Daily Briefs

‘Master Bob’ Bashara dies; convicted in wife’s 2012 death

WHITMORE LAKE, Mich. (AP) — Robert Bashara, a former Rotary Club president in suburban Detroit who was convicted of arranging his wife’s murder, has died, more than five years after he was sentenced to life in prison, the Corrections Department said Tuesday.

Bashara, 62, died Monday at a hospital, said spokesman Chris Gautz, who declined to offer additional details.

He was last housed at Woodland Center Correctional Facility in Livingston County.

Bashara, known as “Master Bob,” was accused of hiring a handyman to kill Jane Bashara so he could devote more time to cavorting with other women who shared his desire for sexual bondage and domination.

Jane Bashara was strangled in their garage in Grosse Pointe Park in 2012. Her body was found in her Mercedes-Benz in a Detroit alley.

Robert Bashara denied any role in his wife’s death, although the highly publicized case revealed that he was living a double life — a Rotary president and son of a late judge who dabbled in bondage and domination in a sex dungeon under a bar called the Hard Luck Lounge.


Federal judge upholds $925M damages verdict in robocall case

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge has upheld a $925 million damages award in a class-action case against a Michigan-based marketing company that a jury in Portland, Oregon found had conducted unlawful telemarketing practices.

ViSalus Inc. placed almost 2 million recorded robocalls to people across the country offering deals on weight-loss products, dietary supplements and energy drinks, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Lori Wakefield, a Molalla, Oregon, woman who had once been a promoter for the company, brought the suit, arguing the outfit’s prerecorded calls violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Each violation called for a $500 penalty, and a jury in April 2019 determined the company made 1,850,436 unlawful automated calls.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon found the award was based on simple math.

“The jury found that ViSalus committed a stratospheric number of TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) violations. It is no surprise that the TCPA’s constitutionally valid minimum penalty of $500 for each violation has catapulted ViSalus’s penalty into the mesosphere,” Simon said in his opinion.

Attorney Benjamin G. Shatz, representing ViSalus, argued the damage award was “absurd” and would be the “death sentence” for ViSalus. He urged the court to reduce the damages to less than a dollar per call, “to pass Constitutional muster.”

The judge dismissed that argument.

“ViSalus’s understanding of the limitations on damages imposed by due process implies that a constitutional penalty for a single violation becomes unconstitutional if the defendant commits the violation enough times,” the judge wrote.

Simon cited a 2020 opinion by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a case the government brought against Dish Network, which read: “Someone whose maximum penalty reaches the mesosphere only because the number of violations reaches the stratosphere can’t complain about the consequences of its own extensive misconduct.”


Subscribe to the Legal News!


Full access to public notices, articles, columns, archives, statistics, calendar and more

Day Pass Only $4.95!

One-County $80/year

Three-County & Full Pass also available