Digest

Sen. Kerry berths yacht in R.I., saving $500,000; Detroit hit man sentenced

BEAR TRAPPED A bear climbed into an empty car in Larkspur, Colo., knocked the shifter into neutral and sent the vehicle rolling 125 feet into a thicket.
BEAR TRAPPED A bear climbed into an empty car in Larkspur, Colo., knocked the shifter into neutral and sent the vehicle rolling 125 feet into a thicket. (Ben Story/associated Press)
Saturday, July 24, 2010

MASSACHUSETTS

Kerry berths yacht in R.I., saves $500,000

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) is docking his family's new $7 million yacht in neighboring Rhode Island, allowing him to avoid paying roughly $500,000 in taxes to his cash-strapped home state.

Rhode Island has become something of a nautical tax haven since repealing its sales and annual excise taxes on boats in 1993.

Kerry spokesman David Wade said Friday that the boat is being kept at Newport Shipyard not to evade taxes but "for long-term maintenance, upkeep and charter purposes." Wade noted the vessel was designed by Rhode Island boat designer Ted Fontaine and purchased in the state. It was built in New Zealand by Friendship Yachts.

A Revenue Department spokesman said Kerry would be liable for Massachusetts taxes if he berthed the boat in the Bay State -- say, at Kerry's summer vacation home on Nantucket or in Boston Harbor near his city residence -- within six months of its purchase. If the Isabel were brought to Massachusetts after that period, the state would have to decide whether it wanted to pursue the taxes.

The 76-foot sloop has two cabins, a pilothouse fitted with a wet bar and cold wine storage, according to the Boston Herald, which first reported its Rhode Island berthing. The vessel is owned by Great Point, a limited liability corporation based in Pittsburgh, the longtime home of his wife, Teresa Heinz.

-- Associated Press

MICHIGAN

Hit man gets 52-year sentence in plea deal

A killer-for-hire who admitted that he murdered eight people and other victims he cannot remember was sentenced Friday to at least 52 years in prison as part of a plea deal that kept him from a mandatory life term and spared his victims' relatives from a series of emotional trials.

Vincent Smothers confessed to the Detroit killings during a sequence of sometimes-remorseful interviews with police in 2008. But there was no sign of contrition in court.


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