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The Best and the Worst of the Week 

E.J. Ourso,
entrepreneur and philanthropist, last week established a scholarship to help fund Catholic-school educations for African-American youths. Ourso committed up to $300,000 over four years to the United Negro Catholic High School Endowed Scholarship Fund. The scholarship will go to local students, but Ourso plans to expand it to the national level, as he did with his CARE fund for retired clergy.

District Judge Kirk Granier
has been recommended for censure by the state Judiciary Commission for paying his girlfriend for consulting services and funding a certification course for her, all with taxpayer money. The recommendation includes restitution fees of nearly $3,000 and goes to the state Supreme Court. Granier argued the Code of Judicial Conduct doesn¹t specifically ban hiring girlfriends, but the panel maintains his action created an appearance of impropriety.

Glenda Spears and Angela Kirkland,
a former public defender and drug-court case manager, respectively, were fined and sentenced to community service and house arrest for their scheme to take bribes from probationers in exchange for early release from their drug-court obligations. An undercover agent nabbed Kirkland in the act. After that, Kirkland helped federal prosecutors to snare Spears via wiretapped phone calls.

Louis Serrano,
an ex-Orleans Parish Schools payroll clerk, received a two-year federal prison term for stealing about $71,000 from the school system. Serrano admitted that between 2002-2003 he provided duplicated checks or fake travel reimbursements to co-workers who paid him kickbacks. Seven former co-workers pleaded guilty in the scam; three received probation while four await sentencing. All must pay restitution.

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