Fox News 2024-02-27 16:33:35


NY AG Letitia James taunts Trump about interest he owes on massive civil fraud judgment

New York Attorney General Letitia James appeared to taunt former President Trump about the interest he may own in a civil fraud judgment. 

Trump’s legal team on Monday appealed a Feb. 16 ruling from New York Judge Arthur Engoron’s finding him liable for more than $350 million in damages in the civil fraud case brought against him by James. Engoron ordered Trump to pay just over $354 million, with post-judgment interest accruing at nearly $112,000 per day. 

“In a massive victory, we won our case against Donald Trump for engaging in years of incredible financial fraud to enrich himself. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, and his former executives must pay over $450 million in disgorgement and interest,” James wrote on X, celebrating on the same day of the judgment. 

On Feb. 23, James, who has denied having a “personal vendetta” against Trump despite remarks suggesting otherwise, posted flatly, “$464,576,230.62.” 

“+$114,553.04,” she added in another post the next day, referring to the potential added interest Trump may be on the hook for. 

TRUMP APPEALS RULING IN MASSIVE NY CIVIL FRAUD CASE

Again, on Feb. 25, James posted, “+$114,553.04 = $464,805,336.70.” 

James’ case also targeted Trump’s family and the Trump Organization.

Engoron ruled that Trump and co-defendants – his adult sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump and two former Trump Organization executives – were liable for “persistent and repeated fraud,” “falsifying business records,” “issuing false financial statements,” “conspiracy to falsify false financial statements,” “insurance fraud,” and “conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.”

The former president’s lawyers filed notices of appeal Monday, asking the state’s mid-level appeals court to overturn Engoron’s Feb. 16 verdict in James’ lawsuit and reverse staggering penalties that threaten to wipe out Trump’s cash reserves.

Trump’s lawyers wrote in court papers that they are asking the appeals court to decide whether Engoron “committed errors of law and/or fact” and whether he abused his discretion or “acted in excess” of his jurisdiction. A notice of appeal starts the appeals process in New York. Trump’s lawyers will have an opportunity to expand on their grievances in subsequent court filings.

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Trump was not required to pay his penalty or post a bond in order to appeal, and appealing will not automatically halt enforcement of the judgment.

The Republican presidential frontrunner has until March 25 to secure a stay, a legal mechanism pausing collection while he appeals. Trump would receive an automatic stay if he puts up money, assets or an appeal bond covering what he owes. Trump’s lawyers could also ask the appeals court to grant a stay without obtaining a bond or with a bond for a lower amount.

There was no indication on the court docket Monday that Trump had already posted an appeal bond or asked for a stay, according to The Associated Press. 

“We trust that the Appellate Division will overturn this egregious fine and take the necessary steps to restore the public faith in New York’s legal system,” Trump lawyer Alina Habba said. 

Trump maintains that he is worth several billion dollars and testified last year that he had about $400 million in cash, in addition to properties and other investments. 

James, a Democrat, told ABC News that if Trump is unable to pay, she will seek to seize some of his assets.

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Trump said Engoron’s decision, the costliest consequence of his recent legal battles, was “election interference” and “weaponization against a political opponent.” Trump said he was being punished for “having built a perfect company, great cash, great buildings, great everything.”

Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Professor wins $30M from ex-boyfriend in landmark revenge ruling

A New York court has ordered a Brooklyn comedian to pay out a whopping $30 million to his City University of New York professor ex-girlfriend for a yearslong revenge porn campaign in what her attorney calls the largest verdict awarded for such a case in the state’s history.

Dr. Spring Chenoa Cooper, 43, told Fox News Digital that she does not expect to see a dime of the settlement from her ex-boyfriend Ryan Broems – regardless, she said on Friday, the precedence the landmark verdict sets for future victims is what matters.

“I hope that people see this and realize that there are paths to justice and also that the public does view this as something that isn’t acceptable,” Cooper said. “[Being victimized] is not something that you should be ashamed about, [and non-consensually sharing intimate images] is not something that you can hide from.”

Broems did not show up in court when the verdict was announced on Friday and did not hire an attorney to represent him, Cooper’s attorney told Fox News Digital.

TEACHER RETURNS TO CLASSROOM AFTER POSTING FORMER STUDENT’S NUDE PHOTOS ONLINE: ‘IT DOESN’T SIT RIGHT’

When Cooper broke up with Broems in 2017 after a tumultuous yearlong relationship, he began sending her a barrage of Snapchat videos of himself masturbating and messages demanding to know intimate sexual details of her life. 

Cooper thought the worst of her ordeal was over when she blocked him – until she received a menacing message from the Tumblr handle Calidaddy26 with the threat “I know who you are, be my personal webslut, or I’ll post you on my slut-exposing blog.”

She ignored the message, and soon afterward, strangers began reaching out to tell her that they had seen her nude images and videos posted alongside personal information like her name, employer, title, social media pages and contact information.

“In those moments, my life would stop,” Cooper recalled in her sworn testimony. “No matter where I was, who I was with or what my plans were for the day, my focus needed to immediately be finding the content and advocating for its removal because, as I came to learn, the longer the content is allowed to remain online, the more it will propagate.” 

REVENGE PORN TO BECOME FEDERAL CRIME UNDER BILL, WITH POSSIBLE 2-YEAR IMPRISONMENT

“I cannot begin to tally the number of people who contacted me to tell me they had seen my naked body and share whatever unsolicited comment about it or their perception of me that popped into their head,” she recalled. 

She successfully filed for a restraining order against Broems – but her nude photos continued to appear online, and the self-styled comedian would take to Twitter to mock her.

“My ex is such a romantic,” he wrote in one of several messages directed at Cooper in 2018. “She just had my Valentine’s Day card hand-delivered by the police and it read: ‘Roses are red, Violets are blue, Please always keep 500ft between me and you.” 

“Sometimes your ex puts you in handcuffs, and not in a hot way,” he wrote in another post after Cooper had contacted police about another post of her images.

TEXAS MAN FACES CHARGES IN REVENGE PORN CASE UNDER STATE LAW HIS SENATOR FATHER HELPED PASS

Despite many successful pleas to Tumblr and other online venues to take the images down, new ones popped up at least 11 times, with Cooper recalling 2018 as “the year of revenge porn,” she told Fox News Digital. 

Until she filed a civil suit in April 2018, Cooper said Friday, the proliferation of her images showed no sign of slowing.

“He knew that the police would not be able to find any evidence on him,” Cooper said. “The police don’t have the ability to research internet crimes – they don’t have the evidence to hold him.” 

Cooper’s was the first civil suit to be filed under New York City’s revenge porn statute. Under the law, victims can sue for money damages, legal fees and injunctions to block postings. The statute’s criminal component provides for up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine for people who commit the crime.

In criminal court, Broems pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor of disclosure of an intimate image in 2021 and was given a no-jail sentence of 26 weeks attending a program for abusive partners, according to court records. 

In court, Broems would gripe that the accusations against him ruined his life, complaining that “no one wants to hire that guy,” according to the New York Post. 

However, in light of Cooper’s suffering, the criminal charge was not enough.

“I was never allowed a day in court and was never able to confront him for what he had done to me… [he] paid no fines and served no jail time for what he did… while [he] has been allowed to move on with his life, I… continue to be stuck in a never-ending cycle of fear,” Cooper said in her testimony.

At the time, Cooper feared that she would lose her tenured position as an associate professor of health and social sciences at CUNY. Although she kept her position and has used her experience to inform her studies, Cooper said that she hopes her all-too-common ordeal helps others learn how to properly support victims of “cyber sexual assault.” 

“What I first want everyone to understand is that a cyber sexual assault is a sexual assault,” Cooper said Friday. “The mental and emotional things that people go through are the same. I want society to know that and take it seriously. That’s how the survivors will be able to come out and access support. When other people around them don’t know that or victim blame or aren’t able to recognize what this is, the survivors aren’t able to get the support they need.”

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An American Psychological Association study conducted in 2020 estimates that one in 12 adults will be the victim of non-consensual pornography – or revenge porn – in their lifetime. 

Cooper has also joined New York’s Cyber Abuse Task Force and said that her own research indicates that victims who engage in some sort of advocacy are more likely to emotionally recover from their trauma in these types of cases. 

Fox News Digital was unable to reach Broems or an attorney who represented him in his criminal case for comment at press time.

Disturbing details in arrest docs for illegal immigrant suspect in Georgia student’s murder

The illegal immigrant suspect charged in Augusta University nursing student Laken Riley’s death in Athens, Georgia, is accused of “disfiguring” her skull, according to new information added to the affidavit. 

Jose Antonio Ibarra is charged with the felonies of malice murder, murder, kidnapping, false imprisonment, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and concealing the death of another, as well as the misdemeanor of physically hindering a 911 call, according to the affidavit filed on Feb. 23. According to new information added this week, Ibarra “did commit the offense of aggravated battery when he maliciously causes bodily harm to another by seriously disfiguring her body or a member thereof by disfiguring her skull.”

For the felony offense of concealing the death of another, the arrest affidavit accuses Ibarra of “dragging the victim to a secluded area.” 

Law enforcement has not yet disclosed exactly how Riley was killed, only that her death was caused by blunt force trauma. 

LAKEN RILEY MURDER IGNITES DEMANDS TO HIRE MORE CBP AGENTS, REDIRECT $15B DEMOCRAT IRS PAYDAY TO BORDER

READ THE ARREST AFFIDAVIT – APP USERS, CLICK HERE:

More information about the type of object used or exactly how she was killed was not included in the arrest affidavits filed in Athens-Clarke County Superior Court. 

Riley’s roommate reported she did not return for an early morning run Thursday. 

University of Georgia police found her body in the woods along a trail by the intramural fields before 1 p.m. that afternoon. 

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Sunday confirmed that Ibarra, a Venezuelan national, entered the U.S. illegally in 2022 and had previously been arrested in New York City.

Fox News had previously reported that 26-year-old Ibarra, had crossed into the U.S. illegally near El Paso, Texas, in September 2022 and was paroled into the U.S.

TRUMP BLAMES ‘BIDEN’S BORDER INVASION’ FOR LAKEN RILEY MURDER, VOWS ‘LARGEST DEPORTATION OPERATION’ IF ELECTED

In a statement to Fox News Digital, ICE confirmed he had been encountered by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Sept. 8, 2022, after entering near El Paso and was “paroled and released for further processing.” ICE also said that Ibarra had been arrested by the New York Police Department a year later, on Sept. 14, 2023, and “charged with acting in a manner to injure a child less than 17 and a motor vehicle license violation.” On Monday it corrected the statement, saying he was arrested on Aug 31, 2023.

ICE’s statement said Ibarra was released before a detainer could be issued. NYC is also a “sanctuary city,” which generally restricts law enforcement from complying with ICE detainers.

The Athens-Clarke County Police Department also confirmed to Fox News Digital that Ibarra had been arrested in Georgia as recently as October. Ibarra was cited for shoplifting in Athens-Clarke County on Oct. 27, 2023, and he had an outstanding bench warrant in the county for failing to appear in court on the shoplifting charges, police said. 

Former President Trump blasted “Biden’s border invasion” in a post on TRUTH Social, saying Riley’s murder “should have NEVER happened.” 

In a letter to President Biden last week, Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp demanded “a response to questions surrounding the immigration status of the arrested suspect in the murder of Laken Riley and asylum claims of the suspect’s brother.” 

“Laken Riley’s tragic death struck the hearts of Georgians everywhere and has rightfully sparked national outrage,” Kemp said in a statement. “As I have said many times before: every state is now a border state because of Joe Biden’s inaction, and today I am again demanding answers and information from the Biden Administration that will help us protect our citizens when the federal government will not.”

Clarke County Magistrate Judge Donarell Green denied Ibarra’s bond on Saturday. Two translators were present. Ibarra nodded when spoken to.

Ibarra’s brother, Diego, was charged Friday with possessing a fraudulent green card and is being held in state custody. The federal arrest affidavit for Diego Ibarra says that in September 2023, Athens-Clarke County Police charged him with drunken driving and driving without a license. He was later arrested for shoplifting and later skipped court.

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The White House did respond to Riley’s murder on Monday. 

“We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Laken Hope Riley,” a White House spokesperson told Fox News Digital. “People should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law if they are found to be guilty. Given this is an active case, we would have to refer you to state law enforcement and ICE.”

Fox News’ Adam Shaw, Audrey Conklin and Stepheny Price contributed to this report.

Former first round NFL draft pick arrested on gun, meth charges as lawyer pushes back

Damon Arnette, a former NFL first-round draft pick, was reportedly arrested last month on meth and gun charges in Texas.

The arrest occurred in Richardson, Texas, on Jan. 6, and he was charged with possession of less than a gram of meth and unlawful carrying of a handgun, the NFL Network reported Monday.

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Arnette’s lawyers pushed back on the characterization of the arrest.

“Legal counsel for Mr. Arnette, stated that the recent report that he was arrested for possession of methamphetamines and firearms is simply incorrect,” his lawyers said. “Our client, at the time of the stop, was unable to provide law enforcement with his prescription for a lawful medication.

“The arrest was predicated on Mr. Arnette being unable to probe the medication was prescribed, had been able to do so at the time of the stop, there would have been no arrest for either the controlled substance or the firearms.”

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The statement added that Arnette’s legal team is working with officials to rectify the situation.

The Las Vegas Raiders selected the former Ohio State standout with the No. 19 overall pick in 2020. However, he was released in 2021 after 13 career games as a video on social media appeared to show Arnette making threats and brandishing a firearm.

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In 2022, he signed a reserve/futures deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. He was released days later when he was arrested on several charges in Las Vegas. He was also arrested in July 2022 on drug charges.

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NFL exec speaks out on rule change proposal that could be coming for kickoffs

Troy Vincent, NFL executive vice president of football operations and former Philadelphia Eagles star, expressed support for a change in kickoffs amid a report the play was discussed over the weekend.

Vincent said Monday there was “no question” a proposal for kickoffs will be on the table in the offseason, according to NFL.com. The NFL competition committee met about kickoffs over the weekend, The Washington Post reported.

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“We know we won’t go back into what we saw last year, when it became a ceremonial play,” Vincent said.”

The committee could make a proposal to alter the kickoffs to make it look more like how the XFL did in 2023, the Washington Post reported, citing a source.

The rule would need to receive 24 votes to be enacted. The NFL changed the rule last season, allowing fair catches on kickoffs. However, the Washington Post reported that rule was only made for one season.

My perspective has been that we have to keep the kickoff in the game,” Atlanta Falcons CEO Rich McKay told the newspaper. “And to do that, we have to find a way to modernize it and get that play going again, because that 20% return rate is not what was intended for that [fair catch] rule.”

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In the XFL, kickoffs were taken from the kicking team’s 30-yard line. The members of the kicking team lined up at the receiving team’s 35-yard line, and blockers on the receiving team line up on their own 30-yard line. Only the kicker and the returner can move until the ball is caught or 3 seconds after the ball hits the ground. Kickoffs that sail out of bounds or fall short of the receiving team’s 20-yard line move to the kicking team’s 45-yard line.

A touchback occurs when the ball travels into the end zone or bounces into the end zone. If it sails into the end zone without touching the ground, the receiving team gets the ball at the 35. If it bounces into the end zone, the receiving team gets the ball at the 15.

A team can request an onside kick. It has to travel at least 10 yards but not more than 20 yards. A team could also decide to go for the 4th-and-15 option instead of the kickoff. If they convert, they keep the ball.

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It is unclear which part of the XFL’s rules the NFL competition committee was considering. The XFL merged with the USFL this year to become the United Football League.

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Iconic American retailer closing 150 stores in next two years, shifts focus to luxury brands

Macy’s plans to close roughly 150 of its locations over the next three years in a strategy shift that leans more heavily on its luxury Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury chains.

The company announced the shift publicly Tuesday morning, saying it was entering a “bold new chapter” with a new CEO, Tony Spring. Macy’s will be down to 350 stores once all of the planned closures occur. In turn, the company will add roughly 45 Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury locations. 

“A Bold New Chapter serves as a strong call to action. It challenges the status quo to create a more modern Macy’s, Inc. We are making the necessary moves to reinvigorate relationships with our customers through improved shopping experiences, relevant assortments and compelling value,” Spring said in a statement. “Our teams are energized by the work ahead as we accelerate our path to market share gains, sustainable, profitable growth and value creation for our shareholders.”

Macy’s said it was targeting under-performing locations for closure. Such locations account for 25% of the company’s square footage but just 10% of its sales, according to The New York Times.

MACY’S WILL CLOSE THESE FIVE STORES FOLLOWING LAYOFFS OF MORE THAN 2,300 EMPLOYEES

At least 50 Macy’s locations will shutter this fiscal year, with the remainder closing by the end of 2026, the company said.

MACY’S OPENING UP TO 30 SMALL-FORMAT STORES

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The announcement comes barely a month after the company announced another series of closures in mid-January. That plan called for closing five locations and removing roughly 2,350 positions, or 3.5% of the company’s overall workforce.

The company said that the layoffs come as management plans to streamline its supply chain by implementing more automation.

MAJOR RETAILERS USE AI TO SLASH NUMBER OF CLOTHING RETURNS WHEN SHOPPING ONLINE

In October, the retailer announced that it is accelerating its small-format store expansion by opening up 30 smaller stores across the U.S.

The news built on its August announcement when the company said it was opening four small-format locations, which range between 30,000 and 50,000 square feet, about one-fifth the size of its traditional stores, within the Northeast and Western regions.

The company has been repositioning its portfolio to better adapt to the changing retail environment and compete with the likes of Target, Nordstrom and Kohl’s, which have been adding small-format stores over the past few years. 

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Department stores have lost their edge in recent years with the COVID-19 pandemic delivering a blow to iconic names like J.C. Penney and Neiman Marcus, both of which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2020. 

Actress slammed for ‘triggering’ Instagram post: ‘Can we not normalize starvation?’

Anya Taylor-Joy landed herself in hot water with her fans.

The actress attended the New York premiere of “Dune: Part 2” in a gold bodycon dress, with a layer of black tulle on top. In an Instagram post recapping the night, Taylor-Joy posted a black-and-white photo of herself in the corset she was wearing underneath, showing her followers how slim her frame is.

Commenters immediately began voicing their opinions about the actress’ decision to share the photo, with some calling it toxic, and others saying there’s nothing wrong with it.

“Do you realize how corsets are hurtful for women’s health and should not be promoted,” one person wrote, with another adding, “Can we not normalize starvation?”

ANYA TAYLOR-JOY SECRETLY MARRIES MALCOM MCRAE: REPORT

“Rough. Expected better from you tbh. Thinness isn’t chic,” another follower commented. “Nothing to be proud of & sets a poor example for young girls,” wrote another.

“This is really triggering to a lot of people :(,” one comment read.

While there were many negative comments under the post, there were some who came to the actress’ defense, with one fan writing, “Sensing A LOT of pettiness and jealousy in these comments.”

Some fans called for everyone to “let a woman be free” and realize “she’s not promoting anything” by posting a photo of herself in an outfit. “If she likes it good, if you don’t, it’s perfectly fine,” they concluded.

“Everyone wants more freedom for women and for them to be more empowered, and when she dresses the way she wants all of a sudden all the women are against her. Check your hypocrisy a little bit,” one defender wrote.

Taylor-Joy first came to prominence when she starred in the 2015 horror film “The Witch.” She went on to play Beth Harmon in the Netflix miniseries “The Queen’s Gambit.” She has since appeared in “The Menu,” “Last Night in Soho,” “Amsterdam,” and most recently, “Dune: Part 2.”

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The director of “Dune: Part 2,” Denis Villeneuve, wanted to keep Taylor-Joy’s involvement in the movie a secret for as long as possible, revealing her participation in the film on the red carpet at its premiere in London, when she was seen posing with the rest of the cast.

“I think that Hollywood is the most gossipy town on earth and I wanted, as an experiment, to see how long we could keep a secret,” Villeneuve told The Hollywood Reporter in February. “We did it. It was a special unit. We went to Africa to shoot with Anya under super-secrecy. I just loved the idea to keep something a surprise for the audience until the very end; it was like a gift I wanted to keep for the fans.” 

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Due to the secrecy, not much is known about the character Taylor-Joy plays in the movie. When walking the red carpet at the London premiere, Taylor-Joy said in an interview broadcast by Warner Bros. U.K., “You’ll have to see the film” to find out more.

Judge rules lawyer for Trump prosecutor Nathan Wade, Fani Willis’ paramour, must tell all

The judge presiding over Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ case announced Monday that the former law partner of special prosecutor Nathan Wade will have to testify in court on his knowledge of the timeline of the intimate relationship between Willis and Wade.

Defense counsel claimed the ex-law partner, Terrence Bradley, had direct knowledge that Willis and Wade’s relationship started before Wade was hired in the election interference case involving former President Donald Trump. The testimony of Bradley, who is also Wade’s former divorce lawyer, is expected to resume Tuesday afternoon.

The judge’s decision came after an in-camera hearing Monday with Bradley and his lawyer, after the judge previously said it appeared Bradley may have been misusing his attorney-client privilege. 

Regarding data from Wade’s cell phone, which Trump lawyers were trying to get entered into evidence, the judge said he will take that issue up during an already scheduled hearing this Friday. 

NATHAN WADE VISITED FANI WILLIS’ NEIGHBORHOOD BEFORE HIRING, CELLPHONE DATA INDICATES

Fulton County DA Willis and Special Prosecutor Wade were responsible for bringing the Georgia 2020 election interference case against Trump and 18 others last year.

Trump’s team filed a response with the Fulton County Superior Court on Monday to Willis’ denial following their original filing connected to the cellphone records. 

SPECIAL ATTORNEY HIRED BY FANI WILLIS TO HELP PROSECUTE TRUMP DONATED BIG BUCKS TO HER CAMPAIGN

A Friday filing from an attorney for Trump claims to show at least 35 visits by Wade to the Hapeville neighborhood before he was hired.

Wade testified last week that he did not visit Willis’ condo more than 10 times before being hired in November 2021. Willis and Wade maintain that their relationship began in early 2022.

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The date when the two lawyers’ relationship began is key to the ongoing dispute brought by Trump’s attorneys, who argue that their romantic fling compromised the integrity of the case.

The defense is trying to prove the existence and extent of any financial benefit to Willis from Wade in their relationship, which is the heart of their argument that Willis should be disqualified. 

Fox News’ Timothy H.J. Nerozzi contributed to this report. 

Beloved California bookstore forced to close its doors after 40 years

A new report highlighted how time-honored small businesses may no longer thrive in modern California as they once did.

California is well known for being one of the country’s most expensive states, whether for small businesses or residents, especially after the coronavirus pandemic. A Los Angeles Times story Monday discussed the struggles of small business owner Karen Kropp and her Book Rack bookstore as it prepares to close.

“After 40 years — the last half under Kropp’s ownership — the beloved used-book store tucked between a hot pot restaurant and a chiropractor’s office in Arcadia is closing this week,” reporter Marisa Gerber wrote. “Slowed down by the consumer shift to online shopping and further decimated by cratering sales during the pandemic, the shop held on by a thread in the months since Kropp cashed out her life insurance policy to keep it afloat.”

Gerber recalled how Kropp would once say the “miracle is coming,” and that “when you’re in a bookstore, you have to be a dreamer.”

DENNY’S SHUTTERS ONLY LOCATION IN OAKLAND AFTER MORE THAN 54 YEARS DUE TO HIGH CRIME

“But the miracle never came, and Kropp, who turns 79 later this year, knew that even if she couldn’t really afford to, it was time to retire,” the LA Times report stated. “She plans to live off her monthly Social Security check — around $1,200 after insurance premiums are deducted — and can’t afford to stay in Southern California. Instead, she will move in with her younger sister in Albuquerque once she finishes clearing out the shop.”

The report added, “Kropp’s situation mirrors those of many aging small-business owners who, unless they have a relative eager to take over, are faced with complex questions about their legacy and finances.”

The LA Times noted one estimate calculated with a tool from University of Massachusetts Boston that “Someone in Kropp’s situation — a single renter living in L.A. County — needs $2,915 a month to cover their basic necessities.”

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Nari Rhee, director of the Retirement Security Program at the UC Berkeley Labor Center, commented that such an amount is “basically twice the average Social Security benefit in California” and that many elderly Californians have fallen into poverty and homelessness.

Back in the 2000s, when Kropp bought the bookstore after having worked there, the business often made more than $10,000, but the rise of Amazon and the pandemic in the 2020s changed that considerably.

“Then, during the shutdowns, sales dropped to almost zero. Bills still came due, as did the shop’s rent and the fee for a storage unit where she kept overflow books, which together cost about $2,000 a month,” Gerber wrote. “Sales eventually crept back up but never fully recovered; now, she said, it sometimes takes two days before sales hit $200.”

Kropp’s friend Peter Tran, who volunteered on occasion at the bookstore, lamented its coming closure as “The end of the chapter.”

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In many high-cost cities in California, a $150,000 annual salary is stretched financially thin and qualifies as a “lower middle class” income, according to a recent analysis from GOBankingRates. 

But even for businesses that have previously thrived in the state, restaurants and event venues have complained of the state’s regulations hindering their ability to do business.

The LA Times has addressed Californian’s struggles with rent and state policies before, such as Krystle Meyer, a 40-year-old attorney who moved to Florida after decades in California, having been “driven out, she said, by financial pressures, homelessness and a deep frustration with California’s COVID-19 restrictions.”

“My salary increases were not outpacing my rental increases,” she told the LA Times. “I was losing money every year.”

After an encounter with a machete-wielding homeless man drove her from one area of California, it was the state’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic that ultimately inspired her to move to Florida.

Fox News’ Kristen Altus contributed to this report.