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Waffle Kerfuffle: Turns out that Groupon and health regulations might not have been the only thing behind the downfall of Craig Nelsen‘s Back Alley Waffles—-he also wasn’t a very good boss, according to former employees who say he skimped on wages. Some of the employees have filed complaints with the Department of Labor to get the money they say they’re owed. -1

Gladiators in Suits: Vince Gray has had his share of scandals lately, so it was only natural that he’d reach out to crisis manager Judy Smith, the inspiration for ABC’s soapy Scandal. Chris Murphy, Gray’s chief of staff, did exactly that, the AP reports. Murphy set up a breakfast meeting with Smith, but it’s not clear if anything came out of the encounter. +3 Chief Talks Beefs: Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier has made her share of mistakes, but she also has an incredible growing-up story. Speaking in defense of a program for teenage mothers, Lanier talked about how other students would beat her up as a teen until she started beating them up instead. “She ran away briefly with her much-older boyfriend and, at 14, Lanier found herself pregnant,” writes Lisa Gartner at the Examiner. So: Cathy Lanier, D.C.’s Loretta Lynn? +4

Cornered: DeAndre McCullough, the 15-year-old drug dealer and addict profiled in David Simon‘s The Corner who went on to play Brother Mouzone‘s body man on The Wire, was found dead from a possible drug overdose last week. At the time of his death, police had arrest warrants for McCullough’s alleged involvement in two armed robberies. Simon remembered him: “I see, in the end, a man who was in great, unending pain. And I want him to rest now.” -2

Friday’s Needle rating: 77 Today’s score: +4 Today’s Needle rating: 81