Department of Justice Files With Court To Shut Down Gold Club Near Wilmington As Criminal Nuisance Property

A complaint filed by Attorney General Matt Denn’s office asks the state Superior Court to declare the Gold Club near Wilmington a criminal nuisance property and to order that it be closed.

As stated in the complaint, the action comes as the result of numerous arrests at, near or coming from the property for shootings, vehicle thefts, illegal drug possession, assaults, stabbings and other illegal activity. There have been shootings in August 2012, March 2014, May 2014, September 2015 and this past Sunday, November 15, 2015, with the most recent shooting a homicide.

The complaint was filed under the under the state’s Criminal Nuisance Abatement Act, which empowers to Attorney General “to eliminate locations that otherwise attract criminals, violence and the threat of violence,” as stated in Title 10, Section 7102 of the Delaware Code.

“Police have been called to the Gold Club at least 237 times in the last four years,” said Attorney General Matt Denn. “Shutting the doors of a business which consistently brings crime, drugs, and violence to the area is in the interest of public safety.”

The property where the club stands, 1031 South Market St, Wilmington is owned by the Kent Manor Inn, and the Gold Club itself is owned by PML Clubs, Inc.  Both Kent Manor Inn, Inc. and PML Clubs, Inc. Kent Manor Inn, Inc. and PML Clubs, Inc. are owned and operated by Michael Rose.

A copy of the complaint can be found HERE.

State Attorneys General Call on Phone Carriers to Offer Call-Blocking Technology to Customers

Attorney General Matt Denn Wednesday joined 44 other state attorneys general calling on five major phone companies to offer call-blocking technology to their customers. In a joint letter to the chief executives of the carriers, the attorneys general said a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule clarification allows telecommunication service providers to offer customers the ability to block unwanted calls, and confirms that federal law does not prohibit offering the services.

In the letter to AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and CenturyLink, the attorneys general stated, “Every year, our offices are flooded with consumer complaints pleading for a solution to stop intrusive robocalls. Your companies are now poised to offer your customers the help they need. We urge you to act without delay.”

Phone carriers had previously claimed they could not offer such services.

“The FCC has made it clear that phone companies can give their customers what they have been asking for – a way to stop these calls before they ever come through,” Attorney General Denn said.

Call-blocking options already exist for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service and Android cell phones, and the phone carriers should move quickly to implement and inform their consumers of these options, the letter said.

In September 2014, 39 attorneys general, led by Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, called on the FCC to allow phone companies to utilize call-blocking technologies. The FCC chairman endorsed the request in late May and the FCC voted to pass the rule clarification on June 18.

The letter to the phone companies can be found HERE.

Attorney General Announces Distribution of Restitution Funds to Tenants of Dover Apartments For False Advertising

DOVER – Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn announced Tuesday more than 700 tenants will receive a combined $75,000 in restitution as a result of a two Dover apartment complexes advertising an amenity unavailable for tenants to use.

The restitution is part of an agreement the Division of Fraud and Consumer Protection entered into with Dover Investors L.P. and Trinity Property Group, LLC, the owner and operators of Alder Park and Pine Grove Apartments in Dover, earlier this year. This agreement resolves allegations these businesses falsely advertised a swimming pool as an amenity available for tenants to use when in fact the pool was not operational for an extended period of time.

Besides the payment of restitution, which is in the form of either cash or credits against the tenant’s account if a balance was owed, the agreement requires these companies to pay $25,000 in civil penalties and $8,000 in attorney’s fees and investigative costs. The companies were also ordered to cease and desist advertising the availability of amenities unless they are available for their tenants to use. The civil penalties are suspended provided the businesses do not violate the terms of the agreement.

“Businesses need to carefully ensure their advertisements reflect the actual goods and services they provide,” Attorney General Denn said. “We will continue to work to make sure Delawareans are protected against false advertising.”

Tenants of Alder Park and Pine Grove who entered into their rental agreement on or after August 24, 2011 but before February 16, 2014 or renewed their rental agreement during this time period are eligible for restitution. Restitution will be provided as a credit against a tenant’s outstanding balance as of October 30, 2014, or as cash if the tenant did not have any outstanding balance at that time. Checks to those eligible are being mailed this week.

Attorney General Denn Urges Oil Companies to Eliminate Synthetic Drug Sales At Gas Stations

Attorney General Matt Denn recently joined with 42 of his counterparts in asking the CEOs of nine oil companies to eliminate any synthetic drug sales from retail locations operating under their brand names.

Synthetic drugs started appearing in gas stations, tobacco shops and liquor stores over the last seven years. In 2010, more than 11,000 people nationally – many of whom were younger than 17 – went to the emergency room after using synthetic marijuana, and in 2011 the number was more than 28,000.

“The impact and dangerousness of synthetic drugs has become clear in Delaware. In 2011, a man high on the synthetic drug known as bath salts killed New Castle County Police Lt. Joseph Szczerba,” Attorney General Denn said. “Delaware lawmakers passed legislation making bath salts illegal following that incident, but new varieties of synthetic drugs continue to be created, and none of them should be available at stores in Delaware or anywhere.”

The contents and effects of synthetic drugs are unpredictable due to a changing variety of chemicals used in manufacturing processes that are devoid of quality controls and regulatory oversight.
The letter asks company officials to prohibit franchisees from selling any synthetic drugs, revoke the franchisee/franchisor relationship with any gas station or convenience store that sells any kind of synthetic drug, and report to local law enforcement if they learn that any franchisee is selling synthetic drugs.

Companies receiving the letter with the request from the state Attorneys General included BP, Phillips 66, Chevron, Shell, Citgo, Sunoco, Exxon Mobil, Valero, and Marathon Petroleum.

The state and territorial Attorneys General offices that signed the letter are: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Attorney General Denn Updates School Compliance with Delaware Bullying Laws

WILMINGTON, DE – Attorney General Matt Denn released the second annual report on compliance by Delaware schools with state anti-bullying laws today. The report analyzes the implementation by the Department of Education, school districts, and charter schools of significant changes that were made to the state’s bullying statutes in 2012.

The report finds that the state’s efforts to require schools to communicate with parents about bullying incidents are showing success, but that the state’s evidence-gathering practices regarding bullying are in need of reform and that school districts and charter schools are not consistently complying with their obligation to direct students and parents to help when bullying occurs.

The report notes that there were 11% fewer substantiated bullying incidents reported in the 2013-2014 school year than in the 2012-2013 school year, but questions about the reliability of the state’s bullying statistics make it difficult to gauge whether a real reduction in bullying of that amount occurred.

“It is encouraging to see the progress our schools have made in keeping parents informed about bullying, because that was one of the primary goals of the 2012 legislation,” said Attorney General Denn who co-authored the 2012 legislation as Lieutenant Governor. “But our schools clearly have more work to do in letting parents know what recourse they have when bullying does occur, and the state needs to do a better job accurately tracking bullying incidents so we can accurately monitor our overall progress.”

In addition to conclusions highlighted in the report, the document proposes recommendations for moving forward, including:

(a) That the state revise its system for tabulating reported and substantiated bullying incidents so that data the legislature intended to gather can be accurately tabulated.
(b) That the state more uniformly educate and monitor the reporting practices of districts and charter schools so that incidents and data are properly reported on a consistent basis.
(c) That school districts and charter schools ensure that contact information for the state’s bullying ombudsman is prominently displayed on their web sites, and that the Delaware Code be revised to provide specific enforcement provisions for this statutory requirement.
(d) That the Department of Education continue to emphasize reporting of bullying incidents to parents of both victims and perpetrators.

“Delaware students, parents, and educators share genuine concerns about bullying–in-school bullying, bullying outside of school, and especially, the rise in bullying on social media,” said Frederika Jenner, President of the Delaware State Education Association. “We appreciate the attention that has been brought to these concerns, as well as efforts from the AG’s office to both curtail and monitor bullying. All progress is welcomed and celebrated.”

“We are pleased with the progress the state has made in addressing the issue of bullying in our schools,” said Dr. Terri Hodges, President of the Delaware PTA. “The findings and recommendations are consistent with the changes we have seen in the schools, as well as the reports we receive from parents in regards to how incidents of bullying are handled.”

You can view the entire report here: