchildren, in 30 years will say, ‘Oh we had a very smart great, great, great grandfather.’ But, all those in between, are not going to see anything.”

Gonzalez told ABC News that he still remembers being greeted at the sales event by Eric and Ivanka Trump. And he still has the letter he received, a copy of which can be read below, signed by the man who one day would be the American president.

“You can rest assured that Cap Cana will be up to the gold standard the Trump name signifies worldwide,” Trump wrote in 2008. “I have no doubt that Trump at Cap Cana will be no exception in achieving the usual success that we have come accustomed with [sic] all of our products around the world.”

Now, he grimaces when he writes the monthly $129 maintenance checks to insure he is in good standing with the developer. He stopped visiting years ago and no longer expects to see signs of activity.

“The grass was growing over the roads. There was a big fountain as you came in, [but] the fountain broke down, it was not functioning,” he said. “It [had] deteriorated. You could see that there was nothing going on.”

Ganz, now a Baltimore real estate agent, also said he has not heard from anyone about the “new phase” of the development that gave him his first tough lesson in the harscrabble world of real estate. He says his life has moved on since he says he ran out of funds to maintain the property and his bank took ownership of the land.

The one-time Trump true believer has chosen to harbor no grudges against the Trump Organization for what went wrong. “For people to look back frustrated, or say things weren’t delivered, or it was false advertising, or improper marketing practices, I don’t really take that perspective.” And he said he still holds out a glimmer of hope for a return.

“I think there’s a lot of frustration with the overall body of investors that purchased in Farallon, but I take that in stride,” Ganz said. “To me the best thing that could happen would be to help me finish what I started down there. And, hey, the ship has righted, train's back on the track, and the American dream continues in the Dominican Republic.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed

Ore Huiying/Getty Images(SENTOSA ISLAND, Singapore) -- Restaurants and bars in Singapore are known for their savvy adaptations of other cultures and new trends. With less than 24 hours before the planned historic meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in this city-state, creative menus and ideas with a touch of humor are luring customers.

The most popular are summit-themed burgers. Wolf Burgers, a popular spot at a food court in Suntec City, offers the “Burger for World Peace” made of Korean marinated bulgogi brisket with kimchi mayonnaise and melted American cheddar cheese.

“It’s a very important event for us, because we are celebrating world peace,” a high school student who was sampling the new menu told ABC News. “There will be no more World War Three.”

Another burger can be found at a food stall in Makansutra Gluttons Bay. The Old Satay Club Mee Goreng stall No. 4 sells a limited-edition item called “Trump-Kim Peace Burger.” The cook includes kimchi for a Korean taste and it sells for about $9.

Meanwhile, Royal Plaza on Scotts Hotel features a grilled “Trump-Kim Burger” with a mix of minced chicken, seaweed and kimchi patty, with Korean rice rolls and fries on the side, also for about $9. To wash it down, the “Summit Iced Tea” is sold for about $4.50 as a mix of Korean honey yuzu and traditional iced tea.

OSG Bar and Kitchen coined a fusion dish to represent the diverse culture in Singapore with a sprinkle of U.S.-North Korea summit on top. “Trump-Kimchi Nasi Lemak” is served in a round bowl symbolizing peace, with U.S. imported dry-aged beef and fried Korean Kimchi on top of chicken rice, and Malaysian chili, selling for less than $16.

The owner of the restaurant, Zach Wen, made a flier and photo-op board to promote this summit-themed Singaporean rice.

Gastropub Escobar restaurant brought the expected “war of nerves” between Trump and Kim with its summit-special menu. With the “U.S.-North Korea Showdown,” customers can play drinking games with 10 blue vodka shots on behalf of the United States and red soju shots for North Korea, at about $45. Those who aren’t up for a drinking game can savor a bourbon-based glass of “Trump” or soju-based “Kim” cocktails. They cost around $9.40 a glass.

Lucha Loco introduced a seasonal taco menu just for the summit. The Mexican restaurant named summit-season tacos after the two leaders’ nicknames. The “Rocket Man Taco” represents North Korean leader Kim, as Trump once referred to him. And there’s the “El Trumpo Taco” named after the U.S. president. The price begins at about $7.50.

Even fast-food chain KFC is jumping on the bandwagon, offering a four-piece meal in a "Four Peace" box on the day of the summit.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Subscribe To This Feed YORK) -- As summer storm season rolls in, new research offers fresh guidelines to ensure drivers roll safely to a stop.

The American Automobile Association released a study on Thursday showing that worn tires traveling at speeds of about 60 mph in wet conditions can extend average stopping distances by 43 percent, or an additional 87 feet or more, when compared to new tires. The difference is more than the length of a semi-trailer.

"The tread of the tire - it's only purpose in life is to get water away so the tire can remain in contact with the road," Greg Brannon, AAA's director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations told ABC. "So you have to maintain that tread depth."

With their findings, AAA is updating the old test of placing a penny in the tread of your tire -- and now suggesting that drivers use a quarter.

The lower the tread depth, the more likely a car will hydroplane.

Experts suggest slipping an upside-down quarter between your tire grooves, looking at the side bearing Washington’s head. If you can see all of it, it’s time to start shopping for new tires.

Most industry guidelines and state laws recommend that drivers wait until the tread depth reaches 2/32” to replace tires - but AAA says stopping distances have already begun to deteriorate once the tread depth reaches 4/32”.

In addition to regularly checking the tread of your tires, safety experts recommend avoiding cruise control in wet conditions. Drivers need to be able to react as quickly as possible if the vehicle loses traction.

Increasing the space between you and the car in front will also allow ample room to respond - so keep your distance.

If you do find yourself hydroplaning, AAA recommends gently easing off the accelerator and steer in the direction the vehicle should go until traction is regained. Braking forcefully can cause the vehicle to skid.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

On Air Now
Bill Cunningham
Bill Cunningham
10:00pm - 12:00am
Live On Sunday Night It's Bill Cunningham
Email Comments
My Profile
WOND Facebook

Community Calendar