Stories for January 2002
Monday, January 28
Pair has filed a $68 million malpractice lawsuit against Sheppard Mullin, one of the largest legal malpractice suits filed against a Los Angeles-based firm.
Venture capital fund-raising activity continued to plummet in greater Los Angeles during the fourth quarter, according to new data from research firm Growthink.
Downtown Los Angeles hotels had their worst month for business in December since the riots in the early '90s, registering a 26.7 percent occupancy rate and prompting further cost-cutting at the beleaguered establishments.
MEDIA & TECHNOLOGY - By all accounts, LA Weekly President and Publisher Michael Sigman did an admirable job steering the alternative paper through a recession that has killed or severely ravaged many other publications.
The new year hasn't been kind to Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. Its stock has fallen 29.5 percent, to $19.52 on Jan. 24, on concerns about the outcome of a patent dispute.
A major Northern California investor/ developer has made its first foray into the L.A. market, plunking down what area brokers said was a record amount for a multi-family building.
Behind-the-Scenes Moves By Power Elite Bring Acclaimed Exhibit to Town
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Thom Mayne, a founder of SCI-Arc and Morphosis, built his architecture business in stages, moving from homes to major downtown office towers.
The new crop of tony Golden Mile residential high rises is showing a few signs of strain.
Corporate Focus: One of the few local winners in the nascent year on Wall Street has been Cherokee Inc., the former apparel maker that remade itself into a brand-licensing operation in the mid-1990s.
To the casual observer, Walt Disney Co.'s approach to sports must appear schizophrenic. After all, Disney continues to hoard sports broadcasting rights while it simultaneously seeks to shed the two professional sports franchises it owns...
With Enron Corp.'s fallout, many are wondering whether the Bush Administration was aware of the energy trader's questionable accounting methods and whether the company's political ties will affect subsequent regulatory actions brought against Enron. In th
A private company that puts more than $500 million into research but returns only $7.4 million in revenues would be considered a dubious investment.
Favorite Websites by Jonathan Barzilay, Senior V.P. & General Manager, Toon Disney & ABC Kids
Although labor emerged as the clear victor last week when the state finally issued nurse-to-patient staffing ratios, the hospital industry is likely to fight at least some of the plan.
On Jan. 15, two former employees of Crustacean restaurant in Beverly Hills filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the upscale restaurant, whose clientele includes Warren Beatty and Will Smith.
It's the $7 billion question. What's the value of a storied Hollywood studio that owns the world's largest modern film library but lacks the means to deliver that content, keeping it from competing on equal footing with the new breed of entertainment Gol
It's official L.A. County's already strapped public health system stands to lose $125 million in annual federal funding under a Medicaid payment rule change that was published Jan. 18 in the Federal Register.
The City of Commerce-based grocery warehouse chain is rolling out new stores that not only have bulk items geared toward restaurants, small businesses, and Little League Moms and Dads, but a selection of upscale wines, cheeses, coffee, meats, and bottled
Members of the Cabral family have worked together and apart to build roofing businesses that have found clients nationwide.
Phil Gustlin figured he was getting all he could out of Idealab Inc. when he accepted the company's offer of 10 cents for each dollar he invested in the Pasadena Internet incubator. Then his fellow investors showed him a potentially sweeter deal.
News summary of the week, plus preview of coming week.
MEDIA - Sporting News Radio Network wants Nancy Cole off its team. But the vice president and general manager of KMPC-AM (1540) isn't planning to go quietly.
It was late on the afternoon of Sept. 11. The towers were down, the firefighters in retreat. That's when one of them, Dan McWilliams, saw an American flag attached to a broken pole, lying among the debris in the nearby marina. He picked it up and started
Susan Love's success story could read like a screenplay: A crusader against breast cancer starts a company based on her research as professor of surgery at the UCLA School of Medicine. The company grows and is sold for $167 million.
UCLA's Dilemma - How to Move Technology; Research chief: Andrew Neighbour cites 'benign neglect' for school's shortfall.
KCET (Channel 28) is finally tapping into the creative community outside its doors after years of lagging behind public television stations on the East Coast in original program offerings.
State Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy, R-Arcadia and son of former state legislator Richard Mountjoy, has proposed suspending the state sales tax for clothing purchased during those late August "back-to-school" specials.
Spotlight on Little Tokyo
Their eyes are fixed on the flickering black and white images, but the two Crest National Digital Media technicians sitting in the back row of the small screening room couldn't tell you much about the movie's plot.
Auto Club Puts Its Stamp on Travel Firm; plus other Newsmakers
A group of attorneys representing the 300,000-plus policyholders of Executive Life Insurance Co. at the time of its 1991 collapse and sale are prepared to take on the state Department of Insurance over the dollars owed to policy holders.
When City of Angels Medical Center opened two years ago, hospitals up and down the state were complaining about losing money, especially those in poor urban neighborhoods.
Norma Glover's credentials as new chairwoman of the South Coast Air Quality Management District's Governing Board couldn't be more different from her predecessor William Burke.
Container terminal operators at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach could each be fined tens of thousands of dollars per day for keeping truck traffic stalled en route to facility entranceways if controversial legislation is approved.
COMMENT by Mark Lacter
Monday, January 21
Entrepreneur's Notebook: Mention trade secrets and industrial espionage comes to mind. But more often than not, trade secrets are found in seemingly innocuous data. What may appear trivial could in fact give you an edge over the competition, or even be th
Weekly Briefing by David Greenberg
Review of recent news and events, plus Preview of upcoming week.
Doctor Working to Build Better Hospital; People in the News.
Real Estate Quarterly San Gabriel Valley: It's hard to tell there's a recession judging by the amount of industrial and office space available for rent in the San Gabriel Valley.
Customers of Enron Corp. in L.A. County and throughout the state could see their power costs double if the now-bankrupt company terminates their contracts and forces them back into the arms of the state's investor-owned utilities.
She's a very popular mayor of a major city who is termed out in a few months. But unlike New York's Rudy Giuliani, who toyed with the idea of finding a way to stay in office, this mayor actually is running again.
Real Estate Quarterly Hollywood:
Real Estate Quarterly Downtown: The buzz downtown continues to be upbeat Staples Center is a hit, restaurants and health clubs are opening up, office rents are nudging northwards, even housing is getting occupied. But the fourth quarter numbers tell a
Remove one submarket from Los Angeles County and you're left with an office market that managed to tread water during the fourth quarter. Plug back that submarket the Westside and you have a quarter that provided little relief to rising vacancies and
Chinese Prosperity L.A.'s Growth Market: The first postwar Asian migration to the San Gabriel Valley owed much to 1965's Immigration and Naturalization Act.
It has proved distressingly easy to ignore Martha McSally. I mean, it's been nine months since she began speaking out and if there's been any hue and cry in response to her complaints.
Whatever happened to last fall's gloom and doom reports projecting that the city of Los Angeles would show a budget shortfall of $100 million?
Real Estate Quarterly - Wilshire Corridor: The Wilshire Center area, which has been capitalizing on its appeal to bargain hunting tenants, had a positive fourth quarter despite an increase in vacancy rates.
When it comes to histrionics in Hollywood, it's been tough to top Screen Actors Guild board meetings over the years. On Jan. 28, the rancor is likely to reach a fever pitch once again.
POLITICS by Howard Fine
Finding U.S. public markets hard to crack, Santa Monica-based Dynamic Digital Depth Inc. took its quest to the London Stock Exchange and came back with $10 million.
Real Estate Quarterly Westside: While still one of the most desirable places to work in Los Angeles, the Westside office market continues to slide downward and is likely to continue that way for a while.
Chinese Prosperity L.A.'s Growth Market: At the Hong Kong Supermarket in Hong Kong Plaza, the chatter among the staff is in rapid-fire Chinese and the food selection is Asian.
Real Estate Quarterly San Fernando Valley: The San Fernando Valley office market eroded considerably in the fourth quarter of 2001, with every submarket showing signs of strain.
After being one of the first major restaurants to open on the Rosecrans Avenue Corridor between El Segundo and Manhattan Beach, Wolfgang Puck has closed his Wolfgang Puck Caf & #233; at 2121 Rosecrans Ave.
With the media fixated on President Bush's pretzel incident, Vice President Cheney's quail hunting and those ever-popular car chases, Jay Leno asked the question: "Aren't we supposed to be at war?" Well, yes, but many critics contend that the war against
Well, it finally happened. After a year of rumors, New York-based Squadron Ellenoff Plesent & Sheinfeld LLP finally merged last week with Washington, D.C.-based Hogan & Hartson LLP.
The battle over whether Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard Parks should be re-appointed to a second term has been publicly posed as a fight between the city's black leaders and the Police Protective League.
Real Estate Quarterly South Bay: The South Bay commercial real estate market went into a holding pattern during the last three months of 2001.
Chinese Prosperity L.A.'s Growth Market: Roger Chen has come full circle within Southern California's Chinese communities.
Spotlight on Alhambra
Real Estate Quarterly Mid-Cities: Industrial real estate in the Mid-Cities has become a tricky business.
Fay Ferguson, a partner at venture capitalists Kline Hawkes & Co., said he didn't think Bill Gross' offer was "fair or appropriate."
Real Estate Quarterly Inland Empire: Inland Empire brokers are still not uttering the R-word, but their territory finally began to feel the effects of the recession during the fourth quarter as industrial sales and leasing activity fell while a slew of
When Monrovia employer, Integrated Micromachines Inc., recently informed Elyas Balta that his health plan premium had soared to nearly $100, he bailed out to the HMO.
Goodbye, store. Hello, storage. In another example of self-storage buildings becoming a more prevalent part of the urban landscape, a mixed-use project will be built at the former Hollywood site of Rompage Hardware, which has moved four blocks east.
When Peter Ezzell joined Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP in 1973, 80 percent of its clients were insurance companies. But in becoming managing partner last year, Ezzell took the helm of a firm that, like many companies deeply invested in a single product lin
L.A. has another public company, almost. Latino Health Care, a growing individual practice association with big expansion plans, has nearly completed its reverse shell merger, a move that next month will transform it into a public company.
Favorite Sites by Jon Shestack, Independent film producer; Founder, Cure Autism Now
In the biggest push yet to bring digital cinema to the movie-going masses, a partnership of Technicolor Inc. and Qualcomm Inc. is footing the bill to outfit more than 100 theaters nationwide with its digital exhibition systems this year, at a cost of abou
The Joint Strike Fighter may be the next-generation fighter jet program grabbing all the headlines, but it's another stealth-fighter program flying largely beneath the media radar that is bringing a more immediate windfall to Los Angeles.
With the election year not even a month old, political ads are back on the air, and while many Angelenos might be rolling their eyes at the prospect of candidate overload, local radio and TV executives couldn't be happier.
Real Estate Quarterly Ventura County: With recession-weary businesses halting plans to relocate from L.A., Ventura County's commercial real estate market continued its fall during the fourth quarter.
Chinese Prosperity L.A.'s Growth Market: Ignoring the Downturn, Insular Market Thrives.
Real Estate Quarterly Tri-Cities: Facing an economic downturn and a slew of new space set to come on the market in the next six months, vacancy rates in the Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena market could jump by as much as three percent by mid-year...
EarthLink co-founder Sky Dayton looks for latest Internet opportunity in new wireless ISP venture.
When ArtistDirect Inc. positioned itself as a multi-faceted dot-com, investors treated it like every other high-flying Internet play: a passionate love affair followed by abandonment.
Instead of retiring, veteran of the printing business moves on to build a high-end, state-of-the-art commercial shop
Credit Suisse First Boston has shut down its commercial real estate services group, CSFB Realty Services Inc., including its well-regarded Los Angeles operation, as part of a massive restructuring...
As scandals go, the Enron mess has been tough for the general press to sink its teeth into.
Real Estate Quarterly North County: A couple of big deals at the end of the year highlighted a decent pick-up in the North County office market...
National Public Radio is officially moving out West. The nonprofit network's board last week approved the purchase of a building at 9905-9909 Jefferson Boulevard in Culver City for the establishment of a West Coast production facility.
Monday, January 14
Donations to local charities generally fell sharply at the end of last year as a result of dollars being diverted to Sept. 11 disaster relief funds and the ongoing economic recession.
Having just taken over as president and chief executive of the Hallmark Channel, Lana Corbi is faced with taking a brand known more for greeting cards and turning it into a force on the cable landscape.
Pacifica Radio Network's L.A. station is attracting more donations than ever before, but KPFK-FM (90.7) has been telling listeners that its bills are going unpaid and that even its electrical service is in danger of being shut off.
The closure of St. Luke Medical Center in Pasadena this month by Tenet Healthcare Corp. is renewing concerns that the giant hospital chain will dump one of its two newly acquired Daniel Freeman hospitals.
The U.S. District Court Central District of California plans to introduce a pilot program that could result in as many as 2,000 cases being removed from the 21 federal judges in Los Angeles.
The Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing of its lone franchisee has brought to a close to a tumultuous chapter for Hollywood mainstay Roscoe's House of Chicken 'N' Waffles.
Online advertising is not always a flawed foundation upon which to build an Internet company.
Univision may be writing its own novela by launching a third Spanish-language network in the midst of the worst advertising market in decades. Like many of the heroines of these popular Latin American soap operas, TeleFutura has great potential but faces
The new owners of Industry-based Strouds Inc., out of bankruptcy protection, plan to expand in Southern California and possibly relocate its headquarters to Orange County.
As the universe continues to expand, Paramount Pictures' Star Trek franchise is expanding right along with it.
Campaign politics was never far from the surface of Gov. Gray Davis' third annual State of the State speech.
Review & Preview
Michael Erlanger could not have been happier when he landed a job straight out of Cornell University in the Los Angeles office of the Gensler architecture firm. But after 14 years in the stuffy corporate world, he wanted out.
L.A. has lost another public company, and in an unusual manner. In a little-used mechanism known as a short-form merger, Luminent Inc. in late December got taken back under the wing of its majority owner, Chatsworth-based MRV Communications Inc.
National Golf Properties Inc., the troubled real estate investment trust based in Santa Monica, has shown signs of life.
At last week's 2002 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, ViewSonic Corp. of Walnut introduced a prototype of its wireless LCD monitor. And none other than Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates used the hardware in his keynote address.
After several years of gradually rising wages and opportunities, many of L.A. County's 1 million-plus working poor have been hit hard by the recession and the fallout from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Having snared more than 1 million teen users for its free phone network, Santa Monica-based VoiceWeb is rolling out a plan it says will help it turn a profit early next year.
Jeffrey Krause, the Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP partner who built the firm's financial restructuring group two years ago, is heading home.
Maria Emma Baeza considers herself lucky to have a job these days even if she spends much of the time waiting rather than working.
The city and its development partner, San Diego-based OliverMcMillan LLC, are about to put the office and restaurant components of the project on indefinite hold.
The Daughters of Charity Health System has taken over three hospitals after formally breaking its ties earlier this month with Catholic Healthcare West, the largest Catholic health system in the western U.S.
Hip hop radio station KPWR-FM has hopped off a cliff.
Three months ago, San Vicente Group appeared to be just another broken-down venture fund, hobbling along in the wake of the discredited Internet investment craze.
Forty-four years after founding his namesake L.A. investment firm, Edward Wedbush finally has made it to the top.
Senior officials at the U.S. Department of Justice will meet this month to decide whether to pursue criminal indictments against Credit Lyonnais and other European entities involved in the 1991 sale of Executive Life Insurance Co. and its $6 billion junk
An L.A. City Council redistricting plan that would eliminate the council district represented by Ruth Galanter and move it to the San Fernando Valley is raising ire on the city's Westside.
The Los Angeles Times may soon consolidate two of its few remaining community newspapers.
Sometime between now and the end of the month, Kenneth Feinberg will finalize his plan to give thousands of people millions of dollars. This will make many of those people very angry.
For almost 10 years, Elisa Bruley has been running a Pasadena boutique in a space so small it looks like a large walk-in closet. But from this 800-square-foot shop tucked away inside a small airy shopping complex, Elisa B. sells $1.1 million worth of clot
Perhaps it's corny and a little self-serving to admit, but there's something fulfilling about editing a newspaper that provides information our readers otherwise wouldn't have.
Major changes are afoot at the Century City Shopping Center, which has undergone several metamorphoses since it opened in 1964.
Forget, for the moment, that Miami clearly won the national champion's crown in the Rose Bowl. There still are calls for a college football playoff system.
For many people, especially busy ones, jury duty generally is regarded as a chore. A lot of workers even put together elaborate schemes in an attempt to get themselves dismissed. Still, few Americans would come right out and say that serving on a jury isn
After years of decline, the strip of Wilshire Boulevard between downtown L.A. and Miracle Mile is showing signs of having turned the corner.
It used to be that everyone in Los Angeles was writing a screenplay. Nowadays, it seems everyone is writing business plans for startup companies.
People in the News
Monday, January 7
It wasn't an assignment Scott Downey relished, but when a fashion designer client insisted that he rush to photograph Neil Young's outfit during a charity event at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Downey hustled over.
INTERVIEW: After spending nearly all his career at the Veterans Administration, Dr. Thomas L. Garthwaite takes the helm of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Feb. 1.
The U.S. Army is fast-tracking development of software by a small Santa Monica company that could revolutionize the way soldiers make decisions both on and off the battlefield.
KTLA-TV Channel is coming to a checkout lane near you. This month, the L.A. station will begin running promotions for its news and programs on screens installed in grocery stores throughout Southern California.
Kohl's Corp., the large Midwestern discount dry goods and home furnishings concern, plans a major push into the L.A. market despite the darkening retail landscape.
Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk reconnaissance aircraft, which has been actively engaged over Afghanistan, is under attack in more familiar territory namely, from several competing aerospace giants looking for a piece of the action.
Los Angeles dealmaking activity drifted deeper into slumber mode during 2001, with mergers-and-acquisitions volume down 23.2 percent from the prior year and initial public offerings off 73.3 percent.
When we last checked on Korn Ferry International was in breach of a financial covenant on its $100 million bank line with Bank of America, and attempting to renegotiate the agreement.
GigaFast Ethernet Inc. is about to deliver a device that will allow small business and home computer users to network simply by plugging PCs into a wall socket.
In the first of what is planned as a series of buy-and-flip deals, Surgicenter of West Covina Inc. has closed on the $10.8 million sale of a majority stake in the San Gabriel Valley Surgical Center.
Richard Shapiro, principal of Malibu-based real estate services firm Winco Asset Management Inc., surprised many in local real estate circles when he managed to develop and lease The Enclave, a 28,000 square foot office complex on Pacific Coast Highway in
Capstone Turbine Getting Overseas Push.
Remember all that talk last year of an energy initiative on this November's ballot? Well, it's been quietly dropped.
Internet sites by Conor Dougherty
In a controversial bid to speed up bus traffic, transit officials plan to close off a mile of the curbside lane in each direction of Wilshire Boulevard through West Los Angeles during the morning rush hour, reserving those lanes exclusively for buses.
REAL ESTATE - Despite a recent flood of residential development and limited prospects for competing centers in the area, the Marina del Rey shopping center, which includes anchor tenants Gelson's and Sport Chalet, was sold to San Francisco-based M & A; Realt
Walt Disney Co. recently terminated its 15-year relationship with Initiative Media North America, capping a tough year in which the Los Angeles-based media buyer lost other high-profile accounts in the middle of a depressed advertising market.
Picture this: The brand new, $94 million Kodak Theatre, site of the upcoming Academy Awards and tucked inside the glitzy Hollywood & Highland complex, could sit empty much of the year, shunned by music acts and Broadway musicals for its size and poor soun
As Napster searches for a legal way to stay in business, two L.A. companies are finding legitimate applications for the popular technology.
City Core Getting New Look As Retail Project Flourishes
Short on glamour and glitz, some of the more interesting deals of 2001 reflected the diversity of L.A.'s economy.
After earning an art degree in 1985 from American University in Washington, D.C., Brooks Pallmer moved to Chicago where he had a series of odd jobs for more than a decade...
With completion of Phase I of Playa Vista's Water's Edge office project just six months away, developer MaguirePartners is adding a pair of buildings totaling 253,000 square feet to a market already creaking under the weight of its vacant spaces.
Attorney and bankruptcy authority Ken Klee says business troubles will get worse before they get better.
Long Beach city officials, anxious to increase port security in wake of the terrorist attacks, are considering a proposal that would transfer all three of the city's non-police security forces under the authority of the Long Beach Police Department.
While it isn't the sort of music that will keep you humming, Megatrax's melodies play a role in many big productions.
Construction of an elevated carpool lane is one plan being considered by the California Department of Transportation to relieve congestion on a 10-mile stretch of the 405 Freeway.
Can Michael Kang pump life into the location once occupied by the hip Le Colonial French-Vietnamese restaurant and lounge in West Hollywood?
L.A. insurance attorneys spent the last few days of the year filing last-minute lawsuits for Northridge earthquake victims.
The bus stop long has been inundated with advertising of all kinds so why not add commercials on a video screen to the mix?
A strange thing happened on the way to the operating room the patient suddenly took a miraculous turn for the better.
The Service Employees International Union and Tenet Healthcare Corp. have been fighting for two years over the union's efforts to organize and negotiate a contract for the hospital's 450 registered nurses.
The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 spawned a new caution among some international law firms but not because these firms see a slowing economy.
L.A.'s Deals of the Year Time to Consolidate
An unprecedented glut of troubled debt now hitting U.S. markets is driving down values for commercial paper, bonds and other debt-related assets, unleashing an investment frenzy among L.A.-area investors.
Even for an Internet company, Homestore.com Inc.'s (Nasdaq: HOMS) Securities and Exchange Commission filings are difficult to understand, with their extensive footnotes and complex side deals with partners like Budget Group Inc. and AOL Online...
While the indicators are never in complete agreement, many analysts are saying that the national economy has bottomed out, and that recovery is underway. When Congress goes back into session, bickering between the parties over an economic stimulus package