March 24, 2015
haverhill

Lawyer Suing Neighbor for Smoking Is Defender Of Corporations Accused Of Toxic Smoke

There’s been recent media coverage of how two Washington DC lawyers named Brendan and Nessa Coppinger have sued and convinced a local judge to issue a temporary restraining order prohibiting their neighbor, Edwin Gray, from smoking in his Capitol Hill row house, which adjoins theirs.

Gray has lived in his home for 51 years; the Coppingers moved into theirs last fall. The Coppingers say that cigarette and marijuana smoke is seeping into their bedroom and their child’s bedroom. The Washington Post quoted Nessa Coppinger, 38 and pregnant with the couple’s second child, as saying, “This is a health concern. We don’t …

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March 23, 2015
west-TX-explosion

Leaders Tell Obama: Time Running Out On Preventing Chemical Disasters

Late last week, hundreds of organizations and people sent a letter to President Obama warning that his administration is running of time to act on an issue long-identified by the President as essential to our national security and public safety: protecting our people from the dangers of accidents or deliberate attacks at U.S. chemical plants.

I signed this letter, along with leaders including retired Army General Russel Honore, the commander of Task Force Katrina, and 9-11 widow Kristen Breitweiser, and organizations including the Environmental Justice Health Alliance, United Steelworkers, Sierra Club, and Greenpeace.

I have been involved in the effort to get …

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March 12, 2015

VIDEO – Durbin: Corinthian Buyer ECMC Is Breaking Its Promises

In a floor speech today, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said he was “troubled” that ECMC, the debt collection company that has acquired more than 50 campuses of collapsing for-profit college chain Corinthian, is “already, just weeks into owning and operating these schools, failing to live up to the promises they made to the students and to me.” Durbin said that ECMC’s CEO, Dave Hawn, had indicated that he had listened to the concerns of Durbin and others and agreed to drop a policy forcing students to give up their right to bring grievances with the school to court. But Hawn did not tell Durbin …

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March 12, 2015
For-profits-large2

What Law Students — and Everyone — Should Know About For-Profit Colleges

This article originally appeared in the Harvard Law Record, a student-run publication. It also appears on Huffington Post

I’m a Washington DC lawyer and policy advocate, and I spend a couple days a week trying to expose and end the abuses of a particularly bad industry: predatory for-profit colleges. I am regularly contacted by industry employees who no longer can live with being part of an immoral enterprise:

• The marketer at a Utah “lead generation” company who is assigned to placing fake ads for non-existent jobs on the Internet, aimed at luring unemployed people to provide their …

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February 17, 2015
collegeamerica2

Colorado Sues CollegeAmerica for Systematic Deception

A state court in Denver has just unsealed the complaint that the Colorado attorney general brought late last year against CollegeAmerica / Stevens-Henager, a former for-profit college network that recently converted to non-profit status. The school’s conversion seems to enrich its founder in ways that disturbingly distort the concept of a non-profit, but its apparent abuses of students are even more troubling.

Last year the U.S. Justice Department joined an employee whistleblower lawsuit charging that College America / Stevens-Henager schools paid their recruiters bonuses, commissions, and other forms of incentive compensation in violation of the federal ban on such …

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February 13, 2015
everest

Misleading Assurances in the Corinthian-ECMC Deal

Student loan debt collection company ECMC has just begun its takeover of 56 campuses of the failed, predatory for-profit Corinthian Colleges. But already, assurances from both federal government officials and ECMC itself regarding protections for students in the deal appear to have been highly misleading. A brand-new Everest College enrollment agreement, seen by Republic Report, combined with other information, suggests that the deal is worse for students than has been promised.

A striking example is a provision of this new enrollment agreement document, which is presented under the header “Everest College, An affiliate of Zenith Education Group, Inc.” Zenith is the new non-profit …

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January 23, 2015
edmc_hp

Inside the ECMC-Corinthian Deal: Will Students Be Protected?

The U.S. Department of Education’s ill-advised effort to broker the sale of 56 campuses of the discredited Corinthian for-profit college chain to ECMC, a student debt collection operation, has hit some snags. The transfer of campuses to ECMC has been delayed nearly a month, to February 2, in part because various state regulators need to give approval, and even then there will be campuses not ready to be shifted until some unspecified later time. But new information obtained by Republic Report suggests once again how challenging it would be to successfully run Corinthian for any new management, and particularly ECMC, which …

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January 21, 2015
drevna

Refinery Lobbyist Invokes WW2-Era Quote, Calls Businesses That Donate to Environmentalists ‘Appeasers’

Charles Drevna, the top lobbyist for the refinery industry in America, likened fossil fuel companies that work with and fund environmental groups to “appeasers.” Paraphrasing Winston Churchill, Drevna said “an appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping he’ll eat him last, and that’s what’s happening,” referencing a donation from gas company to the Sierra Club.

Drevna was speaking to reporters after his remarks at the National Press Club.

“The environmental goal is to knock out coal … knock out fossil fuels,” said Drevna, who scorned Chesapeake Energy chief executive Aubrey McClendon for reportedly donating tens of millions of dollars to …

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