- Galveston, TX Weather :: 34F Fair January 18, 201834F Fair
- Galveston, TX Weather :: 34F Fair January 18, 2018
- Karolyi Ranch in Huntsville will no longer serve as USA Gymnastics National Team Training Center January 18, 2018The Karolyi Ranch in Huntsville will no longer serve as the USA Gymnastics National Team Training Center, according to Kerry Perry, the president and CEO of USA Gymnastics."USA Gymnastics has terminated its agreement with the Karolyi Ranch in Huntsville, Texas. It will no longer serve as the USA Gymnastics National Team Training Center," Kerry said. […]
- Rockets' Trevor Ariza, Gerald Green suspended 2 games each for entering Clippers locker room January 18, 2018Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza and guard Gerald Green have each been suspended two games without pay following an incident that occurred after the Rockets 113-102 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night.The suspensions were announced by the league and follow its investigation that determined Ariza and Green entered the Clippers locker room […]
- Larry Nassar's abuse victims, in their own words January 17, 2018One by one the women stepped forward to the podium, some fighting back tears, to face their abuser.They were among dozens of victims testifying this week at the sentencing of Dr. Larry Nassar, a former doctor at Michigan State University who has been convicted of sexually abusing gymnasts and other female athletes -- many of […]
- Katie Couric returning for Winter Olympics opening ceremony January 17, 2018NBC is bringing back Katie Couric to co-host the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics next month.Couric will be co-host with Mike Tirico, who is replacing Bob Costas as prime-time host of the games. The ceremony takes place in South Korea on Feb. 9.She's hosted three Olympic opening ceremonies with Costas, the most recent in […]
- Katie Couric returning for Winter Olympics opening ceremony next month January 17, 2018NBC is bringing back Katie Couric to co-host the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics next month.Couric will be co-host with Mike Tirico, who is replacing Bob Costas as prime-time host of the games. The ceremony takes place in South Korea on Feb. 9.She's hosted three Olympic opening ceremonies with Costas, the most recent in […]
- Astros introduce starting pitcher Gerrit Cole January 17, 2018The Houston Astros officially introduced starting pitcher Gerrit Cole Wednesday afternoon.The 'Stros traded pitchers Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz, along with third baseman Colin Moran and outfielder Jason Martin to the Pirates in exchange for Cole. The deal was announced Saturday."It was a really good phone call. How do you ask for anything more to […]
- JJ Watt suits up for Houston snow, ice; Texans star shares struggles of cold conditions January 17, 2018Where there was once wonder, there now appears to be some annoyance for Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt when it comes to the Houston snow and ice storm. Watt posted two videos and a photo in his Instagram stories about the extreme freeze and snow since he recently returned from his romantic trip to […]
- Simone Biles says she was a sex abuse victim of ex-USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar January 15, 2018Olympic gymnastics champion Simone Biles says she is among the athletes sexually abused by a now-imprisoned former USA Gymnastics team doctor.Biles, who won four gold medals and five overall at the 2016 Olympics, released a statement via Twitter on Monday saying she is one of the "many survivors" that were abused by Larry Nassar.PHOTOS: Simone […]
- US Olympic bobsled team includes Houston man January 15, 2018Former Cy-Fair high school and Rice football and track standout Sam McGuffie is one of 12 athletes selected to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men's Bobsled Team to compete in PyeongChang, South Korea in the 13th Winter Olympic Games.The team was announced Monday by USA Bobsled and Skeleton. McGuffie will represent the United States in both […]
- Stunner: Keenum-Diggs TD on last play; Vikes win 29-24 January 15, 2018Case Keenum completed a last-ditch heave near the sideline Sunday on the game's final play, and Stefon Diggs slithered away for a 61-yard touchdown to give Minnesota a 29-24 victory over New Orleans and send the Vikings to the NFC championship game, with one more win needed to become a first-time Super Bowl host.Houstonians react […]
- Karolyi Ranch in Huntsville will no longer serve as USA Gymnastics National Team Training Center January 18, 2018
- After murder-suicide, friends and neighbors ask 'why?' January 18, 2018Flor De Maria Pineda de Cañas shot and killed her husband and two small children before turning the gun on herself in a Galveston resort Jan. 7 according to Galveston police. From left are Pineda and Leonila Olivares of the Iglesia Cristo Viene, a Baytown church. /*. */. Posted: Thursday, January 18, ...
- Energy Sector Update for 01/17/2018: FGP, TAT, TNP.TO, SD, AMGP, STO, BP January 17, 2018Marathon Petroleum ( MPC ) was fractionally higher today following reports the company is eliminating 64 salaried positions at its refinery in Galveston Bay, Texas, refinery as part of efforts to improve efficiency. Marathon began combining operations at Galveston Bay with an adjoining refinery in Texas ...
- Family fun: Pizza, skating and a surfside festival January 17, 2018Information: facebook.com/events/1803529392993192. GALVESTON. Yaga's Chili Quest & Beer Fest. Galveston's annual festival features chili and beer tasting, live music, washers tournament, Jackpot Margarita Contest and merchant walk-about on the Historic Strand. When: 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday.
- Marathon cuts employees at Galveston Bay refinery, citing efficiency moves January 17, 2018Marathon Petroleum (NYSE:MPC) lays off 64 salaried employees at its Galveston Bay Refinery in Texas, a move the company says is the result of five years of improving efficiency at the refinery. MPC is said to have formally combined operations at the adjoining 86K bbl/day former Texas City refinery ...
- Winter Weather Advisory January 17, 2018The National Weather Service in Houston/Galveston has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for icy roads and bridges, which is in effect until 5 AM CST Wednesday. The Winter Storm Warning has been cancelled. * IMPACTS...Residual moisture on roadways and bridges will freeze and produce icy spots.
- After murder-suicide, friends and neighbors ask 'why?' January 18, 2018
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- League City sets 2018 solid waste collection rates January 17, 2018League City announces that residents and businesses will have an increase in solid waste rates beginning February 1, 2018.
- Hitchcock High School Senior Shares MLK, Jr. Speech January 17, 2018Joseph Collins, a senior at Hitchcock High School Class of 2018, has submitted the text of the speech he wrote for and delivered at the MLK Jr. event at GSMBC.
- Texas A&M Galveston to host American/French Conference on Sargassum January 17, 2018Texas A&M at Galveston will host American/French Conference on Sargassum (Seaweed) and its effects on the Gulf Coast and Caribbean Islands on Thursday and Friday.
- City of La Marque January 17, 2018The City of La Marque has advised that its offices will re-open at 1 p.m. and resume normal operations.
- Village of Tiki Island Board of Aldermen January 17, 2018The Village of Tiki Island Board of Aldermen on Tuesday voted unanimously to adopt a resolution calling for election on May 5 to elect three aldermen.
- City of League City January 17, 2018The City of League City has provided an update regarding the impact of winter weather conditions on city services.
- City of Galveston January 17, 2018The City of Galveston has issued an advisory regarding weather conditions in the city, and has announced that it is re-opening city facilities at 10 a.m. today.
- City of Galveston January 16, 2018The City of Galveston has provided an update regarding winter weather conditions impacting the region.
- City of Friendswood January 16, 2018The City of Friendswood has issued a news release regarding closures in the city related to winter weather conditions.
- League City sets 2018 solid waste collection rates January 17, 2018
- Politics: Lawmakers who previously camped out for hours to shake the president's hand at the State of the Union don't want to be seen with Trump this year 18 Jan 2018 20:48 Pulse Lawmakers usually camp out in the same seat for hours every year in order to shake hands with the president when he enters the House chamber for the annual State of the Union address. But many lawmakers who have held the same seats for years will be …
- Governors ask Trump, Congress to do more on opioid crisis 18 Jan 2018 20:48 AP News / Indystar CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) -- Less than three months after President Donald Trump declared the U.S. opioid crisis a public health emergency, the nation's governors are calling on his administration and Congress to provide more money and coordination for …
- Global Poll Shows U.S. Prestige Plummeting Under Trump 18 Jan 2018 20:47 New York Magazine Throughout his 2016 campaign and the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump made it clear again and again than unlike his globalist predecessors he’d be an “America First” president who didn’t care all that much what non-Americans thought of him and …
- President Trump slams GOP efforts to avert government shutdown 18 Jan 2018 20:47 New York Daily News Online President Trump fired shots across the bow of his own party’s efforts to avert a government shutdown on Thursday, blasting Republican leadership’s decision to include funding for a popular children’s health insurance program. The GOP-drafted bill would …
- The Latest: Trump campaigns, sort of, for PA lawmaker 18 Jan 2018 20:47 Odessa American WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump's visit to Pennsylvania (all times local): 3:07 p.m. President Donald Trump is promising to return to Pennsylvania to campaign for a state lawmaker who's vying to keep a U.S. House seat in the …
- WATCH LIVE: Donald Trump expected to talk taxes, economy at manufacturing plant in Pittsburgh 18 Jan 2018 20:46 Global News WASHINGTON — A new global survey suggests the world’s impression of the United States is plummeting under President Donald Trump, with Canada registering the largest such decline of any country within the Western Hemisphere. The Gallup polling company …
- Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review: Back to Armageddon 18 Jan 2018 20:45 The Nation The Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Tennessee returns to the Naval Submarine Base at Kings Bay, Georgia, February 6, 2013. (James Kimber/U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters) Thank you for signing up. For more from The Nation, check out our …
- Trump campaigns, sort of, for PA lawmaker 18 Jan 2018 20:44 Brownsville Herald WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump's visit to Pennsylvania (all times local): 3:07 p.m. President Donald Trump is promising to return to Pennsylvania to campaign for a state lawmaker who's vying to keep a U.S. House seat in the …
- President Trump set to address March for Life live via satellite 18 Jan 2018 20:43 Dialog WASHINGTON — White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced at her daily press briefing Jan. 17 that President Donald Trump will become the first president to address the March for Life live from the White House Rose Garden via satellite. …
- Analysis: Why the porn-star scandal hasn’t touched Trump 18 Jan 2018 20:41 The Seattle Times The fact that President Donald Trump is so immersed in scandal helps inoculate him against the porn-star story. An aura of scandal and controversy that has hovered around him since early in his campaign has simply absorbed new revelations as they came out …
- Arrests along border dipped sharply under Trump, according to federal data
- Woman with criminal history accused of setting Galveston man on fire turns herself in
- Man’s body found near Seabrook highway
- Officer kills burglary suspect in shootout in La Marque
- Deputy shoots teenage driver after driver attempts to run deputies over
- Gorilla escapes barrier into hog exhibit at Houston Zoo, officials say
- Meet the man who took his daughter out of school early for deer season
- Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick: Texas churches need to know they can have guns
- In Texas, you probably won’t get welfare benefits; even if you qualify
- Texas reform advocates want to close all state-run youth lockups
- Man exposes himself at tanning salon, League City police search for his identity
- Free Press Summer Festival is changing its name to this
- Assault charge against Johnny Manziel dismissed
- How Texas curtailed traditional welfare without ending poverty
- Texas parents wait in limbo as policymakers struggle to save Children’s Health Insurance Program
- Harris County man wanted for 2006 murder arrested in Mexico
- Members of street gang linked to series of burglaries of Apple products, police say
- Arrest expected soon after Galveston man set on fire, police say
- How Breitbart, Trump and Texas Politicians Spun a Tale out of a Border Patrol Agent’s Death
- Man accused of killing teen with whom he had inappropriate relationship appears in court
- Here’s what’s happening in Harris County now that the sheriff issues bail bonds
- Texas Court of Criminal Appeals halts state’s last execution of 2017
- Houston church threatened by gunman at Sunday’s service
- As Bayer and Monsanto push for merger, Texas farmers fear rising prices
- Civil Offenses: Those Calling for Political Civility Often Have the Least to Lose
- Without recovery funds, more than 50 Texas day cares close after Harvey
- 13-year-old robbery suspect shot in the head by apartment tenant, police say
- Man Mistaken for Burglar, Shot by Police then Shackled to Hospital Bed and Barred from Seeing Family
- Coyote attacks increasing: What you should know
- Postal worker accused of kidnapping, choking and fatally shooting co-worker girlfriend
- Medical marijuana in Texas: What you need to know
- Harris County deputy suspended after striking handcuffed man after chase
- Woman with F-Trump sticker adds Sheriff Troy Nehls to display on truck
- Abbott calls White House’s latest disaster aid request “completely inadequate”
- Former United Airlines pilot pleads guilty to running prostitution ring
- Abbott, Patrick push back on TxDOT’s plans for financing new toll projects
- Trial dates set for ex-deputy, husband charged in John Hernandez’s death
- Cities race to annex land before new Texas law goes into effect Dec. 1
- A “glitch” on U.S. Sen. John Cornyn’s website asked for visitors’ Social Security numbers
- Greg Abbott Declares War on Moderate Republicans
- He thought he had a free court-appointed lawyer. Then he got a bill for $10,000
- Man fights to prove he’s alive after bank reports him as deceased
- Scam costs Friendswood man thousands of dollars
- At the Texas Capitol, victims of sexual harassment must fend for themselves
- Human Rights Lawyer on How Government is Complicit in Mexico’s Drug War
- ‘Sean Hannity Show’ fans smash Keurig brewers over pulled ads
- Another woman accuses former President George H.W. Bush of groping
- Student sent home from school bruised, claims PE teacher slammed him onto concrete
- Gov. Greg Abbott endorses primary challenger to state Rep. Sarah Davis
- Analysis: A media exec in Texas politics, not quite ready for prime time
- Police dogs trained to ignore marijuana
- Former HPD officer accused of tampering with evidence makes first court appearance
- Rent-to-own complaints spur investigation by federal agency
- HPD officer accused of tampering with evidence
- Joel Osteen impersonator breaches security at Los Angeles event
- Former ‘All My Children’ star arrested in Galveston
- Cornyn and Cruz under pressure over allegations in Alabama Senate race
- Family’s beloved pony shot to death in Liberty County
- Coastal officials say feds failing Harvey victims on short-term housing
- 22 Houston gang members indicted for multiple violent crimes, officials say
- The Faith-Tinged Fatalism of Greg Abbott’s Response to Texas’ Deadliest Mass Shooting
- Execution date set for Sugar Land man on death row
- Trump in Japan…
- Free of criminal charges, state Rep. Dawnna Dukes says she was victimized
- With no state-approved textbooks, Texas ethnic studies teachers make do
- Texas back in federal court over anti-“sanctuary cities” law
- Clara Harris granted parole for husband’s murder
- Coast Guard searching area near Freeport after boat catches fire, sinks
- Dallas County sheriff Lupe Valdez emerges as potential challenger to Gov. Greg Abbott
- With Trump Cuts, Obamacare Enrollment is a Volunteer Affair in Rural Texas
- Explosion at vodka distillery burns 3 in north Harris County
- Documents: Texas National Guard Installed Cellphone Spying Devices on Surveillance Planes
- Police increase reward for information in case of child’s body found on Galveston beach
- Meet Nueces County’s New DA, a Self-Professed ‘Mexican Biker Lawyer Covered in Tattoos’
- Leon Jacob, man accused in murder-for-hire plot, faces new charge
- The Brief: The deadliest mass shooting in Texas history
- Counterprotesters say white supremacists, not Russian Facebook ads, drew them to rally
- What we know about Texas church shooter
- Harris County Precinct 4 deputy constable shot several times, officials say
- $500 million in Ike relief is still unspent. Will Texas do better after Harvey?
- Prosecutor asks for current medical standards in death penalty evaluations
- How to earn quick cash by flipping items
- Rick Perry ties fossil fuel use to sexual assault prevention
- Abbott Supports Removing Inaccurate Capitol Displays. Do Slavery-Denying Plaques Count?
- A Russian Facebook page organized a protest in Texas. A different Russian page launched the counter-protest.
- 24 Texas Dairy Queens closing after franchise company files for bankruptcy
- USDA Rolls Back ‘Fair Practice’ Rule That Would’ve Protected Texas Chicken Farmers
- Trump nominating Ryan Patrick, son of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, to be U.S. attorney
- Fired in 2009, football coach Mike Leach still rages at Texas Tech and Texas law
- Texas Toxicologist Who Rejects Basic Science Appointed to EPA Science Board
- Abbott presses Congress for an extra $61 billion to rebuild after Harvey
- The ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Ban Has Already Reshaped Some Police Department Policies
- Hurricane Harvey flood looters exposed
- U.S. Supreme Court examines investigatory funding in Texas death penalty case
- Who’s Defending Texas’ Confederate Monuments?
- Kicking in doors and crushing credit: How a Texas-based retailer torments customers
- Harris County jailer accused of letting prisoner attack fellow inmate
- House Democrat: Abbott supports removing Confederate plaque from Texas Capitol
- Legislators mull changing Texas law allowing criminal charges against rent-to-own customers
- Houston woman’s daughter stranded at sea with another woman for 5 months
- ‘Fail State’ Delves into the Shadowy World of For-Profit Colleges
- Grambling State student charged in double homicide
- How renting furniture in Texas can land you in jail
- ‘Wedding crasher’ says she never attacked guest, apologizes to bride and groom
- Something Yuuuge was Missing From Franklin Graham’s Waco Revival
- Family: Florida deputy caught on camera breaking into dying man’s home
- Federal government rolls out eight border wall prototypes
- In ‘The Second Coming of the KKK,’ a Timely Lesson in the History of American Hate
- US launches ‘most advanced’ stealth sub amid undersea rivalry
- Houston man identified as victim of barge explosion near Port Aransas, officials say
- Controversial Halloween decoration in Katy leads to threats against homeowner
- What does boycotting Israel have to do with Hurricane Harvey relief?
- Rep. Dawnna Dukes cleared of criminal charges, attorneys say
- $5,000 reward being offered in shooting that caused man to lose his legs
- Tornado leaves trail of damage in two Dickinson neighborhoods, NWS says
- Former HPD officer indicted in 2016 shooting of unarmed neighbor
- State Rep. Victoria Neave pleads no contest to June DWI charge
- Texas attorney general opens investigation Into Harvey debris removal companies
- Police: 3 Texas men arrested after shot fired at Richard Spencer protesters
- Perry pursuing policy on coal, nuclear power at odds with Texas record
- Cornyn: Trump assured me more Harvey aid for Texas coming in November
- Dallas Fed CEO: Technology, not trade or immigration, is main reason for job loss
- Immigrant Workers in Texas Could Fill Farm Vacancies, but They’re Trapped in the Valley
- Texas Cities Embrace a Softer Approach to Pot Possession as State Reforms Stall
- This man robbed woman who was 9 months pregnant, shot her husband, authorities say
- Ex-KIPP Explore Academy staffer arrested after accusations of child indecency
- U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson walks back comments on sexual assault
- Who is this mystery man? Galveston woman begins search to find apparent veteran’s identity
- U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders face off in tax code debate
- A look back at Colt Stadium, the home of the Colt 45s
- After Failing to Prop Up Coal in Texas, Rick Perry is Trying Again Nationwide
- Potential new murder confession delays Texas serial killer’s execution
- Texas court halts execution to review claims that co-defendant lied at trial
- How much are property taxes in Houston going down next year?
- Cruz presses Sessions on Trump administration’s “catch-and-release” policy
- Federal Prisons Don’t Even Try to Rehabilitate the Undocumented
- Three teens charged with murder after missing teen’s body found
- Houston serial killer faces execution this week
- Insurance company accused of delayed response to storm claims
- Some Texas Republicans in Congress again outraised by challengers
- To fund bid against Ted Cruz, former mayor puts up building as prize in “essay and rib contest”
- U.S. House passes hurricane relief bill after tense day for Texas delegation, Abbott
- It’s Time to End Austin’s Failed Experiment in Police Oversight, Activists Say
- Prosecutors drop 1 of 13 felony charges against Rep. Dawwna Dukes
- League City mayor hospitalized after heart attack
- ICE Detained a Pregnant Rape Survivor for Six Months, Records Show
- Husband, wife each lose leg after hit-and-run crash in Waller County
- Temporary bans placed on fishing near site of busted cap
- Texas man travels to Orlando to sexually assault 9-year-old girl, police say
- Mom, older brother charged after 11-year-old found smoking meth
- Days from execution, man convicted in prison guard’s murder insists on innocence
- Truck involved in multiple accidents leaves 1 dead, 1 injured in Texas City, police say
- $1M worth of iPads mostly unused after being purchased for local elections
- Woman caught on camera stomping small dog inside elevator
- How much has been raised for Harvey relief — and how’s it being spent?
- The Case to End Assembly Line Justice for Poor People in Harris County
- Mother, son charged in murder-for-hire plot
- How scammers are using homeowners to defraud FEMA
- Police find man’s body stuffed in closet after victim ‘tortured’ to death
- In historic win, charters getting state funding for facilities for the first time
- Dreamers greet DACA renewal deadline with anxiety and unanswered questions
- Attorney General Ken Paxton’s trial is delayed for a third time
- Judge blocks Texas secretary of state from giving voter information to Trump commission
- East Texas county sues drug companies, alleges role in opioid crisis
- North Korean workers prepare seafood for U.S. stores, restaurants
- 3 Harris County Sheriff’s Office employees indicted in assault cases
- Reward raised for man on Texas 10 Most Wanted Sex Offenders list
- Texas business mogul Mark Cuban offers details for hypothetical 2020 presidential run
- Woman accused of killing taxi driver appears in court
- Texas death row inmate Duane Buck has sentence reduced to life after Supreme Court orders retrial
- Hearing in Paxton case to consider delaying trial for third time
- Appellate judges show concern over Harris County bail practices, court ruling
- 28 organizations that got money from the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
- Pasadena drops appeal, will remain under federal oversight of election laws
- Almost 400,000 Texans’ insurance at risk after Congress fails to renew CHIP
- How Harris County’s federal bail lawsuit spreads beyond Houston
- HHS Secretary Tom Price resigns amid criticism of his travel on private planes
- Houston mayor calls off property tax hike after Abbott delivers $50 million
- ‘I’m just gonna shoot him if things go sideways,’ cop tells college student during traffic stop
- Hearing set for Friday in wrongful death suit in John Hernandez case
- Aide found half-naked after sexual contact with student, deputies say
- Thousands of Poor Texans Could Lose Health Care With Congress Distracted by ACA Repeal
- Slideshow: For southeast Texas, recovery after Harvey is slow
- Even Hurricane Harvey Can’t Temper GOP Hostility Toward Texas’ Big Cities
- Murder suspect arrested in 27-year-old ‘killer clown’ shooting married to victim’s husband
- Texas attorney general now accepting complaints on “sanctuary” jurisdictions
- Abbott: Houston has enough funding for Harvey recovery
- U.S. House passes tax breaks for victims of Harvey, Irma and Maria
- New state law seeks to reduce the number of child brides in Texas
- Texas can enforce more of ‘sanctuary cities’ law
- Florida trooper accused of showing porn to child
- Town mayor facing assault charges
- 13-year-old accused in kidnapping and rape plot
- Hensarling to flood victims: ‘God’s telling you to move’
- Body Cam Policies in Texas Exacerbate a System Designed to Protect Police, Critics Say
- Army vet shown walking after claiming he couldn’t owes government $434K
- Analysis: X-factor in 2018’s Texas elections might be Harvey, not Donald
- Federal appeals court to hear arguments on Texas “sanctuary cities” law Friday
- Texas teens to be trained next year on police interactions
- Newlyweds say DJ robbed wedding cash
- How Galveston is offering a free beach weekend
- Lyft ride leads to hate crime charge for Houston man
- Florida woman makes ‘sexy’ plea to get power back after Hurricane Irma
- Report: Indicted state Rep. Dawnna Dukes spent $51k on online psychic
- Report: Trump’s judicial nominee from Texas called transgender kids part of “Satan’s plan”
- Hospital workers in hot water over Snapchat video, picture calling newborns ‘mini Satans’
- How some see Texas as the “gold standard” against wrongful convictions
- New leak discovered on Battleship Texas
- Texas House Speaker Joe Straus calls for removal of “inaccurate” Confederate plaque
- Hey, Texplainer: How is FEMA distributing money to areas hit by Harvey?
- Friendswood man accused of raking in nearly $2 million in decadelong pay-phone scheme
- Mayor Sylvester Turner has strong words for Red Cross after problems surface
- Trump Nominee to FEC Tried to Shred Texas’ Already-Weak Ethics Laws
- Dad in clown mask shot at while chasing daughter through neighborhood
- As a result of Hurricane Harvey, 600 more Texas prisoners getting AC
- Trooper fired for Sandra Bland stop: “My safety was in jeopardy.”
- Mysterious sea creature that washed up on Texas beach after Harvey identified
- Within days, this Austin company hopes to start legally growing marijuana
- Former officer accused of stealing $2,400 from dead man indicted on theft charges
- 135,000 gallons of sludge released into Galveston Bay after equipment failure, officials say
- Post-Harvey, Houston officials hope Congress is up for funding Ike Dike
- Ex-husband strangled Baytown realtor while children in next room, prosecutors say
- Pizza Hut manager threatened workers evacuating for Irma
- The Road to Huntsville
- Now you can carry any knife (almost) anywhere in Texas
- In beleaguered La Marque schools, Harvey stirs up old anxieties
- Flooded cars already being put up for sale
- Trump Nominates Lawyers from Anti-LGBT ‘Religious Freedom’ Group to be Texas Federal Judges
- Man survives being shot 16 times outside southwest Houston home
- Floridians jam highways to flee wrath of Hurricane Irma
- U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul again top contender to be Trump’s homeland security chief
- Experts: Much of Harvey-Related Air Pollution was Preventable
- Texans in Congress aim for united front ahead of long fight for Harvey aid
- Texas churches damaged during Harvey sue FEMA for federal funding
- Amazon wants to open $5 billion second HQ in North America
- New law allows hunting hogs from hot air balloons, but few balloonists will offer it
- New texting while driving ban full of loopholes
- Woman urinates herself, yells racial slurs during DUI arrest, police say
- Police shoot, kill tiger running loose in neighborhood
- What to do if your vehicle flooded during Hurricane Harvey
- House overwhelmingly passes $7.9 billion Harvey aid bill
- Selena’s family mourning the death of Houston relatives killed in Harvey flooding
- Trump ending immigration program that has impacted more than 120,000 in Texas
- Cinco Ranch flood victims demand buyout from federal government
- The Impossible City
- Our Lady of the Underground
- Texas officials see long road from Harvey for state transportation network
- Officials are starting to grapple with the costs of Harvey. Here’s what you should know today.
- Thanks to their State Rep, Friendswood Family Rushes to File Insurance Claim for their Flooded Home
- President Trump to visit Houston today to survey Harvey destruction
- As floodwaters continue to rise in Lake Jackson, crews come in to help with evacuees
- Residents being warned of people impersonating city of Houston, FEMA inspectors
- Renters find issues with flood-damaged units, property
- Crosby plant explosion highlights state efforts to block access to chemical information
- Where the government spends to keep people in flood-prone Houston neighborhoods
- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: No special session needed for Harvey aid
- Five days after Harvey, here’s where things stand in Texas
- Harvey brings catastrophic flooding to Houston; 5 reported dead
- Trump pardons former Sheriff Joe Arpaio
- Why Houston isn’t ready for Hurricane Harvey
- Judge Emmett, Mayor Turner say ignore ‘rumors’ about Hurricane Harvey
- Galveston Island prepares for Harvey’s impact
- Former Galveston ISD teacher accused of having sex with high school student
- Galveston deputy accused of assaulting girlfriend, investigators say
- In San Antonio, Cops Punch Down
- The Brief: Battle lines are (curiously) drawn in Texas’ redistricting fight
- Analysis: Firing the opening shots in the 2018 GOP primaries
- As Houston plots a sustainable path forward, it’s leaving this neighborhood behind
- Harris County emergency officials preparing for tropical system Harvey
- Federal court puts hold on Houston ordinance aimed at homeless camps
- Puppy attacked by pet store owner’s dog
- Mother left kids in hot car while she drank at bar, police say
- Angela Paxton, Texas attorney general’s wife, eyes Texas Senate run
- US imposes sanctions on Russian, Chinese firms over North Korea
- Parents’ plea for help in finding teenage couple missing for 48 hours
- 2 women claim they were groped by local massage therapist
- Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller criticizes Six Flags’ removal of Confederate flag
- El Paso City Council votes down city ID program
- League City Man Sentenced to 6 Years for Online Solicitation of a non-existent Minor
- UT-Austin removing Confederate statues in the middle of the night
- Galveston County Deputies Prevent Jumper on Bridge at 646 & I-45
- Dickinson Cops use Facebook to Catch a Burglar Named Jesus
- Evading Theft Suspects Taken Into Custody After Causing Accident in League City
- Father faces charges after he and missing boy found at hotel, authorities say
- Confederate Monument Protest Draws Hundreds in Houston
- Former HPD officer among those arrested in prostitution sting
- Mother charged with murder after child ejected during drunken driving crash
- Over 250 sex buyers, traffickers arrested on prostitution charges during sting
- Remember the Alamo (Differently)
- Your phone’s Bluetooth can locate illegal skimmer devices
- With Supreme Court appeal, Texas wants to keep congressional map intact
- Dallas, Houston Protests Planned as Confederate Monuments Under Fire in Texas
- With Trump’s Infrastructure Plan, Rural Texas Could be Left in Disrepair
- Body found in Bayou Vista while searching for woman who disappeared under ‘suspicious circumstances’
- South Florida woman accused of DUI with 3-year-old unbuckled in back seat
- Deputies: Mother tells son to buy her drugs
- HPD officer relieved of duty after DWI charge, officials say
- Abbott: Removing Confederate monuments “won’t erase our nation’s past”
- Prosecution rests at trial of woman accused in 2012 death of husband
- Confederate statue controversy hits Houston
- Selena’s brother taken into custody after landing on most wanted list
- In special session rubble, spotlight shines bright on Straus
- President Trump disbands White House business councils as CEOs leave
- Video shows deadly jailbreak; Man who pleaded guilty in deputy’s death sentenced to life
- Fisherman hooks gator in Buffalo Bayou
- Squatters or scam victims? Homeowner finds another family living in home
- Charges sought against those who toppled Confederate statue
- Houston group asks mayor to remove Confederate statue from downtown park
- Federal court invalidates part of Texas congressional map
- Texas to receive millions in federal funding for wildlife conservation projects
- How a total solar eclipse created France, Italy and Germany
- Deputies Go Unpunished for Invasive Cavity Search on Houston Roadside
- Florida man gets 6 years for firing gun during strip club selfie
- Map details where Texas hate groups are in 2017
- Man blames ‘hookah-smoking caterpillar’ for wrecking liquor store, police say
- ‘I feel like I was raped,’ woman says of invasive roadside strip search
- New Mexico Bandidos members held in Texas in firearms case
- Man, 57, commits suicide after shooting juveniles during road-rage incident, police say
- Mother charged with child abandonment after newborn found in flower bed
- President Trump condemns KKK, neo-Nazis as ‘thugs’
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Author Archives: Brad Wolverton, NerdWallet
A U.S. government consumer watchdog agency is investigating the $8 billion rent-to-own industry and related companies over questions about unfair, deceptive and abusive practices, NerdWallet has learned.
Investigators for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are asking specifically about Rent-A-Center, the nation’s largest rent-to-own enterprise with more than 2,400 stores selling furniture and appliances mostly to low-income Americans.
A months-long investigation by The Texas Tribune and NerdWallet last month found that rent-to-own companies have used a little-known Texas law to press criminal charges against thousands of customers who fell behind in their payments in Texas and other states.
NerdWallet also reported in a joint investigation with Raycom Media that Rent-A-Center customers nationwide have complained their credit had been harmed and they were badgered by bill collectors over accounts they had paid off.
Five days after the stories appeared, Rent-A-Center’s top executive, Steven L. Pepper, resigned amid a continuing power struggle on the board of directors. Shares of the publicly traded company, headquartered in Plano, Texas, have declined nearly 75 percent in the last four years as it has struggled to increase revenue.
The CFPB sent Rent-A-Center a civil investigative demand in late July, requesting details about customer accounts it had sold to a debt buyer and other information about its business practices.
Investigators have interviewed people familiar with Rent-A-Center’s record-keeping. They asked about the company’s ability to credit customer payments properly and to report accurate information about consumers to credit reporting agencies, say people the CFPB interviewed.
Bureau staff members have also inquired about complaints that Rent-A-Center store managers pocketed consumers’ money instead of applying it to their accounts, one person interviewed by the agency told NerdWallet. He asked not to be identified because of a nondisclosure agreement he signed with the CFPB.
The CFPB declined to comment on its investigation.
Errors in customer accounts
The NerdWallet-Raycom investigation detailed the account errors and mistreatment of customers, including people who say they were threatened with criminal prosecution and had their doors kicked in. NerdWallet provided guidance to consumers harmed by the company.
Shareholders filed a federal lawsuit against the company in December 2016 over problems with its system for tracking customer payments. The complaint said Rent-A-Center had difficulty starting a new point-of-sale system in 2015, causing “severe harm” to company operations.
The company introduced the system despite repeated internal warnings about its flaws, leading to outages that caused customers to fall behind on their rental agreements, the shareholders allege in court filings. Rent-A-Center conceded its system had flaws. The company failed in an attempt to get the lawsuit dismissed.
A former senior information technology employee who helped with the rollout told NerdWallet that Rent-A-Center’s system had glitches that could show up in any account.
“There was no way to assure the veracity of any specific transaction,” said the former employee, who asked not to be named because of a nondisclosure agreement he signed with the company.
Gina Hethcock, a Rent-A-Center spokeswoman, said in an email this week that the company had received an inquiry from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regarding a prior debt sale. She said the accounts involved in the debt sale, and the CFPB’s inquiry, are unrelated to the rollout of the point-of-sale system the company uses in its 2,400 stores.
Rent-A-Center has long pushed to keep federal regulations at bay, spending more than $7.2 million lobbying Congress in the past decade, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Rent-A-Center petitioned the CFPB in August to modify or set aside its investigative demand. The company argued in a 30-page letter that the purpose of the investigation, and the broad nature of the bureau’s questions, exceeded the agency’s jurisdiction. The CFPB responded by agreeing to modify certain questions and document requests but said it has the authority to investigate the company.
Many of the complaints against Rent-A-Center detailed in the NerdWallet-Raycom report came from customers who signed lease agreements with the company for furniture sold at independently owned furniture stores.
Those transactions occurred through a Rent-A-Center subsidiary known as Acceptance Now, which operates inside nearly 1,300 furniture showrooms, including Ashley Furniture and Rooms to Go. In those showrooms, customers pick out furniture they want, but instead of buying it from the store, Acceptance Now buys it for them and leases it back to them. This process removes the store from any responsibility in disputes.
The Federal Trade Commission received 2,779 complaints about Rent-A-Center and Acceptance Now between January 2016 and June 2017.
Customers say credit reports were affected
Nearly one-third of the 674 consumers who filed complaints against Acceptance Now said they had asked the company for a record of their payment history or verification they owed money.
The company’s representatives failed to provide it, often saying they had no way of doing so, former customers said.
Ten percent of those 674 customers said errors ended up on their credit reports.
In late 2014, as Rent-A-Center was expanding its Acceptance Now program, it deemed more than 18,000 accounts seriously in arrears and sold them to a debt buyer.
At least 20 percent of the debts were invalid, says Branden Vigliotti, president of Lismore Holdings, who purchased the accounts. Customer after customer told collection agents he worked with that they had paid off their debt, sometimes voluntarily, sometimes under duress, sometimes as the result of a civil court action, Vigliotti said.
Vigliotti is in mediation with the company, which has disputed his claims.
Companies that mishandle customer records can be subject to penalties by state or federal regulators, says Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
Companies have also been fined or forced to offer restitution to consumers for violating the law. The investigative demand Rent-A-Center received says the purpose of the CFPB’s investigation is to determine if rent-to-own and related companies have violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
DeWine led a 2015 push by state attorneys general to force credit reporting agencies to fix inaccuracies on consumers’ credit reports.
He urged consumers who have been harmed by Rent-A-Center to contact their state attorney general.
“This is an industry that needs regulation,” he said in an interview. “This is an industry that is really hurting poor people.”
Jill Riepenhoff, an investigative producer at Raycom Media, contributed to this report.
Virginia real estate investor Olivia Quinn says she lost her mortgage because Rent-A-Center, the nation’s largest rent-to-own company, failed to correct her credit report. She had paid off her rented merchandise — twice.
Leroy Walton of Georgia settled his account with Rent-A-Center in 2013, his records show. But for years after, he says debt collectors pursued him, even threatening him with arrest.
Jessica Gonzalez’s federal lawsuit says she huddled with her two sons in a closet of her Florida home while a Rent-A-Center employee pounded on her house to collect money.
And Andrea Gorman told authorities that Rent-A-Center workers kicked in the front door of her Ohio home after she fell behind on payments.
Thousands of Rent-A-Center customers across the United States are complaining in growing numbers of harassment and wrecked finances after leasing furniture, electronics or appliances from the $3 billion company, which is based in Plano.
Customers say their credit scores had been damaged unfairly and they were hounded by debt collectors after they settled their accounts. Many documented lengthy, unsuccessful attempts to get Rent-A-Center to correct its records, a joint investigation by NerdWallet and Raycom Media found.
Even Rent-A-Center shareholders have complained, filing a lawsuit against the company that argued shoddy record-keeping has damaged the business.
In most American industries, harassment over unpaid bills sets off alarms with regulators. But Rent-A-Center relies on exceptions carved out for the entire rent-to-own industry, allowing it to operate outside many consumer protection laws.
The Federal Trade Commission, aware of the industry’s tactics, has warned about the risks of signing rent-to-own agreements.
At the state level, consumer advocates such as Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine say the industry needs more regulation.
Anyone considering turning to Rent-A-Center for furniture and appliances should “run — don’t walk — out of that store. Get out of there,” DeWine says.
‘A welcome hand up’
Rent-A-Center, a publicly-traded company, rents TVs, couches, washers and dryers, and other items for weeks or months. Customers typically can terminate their leases at any time and return the goods, or pay until they own the items.
The company has two basic business models. It has more than 2,400 stores largely near low-income neighborhoods and military bases.
It also operates as Acceptance Now inside nearly 1,300 independently owned furniture stores, including Ashley Furniture and Rooms to Go. In those showrooms, customers pick out furniture they want but instead of buying it from the store, Acceptance Now buys it for them and leases it back to them, removing the store from any responsibility in disputes.
Interviews by NerdWallet and Raycom and complaints to regulators show problems arise if a customer falls behind on rental payments. A missed payment can trigger aggressive responses by employees and touch off record-keeping errors, former employees told reporters.
Quinn and Walton missed payments, then caught up. But their accounts were not properly credited, their records show.
Gonzalez, Gorman and other customers who fell behind on payments faced immediate and aggressive harassment.
Chris Korst, Rent-A-Center’s chief administrative officer, said in an email that the company takes complaints seriously: “We strive to provide the highest level of customer service and when we fall short of that expectation, we work equally hard to resolve those issues.”
The rent-to-own industry has been controversial for decades, largely because it is pricey.
A Vizio soundbar with subwoofer retails for $148 at Amazon. It would cost more than five times as much, $779, if lease-purchased in a one-year contract from Rent-A-Center.
At a rental rate of $14.99 a week, a customer could save the money for 10 weeks and buy the item with cash.
Rent-A-Center said its prices are higher because they include delivery, setup and other services many retailers don’t offer. The company says its prices also reflect the risk of doing business with a population many retailers do not accommodate.
Company won’t explain charges
Caitlin Six is a financial services employee who signed a contract with Acceptance Now in 2013 to lease a sectional sofa, bedroom furniture and two mattresses from a Rooms to Go near Jacksonville, Florida.
Six signed a three-year contract, agreeing to pay $201.28 a month. She made monthly payments for 15 months, then returned the couch.
Rent-A-Center records show she had paid $3,030. She assumed she was close to paying off her account because she no longer had the couch, which she recalls cost $1,299, or two thirds of the total for the furniture.
Rent-A-Center told her she still owed more than $1,700. Six asked for an itemized statement, but the company would not provide one, she told the Florida attorney general’s office in a 2015 complaint.
In March 2015, she got a call from Rent-A-Center demanding that she pay $497.06 or the company would pursue theft charges, her complaint said.
Rent-A-Center representatives began showing up at her house, leaving notes threatening to call police if she didn’t pay or return the “stolen” items, she told a reporter.
Rent-A-Center has strict collection targets, former managers say. When they worked for the company, a store’s percentage of past due customers had to be under 6 percent each week, say the workers, who asked not to be identified because they had signed nondisclosure agreements with the company.
If stores don’t hit their numbers, managers are required to work extra shifts and can lose their jobs, former workers say.
Store sales staff doubles as first-line collectors. They call customers within hours of a missed payment, and workers often go out to track down customers late by a week or more.
The Federal Trade Commission received 2,779 complaints about Rent-A-Center and Acceptance Now between January 2016 and June 2017. More than 90 percent cited aggressive collection tactics.
Ohio customer Gorman says Rent-A-Center workers kicked in the door of her Lima home after she fell two months behind on a contract for a laptop, which she had nearly paid off. She had lost her job and says she told Rent-A-Center employees she needed a few more weeks to make final payments.
Instead, workers broke into her home while she was away, Gorman told Lima police, citing a neighbor who witnessed the incident.
Washington state sued Rent-A-Center in 2009 accusing the company of abusive collection practices.
Rent-A-Center settled the lawsuit in 2010, saying it had done nothing wrong but agreeing to not use abusive language, trespass or visit customers’ workplaces after being told not to do so.
Since that settlement, the Washington attorney general has received more than 800 pages of complaints about Rent-A-Center.
Modern-day debtors prison
Laws in many states allow rent-to-own companies to pursue criminal charges against customers who miss payments and do not return the rentals upon the company’s request.
David Strosnider, a former Rent-A-Center manager in Charlotte, North Carolina, says he pursued criminal charges against only those customers who paid off less than 30 percent of the merchandise.
But some Rent-A-Center managers filed charges on anybody who didn’t pay, says Strosnider, who worked for Rent-A-Center from 2012 to 2015.
Rent-A-Center’s corporate office gave stores “free rein” with delinquent customers, he says. “Their message was, ‘Do whatever you have to do to get your money.’”
In Houston, the Harris County District Attorney has filed criminal theft charges against rent-to-own customers for at least two decades, says Valerie Turner, county chief of consumer fraud.
Murray Newman, who worked as a Harris County prosecutor from 1999 to 2008, says he justified theft charges if a customer rented an item, never made a payment and refused to give it back.
But he said Rent-A-Center didn’t make that distinction. It used the district attorney’s office as a collection agency, he said, going after customers who fell behind on payments with no intent to steal.
Rent-A-Center said in an email it uses criminal charges in “extremely limited circumstances” and only when the intent to commit theft is apparent.
“We try every possible way to contact, visit and work with our customers, and view filing charges as a last resort,” the company said.
Lasting damage to customers
Between January 2016 and June 2017, 674 people filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission about problems with Rent-A-Center’s subsidiary, Acceptance Now.
Nearly one-third had asked Acceptance Now for verification they owed money. The company failed to provide it, former customers said. Ten percent of those 674 customers said errors ended up on their credit reports.
Rent-A-Center shareholders filed a federal lawsuit against the company in December 2016 over problems with its system for tracking customer payments. The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Texas, said Rent-A-Center had difficulty starting a new point of sale system in 2015, causing “severe harm” to company operations.
The company introduced the system despite repeated internal warnings about its flaws, leading to outages that caused customers to fall behind on their rental agreements, shareholders say in court filings. Rent-A-Center tried to get the case dismissed but a judge denied its request.
Companies that mishandle customer records can be subject to penalties, Ohio Attorney General DeWine says. He urged consumers harmed by Rent-A-Center to contact their state attorney general.
“This is an industry that needs regulation,” he says. “This is an industry that is really hurting poor people.”
Rent-A-Center’s systems have also harmed middle-income consumers.
Walton, the Rent-A-Center customer from Georgia, says he has been called by at least five debt collectors about bills he paid in full.
His bank records reviewed by a reporter show he paid off the $2,035.93 he owed for a dining room set and sectional sofa from Acceptance Now in 2013.
Two years later, he learned his credit report included an unpaid balance. Walton says he made dozens of calls to Rent-A-Center and Acceptance Now but could not get the error corrected.
In February, four years after he settled his debt, a collection agency left voicemails with his sister and a nephew. The messages warned that Walton would be arrested if he didn’t pay, he says.
Even debt collectors are angry
In late 2014, Rent-A-Center sold collection agencies more than 18,000 accounts it deemed seriously in arrears.
Brandon Vigliotti, a Houston debt buyer and president of Lismore Holdings, purchased those 18,000 accounts and gave about half to a second company to help collect on the debt.
Of the roughly half Vigliotti kept, he said at least 1,800 turnedout to owe nothing, or about 1 in 5. An additional 770 customers had been sued and paid their debts, according to Vigliotti’s research, which NerdWallet reviewed.
The numbers were worse for the second company, Southwestern Investors Group, of Hamburg, New York, and one of its collection agencies, Element Global Services. At least one-third of the 8,200 customers Element contacted had no balance on their accounts, says Eric Westermeyer, former chief operating officer at the company.
Southwestern Investors Group and Element Global Services filed a lawsuit against Rent-A-Center and Lismore Holdings in October 2015.
Rent-A-Center would not comment on the allegations, citing the pending litigation. The case is in arbitration. But the company told reporters “there is a substantial risk that you may have been misinformed as to the facts.”
Adam Parks, who worked with Vigliotti, said Rent-A-Center’s Acceptance Now outlets in furniture stores continued to accept customers’ money even after their accounts were sold to debt collectors.
“They were continuing to collect on accounts that weren’t theirs and not crediting consumers,” says Parks, who is on the board of the Receivables Management Association, an industry trade group for debt collectors. “To me it’s fraud.”
Paid twice but credit wrecked
Olivia Quinn is the Virginia woman who says she lost her mortgage despite twice paying off a $990 bedroom set.
She got the items at a Kane’s Furniture store in Clearwater, Florida, in 2011. She thought Kane’s had handled the transaction and wasn’t told her agreement was with Acceptance Now.
In 2012, after her records show she made payments totaling nearly $1,500, she called Kane’s to pay off the account. A Kane’s manager said he would credit her payment, she says.
But three years later a collection agency in Amherst, New York, called to say she owed more than $1,600 to Acceptance Now, she says.
She didn’t associate the debt with her Kane’s furniture. But because she was shopping for a house and needed good credit, she accepted the company’s $799 settlement offer, she says.
The collector, Huntington Debt Holding LLC, sent her a payoff letter she showed to reporters. A few months later, as she was applying for a mortgage, her credit report showed an outstanding Rent-A-Center balance of $1,698.
After investigating, she learned that her Kane’s furniture had been paid for through Rent-A-Center.
With her mortgage hanging in the balance, Quinn spoke to nearly 20 people trying to resolve the problem, according to notes she showed reporters.
A Kane’s spokeswoman told reporters the company has no record of the transaction. Quinn says Rent-A-Center employees refused to accept the payoff letter, asking her to pay them directly.
Armed with records showing she paid more than $3,000 for the furniture, more than triple the cash price, she refused.
That’s when she says her mortgage fell through. The $1,698 debt is still on her credit report.
Brad Wolverton is a reporter at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @bradwolverton. Alex Richards, a reporter at NerdWallet, and Jill Riepenhoff, an investigative producer at Raycom Media, contributed to this report.
The Texas Tribune and NerdWallet, a personal finance company that helps consumers make smart decisions about their financial lives, partnered to examine rent-to-own companies, their debt collection practices and the impact that these businesses can have on consumers’ financial lives. You can read our previous story here, and the rest of NerdWallet’s reporting here.